Global Policy Forum

The Rise of Competitors



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Although US global predominance remains unrivalled at the beginning of the new millennium, countries such as China, India and Russia could become geopolitical competitors in the coming decades. All three enjoy rapidly growing economies and they use their increasing economic clout to modernize their military forces. In particular the Chinese People's Liberation Army develops "pockets of excellence" to gain defensive capacities against US forces. Some African and South-American countries, such as Venezuela, turn away from Washington and towards Beijing. In the economic realm, the European Union rivals the US with the creation of the euro, which threatens the status of the US dollar as the world's major reserve currency. Iran and Russia consider shifting their oil trading to the euro, which could contribute to a Fall of the US dollar.


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Will Asia Save Global Capitalism? (September 26, 2011)

More than a decade ago, the BRIC countries were predicted to make the world’s economy’s top ten, but not until 2040. Ten years have past and China already holds spot number two, Brazil is number seven, India ten and Russia is closing in. Although the US economy is still the number one, its moment as the sole superpower was only “15 minutes of fame”. The US is a giant power, economically and politically paralyzed, and seems incapable of finding an exit strategy. (Common Dreams)

China Buys Gold, Challenges US Dollar (September 13, 2011)

According to recently released WikiLeaks cables, China is moving towards replacing massive foreign holdings from US dollars into gold. In addition, the market for the yuan is expanding, with European business officials stating recently that China will make the yuan fully convertible for trading on international markets by 2015. This shift towards buying gold, coupled with a convertible yuan, would undermine the US dollar’s current position as the dominant international reserve currency. As a key reserve currency, the US has been given a “big advantage,” that would be lost if gold, yuan or a combination of the two were to replace it. (Al Jazeera)

America and the Rise of Middle Powers (January 11, 2011)

The rise of "middle powers" is posing a significant challenge to the US hegemony in world politics. Both Iran and Turkey have proved in 2010 that they are ready to assert themselves as serious regional powers, much to the dismay of the US, which is unwilling to forge alliances with these emerging political actors. This article highlights how the US needs to adopt a more flexible attitude towards "managing" the Middle East and engage with regional powers. (Guardian)


The U.S., Kazakhstan and the Stresses of Empire (July 29, 2010)

The Kazakh government has made assertive moves against US interests in the country's oil and energy resources. By charging a new tariff on oil exports, Kazakhstan is severely impeding US involvement in Kazakh corporations. At the same time, the government is fostering favorable alliances with European nations which have been developing business relations with the Central Asian state. This article highlights how the US is facing difficulties in maintaining its business empire in the face of growing European competition.(The Globalist)


Global Crisis Makes US More Dependent on China than Ever (November 11, 2009)

The world financial crisis has changed the nature of the relationship between China and the US. China has launched the world biggest economic stimulus package and kept the country growing. About two-thirds of China's foreign currency reserves are in dollars and serious fall in the dollar could harm the US economy. China is challenging the US as the Chinese Air Force General Xu Qiliang announced that China plans to become a world power by the mid-21st century. The Obama administration is keen on starting an age of cooperation with the Chinese. (Spiegel)

The Recession's Real Winner (October 17, 2009)

The Chinese economy has not merely survived the global recession better than most but is positively thriving.   Western countries entered the crisis with high deficits and large government spending which limited their options in reacting to the crisis. China on the other hand was running a budget surplus and its banks had been reining in consumer spending and excessive credit. China was therefore able to use text book Keynesian measures to counter the recession. As a result, China has been able to direct its stimulus toward infrastructure rather than subsidies, as well as making huge investments in higher education. (Newsweek)

Russia and Bolivia to Launch Gas Joint Venture  (October 14, 2009)

Russia will be signing an agreement with the Bolivian government to explore and produce natural gas. Since the US cut off all aid to Bolivia in 2008, Moscow had also discussed increasing Russian military aid to the Bolivian armed forces. Russia's increased involvement in Bolivia reflects the general loss of US influence in the region. From the early 19th century  the US has perceived South America as belonging to 'its' sphere of influence, but many countries have begun to challenge US dominance. (Global Research)

The Venezuelan-Russian Alliance and American Superpower: Emergence of a Multipolar World? (February 24, 2009)

Russia and Venezuela have reinforced their relationship through bilateral agreements in arms sales, military exercises and strategic projects in fields such as energy, finance, and technology. Both countries have developed common political views to shape a more multipolar world; for example they favor the Euro instead of the US dollar and call for new financial institutions to substitute the Bretton Woods organizations. Venezuela backed Russia's political actions in international affairs, namely during the Georgian conflict, and values its geopolitical movements to counter-balance US influence. (Salem-News)

China's Military Power (February 5, 2009)

In this piece, Council on Foreign Relations expert Jayshree Bajoria assesses China's military modernization and highlights US concerns with its longer-term intentions. Although China's weaponry lags behind the US in quantity and modernity, its modern defense industry was able to manufacture long-range missiles and build the country's first aircraft carrier. China's 2008 defense plans focus on national protection, however US military experts believe the steady increase of the Chinese defense budget includes attack weaponry. A military conflict between the two countries is highly unlikely; nevertheless tensions exist on issues such as the Taiwan Strait and North Korea, which make China, the US' "peer competitor" for the 21st century. (New York Times)

The Great Dragon Awakens: China Challenges American Hegemony (January 6, 2009)

This Global Research article sheds light on US efforts to curtail China. The US strategy is threefold: it relies on Asian allies (Japan, South Korea, Indonesia), it expands its bases, and it supports ethnic minority claims that divide China. The author also mentions that the US could use its naval preponderance to reduce Chinese shipments of goods and raw materials. As an alternative, China depends on its monetary surplus to pressure Washington financially and on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a counter-power to NATO. (Global Research)


