International relations are being restructured around strength, like in the years of the Cold War.
The return of the withered hero did not restore the balance of the world. Biden’s pretentious “America is back,” with which he inaugurated his term was not well-received by his European allies, and it did not contribute to the restoration of balance. On the contrary, two blocs are in a close fight in the international ring, where four huge contenders are facing each other in a gigantic struggle that could easily make the Cold War look like a children’s game. Moreover, “America is back” is controversial because it implies that the U.S. is the Star of Bethlehem, while the other countries are a defenseless herd that needs American guidance.
Four years of former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” have shown that the countries of the world are far more autonomous than they seemed. Europe was able to maintain the Paris Agreement and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with Iran. Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement and the JCPOA, and bombarded the multilateralism that emerged from World War II as much as he could. He also attacked any initiatives of joint responsibility, from plans of worldwide vaccination to making the internet giants pay taxes.
Latin America steadied its course. It resisted the rudeness and improvisation of the lying president. Trump could not even deal with Venezuela. Furthermore, when it was necessary, it was the Latin American people who expelled the enforcers sent by the White House (as in Bolivia) or finished burying the cursed heritage that Washington embedded in the heart of democracies in the 1970s, which seemed like a wound that could never be healed (as in Chile).
The United States, the hero of the world, went mad and went from being the wicked father to a country ruled by a toupee-wearing clown whose most deranged followers ended up attacking the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Accepting the loss of this fatherly watchman, the world took care of itself and found out that it could do so without the aid of the U.S. Of course, Biden’s leadership has brought coherence and rationality and has proven healthy for international law and international relationships, but the American empire was already entangled in a struggle of gargantuan proportions, which Biden decided to further.
Struggle for Hegemony
Biden endorsed his confrontation with Xi Jinping as one of the main aspects of his term. From this situation, two sides arise — one dominated by the United States and followed by Europe in a sort of forced march, and another made up of China and Russia. The struggle for world hegemony has reached new levels. International relations are being restructured around strength like in the worst years of the Cold War. The blocs are accusing each other of actions that “threaten global stability” (U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken about China), or of “imposing their democracy on the rest of the world” (Yang Jiechi, responsible for the diplomacy of the Chinese Communist Party, about the U.S.). Such accusations were not implicit; they were uttered publicly by the two political leaders during the first meeting between China and the United States held in Anchorage, Alaska in March of this year. For Washington, the strategic confrontation with China constitutes “the biggest political challenge of the 21st century,”* according to Jake Sullivan, United States National Security Advisor.
It’s ironic: those who convinced themselves that the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 meant the end of the story are now rewriting it in the same ways — that is, in terms of extreme antagonism. Instead of weapons, the countries use modern techniques of destabilization: hackers, social media, cyberwar, infiltration in institutions, mass espionage of allies, fake news, sanctions. This is not a probable war: we are immersed in the center of a constant, tense conflict. Two very different political ideologies are pushing to impose their interests and values. Western media portray the situation as a war in which democracy is being attacked by a pair of dictators (Russia and China). It is hilarious, but that is what they write every day. If that were true, none of the “good” countries would sell weapons to the denominational dictatorship in Saudi Arabia or to the Egyptian dictator who fills the prisons with innocent people. If they were true defenders of democracy, peace, international solidarity and equality, they would not have let millions die from COVID-19. The West blundered.
The Geopolitics of Vaccination
Regardless of ideology, the following figures are painful to look at: 21.5% of the world population received at least one dose of the [COVID-19] vaccine. More than 50% of those live in developed countries, while only 0.8% live in developing countries. 90% of African countries will not be able to reach the world goal of vaccinating 10% of the population. If those “evil enemies of Western values” had not provided their vaccines, billions would be in mortal danger. The Group of Seven summit in Carbis Bay was the height of stinginess and empty promises. That is how those who rule the world are and how they want the world to be. A hideous promise was made at the summit. A promise with no future whatsoever: supply 870 million vaccines in a year. This is but one miserable plate of rice for thousands of starving people.
This G-7 summit will be remembered as “the summit of blind egotism,” according to an article published in Le Monde written by Cécile Duflot, president of Oxfam France. It could be said that Biden agreed to the release of the patents of the vaccine and that Europeans followed suit. That is true, yes, but there is a “however”: this preoccupation with the common good clashes with current (and maintained) dispositions that hinder exports of components necessary to produce the vaccine.
“America is back” could not restrain the apocalyptic machine that is moving the world. The hero, brought to naught by Trump, has returned with the same old agenda. Defend democracy where it is convenient, support dictatorships where there is material, financial or geopolitical profit, and winding rhetoric that cannot even vaccinate 10% of the world population. We know for sure that we are alone in a brutal world that is moving ever faster due to ambitions of world domination.
*Editor’s note: Although accurately translated, the quoted remark could not be verified.