In the following you will find our translation of an article from RIA Novosti with this introduction and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
Ivan Danilov mentions three “marker events” in recent US history that symbolize the loss of US hegemonic power, ie:
1) The rebellion that has seen 30 US cities burning, as well as the vandalising of businesses and public property, such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NY, and injuries to police, in response to what is perceived as systemic racism.
2) Elon Musk’s privatised space venture that takes a step away from space projects sponsored by the state enterprise NASA.
3) The US’s pull-out from the WHO, which Danilov reminds us was not followed by a similar walkout by any of its allies – leaving the US alone on the stage. Though Danilov doesn’t mention it, the irony of this is that in staging this walkout, Washington was hoping to isolate China and instead isolated itself.
In the past, Donald Trump was the owner of companies whose employees were obliged to bend to his will or else. This was evidenced in his TV show The Apprentice, where Trump became famous for the line “you’re fired.” This set the stage for his big appearance on the world stage, where he thought he could behave similarly with impunity. He is learning that in geopolitics, things don’t work like this. You especially can’t treat your allies the same as your enemies, because, unlike in a business, where you can hire whomever you want, in the world, you can’t just simply fire an Angela Merkel or a Hassan Rouhani. You can tweet whatever powerful statement you want to impress your audience, but the next day your opponents are still there and you are no further ahead than when you started. Except that now they are more angry than ever.
The decline of US power starts with the abuse thereof.
International isolation: China squeezed Trump out of WHO
June 1, 2020 with
World hegemony does not disappear in a day and does not turn into a pumpkin, like a fairytale carriage, in an instant. Great empires – and the United States is, of course, the great empire of our time – degrade slowly, at a rate more characteristic of a glacier’s travel than a sprint. But this movement leaves markers, ie, symbolic events that are unmistakable and which clearly indicate the trajectory along which a specific “titanic empire” sails towards its personal iceberg in the form of a historical catastrophe.
The last few days happen to have provided us with just three marker events for assessing the historical trajectory of the country, which claims to maintain the status of world hegemon. On the one hand, 30 US cities are already on fire. Police stations are on fire, there are first victims among police officers, countless shops, gas stations, and symbols such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York have been subjected to acts of vandalism of varying severity. The audience of the American segment of social networks is increasingly using the phrase "civil war," with some of the society and politicians obviously supporting the rioters, and some supporting the security forces, who are being required to use violence more actively.
On the other hand, the American media community (and its metastases operating under the guise of Russian media) rapidly celebrated the "historic launch" of Elon Musk’s missile, describing it as a triumph of private space exploration and high-tech American technology. The launch was indeed historic, but rather in the sense that a private company with state money was able to repeat what the United States calmly, routinely and serially did several decades ago. But PR technologies have really taken a big step forward.
Against the background of these events, another symbol of the degradation of American power slightly faded: Donald Trump decided to actually pull the United States out of the World Health Organization, which was a logical continuation of a long conflict with the WHO leadership in the context of the coronavirus epidemic.
The history of this confrontation is melodramatic and sometimes even comic in nature. Foreign Policy magazine reminds readers of one of the highlights of this conflict.
"Trump ordered the U.S. intelligence community to formally investigate WHO and its relationship with China amid allegations made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (who claimed that) the virus (which Pompeo calls "Wuhan") was either created or "leaked from" the fourth-level biosafety laboratory, located in that Chinese city and is equipped to work with the most dangerous pathogens. This statement, which Pompeo repeated many times, was largely refuted by the office of the director of the [US] national intelligence community, who stated that "(the community) agrees with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not artificial or genetically modified." [The author did not dare mention that both the Russian and the Chinese media have reported on the theory that the virus may have originated in the US lab of Ft. Detrick and may then have been carried by US service people to the international military games in Wuhan. Neither the Russians nor the Chinese officially refute this theory but they are soft-pedaling it to avoid potential blow-back from the US].
According to Foreign Policy, Trump has made a "scapegoat" out of WHO and "Americans will suffer" because of this.
In this case, it doesn’t matter at all whether the US president is right in his assessment of the origin of the virus and the effectiveness of WHO's actions in the context of the pandemic. What is important is this: if we consider the situation solely from the point of view of diplomacy and geopolitics, then we have a picture of Washington's incredible humiliation. Let’s call it by its proper name: official Washington was unable to “bend” an international organization that is by no means the most influential one and could not get it to support the narrative that official Washington needed to solve very important geopolitical tasks in the key “Chinese” direction. Five years ago this was an absolutely unthinkable situation. And it was impossible to imagine that the clash between the United States and WHO would not end in the surrender of the WHO leadership (with mea culpas from the WHO leadership live on CNN), and the United States leaving the organization.
Since ancient times, the army that was left standing on the battlefield after the end of the battle itself was considered the winner of the battle. There were exceptions to this principle, but they basically just confirmed the rule – but in this case, the Americans have left the (albeit diplomatic) field (taking part of the WHO funding) with them. Slamming the door is a respectable tactic, but obviously not for a country claiming global hegemony. Slamming the door alone even more so. Following the United States, American allies did not leave WHO, and the State Department is not currently creating a parallel or alternative structure that could take over some of the functions, capabilities and authority of the organization that Washington has left. This is symbolic. And this indicates that the question of which power on the planet is in a position of actual isolation is open, and an honest answer to it may turn out to be very unexpected.
The attempt (quite logical given that Trump is a businessman in his “first profession”) to take revenge on WHO functionaries by depriving the organization of American funding also shows how the current presidential administration is overestimating its economic influence and diplomatic capabilities.
The British state television company BBC points to the reaction of the EU leadership.
“The EU called on (Trump) to reconsider this decision, while the German Minister of Health called it “a disappointing blow to international health care.” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Diplomacy Director Josep Borrell pointed out: “In the face of this global threat, the time has come to expand collaboration and joint solutions. And to void actions that weaken international results. We urge the United States to reconsider its announced decision. "German Health Minister Jens Spahn called this setback ‘disappointing,’ though acknowledging that WHO is ‘in need of reform.” “The EU should take the lead and participate financially,” he said.”
Even before the United States left the organization, China indicated a desire to allocate two billion dollars for international assistance to combat the pandemic, and it is logical to assume that Beijing may well participate in financing WHO instead of Washington, if only for reasons of image and expanding its own soft power.
It is this approach that is likely to dominate the geopolitics of the future. As the American grip loosens, key elements of the "infrastructure" of international diplomatic, trade, economic, cultural and even scientific relations will be "privatized" by other countries that will find ways to use these elements to their advantage. While ordinary Americans are fascinated by the missiles flying above them and the cities burning around them, the international “struggle for the American inheritance” is gaining momentum.