India, Russia, China Strengthen Ties, Challenging US Vision for South and Central Asia. (December 8, 2008)

A visit from President Dmitry Medvedev to India in December 2008 boosted the faded India-Russia relationship. Russia encouraged India to improve its rapport with China in order to convince them of the strategic importance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). India agreed on a tripartite commitment alongside Russia and China concerning the Afghanistan issue. Should India tilt towards full SCO membership, the US would lose a strategic partner in central Asia and experience competition in its "great central Asia" scheme. (Japanfocus)

At Meeting in Brazil, Washington Is Scorned (December 16, 2008)

Heads of States from Latin American and Caribbean countries met for a three day conference discussing political and economic issues affecting the Western hemisphere. Brazil along with other Latin American governments blamed powerful countries for causing the global economic crisis and furthermore called for the abolition of the US embargo on Cuba. The US was excluded from the conference. Commenting on this omission, Riordan Roett from John Hopkins University said, that the United States "is no longer, and will not be ever again, the major interlocutor for the countries in the region." (New York Times)

The World Turned Upside Down : Understanding the Beijing Consensus (November 2008)

This Le Monde diplomatique article looks at changes in the world order leading to a global universalism. The author stresses that by incorporating the Middle East and Africa into its "war on terror," the US has created international resistance to its hegemony. The marginalization of international institutions like the IMF and the World Bank, in which the US has its strongholds, has been proof of this development. Furthermore countries of the global South are aligning themselves with new partners such as BRIC and the China- Africa Summit, which foreshadows a counterbalancing of US power.

The World Turned Upside Down: The Center Won't Hold Any more (November 2008)

After two centuries of a world divided into dominant centers and dependent peripheries, the rise of new global players recreates a polycentric world resembling the one that existed before 1820. The rise of China is similar to that of the US in the late 19th century, both nations depending on foreign investment and industrialization. However, the new world order will not entail a power shift from West to East but a redistribution of power, re-emphasizing the interdependency of the world. (Le Monde diplomatique)

Understanding China's Strategy: Beyond Non- Interference (November 5, 2008)

The author of this Pambazuka article argues that China's non- intervention policy stems from its national interest in securing economic strongholds in Africa. China's development policy focuses on a "peaceful rise," based on capital, resources and technology. The author contends that China lacks the capacity to pursue military superiority in the world, which is why it is raising its military budget only for reasons of defense.

Latin America Looks Towards European Union (August 16, 2008)

From the 1970s through the 1990s, the US imposed neo-liberal economic policies of privatization in Latin America. The citizens of countries like Venezuela, Brazil, and Bolivia elected leaders who oppose the neo-liberal economic order and who want to break away from US dominance. This ZNet
article argues that Latin America is decreasing its dependence on the US by strengthening relations with Russia and China, as well as by forming the Union of South American Nations – a trading block modelled after the European Union.

The Russo-Georgian War and the Balance of Power (August 12, 2008)

The Russian invasion of Georgia reasserted Russia's "great power status." Russia was angered by the US reneging on previous agreements not to admit former Soviet republics, such as the Baltic States, into NATO. US support of the possible entry of the Ukraine and Georgia into NATO increased Russia's fear of "Western encirclement." In response, Russia decided to use its strengthened military to assert its influence in the region, and this Stratfor article argues that the US cannot respond militarily as it is stretched too thin in the Middle East.

China Strengthens its Role in Kyrgyzstan (August 1, 2008)

According to this Asia Times article, China is expanding its power in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), an economic organization made up of 5 permanent members including Russia and China, and other observer countries like Iran and India. China increasingly treats its neighbor and fellow SCO member, Kyrgzstan, as a satellite country by exploiting Kyrgyzstan's energy reserves and raw materials. China's political and economic strength in the SCO challenges the US, which caved in to SCO pressure to close down a US military base in Uzbekistan in 2005.

China Emerges as Major Player in Global Trade Talks (July 29, 2008)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) talks in Geneva confirmed the emergence of China as a "new power pole" as Beijing challenged the direction of the trade talks. China wants to retain its tariffs on imports until 2025 so that its farmers, who earn $2 a day, are shielded from foreign competition. According to this New York Times article, China shifts the balance of power in global trade away from the major powers like the US, EU, Canada, and Japan and towards other countries such as itself, Brazil and India.

US Finds It's Getting Crowded Out There: Dominance in Space Slips as Other Nations Step Up Efforts (July 9, 2008)

Several countries like Russia, India, and China are challenging US superiority in space-related fields. These countries have ambitious non-military space programs, such as manned missions and lunar orbiters, which receive increased funding and enjoy popular support. In contrast, NASA's funding is only 0.6 percent of the federal budget and the US public is not interested in US space activity. Although the US currently dominates military space spending, Russia and China are widening their military space programs and Japan is increasing spending on rockets and spy satellites. (Washington Post)

Europe's Century (June 17, 2008)

The article defines globalization as the "regionalization of international relations" and argues that the EU stands as a model of co-operation for other regional groupings such as the African Union (AU), ASEAN and Unasur. The AU has established a regional peacekeeping force, criminal court and common army to eliminate rivalries among its members. The author argues that such initiatives diminish the role of the US as a global superpower. (Guardian)

China and the World (April 2008)

This analysis examines how China struggles to project international power in response to internal ideological change. Under Mao, China's rulers did not formulate a foreign policy on the principle that "national interest is a bourgeois concept." Now, "the world's largest trading nation" has a clear strategy of military and economic expansion. The author argues that China's rulers are cautious about this new position and believe that expansionism may lead to insecurity unless China cultivates an image of benevolence abroad. (National Public Radio)

The Rise of China's Neocons (March 17, 2008)

This Newsweek article warns of a future bellicose China that will embrace Mao-influenced neocons as it becomes richer and more powerful. In the opposing camp, "liberal internationalists" hold the upper hand in Beijing as proponents of a China that respects international law and supports a benevolent "Chinese Dream." The author argues, as China grows, an attack from the neocons – or "neocomms" – is mounting, which include key thinkers allied with the Ministry of Security who have the goal of "remaking the entire international order in China's image." These hardliners have taken up the idea of multilateralism as a tool to project Chinese power and isolate the US.

