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The Global Reset

The world is currently witnessing a great churn in geostrategic alliances resulting in a global realignment of security relations and partnerships

Issue 2 - 2023 By Major General Atanu K. Pattanaik (Retd)Photo(s): By, NATO
Bilateral meeting and talks between the Foreign Ministers of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia facilitated by China.

On being asked in an interview as to why and how suddenly Saudi Arabia and arch enemy Iran reached a Chinese brokered a peace deal to restore diplomatic relations after a history of bitter rivalry, Alastair Crooke, a former British diplomat simply answers, “Because America was not part of the mediation... because America was out of the equation”. That’s a profound, if disquieting, observation coming from someone in the know. The deal itself raises possibilities of a negotiated peace in the war-torn Yemen, raging since 2014 in whichover 1,50,000 people have been killed. It is estimated that another 2,27,000 have died as a result of an ongoing famine and lack of healthcare facilities due to the war and about 4.5 million displaced.

Key powers that have added fuel to the fire, instead of dousing it, are the US and its faithful ally Britain. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the preeminent think tank tracking arms sales, Saudi Arabia was the world’s largest arms importer from 2015 to 2019, the first five years of the Yemen war. Its imports of major arms increased by 130 per cent compared with the previous five-year period. Despite the wide-ranging concerns in the US and the UK about Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen, both continued to export arms to Saudi Arabia from 2015 to 2019. The US sold some $64.1 billion worth of arms in this period to Saudi Arabia and another $23 billion in advanced weaponry beginning 2020 to the United Arab Emirates which was part of the Saudi-led coalition that was involved in relentless bombing of civilians in Yemen. In essence the war in Yemen is America’s war. Yet another war!

Viewed critically, this means that the US diverted the huge surpluses generated by oil sales by the Gulf countries towards arms supplied to them by its own sprawling military industrial complex. For this to succeed, enmity had to be festered and fuelled for as long as necessary. By logical extension, peace had to be kept at bay.

The BRICS grouping is already working on a BRICS currency which can act as an alternate to the US dollar and once the oil giants like Saudi Arabia join this bandwagon, it’s curtains for the US dollar

Reports suggest that Saudi Arabia is also in talks with Syria to reopen its embassy in the war-torn nation for the first time in a decade. One may infer that Russia, which saved the Assad regime from the swirl of the US inspired Arab Spring in 2011 has managed to mediate and bring some calm and normalcy to the Middle-East as warring Gulf and Arab nations reopen embassies and take a shot at peace. This development is to be seen in the context of Saudi Arabia slowly veering off the American security umbrella to take a leadership role in the region. This security arrangement going back to 1973 is the cornerstone of the petrodollar dominance that muscles the US hegemony and therefore a reset will surely lead to a swift weakening of the petrodollar as oil producers like Saudi, Iran and Russia use alternate currencies and payment channels outside the SWIFT for oil trade. The BRICS grouping is already working on a BRICS currency which can act as an alternate to the US dollar and once the oil giants like Saudi Arabia join this bandwagon, it’s curtains for the US dollar.

The swift turn of events that signal a cascading change of the worldview and therefore the beginning of a global reset has been simmering since the 2008 financial crisis but gained fresh oxygen once the US decided to seize the over $600 billion Russian money held in various west controlled central banks after Russia invaded Ukraine. The reliability of holding onto US treasury debt which constitutes about 60 per cent of the global forex reserves became questionable. Even for the Europeans who have been ceaselessly reminded about US generosity through the big rescue act of the Marshall Plan after WW II, this mindless act was a shocker.

Finland membership to NATO was confirmed in record time due to the prevailing security situation in Eastern Europe.

As per columnist and researcher Thomas Fazi, in spite of the largesse and generosity usually associated with the European Recovery Program, as the Marshall Plan was officially called, between 1948 and 1951 the funds actually only amounted to about 3 per cent of the combined GDP of the recipient countries. This accounted for a direct increase in GDP growth of less than 0.5 per cent. Taken as a whole, then, the Marshall Plan appears to embody a form of “benevolent imperialism”, through which the US gained control over Western Europe through NATO and cemented its position as a global superpower.

Driving a wedge between Europe (and Germany in particular as the blowing up of the Nord Stream pipeline vindicates) and Russia, and preventing the rise of a Eurasian geopolitical reality, has always been an American geopolitical imperative. The EU nations have begun to recalibrate.

An indicator of how the reset is shaping up is indicated by the fact that just as Finland was admitted to the NATO in a symbolic flag hoisting at its Brussels HQ, its staunch proponent Prime Minister Sanna Marin lost the elections. Does it indicate that leaders have been taking decisions about supporting Ukraine’s war efforts and sending tanks and aircraft, ignoring the sentiments of its citizens and their interests? It would appear so.

Driving a wedge between Europe and Russia, and preventing the rise of a Eurasian geopolitical reality, has always been an American geopolitical imperative

Other events have contributed to the transformation underway. One is the response to COVID pandemic in 2020. Even though rich nations represent just 14 per cent of the world’s population, they bought up 53 per cent of the most promising vaccines by December 2020, leaving the global South struggling. On the other hand, Russia and China chipped in, in a major way, though attempts were made by Western Pharma lobby to discredit their efficacy. India supplied billions of doses of vaccines to its neighbouring countries as well to big nations like Brazil and South Arica.

Climate change is another sphere where there is unbridgeable divide as the rich nations refuse to pick up the tab of a minimum $100 billion annual promised in 2013 to compensate the poor nations and help in combating adverse climate impact largely contributed by the energy guzzling industrial west. India has taken a lead with International Solar Alliance.

A congruence of events and the imperious attitude of the west have stirred the global geopolitical landscape. The coming days will tell us if this ‘Samudra Manthan’ delivers a more sustainable, egalitarian, peaceful and progressive multipolar world.