AMID PROMISING STRATEGIC CHANGES
Still Blinded by Geopolitics
Feb. 11—Among the great powers—the United States, China, Russia, Japan—totally new alliances based on mutual advantage are being built, which will potentially establish a higher level of reason and can effectively usher in a new era in history. In Europe, however, it has not yet been noticed by either the neocons and neoliberals or most of the left wing, and certainly not by the Greens, who are all so busy hyperventilating in various ways against U.S. President Donald Trump’s victory, that they are numb to the major changes occurring on the political world stage.
Even such apparently staunch Atlanticists as Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, faced with the new President of the United States, suddenly see hope in China’s role — an almost delightful irony. The followers of the geopolitical doctrine in Europe are in a frenzy. They don’t understand the world anymore. The Pippi Longstocking principle—”two times three is four, plus three make nine! I make the world the way I like it”—no longer works. The shock caused by the failure of the axioms of unipolar geopolitics is somewhat comparable to the superseding of the Copernican heliocentric conception of the world by Johannes Kepler’s idea of a harmonic and complex universe.
After Trump’s letter to Xi Jinping, followed by a further telephone conversation, which was described by the White House as “lengthy” and “extremely cordial,” and during which Trump supported the One China policy of the United States, the perspective for constructive cooperation between the United States and China is developing. Indeed, with the Trump Administration, there is a chance that the United States will accept China’s offer of a “new type of power relations,” which was deliberately ignored by Obama. This new model of relations is based on the absolute recognition of sovereignty, respect for different social and political systems, noninterference in internal affairs of others, and mutually beneficial cooperation. So there should be no contradiction between Trump’s “America First” and Xi Jinping’s “Chinese dream.”
Japan Offers Infrastructure
The visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the United States—who brought with him, among other items, an investment package that would create 700,000 jobs in the infrastructure sector—need not conflict in any way with the improved U.S.-China relations. Abe spoke of Japan’s international expertise in building modern infrastructure, and offered to build a maglev line between Washington and New York, which would allow President Trump to go from the White House to Trump Tower in Manhattan in only one hour.
When a Japanese reporter’s question implied that Trump would not defend Japan from “Chinese aggression,” Trump’s reply demonstrated that he would not be lured into the geopolitical trap: “I had a very, very good conversation, as most of you know, yesterday with the President of China. It was a very, very warm conversation. I think we are in the process of getting along very well. And I think that will also be very much of a benefit to Japan. . . . We have conversations with various representatives of China, I believe, that that will all work out very well for everybody—China, Japan, the United States, and everybody in the region.”
In addition, Jack Ma, the president of the Internet ecommerce firm Alibaba, and President Trump have already discussed Chinese investments of a trillion dollars, and there is great interest in further investments in the upgrading of American infrastructure.
Another indication of the new strategic orientation is that Prime Minister Abe intends to travel to Russia twice this year, and has reached an agreement with Russian President Putin for close collaboration in the economic development of the disputed Kuril Islands. This cooperation, along with significant investments by Japan in Russia’s Far East, should strengthen trust, and create the preconditions for the signing of a peace treaty between the two nations. Among these investments are the intensification of cooperation in the development of crude oil and natural gas, the construction of new airports and ports, the modernization of agriculture, and the construction of urban infrastructure, water systems and canals, and a medical center.
The Trump White House, moreover, made known through a “senior Administration official” that the United States has nothing against the growing cooperation between Japan and Russia, but fully understands that these two neighbors want to improve their bilateral relations.
Also, President Trump’s repeated declaration that he wants to establish a good collaborative relationship with Russia, is finding a positive echo from the Russian side. In an interview with Izvestia published Feb. 10, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed confidence that the forging of a constructive and mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries would be very advantageous for the Russian and American peoples, and thus have a positive effect on the whole world situation.
Meanwhile, the Russian ambassador to China, Andrei Denisov, let it be known that President Putin would participate in the major summit on the Belt and Road Initiative that China will host in Beijing in May. China is preparing this summit, which aims at consolidating the policy of the New Silk Road, with great intensity. Senior diplomat Yang Jiechi stressed to China Daily that twenty heads of state have already agreed to attend, among whom, according to Professor Wang Yiwei, author of a book on the New Silk Road, is President Trump; this is a visit which the Chinese eagerly anticipate.
To the degree that the large Asian countries and the United States overcome previous geopolitical conflicts, the chances will improve for other regions of the world, regions that have had proxy conflicts, to attain a positive outlook on the future. Thus Tim Collard, a columnist for the official Chinese government portal site, China.org.cn, suggested that with the rise of China as a global economic power—supported by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Belt and Road Initiative—its willingness to engage, for example, in the Middle East, also will increase. This could create an entirely new dynamic in the region.
The New York Times was even obliged, for a change, to publish an objective and positive article on Feb. 7 with the headline, “Joyous Africans Take to Rails, with China’s Help,” in which it not only described the newly opened rail line from Djibouti to Addis Ababa, which China financed and built, but also other projects in Africa. The new rail lines—the first step toward the long dreamed-of trans-African routes from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic—have already changed the total dynamic, according to Aboubaker Omar Hadi, head of the port in Djibouti. China has vision.
Germany’s ‘Awesome Opportunity’
Apparently Minister-President of Bavaria Horst Seehofer (CSU) has sensed which way the new wind is blowing. According to media reports, he is working on arranging a meeting with Trump and plans another visit to Putin. Chancellor Merkel on the contrary appears to be absorbed in her new role as defender “of the free West.” She has just expressed, together with Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, her opposition to any easing of the sanctions against Russia. The support of the Berlin government for the regime in Kiev is a scandal. Unfortunately, the SPD’s candidate for Chancellor, Martin Schulz, who as President of the European Parliament until very recently, is the representative of the EU establishment, has not shown any inclination to present a real alternative to Merkel in his geopolitical view of Russia and China.
In the upcoming campaign for the Bundestag, the BüSo will make every effort to point to the enormous potential Germany could actualize by cooperating with the United States, Russia, China, Japan, and many other countries, above all in the economic development of Southwest Asia and Africa. Germany now has the awesome opportunity to devise a foreign policy which is both in the best interests of Germany, and in harmony with what Xi Jinping calls the “community of common destiny for mankind.” Germany’s inventive spirit and engineering expertise, and the productivity of its Mittelstand—its small and medium-size industrial enterprises—are exactly what the development of the world requires, and its participation in the projects of the New Silk Road and in international scientific cooperation would massively improve the range of jobs available domestically. That means leaving behind low salaries and unproductive jobs to create highly skilled, productive employment, and thereby a higher living standard for all.
Since hyperventilating involves inhaling too much oxygen and exhaling too much carbon dioxide, all those who blame CO2 emissions for climate change should calm down and stop looking at Trump, China, and Russia through geopolitical glasses.