Is Iran Winning the Iraq War? (February 21, 2008)

The fall of Saddam has, paradoxically, established a regime closer to Iran than the US. This article from The Nation exposes the strategic role of Iranian political and economic influence in Iraq. Iran has poured money into Iraq on two fronts: first, to rebuild business and infrastructure; second, to finance Shiite militants like Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Tehran's influence on sectarian violence has forced the US into a de facto alliance, acknowledging that "Iran has legitimate economic, political and diplomatic interests in Iraq."

Asia's Hidden Arms Race (February 12, 2008)

While pushing North Korea to revise its nuclear plan, Japan, South Korea, the US, Russia and China are simultaneously competing in a hidden arms race. Japan, abandoning its peace constitution, spends billions on missile defense. Counterbalancing a decrease of US military support, South Korea's increased military spending by 70% between 1999 and 2006. North Korea, unable to keep up with his Southern neighbour, instead holds on to the building of its nuclear power program. The US accounts for almost half of the world's military expenditures and increased its military budget by 74% since 2001. And Russia also boosted military spending to "recover its lost superpower status." (TomDispatch)

Pushback to Unilateralism: the China-India-Russia Alliance (January 3, 2008)

Traditional power-balancing is passé, suggests this Foreign Policy in Focus article. China, India and Russia advocate a "multipolar-multilateral" alternative in the form of a new US-free collective security regime. The lynchpin of this alliance is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), led by China and Russia, which has developed a policy for post-Taliban Afghanistan to push NATO out. Kabul has been so receptive to the SCO that it sold Beijing the largest mining deal in Afghan history. In spite of the group's security agenda, it poses no threat to US military strategy. Rather, this collaboration secures lucrative investment deals: a challenge to US economic interests.


Big Red Checkbook (November 5, 2007)

This Nation essay looks into China's role as an up-and-coming superpower, especially on the economic front. "As the United States remain unpopular in many parts of the world, China finds willing partners," especially in Africa where China provides more loans than the World Bank. China also has a great diplomatic presence with more than 4,000 diplomats. It has created its own version of the Peace Corps and is hosting the Olympic Games in 2008. China's biggest weaknesses are internal, the country struggles with problems with corruption, AIDS, human rights violations and large inequalities.

Latin America's Shock Resistance (November 10, 2007)

In this article, Naomi Klein presents her theory on Latin America's evolving independence from the US. An increasing number of Latin American countries are abstaining from taking World Bank and IMF loans and instead negotiate with each other. For example, though still in its early stages, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) trade agreement seeks to benefit all member countries equally, Venezuela contributes oil, Bolivia gas and Cuba doctors. (The Nation)

Venezuela Continues To Purchase Russian Weapons (October 25, 2007)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has signed another arms deal with Russia after Venezuela purchased military equipment worth US$ 3 billion from Moscow in 2006. Chavez says only a strong military "can stop the imperia (the US), which threatens our democracy." According to the article's author, it is clear that Venezuela is trying to change the balance of power in Latin America. (Power and Internet News Report)

The World According to Uncle Sam (October 18, 2007)

This Moscow Times article draws parallels between the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded in 2007 to Al Gore for his campaign against global warming, to the general political state of the world, in particular US foreign policy. It concludes that even though the Nobel Prize is political, it has not really generated any changes, as for an example with Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. The author claims that the war in Iraq has put an end to the unipolar world order and has paved the way for a global system with several big players.

AFRICOM: Round One in a New Cold War? (September 19, 2007)

US President George Bush announced the AFRICOM initiative just a week after the Chinese president started his African tour to discuss trade and development. The US interest in Africa departs from previous policy. In 1995, the Department of Defense said it had "very little traditional strategic interest in Africa." But with Africa now exceeding the Middle East as the largest supplier of crude oil to China and the heavy Chinese focus on the African continent, the US administration seeks to make its presence felt. (In The Times)

Red October: Russia, Iran and Iraq (September 17, 2007)

This article argues that Russia may exploit the fact that the US is bogged down in war and occupation in Iraq to increase its own influence in the Middle East and in the former Soviet republics. The conservative Stratfor founder says that Russia has signaled that it would provide arms to Iran in case of a US attack on the country. The US might still "win" a war on Iran, but at "a high price" and without achieving "a regime change," the article says. To keep the Middle East region to itself, the US could make a deal with Russia to allow Moscow free hands in the former Soviet republics.

