Donald Trump’s first two weeks in office as President of the United States have been characterized by diplomatic and geopolitical confusion as the “new boss” sets forth to completely upend the global order.
Most foreign leaders don’t understand Trump, nor the New Populism (American variant) that he represents, and they seem to have totally underestimated his capabilities and those of his staff.
Many foreign dignitaries and conventional analysts presumed that he’d be like “any other American politician” – lots of talk and no action – but those who understand what Trump and his team are really about knew better than to fall for such pre-inaugural fantasies.
The reality, as the world has evidently realized by now, is that the impact of President Trump on the global system has been akin to an earthquake – or Trumpquake, as some are calling it – and this has played out across both the diplomatic and geopolitical spheres, albeit for different reasons and to different ends.
To talk about the first one, it’s already been highly publicized how Trump withdrew from the TPP, has promised to renegotiate NAFTA, and wants to reorganize NATO – all three of which have drawn massive criticism from the ruling Western elite whom “Trump’s Lenin” – Stephen Bannon – wants to essentially overthrow anyhow.
Moreover, his latest phone calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia were fraught with controversy. Trump threatened a limited military incursion against America’s southern neighbor – in what his administration insists was a “lighthearted” remark – if it doesn’t crack down on “bad hombres” (drug dealers and the like) and even allegedly hung up on the Prime Minister “Down Under” because he kept insisting that the US honor a “refugee”/illegal immigrant deal that Obama agreed to last year.
On the geopolitical front, Trump’s already ruffled quite a few feathers with Iran and China, though this was entirely predictable and was earlier forecast in an immediate post-election article I wrote entitled “Here’s What Trump’s Foreign Policy Will Look Like”.
It was also built upon in a subsequent radio analysis for Context Countdown focusing on the three most important themes which will come to define 2017.
These are the intended geopolitical disruptions which Trump and his team have already started to carry out, but the other part of the Geopolitical Trumpquakes are those disturbances which aren’t necessarily the result of the new President’s policies, but are time bombs ‘gifted’ to him by his predecessor’s “deep state” (permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies) and tasked with possibly going off in order to offset the President’s hinted-at plans for a New Détente with Russia in the New Cold War.
To explain, the identity-diverse swath of Europe between the Baltic and Black Seas which Polish imperialist leader Jozef Pilsudski referred to as the “Intermarium” is on the verge of exploding into a series of semi-connected conflicts which could sabotage the Russian-American rapprochement.
I have written extensively about the various Hybrid War scenarios which could break out in the Balkans in a related series for Oriental Review, and regretfully, many of them seem to be presently unfolding in the region.
Albanians in the NATO-occupied Serbian Province of Kosovo have brought the region to the brink of a continuation conflict, and the unresolved political crisis in the Republic of Macedonia is giving space for yet another attempt at overthrowing the government, be it through a Color Revolution, parliamentary maneuvering, and/or an Albanian terrorist insurgency.
Elsewhere in the Balkans, Bosnia remains continuously only edge as Sarajevo works with its Western patrons to infringe on Republika Srpska’s constitutional sovereignty and trigger its own type of continuation war, perhaps together with Croatia and NATO.
These three interlinked conflict scenarios are dangerously veering towards the realm of imminent possibility, and they’re all conditioned on stopping Russia’s and China’s planned Balkan megaprojects through the region, which are the Balkan Stream gas pipeline and the Balkan Silk Road high-speed railway, respectively.
The end game in this region appears to be the “Balkanization” of the Balkans and its division into a collection of ethno-centric states along the lines of the proposal most recently lobbied for by former British diplomat Timothy Less, which basically formalizes “Greater Albania” at Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro’s expense, and dissolves the frail federation of Bosnia along the lines of its three constitutional constituents. Suffice to say, it’s unlikely that this would ever happen without a major war.
Looking past the former Yugoslavia, neighboring Romania is in the throes what is undoubtedly a Color Revolution, albeit one which has been unleashed for as-yet uncertain geopolitical motivations.
One of the possibilities could be to trigger a chain reaction of destabilization that would travel northwards to Moldova and contribute to the rekindling of the Transnistria conflict, which could very easily lead to the involvement of the Russian troops stationed there and instantly prompt fears of a larger war.
Beyond the Balkans, Kiev has restarted its aggression against Donbass in order to both distract Russia from its diplomatic initiatives in the Mideast and also to provoke it to conventionally intervene and thus undermine the prospects that the US will reach a new form of détente with it in the near future.
As all of this is happening, Belarus appears to have moved to the brink of ‘defecting’ from Russia and pivoting towards the West, which would truly represent a decisive military-strategic setback for Moscow if it fully materializes.
