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Foreign Affairs

Washington’s policy of ‘maximum pressure’ hits brick wall

US attempts to apply maximum pressure on its adversaries have hit a brick wall. Following decades of efforts to isolate and contain them militarily the US has targeted first Russia and then Iran with increasingly severe economic and diplomatic sanctions. Now it is adding China to its list of countries it considers strategic rivals.

After the end of WW2 Russia, an ally of the US during the war was quickly transformed into its arch enemy. The competition with the Soviet Union, the inheritor of the Russian Empire, was couched in ideological terms as a struggle between “democracy” and “communism.” In fact, history has shown that the contention between the two superpowers was more geopolitical than ideological.

The current Russian Federated Republic (RFR) has reversed many of the Soviet Union’s shibboleths. While the Soviet Union advocated atheism and a socialist command economy, the RFR is avowedly Orthodox and has a quasi-capitalist economic system. The USSR was a one-party state, while the RFR has a parliamentary form of government. Nonetheless, Russia is viewed by American political elites in the same fashion as the Soviets were, as a threat to US global ambitions.

Truth be told, the RFR is no such thing. It is the US that has been pressuring Russia, forcing it to take defensive measures. Historically Russia has been subject to repeated invasions from the West. From its invasion during Napoleonic Wars to the German offensive during WW1 to the Western intervention during the Russian Civil War to the Nazi invasion during WW2 and the Western attempts to isolate and contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Russia has always felt the need to protect its western flank.

Following the end of the Cold War the West continued to pressure the Russians by extending NATO to its borders. The final straw was the US staged color revolution in Ukraine which placed a dagger towards Russia’s vulnerable underbelly. The Russian annexation of Crimea was considered a matter of national survival in order to prevent the strategic city of Sevastopol falling into NATO’s hands.

It can be seen that the US campaign against Russia is purely geopolitical and in reality has nothing to do with ideology, and Russia’s response is purely defensive given its long history of attacks from the West.


The same logic applies to Iran and China. As historically large and influential powers, Iran and China serve as bulwarks against Western colonial and imperialist incursions in their respective regions. The West thought it had both China and Iran under its wing until they mounted successful revolutions in 1949 and 1978 to regain their sovereignty and independence from the West. The US ever since has been trying to destabilize both countries and reverse the verdict of history.

The current leadership in Washington has reversed attempts to assert influence by negotiations and “integration” of its geopolitical rivals into the US-dominated global economy. This has been accelerated by China’s dramatic rise as an economic, diplomatic, and military power. The power elites in Washington, and their foreign underlings, now see China as an existential threat to their continued global hegemony and they are doing all in their power to disrupt and sabotage its peaceful rise.

The imperialists in order to maintain their global dominance have no alternative other than to challenge their three major geopolitical rivals, Russia in Europe, China in East and Southeast Asia, and Iran in the Middle East. But their attempts to isolate and contain their three rivals have only led to them coming closer together.

As Western pressure against Russia and China has mounted their strategic economic, military and diplomatic ties have been greatly strengthened. Now as the campaign of maximum pressure has been extended to China impetus to consolidate the strategic alliance of China and Iran has intensified.

The triumvirate of China, Russia, and Iran, combined with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is the wave of the future. As the US, UK, and EU face increasing difficulties both at home and abroad they will be faced by a new geopolitical reality that they foolishly facilitated by their imperial hubris and arrogance.


Dennis Etler is an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs. He’s a former professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. He recorded this article for Press TV website.

 

Source: Press TV


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