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Editorial – Horizon scanning for national and international security – What appears as most amazing this week is a perception of an accelerating American decline on the world stage. A few months ago, we warned that changes related to the dollar supremacy were in the making, even if they would, most probably, need a relatively long time before to be fully actualized. The trend has not changed but is, on the contrary, most likely to be strengthening (see “The BRICs Are Morphing Into An Anti-Dollar Alliance“, Zerohedge). What is also interestingly pointed out in the article is the capacity of the current American system to create enemies when none existed before or to the least to favour their opponents. For example, by fining the French bank Paribas – as well as other European banks – for not abiding to U.S. American foreign policy (e.g. Titcomb, “BNP Paribas fine could be followed by other banks“, The Telegraph, 1 July 2014), the U.S. system has stressed the needs and advantages for Europeans to see the end of the US Dollar supremacy, thus potentially throwing those who were meant to be their allies in the arms of their opponents.
American commentators are quite numerous in underlining their country’s foreign policy mistakes, from Ukraine (see “America’s Ukraine-Policy Disaster“, with as even worse potential perspective “Brzezinski: The West Should Arm Ukraine“) to Iraq (“Iraq: Policy failure, not intelligence failure“), where, in both cases, U.S. foreign policy contributed to unbalance fragile equilibria, creating opponents where previously only competitors existed (e.g. Russia), and the conditions for the rise of enemies where none existed (e.g. ISIS or rather now IS and a Caliphate that threatens Jihad on Rome, see “Rome will be conquered next, says leader of ‘Islamic State’“). Harsh criticism of an administration is not something new, especially as the campaign for the new Presidential election is coming, but the accumulation of negative commentaries – and more importantly events – is striking. In the meanwhile, despite the “Pivot to Asia”, things very much seem to evolve in the Far East without the U.S., with tensions between Japan and China not abating and Russia positioning itself as the new trusted neutral power (see the three related articles in the Weekly).
Are we only faced with a perception of a U.S. decline or is it real? It is crucial to monitor it as such changes in the international system are unbalancing. The rising tensions we are seeing worldwide may actually be another signal of the change in the relative power position of players.
Assuming the decline is real, why is it happening and can it be reversed? If we recall last week’s editorial focusing upon Gilman’s theory of a twin insurgency (plutocratic above and criminal below), an hypothesis may be that the U.S. is currently paying this twin insurgency, with interesting implications for the way to reverse the potential trend. Other scenarios, investigating other factors, should of course be created.
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Featured image: Statue Silhouetted By Setting Sun as Secretary Kerry Returns to Embassy Baghdad – A statue is silhouetted by the setting sun as the motorcade carrying U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry makes its way back to Embassy Baghdad at the conclusion of a series of meetings in Iraq with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other national leaders on June 23, 2014. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]