Alexey Pushkov, a leading commentator and a Member of the Federation Council's Defense and Security Committee as well as the Chairman of the Federation Council's Committee on Information Policy believes that the coronavirus pandemic will have a major impact on international politics. If American power was on the decline ever since the disastrous regime change policy of George W. Bush, the current pandemic put this decline in the spotlight. The US despite its pretensions of being the most advanced country, proved helpless in the face of the disease as the statistics of the dead and infected prove. Moreover the US was shown to be an extremely selfish country and while Russia and China were helping others, the US commandeered medical supplies destined for other countries and refused to help even its closest allies. The loss of American hegemony is now irreversible. These views were state in the course of an interview by Nikita Vyatchanin in Parlamentskaya Gazyeta that follows below:
Alexey Pushkov (Image: Pnp.ru)
"Alexei Konstantinovich [Pushkov], on your Twitter account you stated, that after the pandemic, the United States will have to abandon its claims to world hegemony. Why do you think so?
"The USA's influence has been weakening over the past 20 years. A pandemic merely puts this process into sharper relief. Back in the early 2000s, the Bush administration developed a seven-year plan to change regimes in five Middle East states from Iraq to Iran). This information was previously voiced by General Wesley Clark, the former commander in chief of NATO forces in Europe. But their first attempt (in Iraq) was unsuccessful: The Americans got stuck there for a long time, and were forced to abandon the plans for regimes change via military means. Speaking objectively, it was at that moment, when the 'sunset' of US hegemony began.
"Now the United States, has essentially lost its position as the sole superpower: China has pretensions to be the [world] leader, Russia has restored its military and political potential, an entire series of regional powers (Turkey, Iran, India) act, as they see fit. The Americans cannot get their own way neither in Venezuela or in Syria, or even in Iraq where the parliament voted for the withdrawal of American troops from the country [Iraq]. As a result, the US share in the global economy is decreasing: in 1960 it was 44 percent, and in 2014 it dropped to 14 percent. I want to point out, that this is an objective process related to the emergence of new world centers of power (primarily in Asia), as well as to the "exhaustion" of American hegemony.
"Why did the coronavirus pandemic become the catalyst for the break-down of US leadership?
"Firstly [because], the United States, that pretends to the title of the most advanced power on the planet, has [instead] become a leader in the scope of the epidemic. Honestly speaking, this is most surprising: a state that disposes of truly immense financial resources, with well-developed medicine, has become powerless in the face of the epidemic... More than 20 thousand dead, more than half a million infected - this deals a very strong blow to the United States' image in the modern world. Instead of helping others, America itself cannot cope with this calamity. Moreover, the United States was detected intercepting of the medical masks deliveries to other countries. The last such scandal occurred with [a medical masks delivery to] Germany. (On April 9, in Bangkok, the Americans forcibly confiscated US medical masks, which were designated for German police officers in Berlin – editor’s note).
"Now China and Russia are at the forefront in assisting other countries. Compared to them, the United States appears in the role of an extremely selfish power, despite the memorandum of assistance to Italy, which, according to Trump, should confirm the United States' leading role in the fight against the coronavirus. For example, it does not abandon its “sanctions policy”, despite the calls of the UN Secretary General. First of all, this concerns Iran that is in need of urgent help during the pandemic. The world leader cannot behave so immorally. At the same time, Secretary of State Pompeo says that the United States is ready to assume a “leading role” in the fight against the virus! But where is the confirmation? Where are the attempts to abandon restrictions and to combine efforts on the basis of a unified international medical center? Where are the American doctors helping patients in other countries? Where are the USA specialists who are disinfecting hospitals and streets in other countries?
"Do you think that America's loss of hegemony is an irreversible process?
"Yes. No matter how the United States clings to it their status, after the pandemic it will have to part with its status of number one power.
"How soon, in your opinion, will this happen?
"Such processes in world politics are not “tied” to a specific date. Power, as well as its weakening, can be accumulated over a long period. In recent years alone, several processes have negatively affected the United States' image. The introduction of sanctions against Russia, which over the past six years have not produced the results expected by the Americans is among them. I believe that the key changes associated with the fall of US hegemony will occur over the next ten years.
"In this connection, how will the world order change?
"The China-Russia-USA triangle will come to the fore. At the same time, Europe is now very disappointed with American policy. I’m talking about the NATO countries – the closest US allies, the countries to whom the United States should have hastened to provide aid during the pandemic. But this never happened. This factor will have an impact on Washington’s interaction with the Europeans.
"And what will these changes bring for Russia?
"Of course, this will create new opportunities. I believe that in the next decade, Russia's influence and role will increase significantly."