China: Is High Growth - High Risk Liberalization the Only Alternative? (September 11, 2007)

As China's economy accelerates, with double-digit growth rates, the US administration and Wall Street are anxious to profit from the economic boom. But while US politicians and trade union leaders complain about the low Chinese wages as ‘unfair trade' advantages, the US is simultaneously pushing for a more unregulated Chinese economy. This article discusses how the US attempts to block "China's emergence as a world economic power." (James Petras Webpage)

Russia vs Europe: the Sovereignty Wars (September 5, 2007)

In this article the author elaborates on the "re-emergence of Russia as a great power" and its evolving relationship with the EU. The European Union depends on the former USSR's oil and energy reserves – a situation that European leaders find unsettling. According to the article, Russian leaders still view foreign policy as a balance-of-power game, which the European leaders interpret as a "manifestation of traditional Russian imperialism." The author argues that this problematic relationship could prove more dangerous than in the Cold War days. (openDemocracy)

New Russia, New Threat (September 2, 2007)

While "the US is bogged down in unwinnable wars in Afghanistan and Iraq," Russia is posing an increasing challenge to Washington's status as the "world's undisputed superpower." In the first period of his presidency, Vladimir Putin continued the pro-Western approach of his predecessors, pursuing multilateral institutions and good relations with the US and Europe. But, in the last couple of years the Kremlin has changed course, argues this article. The Russian leader approved of a $200-billion rearmament plan, threatened US-ally Georgia and interrupted the flow of gas to Ukraine. (Los Angeles Times)

Chávez Pledging $8.8b in Global Aid (August 27, 2007)

Venezuela is using oil profits to fund development in Latin America and the Caribbean, superseding direct US aid in the region. Venezuela directs the funding to left-leaning countries in an effort to collectively gain increasing independence from the United States. "The scale of Venezuela's commitments is unprecedented for a Latin American country" and even though Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez rejects any kind of aid competition with the US, the battle for the hearts and minds in the region seems to have begun. (Associated Press)

A New Cold War Over Oil (August 11, 2007)

The US-China showdown over African oil has led the Pentagon to establish an African Command (AFRICOM) branch of the military. US-friendly African armies, for example in Congo and West Africa, have absorbed AFRICOM into their command structures, thereby increasing US military presence on the continent. In addition, because the US cannot outbid China on oil dollar for dollar, it implicated China in the Darfur crisis, therefore undermining Chinese investments in Sudan and promoting UN intervention there. According to Professor Vijay Prashad, such oil-based international intervention in Africa will only "create an Iraq" there. (Frontline)

The French Connections (July 23, 2007)

The "Clinton Boom" and the US's former lead in internet access once put the US economy ahead of Europe's and Japan's. However, broadband connections have since allowed France, Germany, and Japan to surpass the US by increasing both the speed of their internet and the number of people with access. This New York Times article argues that the US has fallen behind because Washington does not regulate the companies that own phone and cable monopolies – a policy that eliminates competition and raises prices for consumers. The French, this author claims, succeed because "they aren't prisoners of free-market ideology."

Mercosur-Venezuela: Integration by Ultimatum (July 5, 2007)

This Inter Press Service article reports on how Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez told Mercosur nations they must approve Venezuela's membership in the trade bloc within three months or he would withdraw the request to join it. Chávez considers Mercosur as a means for South American nations to come together against US economic and political influence in the region. But Mercosur member countries appear reluctant to break with US-style capitalism.

Chavez Visits 'Brother' Ahmadinejad (July 1, 2007)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whom he considers his "ideological brother," to discuss the construction of two petro-chemical plants, one in Iran and the other in Venezuela. By collaborating in the energy sector, the two oil rich countries seek to increase their economic independence from the US. Ahmadinejad is also reaching out to potential regional allies in Latin America who share similar anti-US views. (al-Jazeera)

Islamic Investors Turn to India (June 15, 2007)

Islamic investors are redirecting their oil revenues, which have increased due to the rising price of oil, from western countries to India and China. Muslims who abide strictly by the Koran's law will not invest in "tobacco, fashion, pornography, alcohol, hotels and entertainment", which the Koran considers unethical. Furthermore, after the post-9/11 restrictions on Islamic states' investments, Muslims will likely distribute their proceeds outside of the US. (Asia Times)

Two Economic Giants, How Many Votes? (April 3, 2007)

Although the US currently dominates the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization, the rapid expansion of the Chinese economy may soon threaten US economic hegemony. China's increasing voting shares in all three institutions could allow it to shift the global balance of power and "drive international economic policy the way no nation has before." (International Herald Tribune)

Latin American Elites More Doubtful of US (January 10, 2007)

This Inter Press Service article highlights the growing trend among "elite" Latin Americans to view the European Union and China as more important to the future of the region than the US. Traditionally many of these elites have sided with Washington, however, the author argues that due to the increasing unpopularity of Bush administration policies the views of these supporters have changed.



China's Real Three Challenges to the United States (December 12, 2006)

This article in the Globalist argues that China poses three "real" challenges to the US dominated world order. The first challenge comes from China's increasing importance in the global economy due to its investments, vast trade, and large population of potential consumers. Secondly, China's growing science and technology sector challenges that of established rich countries in both "brain power" and innovation. The third challenge results from US unilateralism as demonstrated by its invasion of Iraq in 2003 without the consent of the UN Security Council. China, the author argues, has stepped in to fill this political void by emphasizing diplomacy and international engagement.

The Spirit of Democracy in Venezuela (December 9, 2006)

This ZNet article argues that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez through his Bolivarian Revolution has ensured that the "principles of a participatory democracy" are protected by introducing free healthcare and creating a fair and easily accessible electoral process. The author compares Venezuelan democracy in these different respects with US democracy and finds that the Venezuelan government successfully "works" for the people by providing "government-delivered services," which US neoliberalism would not allow.

Central Asia between Competition and Cooperation (December 4, 2006)

This Foreign Policy In Focus article details the complex nature of Sino-US relations as the countries compete for influence in Central Asia. The US, which primarily employs military methods to advance its regional security interests, perceives a threat from China, which focuses more on diplomacy and economic methods to gain influence through forums such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – a grouping of Central Asian nations, China, and Russia. The article concludes that a need for cooperation between Beijing and Washington exists and if the US ends its "us versus them" approach it could contribute to increased stability in the "volatile" region and prevent future conflict.

