With even the policy wonks of the U.S. empire admitting that their collective reputation and influence on “the rest of the world” are in tatters, it’s time for a new world order geography quiz. Multipolarity, here we come!
Can you name the outlined countries on these maps? Answers are at the end with embedded links to recent news of their moves toward independence from U.S. control (or, in one case, flouting public opinion to make a “defense” agreement with the empire).
Map A – recently withdrew from US-led ‘Combined Maritime Forces’ in the Persian Gulf
Map B – U.S. officials claim it is about to be brought under the hegemon’s “nuclear umbrella”
Map C – NATO is on the ground stoking sectarian violence here and appears to be preparing to bomb this nation — again
Map D – university students nationwide staged protests demanding their prime minister not sign a “Defense Cooperation Agreement” with the U.S. before public review occurred (he signed it anyway)
Map E – African National Congress General Secretary Fikile Mbalula hails from this nation; he recently scolded a BBC reporter about British war crimes when criticized for not sanctioning Russia as demanded by the U.S.
Map F – nation with a long coastline on the eponymous Persian Gulf, it recently achieved rapprochement with rival Saudi Arabia in an agreement brokered by China
Map G – this nation’s president sent a letter to President Biden this month complaining that, “the U.S. government, specifically through USAID, has for some time been financing organisations openly against the legal and legitimate government I represent”
Map H – a war-torn nation that recently rejoined the Arab League after a long absence
Map I – agreed with visiting Iranian President to no longer use the U.S. dollar for trade between the two nations
(And in case you missed my first two geography quizzes, you can find them here and here.)
I’m going to make reference to a racist text that deeply influenced my youthful thinking about societies and how they die. Gone With the Wind was around my house and I probably read it when I was 10 or so, seeing the movie only years later. Did I notice that the Black characters only existed to be servants to the white protagonists, for instance, protecting them from the “bad” i.e. not servile Black people? No, I did not. Nowadays, it would be impossible not to notice that aspect of this story published in the 1930’s.
My takeaway from GWTW was something different: the deep denial of citizens of an empire in decline. Confederate adherence to their cause led to blindness and hubris; they still believed they were winning long after they were sure to lose. And the failure to adapt meant literal starvation for many. I’m sure I discussed the book with my parents and they no doubt encouraged me to see the heroine as someone who was able to look reality in the face, adapt, and survive. My mother called the people who failed to adapt dinosaurs.
Possibly my parents sensed that they were preparing me for a future they could but dimly imagine. Which brings us to today.
I can think of no more iconic artifact of the rise of Asia and the fall of the U.S. and Europe as world influencers than this brief exchange between Singaporean Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, and Richard Hudson, a congressman from North Carolina.
Congressman Hudson and the other members of the subcommittee contemplating a ban on TikTok clearly think they are playing hardball with China. Here’s another gem making the rounds under the title, “I’m Singaporean.”
Youthful comics have had a field day making fun of the hearing, while tech commentators have written about how a Congress concerned with egregious data mining should be focusing on all social media platforms, and maybe even on passing laws to protect data privacy such as other countries have.
Meanwhile, and irrespective of this nonsense, China brokered the resumption of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia and possibly an end to proxy war in Syria. China also proposed a peace plan to end the proxy war in Ukraine.
China announced it will launch 13,000 low earth orbit satellites this summer to reserve space in that critical communications field. (Satellites are used by U.S./NATO to target Russian-ethic regions in eastern Ukraine and Russian military forces.)
China, Russia, and India are the C, R, and I in BRICS, the economic powerhouse that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Algeria, Argentina, Mexico, and Nigeria now want to join. Negotiations to use a currency other than the dollar to settle energy purchases between nations are well underway, with some saying it will occur as soon as August.
The United Nations Security Council, never quite the independent international body it was claimed to be when given a home in New York City, held a vote on Russia’s resolution to investigate the Nord Stream bombing. The UN’s press department reported:
By a vote of 3 in favour (Brazil, China, Russian Federation) to none against, with 12 abstentions, the Council rejected the draft resolution, owing to a lack of sufficient votes in favour.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning questioned on Tuesday why the US is hesitant about investigating an incident that seriously threatens international peace and security, when it is so enthusiastic about conducting so-called investigations on developing countries.
“It is playing double standards. What is the US afraid of? We expect early progress from relevant investigations so that the world knows what truly happened to hold those responsible accountable,” she said at a news conference in Beijing.
The U.S. empire is in for a rude awakening but it seems to be dreaming of its glory days as it barrels full speed ahead toward a world war it cannot win. That’s why I fear that the dinosaurs will unleash their nuclear weapons when they finally realize their days are numbered.