Towards A Literally “New” World Order
The Diplomatic and Geopolitical Trumpquakes – both those that are self-inflicted by Trump and the ones which are time bombs set by Obama-Clinton’s “deep state” – are having the cumulative effect of totally disrupting the two competing world orders and leading to unprecedented volatility in global affairs.
Obama and his post-Cold War forerunners’ intentions were always to secure the US’ unipolar hegemony across the world, while the mid-2000s saw the rise of the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership and their joint efforts to construct a Multipolar World Order to oppose the New World Order of unipolarity first unveiled by Bush Sr..
Trump is also enthralled with unipolarity and American Exceptionalism, except his campaign remarks indicated that he recognized the limits of the US’ conventional force projection capabilities and hinted that he would help America adapt to the changing international global conditions of multipolarity through a forthcoming New Détente with Russia which could thus facilitate more concrete “containment” measures against Iran and China.
Trump’s “Third Way” – promoting unipolar goals within an increasingly multipolar world – is at odds with the ‘legacy’ ideology of the US’ “deep state”, which sees any sort of pragmatism with Russia, no matter what its ultimate grand strategic ends may be, as absolutely anathema and something which must be stopped at all costs.
Trump and his team are of course working around the clock and behind the scenes to either co-opt, professionally neutralize, or replace hostile “deep state” elements, though this is a far-reaching and ambitious task which will take years to fully accomplish. Having said that, some of the antagonistic forces which Trump now presides over are intent on sabotaging any realistic prospect that he could ever reach a New Détente with President Putin, which explains the “sudden” and near-synchronous outbreak of so many preplanned and predictable crises.
Under the “expected” geopolitical conditions of what they presumed would be a Clinton Presidency by this point, these geopolitical time bombs may not have been activated all at once and could have been strategically unleashed on a case-by-case need depending on the specific circumstances.
In the state of panic which the hostile elements of the “deep state” presently find themselves, however, they’ve felt compelled to activate all of these crises-on-demand throughout the “Intermarium” in order to sabotage the New Détente.
They may not go as far as throwing all of their weight behind the eruption of several full-fledged simultaneous wars, but the strategy of tension which they’ve masterfully deployed might be enough to sharply revive the fading distrust between both sides and preclude any possibility of their hoped-for rapprochement, especially if armed hostilities commence in the Balkans and Russia and the US predictably find themselves backing opposite sides.
The two Great Powers might even have a rapid falling out simply through the natural disagreements that they’ll have with one another in diplomatically resolving these crises the longer that they play out, unless, of course, my previously elaborated “worst-case scenario” enters into force whereby Moscow is engages in a series of concessions out of desperation to clinch a New Détente.
There’s no escaping the fact that a series of Global Trumpquakes have rocked the globe and are threatening to completely upend both the preexisting (unipolar) and planned (multipolar) world orders through the emergence of Trump-Bannon’s “Third Way”.
The American President has proudly initiated a spree of Diplomatic Trumpquakes in seeking to shake up the order of business within the US’ sphere of influence with the hope of making it much more efficient and in line with his “America First” ideology.
This is admittedly fraught with a bunch of risk, but the US’ chief decision maker and his closest advisors seem to have calculated that it’s better to proactively seize the moment in radically reforming the system than to have its broken leadership structure eventually cave in underneath them just like the Soviets’ did at the end of the Old Cold War (and likely brought about by similar forthcoming foreign pressures).
On the other hand, the Geopolitical Trumpquakes fall into two categories – those which are self-inflicted by Trump himself and the ones which are “deep state” sabotage.
The first relate exclusively to Asia and are aimed at pushing back against the all-around multipolar progress of China and Iran, striving to take advantage of Trump’s envisioned New Détente with Russia in Europe (ergo why there’s no self-inflicted Trumpquake in this part of Eurasia) in order to split the Resistance Bloc along the lines of how Nixon’s “Opening To China” in the 1970s divided the communist one.
As for the second category of Geopolitical Trumpquakes, these are caused by adversarial elements within the American “deep state” in order to sabotage their President’s outreaches to Russia by sparking a slew of simultaneous crises in order to keep them apart.
What all of these Trumpquakes have in common, however, is that they’re major shocks to both the existing and evolving world orders, and collectively represent the manifestation of global chaos.
It was inevitable that far-reaching instability would come to define the transition from unipolarity to multipolarity, and such a trend was obviously visible long before Donald Trump ever stepped onto the American political scene, but few could have predicted that it would be exacerbated by the US dramatically “reforming” its Western sphere of influence and simultaneously being undermined abroad by its own “deep state” elements because of this.
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