The New Middle East (November/December 2006)

This article in Foreign Affairs argues that the era of US dominance in the Middle East has ended and to "master" the new era "Washington will have to rely more on diplomacy than on military might." Following the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991 the US enjoyed unprecedented access to countries in the Middle East. But after its invasion of Iraq in 2003 Washington's influence began to diminish as many people in the region rejected US hegemony. The author concludes that the new era, marked by the growing influence of external actors such as China and regional actors such as Iran, will further limit US power in the region.

Venezuela's Oil-Based Economy (November 27, 2006)

Venezuela's increasing oil wealth is allowing the country to pose a larger counterweight to the US in Latin America. Caracas allocates many of the oil funds to social programs at home and development aid to neighboring countries. To decrease its dependency on US imports – which presently make up 60 percent of Venezuelan exports – President Hugo Chavez is diversifying business partners, reaching out to Central- and South American countries, China, India and Iran. (Council on Foreign Relations)

Oil Revenues Fuel Resistance to US (November 12, 2006)

This Los Angeles Times article argues that Russia, Iran, and Venezuela's oil revenues give these countries the "leeway to pursue their own strategic and political objectives" without the permission or support of the US. These three nations have spent a considerable amount of money building up domestic support for their foreign policies and have gained the support of other countries by promising to provide a wide array of economic incentives including loans and discounted oil. The article concludes that the US faces a substantial challenge from the regimes in power in these three oil rich countries, which want to put an end to the era of US hegemony.

A Beacon of Hope for the Rebirth of Bolivar's Dream (November 9, 2006)

This Guardian piece argues that the November 2006 election of leftist Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega as President of Nicaragua demonstrates that the peoples of Latin America increasingly reject the current Western dominated "neoliberal world order" forced upon developing countries through organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez initially "spearheaded" this Latin American rebuff that has sparked social movements throughout the continent, as people demonstrate their desire for change. The author concludes that this growing trend in Latin America reflects some successes of Chavez's goal to "unite South America against all empires."

America's Acupuncture Points: The Assassin's Mace (October 20, 2006)

This is the second of a two-part series published in the Asia Times on US "acupuncture points" that the China-Russia-Iran alliance could exploit if the US challenges them. This article focuses mainly on military problems that the US would face in a confrontation with this alliance. These include US geographic isolation, the weaknesses of its command and control systems, which rely heavily on satellites, and China's ability to destroy US aircraft carrier battle groups. The author concludes that unless the US recognizes and eliminates these vulnerabilities it will "collapse" in the face of a Chinese-Russian led united front.

America's Acupuncture Points: Striking The US Where It Hurts (October 19, 2006)

This Asia Times article is the first of a two-part series on US vulnerabilities in the face of the alliance between China, Russia and Iran. The author details the possible, non-military ways that the alliance could inflict substantial damage on the US, including halting the flow of oil to the US, causing a massive devaluation of the US dollar, and possible diplomatic isolation of the country. The article concludes that unilateral US foreign policies and massive trade deficits, coupled with technological and energy dependencies severely damage US chances for success if a conflict arises.

The Three Rounds of Globalization (October 19, 2006)

Identifying "three rounds of globalization," this Globalist article argues that "globalization is not a new thing." The exchange of ideas between ancient civilizations – the first round – fueled the rise of the West with industrial revolution and imperialism – the second round. Likewise, the transfer of Western ideas feeds the present rise of India and China – the third round. By these dynamics, the world is returning towards global equity, where India and China have a share of world income roughly similar to their share of people – as in the early 19th century. While appreciating this return to international equity as a "moral imperative," the author fails to consider to what extent the economic development of these Asian countries takes place at the expense of domestic equity and the environment.

Symbiotic Competitors – The Nature of Sino-US Relations (October 2006)

This Journal 360 article describes the symbiotic yet competitive relationship between China and the US. A close integration exists among the two countries in the economic realm – fostered by huge flows of trade, investment, and finance. Through the accumulation of US dollars, China provides essential finance to the US, which in turn buys the bulk of Chinese exports. Geopolitically, the author argues Beijing and Washington have an underlying competition. China tries to once again become a major power, but the US refuses to accept a peer competitor and hinders China's efforts.

Iran, Beijing's Key to the Middle East (October 7, 2006)

China increasingly fosters ties with Middle Eastern countries as it vies for a position of power in the region to counterbalance US political influence. A symbiotic relationship exists between Iran and China as both countries depend upon each other for economic development. China needs Iranian oil resources to ensure an uninterrupted flow of energy while Iran needs the large-scale investment China offers to build up its infrastructure. (Asia Times)

Across Latin America, Mandarin Is in the Air (September 22, 2006)

Particularly since Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Latin America in 2004, relations between China and Latin America have strengthened. The total value of trade between them increased dramatically from US$10 billion in 2000 to US$50 billion in 2005. Similarly, the number of people across Latin America taking Chinese classes has increased substantially, this Washington Post article reports. With Latin America being the prime destination for Chinese investors, Latin Americans understand the importance of communicating in Mandarin.

As US Power Recedes, Europe Should Fill the Gap (September 18, 2006)

The US "policy of imposing solutions by force" in the Middle East has weakened US leadership in the region. Meanwhile the European leaders who supported Washington's war on Iraq have either been "kicked out by the voters" or face rejection by their constituencies, further diminishing the US role. This Independent article envisions greater opportunities for European leaders, who emphasize multilateralism and diplomacy over militarism to fill the leadership void left by a weakened and ineffective US.

