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How ice cream reshaped geopolitics

The increasing rhetoric of American exceptionalism is pitting the US into a new confrontation with the rising powers of Russia and China, which together are forging a strategic partnership to contain the US. That will lead to increasing tension in international relations and possibly a new Cold War.

As the election day approaches, Hillary Clinton brings up anti-Russian narratives and defends US’ standing as the sole leader of the democratic world. Meanwhile, Moscow and Beijing strengthen a relationship that is set to shift the geopolitical balance.

From what it seemed like a throwback to the Reagan Administration, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton deemed Russia responsible for the release of 20,000 leaked DNC emails – again.

This time, speaking at an American Legion convention in Cincinnati, Clinton emphasised her right-wing views on foreign policy.  She began by saying

“Today I want you to know a little bit about how I see the world and America’s place in it”.

Her “core belief”, as she defines it, is American exceptionalism: the complete disregard of international law is justified when done in the name of American values – and interests.
The “indispensable nation” needs a leader that recognises the importance of NATO and the “threats” NATO faces, namely Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

She then brought up the DNC hack scandal. Well, not exactly. She only accused Russia of being responsible. Because who cares about rigged primaries when you can divert the attention to an evergreen villain?

You got it right: evil Vladimir Putin was the mastermind behind this attempt to “disrupt elections”.

What is worse is that the mainstream media completely follows this line: virtually every major outlet keeps its focus on who is behind the hack (where journalists can unravel their fantasies about Russia) rather than the contents of it.

Where is Trump in all of this? He seems to be the only one who understands that Russia, a strong independent nation, cannot tolerate the concept of US exceptionalism.

Of course Clinton also gets that, but she prefers to get closer to confrontation than anyone else. The former Secretary of State called on both parties to unify against external threats and she vowed to respond with military force to cyber attacks – referring to the so-called “Russian” hack into the DNC servers.

The cult of American exceptionalism is deeply rooted in US foreign policy (especially following the fall of the USSR) and there is nothing surprising or mysterious about Hillary Clinton’s support for it. What is much more concerning is that she takes pride in it and believes “it should be above politics”. That is, no matter whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, if you dare to disagree with American hegemonic aims you are immediately branded as unpatriotic and a foreign agent – just as has now happened with Trump, and just as happened back in the 1950s.

Are we witnessing the first signs of a return of a witch-hunt?

On the other side of the world, Russia and China are developing a special relationship. The Chinese reception of the Russian delegation to the G20 in Hangzhou proves that: Vladimir Putin was the guest of honour, and his very friendly meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping got off to a light note when Putin gifted the Chinese leader some Russian ice cream.

This is not just a case of burgeoning economic ties, where project worth billions of dollars are being signed.  Rather it is the development of a full-spectrum relationship, one where Russia and China are now closer than ever.  They can now boast a tight military cooperation (as shown by their joint exercises in the South China Sea) and also an increasingly close political relationship.

Albeit a bit too softly, Russia and China are also beginning to show support for each other’s geopolitical interests: for example the symbolic support by China for the Syrian government (providing medical training) and Moscow’s refusal to recognise the judgment of the Hague tribunal in the South China Sea disputes.

Should this relationship continue to grow and evolve – which it almost certainly will since it is in the mutual interest of both countries – the Russian – Chinese partnership will increasingly shape the future geopolitical balance.  However as this powerful tandem rises, so there is a return to the rhetoric of the past.

Whilst the prospect of a multipolar world appeals to some, others do not share this view, and will fight to defend the status quo.  The result is that international relations are becoming tenser.

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