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March 24, 2014 Special Dispatch No. 5691

Al-Quds Al-Arabi: The Era Of U.S. Hegemony Is Over

March 24, 2014
Special Dispatch No. 5691

The London-based Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi stated in an editorial that the era of exclusive American hegemony in the world has ended, and that a multi-polar world order is emerging. According to the daily, the U.S. is in decline due to its failure to prevent the emergence of international or regional powers like Iran, and also due to the loss of deterrence following its rapid withdrawal from Iraq and its non-intervention in Syria. At the same time, the daily also rejects the possibility that the Cold War is returning, since Russia lacks the ideological power of the Soviet Union and its ability to exert far-reaching influence in the world. It assesses that the international arena may now re-divide itself on a new basis between various global forces, and warns the Arab world that if it fails to find its place in this new strategic equation, it will face a future of further weakness and division.

The following are excerpts:[1]

"The increasing tension between Russia and the U.S. over the Ukraine, and the outbreak of a war of sanctions and declarations [between them over this matter], sparked a debate about the possible return of the Cold War – even though the basic circumstances that prevailed back then [in the Cold War era] were very different. Can history really repeat itself, or are we facing a new phase of this international conflict, anchored in new circumstances in a changing world? [And] where do the Arabs stand in this strategic equation and this 'new war'?

"The truth is that the talk of a renewed Cold War cannot be taken seriously in the new world that is emerging due to these shifting strategic circumstances. To be precise, we are seeing the emergence of a multi-polar world order. This marks the official end of the uni-polar era or of what is known as the 'exclusive American hegemony,' which began with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and was unique in human history. The following are some aspects that can be discussed in this context:

"The 'Czar of the Kremlin' [Vladimir Putin] has many historical obsessions, perhaps due to [the fact that] his totalitarian regime is [so] reminiscent of the Soviet era. However, he has no ideological influence outside Russia's borders, [except in] a few regions of the neighboring republics that allow him to [include them] within the reach of his imperialist ambitions. This, because he lacks the moral basis that Communism provided to the Soviet Union during the decades of the Cold War, [a moral basis] which enabled it to extend its sponsorship and influence [even to other] continents. Moreover, Russia today, unlike the Soviet Union back then, is merely part of tangled economic interests that are anchored in the same barbaric capitalist principles [that dominate the West]. This precludes the outbreak of a real economic war [between it and the West], because the consequences [of such a war] would be devastating for both sides. This is the same logic that prevented the outbreak of a nuclear war for some half a century. It is especially [valid today], when Europe is experiencing a deep economic crisis and needs its trade relations with Russia perhaps [even] more than [Russia] needs them. Suffice it to mention that the E.U. relies on Russia for a third of its energy needs. Indeed, thousands of companies in Europe, especially in Germany, screamed in protest when European leaders merely mentioned [the possibility of] sanctions against Russia...

"The U.S. is going through a historic phase of decline in its international [influence], especially in the Middle East and in the so-called Eurasian continent, which have strategic [importance] for any power that wants to maintain a deterring global presence. The reasons for [its decline] are many, including: its failure to prevent the emergence of more regional or international powers, [so that,] in addition to China, India, Japan and Russia, other regional powers gained hegemony, such as Iran, which managed to pull Turkey to its side despite the disagreements between them over the Syrian issue; [the fact that] America's traditional allies in the Arab Gulf became neutral following its rapid withdrawal from Iraq and its non-intervention in Syria; and the current rift among the Gulf states, which consolidates America's weakness in the region, because some of these states have begun searching for alternative regional alliances, as exemplified by the joint military maneuvers conducted recently by the UAE and Egypt.

"All this does not mean that the method of provocation and even contempt that Putin has relied upon in his conflict with the U.S. will not resonate with the people or even the political [echelon] in [various] countries that, for reasons of their own, aspire to free themselves of American hegemony or to take revenge on America. However, this is not sufficient to form an international front to confront [America].

"By invading Iraq unilaterally and in violation of international law, the U.S. opened the door to similar conduct by rival powers. Putin indicated this clearly in a press conference last month, when he said that the connection between Russia and the Ukraine is far stronger than any conceivable connection between the U.S. and Iraq or Afghanistan. The U.S. is unlikely to risk a confrontation with Russia in [Russia's] own back yard, i.e., in the Ukraine, seeing that it refrained from doing so in Hungary during the Cold War era and in Syria in the present international circumstances, despite the strategic importance of each of these countries.

"As for the Arabs' position regarding this new strategic equation, it appears to be one of the central issues that should be debated at the Kuwait summit, [slated for March 25-26, 2014]. But the fact is that this summit will [probably] be remembered as the summit of the 'Gulf rift,' not just the Arab [rift].

"The message conveyed by these great global developments is that the era of the American and Western mandate is ending, perhaps for good. This means that the global arena can regroup on a new basis, and new players can enter the fray – both [single] countries and large blocs [of countries]. Small and divided [elements] that fight among themselves, and still live in the era of the Cold War and its illusions or even in earlier eras, have no future except [a future of] growing weakness, division and internal fighting."

Endnotes:

[1] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), March 21, 2014.

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