Five Years After 9-11: Bush's Backward Slide in Latin America (September 15, 2006)

The tide is turning against US political influence in Latin America as the citizenry turns away from conservative governments electing leaders who favor bolstering social programs instead of eliminating or weakening them. These new governments focus more on developing an effective "regional multilateralism," by rejecting the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and strengthening the regional bloc Mercosur. By forming stronger ties, these countries present a counterbalance to US influence as well as its neoliberal policies in the region. (America Latina en Movimiento)

Redefining Non-Alliance in a Unipolar Context (September 4, 2006)

According to this Inter Press Service article, Cuba, which will assume the presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement during the September 2006 summit, will work to strengthen the bloc to confront unilateralism. Cuba authored a new text that it will submit for review at the summit, which says developing countries must unite and emphasize multilateralism as a way to stop the US from arbitrarily imposing its will on sovereign states.

Next We Take Tehran (July/August 2006)

This Mother Jones article gives an overview of US diplomatic and military actions in the Persian Gulf from the 1950s through the 1990s. The author argues that the US aimed to block Russia and China from a Middle Eastern energy supply, thus blocking the two powers' aspirations for greater international influence. US-Iran tensions have a similar empirical agenda.

India Could Make 50 Warheads Under Nuclear Deal with Bush (July 27, 2006)

The US will sell nuclear fuel to India for civilian purposes, freeing up the Indian military supply to be used for weapons purposes. This arrangement will create a US geopolitical advantage over Chinese influence in the region. While India will have to place most of their reactors under "international safeguards," it will have the capacity to make 50 extra nuclear warheads annually. India will be exempt from allowing international nuclear activities inspectors. (Independent)

Dropping Musharraf? (July 14, 2006)

US officials and media often refer to China as a growing military competitor. This Foreign Policy in Focus article likens international diplomacy to a chess game, where the US builds ties with other Asian countries to counter the Chinese influence. The author shows how India, Japan, and South Korea have gained US favor and describes Pakistan as "a pawn that has outlived its usefulness." This article suggests that President Pervez Musharraf may have reason to fear a US-backed regime change in Pakistan.

Oil May Fuel Sino-US Conflict (June 29, 2006)

China's pursuit for oil in the Middle East will put it on a collision course with US interests in the region, analysts have warned. China relies heavily on the Middle East for oil, importing up to 43% from fields in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan. By 2015, up to 70% of China's oil imports will be from the Middle East, through seas currently controlled by the US Navy. US analysts have also expressed concern at China's strategy of buying from states that Washington has long opposed. (al-Jazeera)

The Race for Iran (June 20, 2006)

This New York Times editorial proposes that behind the talks on Iran's nuclear ambitions, lies a "broader strategic competition" over Iran's vast oil and gas reserves. The author argues that China and Russia seek control over Iran's natural resources, challenging US dominance in the region.

US Ponders Counteracting the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (June 16, 2006)

The six member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) emphasized their right to self-determination in Central Asia, referring to increasing US geopolitical pressure in the region. Recognizing Central Asia's vast oil resources, the conservative International Relations and Security Network proposes strategies for the US government to maintain a strong geopolitical presence in the region and counter the rise of the SCO. (International Relations and Security Network)

US Perceptions of a Chinese Threat (May 31, 2006)

The US Department of Defense 2006 annual report lists China as a likely military threat to the US Navy in the South Pacific region. This Stratfor article points out that while a Chinese attack is unlikely, a mere perceived threat can alter world events. A perceived provocation might lead to US weapons proliferation and US military actions against China.

War of Wills (April 24, 2006)

In the long run, China might pose "a greater challenge to America's vision for the wider world" than does "Islamic fundamentalism," according to this Newsweek article. Beijing expands its economic and political influence around the globe. Washington opposes China making inroads in "rogue" countries such as Iran and Sudan and is particularly upset that China tries to establish a footprint in "America's backyard" – Latin America. The US interprets China's [peaceful] rise as a singular challenge, because Beijing could become a "multidimensional power" with both a strong economy and a potent military – unlike the Soviet Union and Japan in the past.

America Meets the New Superpower (April 19, 2006)

China is supposed to overtake the US in economic terms in the middle of this century. According to this Independent article, while the Chinese president Hu Jintao is visiting Washington "the global balance of power is changing." The "peaceful rise" of the People's Republic will ultimately lead to a "managed decline [of the US] not unlike that which Britain has experienced."

Not Terrorism – China Drives up US Military Spending (April 7, 2006)

This Foreign Policy In Focus article argues that the massive defense budget increase proposed by the Bush administration for 2007 is not directed at fighting terrorism, as officially claimed. In reality, China is the reason for such expensive new weapons systems as new nuclear attack submarines and new generations of fighter jets. The Pentagon believes that China has the "greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States" in the future.

Chávez, Seeking Foreign Allies, Spends Billions (April 4, 2006)

With high crude prices Venezuela - one of the biggest exporters of oil - enjoys a huge windfall. President Chávez uses these funds to bolster his reputation in the Americas by subsidizing oil to poor US citizens and buying Argentine bonds. Ultimately, Chávez wants to unify Latin America to counter to US influence in the region. (New York Times)

Latin America and Asia Are at Last Breaking Free of Washington's Grip (March 15, 2006)

Noam Chomsky argues in this Guardian article that China and parts of Latin America increasingly defy US hegemony. China tries to secure energy supplies by cooperating with India, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Meanwhile countries of South America intensify regional cooperation to better shield them from Washington's influence.

