America is contracting, pressure is growing

МОСКВА, 09 декабря 2021, Институт РУССТРАТ.

If the thesis is true that all empires experience periods of expansion and contraction, then all the symptoms of the contraction of the US empire are visible. These are all indirect signs, but their quantity turns into quality, and for some of them conclusions can be made quite reliable. Here are just three signs:

1. Despite all the pressure from the United States, Iran has come close to enriching uranium to the level beyond which the possession of nuclear weapons begins. Iran is on the verge of joining the club of nuclear powers.

2. Despite all the US’ pressure, China has come close to integrating Taiwan. This means the collapse of the unipolar world under the auspices of the United States, and they can neither stop nor reverse this process of China’s expansion.

3. Despite all the pressure from the United States, Russia got back Crimea after the collapse of the USSR, deepens integration into the EAEU, and builds a Union state with Belarus, albeit slowly. And here the United States cannot prevent the ongoing expansion of Russia.

That is, the sphere in which the United States can seek, if not expansion, then at least preservation of its dominance is narrowing. And this entails far-reaching and long processes of redistribution of the world balance of power. In response to this, the conflict within the political elites of the United States is intensifying, which generates new bursts of resource flow from the United States to other countries, both vassals and rivals.

Thus, the Iran deal has split the US establishment so much that there is a threat of reducing influence on Israel, Saudi Arabia and the EU. Biden’s low and falling approval rating raises the threat of Trump’s return, whose representatives have already stated that they will immediately cancel the nuclear deal with Iran if they come to power. The EU is obviously against this, so there will be a new round of the EU’s distancing from the United States. It will be accompanied by a change in the balance of forces in the EU, where anti-American, «nationalist», as they say in the United States, forces will strengthen.

Israel will cooperate more closely with Saudi Arabia in the field of weapons against Iran. And there will be less room for the United States here, since contact will take place over their heads. The US’ sphere is also narrowing. It will retain its influence, but it is clearly becoming less.

Everything the US loses is found by China, Russia and Iran. This axis provokes the EU to fluctuate, which the US aims to prevent by increasing pressure on the EU. This will cause a backlash of anti-Americanism, which will again reduce the scope for the United States to achieve its goals without compromising its resource of force.

The fact that each new US administration starts with a promise to cancel all the decisions of the previous administration turns the relations of the vassals with the US into a nightmare. Iran gets the opportunity to put pressure on the United States, demanding guarantees for the preservation of the deal. Biden cannot give such guarantees. This will allow Iran to delay time and get closer to the goal.

The United States is demonstrating impotence, which will immediately result in the activation of all claimants for the American inheritance. The weakening lion is still alive, but its prey is already shared by other members of the pride. The EU, China, India, Iran, Russia, Great Britain, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Korea, which gets a chance to unite without the participation of the United States, Japan, which in this case will come out from under the American umbrella and return to its own policy in the region — this is an incomplete list of applicants for the status of centres of power. The US will have to fight to preserve every shred of its influence.

The whole tragedy for the United States is that they cannot stop any of the three processes listed above. They will continue to develop and will eat the dominance of the United States, taking a bite out of it. This is a strategy of small steps, when there is no reason for the United States to react with all its might, and the quiet drift is imperceptible and therefore constant. After a while, it turns out that the frog is cooked.

In the USA, they are well aware of this and are frantically trying to prevent it. The measures that are not taken are important here, they can be better or worse. This convulsiveness itself is important here. It wasn’t needed before. All attempts to prevent the strengthening of the opponents of the United States fail. The era of the contraction of the American empire has begun.

Firstly, it concerns the failures of political projects. After all, we have not yet named the fourth sign: failure with the DPRK. Nuclear construction is also in full swing there. North Korea, Iran — not stopping these «rogue states» for the United States means the failure of claims to hegemony. The expansion of the zone of unsuccessful projects is followed by the loss of territories.

In addition to the actions of China, Iran, the EU and Russia, the weakening of the United States is determined by such signs as the activation of Great Britain and Turkey. These vassals of the United States used to sit quietly like mice under a broom, and it never occurred to anyone that they would decide on an independent policy across the entire spectrum of the space dominated by the United States.

Now Washington is facing Ankara and London in Syria and in Transcaucasia — a zone where the United States did not give anyone sanctions for independence. Its own game in Transcaucasia allows Turkey to build its alliances with Russia, China and Iran, and the UK enters this game on Turkey’s shoulders.

France managed to put it in the framework by thwarting its deal with Australia on submarines, but it had to be done in alliance with Great Britain. For Washington, this is painful: since the time of Roosevelt, they are least likely to act in the interests of London. The fact that with the help of the United Kingdom, the United States created the AUKUS alliance to confront China again shows that the United States no longer has enough strength to solve its own problems of deterring opponents.

Analysts focused on the fact of the union and the ambitions of France, but missed the fact that it was created thanks not to the United States, but to Great Britain, which remained behind the scenes– because Australia is its sphere of influence. Without the will of London, the union would have been impossible — it, and not Washington, is the key link here. And that says a lot.

The US economy is stuck with the problem of the debt and the dollar emission model. The crisis is intensified by the pandemic, which causes a split of the elites in the United States itself and the alienation of the EU, in which discord also begins. The United States cannot cope with the role of an arbitrator, and the role of the world gendarme rests on the nuclear club, which the United States could not prevent from growing.

The policy of sanctions slows down, but does not stop competitors, and is not applicable to vassals at all under the threat of losing influence. The US has reached the limit of what is legitimately possible. Any further pressure provokes the collapse of alliances and military actions, where a US victory is not obvious, and where possible, it will be pyrrhic, that is, equal to defeat. After all, even the United States did not save Afghanistan. And this is the fifth sign of the transition of their empire into a state of contraction.

In fact, Trump realised this even before he came to power and wanted to focus on restoring and building up power. It is no longer effective to relay what we have now: the costs are getting higher, and the results are getting lower. However, the conflict of elites in the United States did not allow (and probably will not allow further) to do what Trump intended. God does not give horns to a cheerful cow, as is said in Russia.

What is happening with the United States is objectively beneficial to all claimants for their inheritance. It is clear that this process is historically long. But its vector is already obvious. A period of contraction has begun in the history of the American empire. The world is returning to instability and multi-variance. Uncertainty is an exhausting state, but this is the reality that all political leaders will have to adapt to. The pressure in the global political system is growing, and we cannot expect a quiet century.

Институт международных политических и экономических стратегий Русстрат