A New Non-ideological ‘Cold War’
A New Non-ideological ‘Cold War’
From Syria to Venezuela, the Western Powers on one side and Russia and China on the other, are flexing their muscles and blackmailing each other.
This scene is a reminder of how the world looked like during the 1960s and 1970s. Those were the days of the ‘Cold War’ between the West and the ‘Communist Bloc’, which was de-escalated only after the US – China ‘Ping Pong Diplomacy’ launched by President Richard Nixon and Dr Henry Kissinger towards Beijing as the end of the Vietnam War was approaching. Later on, during the 1980s, that war was nearing its end with the gradual collapse of the USSR under Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin.
The American penetration of the already ideologically fractured ‘Communist Bloc’, through rebuilding relations with Beijing, was a smart move that changed many realities during the last third of the 20th century. The repercussions of this penetration were later augmented by Washington’s gambling on ‘Political Islam’ to complete the encirclement of the USSR through turning a blind eye to – if not tacitly welcoming – the Khomeinist takeover in Iran, and making Afghanistan a quagmire for Moscow’s Red Army. Thus, we witnessed the ideal ‘American Revenge’ of Washington’s defeats in Indo-China (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia).
As myself, and those of my generation, recall that global confrontation, i.e. the ‘Cold War’, we remember its ethical justifications which sustained it for decades to come. Those justifications were initially true and sincere.
It is more than probable that Washington’s idealistic exultation of liberty and human rights were then an honest reflection of the post WW1 President Woodrow Wilson’s ‘principles’. By the same token, the revolutionary ideals of the USSR were also sincere when calling for social justice, and struggle against tyranny and class exploitation.
I dare claim that both ‘superpowers’, for a while, meant the slogan they raised and fought for; before their global confrontation metamorphosed into a war of interests between two ‘empires’ exploiting human suffering, when ordinary human beings meant almost nothing to them.
The USA, which has been up in arms against Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela under the pretext of its suppression of democracy and denying his people’s basic human rights, has a long history in supporting coup d’etats and military dictatorships during the ‘Cold War’ era. In fact, Hollywood, has courageously documented that period by films that include ‘Missing’ (1982) starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek. The film tells the story of a young American journalist who disappeared in the bloody aftermath of the Washington-backed Chilean coup led by General Ernesto Pinochet.
As for the Russian leadership which is actively defending the ‘Leftist’ Maduro, we must remember that it is not ‘leftist’ in order to care about ‘Socialism’; and if it is now shedding crocodile tears on Washington’s siege of the Venezuelans and their country, it is the same ‘superpower’ that is using all means – including military intervention to finish off the Syrian people’s uprising, disrespecting Syria’s sovereignty, and pressuring Arabs to normalize relations with the Damascus regime!
The bitter truth is that the peoples’ suffering is now a pretext for settling old scores and readjusting the balance of global powers, with little regard to ordinary people.
Sure, Washington was never happy with Hugo Chavez’s Leftist ‘revolution’ against the traditionally US-connected rich and bourgeoisie in the Western hemisphere, that Washington has long regarded as its ‘back garden’. Indeed, Washington attempted more than once to bring down Chavez, and later his chosen successor. Undoubtedly, even before an ultra-right wing President like Donald Trump entered the White House, it would have desired that all Latin American states would follow the footsteps of Argentina, Colombia and Brazil by choosing the Conservative Right camp rather than the Leftist or even the Center-Left camp where we find Mexico.
On the other hand, the Venezuelan people have every right to criticize and rise against a dogmatic leadership, that thought through ‘liberation’ slogans, and mobilizing the masses against “foreign Intervention” – whether direct or indirect – would be able to make it forget their daily suffering, the economic collapse, and worsening class and political divisions in their country.
Maduro’s dogmatism has led to antagonizing certain wings within the Venezuelan opposition he could have possibly neutralized, even won over. A proof of this is the fact that not all opposition groups are extreme right wingers or American and Israeli businesses, as some belong to Centrist and Center-Left organizations. Thus, had his regime been wiser and more tactful it would have sought to neutralize and isolate those organizations from the extremists who undoubtedly have their own links and coup-aspirations.
Perhaps one of the clearest proofs of Maduro’s dogmatism, and his apparent naivety, is his whole-hearted backing of the Tehran – Damascus axis while ordinary Syrians suffer suppression, genocide and displacement, and the Tehran regime carries out ‘dialogue’ with Iranians through imprisonment and hangings, and ‘co-exists’ with its neighbors by destroying their countries’ political establishments and replacing them with sectarian militias.
In the meantime, Moscow is exploiting Washington’s pre-occupation with reclaiming the initiative in its ‘back garden’, to build its own ‘back garden’ in the Middle East with Iranian, and if possible, Turkish cooperation too.
Moscow perfectly understands that Washington would not have embarked on such a hawkish campaign against the Venezuelan regime had it not for the resurgence of the Conservative Right in Brazil and Argentina, South America most populous countries; bearing in mind that it was already alive and well in Colombia, Venezuela’s neighbor and the continent’s third largest country.
It is from the standpoint of ‘attack is the best means of defense’ that the Russian leadership believes that it must benefit from America’s engagement in the West in order to establish its influence in the East. Indeed, the Kremlin is doing its best today to enhance its position – whenever it can – in the former areas of Soviet influence throughout the Middle East and North Africa; as such rehabilitating the Syrian regime is a pivotal part of Moscow’s attempts, as is its fine-tuning of its relations with the non-Arab Middle Eastern ‘trio’, i.e., Israel, Iran and Turkey.