Mackinders Nightmare

Wow! Take a week off from blogging and all hell breaks loose.

First there was the surprise agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. partner, and Iran, a longtime enemy, had negotiated a normalization agreement on their own to restore diplomatic ties. The final meeting to conclude the agreement took place in the Chinese capital of Beijing. The news was followed by the Saudi finance minister who said Saudi Arabia could start investing in Iran “very quickly.”

Then there was Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin cementing a “new era” in strategic partnership between China and Russia. It’s far from coincidental that Xi’s trip to Moscow exactly coincides with the 20th anniversary of American ‘Shock and Awe’ and the illegal invasion, occupation, and destruction of Iraq.

Of course these developments went over like lead balloons in Washington. Because, after all, the US is the world leader and how dare those Russian and Chinese presume to challenge the dominant hegemon. Besides, there’s appearances to maintain. Ever since it pushed aside colonial Britain and France, the United States has prided itself on being the dominant outside power in the Middle East. That lofty image was shaken this past week by the surprising developments.

Meanwhile, it’s a sad state of affairs when the western political/media class is so bereft of new ideas that they’ve resurrected the phrase “Axis of Evil” from the invasion of Iraq propaganda. On Tuesday former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told Fox News that Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are “two dictators that have said they are unlimited partners,” asserting that “This is the new Axis of Evil, with Iran being their junior partner.”

I swear to God, the discourse is so juvenile that it feels like we entered some sort of time warp between South Park and a Mike Meyers movie–Dr. Evil and America-Fuck-Yeah.

It’s getting more than a little disorienting.

The deal reached between Iran and Saudi Arabia especially has produced neocon angst because of the unspoken undercurrent of Israeli interests. Mark Dubowitz of the neocon Foundation for the Defence of Democracies think-tank whined “[It is] a lose, lose, lose for American interests. It demonstrates that the Saudis don’t trust Washington to have their back, that Iran sees an opportunity to peel away American allies to end its international isolation, and it establishes China as the majordomo of Middle Eastern power politics”. 

Translated: lose, lose, lose for Israeli interests. The dirty little secret is that US foreign policies in the Middle East favor Israel even to the detriment of America. From the time of the 9/11 attack, neoconservatives, of primarily (though not exclusively) Jewish ethnicity and right-wing Zionist persuasion, have tried to make use of 9/11 to foment a broad war against Islamic terrorism, the targets of which would coincide with the enemies of Israel.

The neocons need to look in the mirror. In their blind obsession to advance Israeli interests they’ve managed to not only fuck the US but to fuck Israel too, all while coming off as intellectual gangsters. For decades the US has eschewed diplomacy in lieu of threats and extreme violence. “You’re either with us or against us”, encapsulated this sentiment as did the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, destruction of Libya and Syria, and endless drone strikes.

What’s priceless is that the new multipolar alliance between Russia, Iran and China is based on diplomacy. The Saudi-Iran rapprochement was actually jump-started by Russia in Baghdad and Oman: it was these negotiations that led to the signing of the deal in Beijing. Moscow is also coordinating the Syria-Turkey rapprochement discussions.

US empire managers have long planned the acquisition of post-Soviet Russia as an imperial lackey state which could be weaponized against China, but instead the exact opposite happened. Russia, China, Iran and other unabsorbed governments have all been driven closer and closer together by the hostility of the United States toward all of them, and now they are overcoming some significant differences to rapidly move into increasingly intimate strategic partnerships to protect their national sovereignty from a globe-spanning empire which demands total submission from every government on earth.

Halford Mackinder must be rolling over in his grave.

Update: Ian Welsh nails it. “The level of incompetence and stupidity required to turn Russia into China’s firm ally is awe-inspiring, and I truly do feel awe.”

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