A recent informal discussion among several academics and civic leaders outside of the United States trying to understand and analyze emerging trends in light of emerging crises touched on a very disturbing geopolitical possibility, a probability according to some but mere speculation according to others, a healthy split in opinion. The possibility discussed was that the recent series of Korean crises were instigated by the United States as a means of derailing Sino-Russian advances towards the creation of a Eurasia-centric economic market including new transportation paradigms but also a dollar-free alternative international financial structure.
The most sanguine among our very small group postulated that a nuclear war in the Korean peninsula might well be the most effective way for the United States to derail the Sino-Russian efforts permitting the continuation of United States economic hegemony and that United States policies seemed designed to goad the North Koreans into actions that would provide cover, if not justification, for such a conflict, even if it would leave the Koreas and Japan in ruins (but might have minimal direct consequences for the United States). Such belief was premised on successful creative public relations efforts by the tame “Western” mainstream media. The “wild card” would be the reaction of European governments and financial interests, the real battleground. They might, in fact, well wind up being the overall winners with the United States, Russia and China the losers in a war of unintended consequences.
Something to seriously consider, especially something the South Koreans and Japanese might want to focus on. The logic of the arguments was disturbing because they seemed well premised, factually supported and thought out, free of emotional distractions given that the discussion participants were few and most had no ties at all to either the United States, Russia or China (most being Latin Americans). I, being a dual United States – Colombian citizen with all of my children living and working in the United States and with the United States as my principal source of income found myself conflicted and disturbed, seeing tides of history working against me and those I most love but being objective enough and well enough educated in history, politics, economics and international relations to catch a whiff of a very unpleasant scent.
It certainly seems realistic to assume, given historical as well as current events, that the United States is ruled by a tiny oligarchy through Deep State mechanisms including the military industrial complex (reliant on perpetual war for its profits), a politically subservient intelligence community dedicated not to discovering truths but to justifying convenient political decisions, two wholly-owned major political parties, and, a propaganda-entertainment complex that has displaced real journalism (the mainstream media). It also seems obvious that the tiny ruling minority is totally self-centered and ruthless in the risks it is willing to assume to maintain its monopoly on power yet cunning enough to understand that, just as was the case during the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire, the forms of democratic governance and liberty have to be maintained while the substance is ignored.
Not a great place for We the People to find ourselves in nor reflective of very positive prospects for our survival as a species. However, it may be that due to our diversion of the country’s economic capacity from the common welfare to perpetual warfare we find ourselves painted into a corner with no positive options. If Sino-Russian led initiatives for a new international economic order, free of reliance on the United States dollar, are successful, the United States would be plunged into an economic depression from which it would not recover as a world power; a sudden transition all too similar to that imposed by the United Kingdom and then the United States on the Spanish empire and by the World War I entente powers on the Ottoman Empire. Thus, for now, United States economic hegemony requires ruthless and continuous military belligerency and threats which nonetheless drain the country’s economic capacity but impede Sino-Russian efforts to attain an alternative to the current United States – European Union world economic order; even if that also means continuing to take steps towards an eventual disastrous econo-political abyss.
So, … what are the chances that the speculation among our small, albeit very well educated, knowledgeable and experiences group is wrong, … something we all hope. That the United States has not, during multiple presidential administrations, foreseen the scenario posited and determined that North Korea, rather than posing a problem provides a viable, albeit extremely risky solution? In this dangerous hurricane season, where we already have too massive storms, Harvey and Irene (sound like a pleasant couple but they’re not), predicting geopolitical probabilities seems analogous to predicting hurricane land falls and consequences. We know the consequences will be devastating to some, we just don’t yet know who the victims will be. We also know that through our carelessness, selfishness and lack of real interest, we’ve exacerbated both sets of crises, the natural and the geopolitical, and that it might be too late to take preventive or evasive actions.
But then again, perhaps it’s not.
As a country we could seek to become a part of a multipolar economic world order among equals, with the mutual respect alluded to but never realized (or realizable) under the Charter of the United Nations. We could take a very positive step towards that by eliminating the oligarchic Security Council. We could also reform our anachronistic domestic political institutions and traditions to implement real participatory government focused on attainment of the common welfare through equity, equality and justice.
And perhaps, … just maybe, … pigs can be taught to fly (or at least silk purses might be made out of sow’s ears).
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen). Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.