In Deal with India, Bush Has Eye on China (March 4, 2006)

One of the major factors behind the US-Indian agreement on nuclear cooperation was Washington's wish to counterbalance the rising power of China. In the past, the US has stressed the importance of the US-Japanese relationship to ensure it has a close and capable ally on China's southeastern flank. The deal with India reflects a desire to build an alliance on China's southwestern boundary. The downside of this deal for Washington is that it discredits the US' pretended nuclear nonproliferation efforts. (Los Angeles Times)

In The Heart of Pipelineistan (March 17, 2006)

This Asia Times article puts the tensions between Iran and the US over Iran's alleged nuclear program in a broader geopolitical context. Iran and the US are not the only players in the region best termed "Pipelineistan." China, India, Russia and Pakistan try to increase their influence in the region, because of its vast fossil fuel reserves.

Viceroys Long Gone, EU Grows In Asia (March 16, 2006)

Europe gains more influence in Asia, where countries have become concerned about the US debt and its swelling current-account deficit. This represents one of the reasons why Asian countries increasingly borrow in euros. The setting of standards – in car emissions and consumer products – constitutes a second area where European influence is growing. (International Herald Tribune)

China Stakes Its Middle East Claim (March 14, 2006)

The Middle East could emerge as the stage for future Sino-US rivalry. Both countries depend on the region because of its vast fossil fuel reserves. China's low-key presence is preferred by many countries over the aggressive US strategy of preemptive action and regime change. (Power and Interest News Report)

India Rising (March 6, 2006)

Even though its economic development is "messy, chaotic and largely unplanned," India will be a major economic power in the next decades, the editor of Newsweek International, Fareed Zakaria, claims. The US seeks cooperation with India to create a counterweight to rising China. Both countries are diverse and complex democracies and share the English language.

'New Populists' vs. the West (February 10, 2006)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plan to join their "political forces" to counterbalance the "robust" power of the US. Both leaders criticize Washington for accepting Pakistan's nuclear status while opposing Iran's nuclear enrichment program. Accusing the Bush administration of "hypocrisy," they argue that the world superpower's actions contradict its claims of spreading "democracy." (Christian Science Monitor)

USA's Global Predominance Under Challenge (February 5, 2006)

This comment argues that the period of unchallenged global predominance the US enjoyed since the end of the Cold War is drawing to a close. In the years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the US had "a free run across the globe" and was able to shape vital strategic regions of the world according to its own strategic agenda. In the future, the predominance of the US will increasingly come under challenge by Russia and China, according to


America's New Enemy (November 12, 2005)

In countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, and Argentina, the general public view Washington's involvement in their internal affairs as "the story of a government behind the government." For ordinary citizens in those countries, the popularity of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the growth of a continent-wide social movement represent a rejection of the "US-backed business tyrannies." This New Statesman
article argues that Chavez, who calls the Bush administration "a source of terrorism," could be the target of the next US attack.

Russia, China Looking to Form 'NATO of the East'? (October 26, 2005)

Members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan are considering the possibility of a Central Asian military bloc. The organization, founded in 2001, focuses primarily on political cooperation and security issues. If SCO members establish military ties, the alliance would rival NATO and serve to limit US influence in the region. Though not currently SCO members, India, Pakistan, and Iran participate in negotiations as "observers." (Christian Science Monitor)

Sino-US Energy Competition in Africa (October 7, 2005)

The US and China, the world's first and second largest energy consuming countries respectively, are increasingly competing to secure energy resources in Africa. This Power and Interest News Report maintains that this rivalry could not only exacerbate the already shaky Sino-US relationship, but could also heighten instability in conflict-prone Africa.

China's "Peaceful Rise" to Great-Power Status (September/October 2005)

This Foreign Affairs article examines the "peaceful rise strategy" of China. Beijing will focus on economic growth for the next few decades to become a modernized, medium-level developed country. In order to achieve this China depends on a peaceful international environment. It tries to avoid the mistakes of past rising powers to resort to aggressive foreign policy, which would surely cause resistance by the sole superpower – the US.

Pentagon Says China Seeks to Extend Military Reach (July 21, 2005)

A long-awaited annual report to the US Congress on China 's military standing suggests the Pentagon is increasingly concerned about Chinese power in Asia . The report says China has long-term ambitions to control the region, and may use force or coercion to resolve disputes and advance its interests in the future. Chinese leaders have responded angrily, pointing out that their military spending is still a fraction of Washington's and that such bombastic language is indicative of US hostility rather than rational assessment. (Los Angeles Times)

Chavez Stokes Confrontation Over US Role in Venezuela (July 19, 2005)

In a piece which puts much of the blame on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the Washington Post explores the increasingly sour relationship between the US and Venezuela. To many in Latin America, Chavez represents independence and social justice, a champion of the oppressed and subjugated. To the Bush administration, he is a dangerous and confrontational opponent of economic liberalism who controls an important 1.5 million barrels of oil a day for US markets. Chavez has created an increasingly bold Venezuelan foreign policy, signaling his resistance of "US imperialism" and his anger at the US for allegedly supporting the coup that tried to overthrow him in 2002.

Too Close for Comfort (July 17, 2005)

The recent signing of a new Indo-US strategic partnership has caused major controversy in India, with critics arguing that the framework for defense relations will erode Indian sovereignty and reduce the growing Asian power to the status of dependent client. The author argues that the agreement offers little benefit to India, but will "embed" the US in Asia, creating an important counterweight to Chinese influence and a reservoir of Indian canon fodder for US military adventures. (Khaleej Times)

Central Asia: Is It Time To Withdraw US Troops? (July 7, 2005)

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an alliance of China, Russia and four Central Asian states, recently called on the US to set a timetable for the removal of its forces from bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The White House dismissed the demands, despite claiming that the bases are not strategically crucial. It argued that they provide important support for missions in Afghanistan, and that only individual states have the right to manage their bilateral military deals with the US.(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

Southcom Generals Fret Over New Domino Effect (June 18, 2005)

As Latin America drifts increasingly leftward, Southcom, the US military command responsible for the region, has released a strategic plan demanding "U.S. military involvement in the internal affairs of what it calls its partner nations" says Inter Press Service. Southcom's declassified "Theatre Command Strategy" frames its highly intrusive operating principles as part of the "war on terror." With greater scrutiny, the plan more closely resembles a panic-inspired attempt to reassert US hegemony in its backyard.

China: Containment Won't Work (June 13, 2005)

Henry Kissinger addresses the idea that the US considers China as being "on some sort of probation." He argues that the aggressive attitude in the US government and media towards Chinese power and military buildup is damaging to both US interests and to a peaceful future. The US "needs to understand that a hectoring tone evokes… memories of imperialist condescension," and that China is not another Soviet Union needing to be militarily contained and dominated. (Washington Post)

Chinese Arms Threaten Asia, Rumsfeld Says (June 4, 2005)

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has challenged the need for recent Chinese military expansion, in advance of the release of a Pentagon dossier on the subject. Likely to be interpreted in Asia as a "new, more combative, US stance toward China," his speech has triggered fears that US concern over changes in the "strategic equilibrium" of the region will put the two nations at "loggerheads," reports the Los Angeles Times.

How We Would Fight China (June, 2005)

According to the Atlantic Monthly correspondent Robert Kaplan, US military contest with China in the Pacific will define the twenty-first century. Kaplan claims that whenever great powers have emerged or re-emerged on the scene, they have tended to be particularly assertive. China is developing a blue-water navy, which is poised to push out into the Pacific, where it will quickly encounter the US unwilling to budge from the coastal shelf of the Asian mainland.

Washington Loses Control of the OAS (May 9, 2005)

The Organization of American States (OAS) has since its founding in 1948 "functioned as an instrument of Washington's global geostrategies." However, the first-time election of a non-US favored secretary general highlights Washington's waning influence among OAS members. (Power and Interest News Report)

Winners and Losers (May 2, 2005)

TomDispatch proposes that neither the US nor Russia won the Cold War. Though the US has gained ground militarily and economically since imperial Russia's decline, Russian oil, gas and nuclear warhead reserves limit US power. "Regional blocs" and people power especially in Latin American leftist countries also hinder US imperialism. As author Tom Engelhardt asks, what could happen if US citizens also "began slipping out of the imperial orbit" and questioning Washington's foreign policies?

Goodbye Uncle Sam, Hello Team Europe (April 14, 2005)

A GlobeScan-Program on International Policy Attitudes poll reveals that citizens in 20 of 23 countries (not including the Middle East) and a surprising 34% of US citizens believe "Team Europe" should run the world, not the US. Less aggressive, collective European policies have come out "on the right side of major foreign policy issues of our time," especially in terms of military force. This AlterNet author writes, "Europeans want to use military force to avert catastrophe, rather than precipitate regime change. It's about peacekeeping not imperial expansion."

The Empire Shifts (April 8, 2005)

The Cold War era alliances have disappeared and the tides have turned between the US and China, as the "world's biggest communist country" gains economic and military strength. In an effort to retain global control, the US has turned to India in hopes of gaining a potentially powerful ally and reducing influence of the Chinese, says the Guardian. These threats of China's rising influence have already begun to dictate radical measures in the US government's Asia policies, such as the sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan and the possible transfer of nuclear reactors to India.

No Longer the "Lone" Superpower (March 15, 2005)

Author Chalmers Johnson explores the history of US-Japan-China relations and portrays China's rapid rise as a blow to the US. The US has supported Japan since the end of WWII, and the 21st century has dawned with these two allies increasingly provoking Chinese aggression. Through the complicated mix of oil and trade interests, population and economic growth, and changing global relations, Johnson warns that the US may both cause and "be consumed" by a Sino-Japanese confrontation. (TomDispatch)

US Warns China Over Latest Challenge Towards Taiwan (March 15, 2005)

Escalating tensions between China and Taiwan over a Chinese law authorizing force against secession attempts could lead to "a showdown between the US and Beijing." The White House has historically provided military aid and vowed to protect Taiwan, but the US government ironically criticizes any Chinese unilateral policy and instead calls for more diplomacy. A potential "showdown" of military strength would have devastating effects on the already unstable region as neighboring countries such as Japan and Australia would have to choose between US military power and China's economic benefits, argues the Independent.

Iran Looks East (February 21, 2005)

Iran and China are ideal "marriage" partners, suggests this Fortune article. By signing a US$70 billion gas deal, Iran has gained coveted foreign currency whilst solving China's energy needs. This strategic relationship has more than money at stake; it heralds political realignment. As a P5 member, China is able to insulate Iran from a US attack and reduce the impact of US imposed sanctions through access to Chinese markets. Therefore, the US must find alternative methods to pressure Iran.

A CIA Report Predicts That American Global Dominance Could End in 15 Years (January 26, 2005)

According to a National Intelligence Council report, US imperial advantages could end by 2020 due to the falling dollar, globalization trends that favors Asia over the West, and growing economies such as India and China. While forecasting potential scenarios from an economic-oriented "Davos World" to a fear-induced "Orwellian world," the report urges the US to maintain military power and a strong counterterrorism strategy. But this Slate article argues that the US "can't sell freedom if we can't sell ourselves."

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