Posted on May 31, 2020 by Ali Hachani
Written by Ali Hachani, former Ambassador
Translated by Anouar Ben Messaoud
In an opinion published in this site dated May 07, 2020, the author of the following lines had wondered: “What should we expect within the next six months?” The period of time mentioned was a reference to the period between then and the next American presidential elections scheduled for November 03, 2020. This lapse of time has since fallen to five months and has already increasingly justified the fears expressed in the above mentioned article to see the world turning towards a conflagration, which could have as a motive among other things, “to improve the chances of a leader called upon to wage a tough electoral battle after having squandered chances by the rough decisions he has made and the excessive assurance he has displayed.” The month that has just ended observed the chances of this leader (President Donald Trump, which you may have guessed) further shrink. As a result, he is leaned towards stirring foreign policy files to keep away from prying eyes the increasing difficulties encountered on the domestic level, which tend to go crescendo until the fateful day of the electoral event.
The difficulties in question are first explained by the way in which the Corona pandemic was confronted in the country on the other side of the Atlantic, where scientific and medical capacities are top-notch but were often skipped by political decisions that prioritized safeguarding economic and financial capital at the expense of human capital. This has resulted in significant losses on both fronts with more than 100,000 human lives already sacrificed, the loss of millions of jobs, a cascade of bankruptcies, and a significant reduction of the activities of many companies, even among the strongest American businesses. All these elements deprive the current resident of the White House of solid arguments that can make him win the next elections. To cap it all, the turmoil that has followed the death of a black American citizen due to an inhuman act of a white police officer has recreated the civil war atmosphere, which does not augur well for a leader who could not find the right words to ease the tension, but on the contrary, has directed his wrath towards the external world.
The anger of the White House resident addresses with growing determination his three favorite targets namely China, accused again of having exported the Coronavirus to the rest of the world and also holding it against the special status enjoyed by Hong Kong. Then Russia, seen as engaged in a maneuver to destabilize Libya while he endeavors to cancel the effects of military agreements, the most recently known as “open skies” and which was lately added to the international agreements denounced by Washington. Without forgetting Iran, which is always accused of threatening navigation in the Gulf and of exporting terrorism in addition to the recent dispatch of ships loaded with oil to Venezuela to help its people survive in the current difficult pandemic period, thus breaking the siege imposed on it by its neighbor in the north….
The multilateral relations’ system is never far from the belligerent positions made by the American leader who recently prolonged his hostility against the WHO to a higher level by announcing that he “breaks all ties with this organization and has ceased all funding intended for it.” In due course, the decision of other WHO member states to launch an independent investigation to determine the outbreak conditions of the pandemic and its spread has not been good enough to save the WHO, which is going through a drastic reduction of its financial resources. Otherwise, how can be justified accusing “others” of a less than honorable “performance” in facing the Corona pandemic!
Even the multilateral bodies that bring together only the main western countries are not above Mr. Trump’s bad temper. Following the refusal of some leaders to attend a G7 summit in Washington because of current health conditions – which deprived him of the possibility to improve his image- he did not hesitate to cancel the summit by declaring quite simply that the G7 was very outdated.., of little use and its composition and functioning need to be reviewed…
China recently confirmed that its relations with the U.S. have been drawn into a new kind of “cold war”, while perhaps the worst is yet to come. Iran is rightfully concerned that Mr. Trump will carry out his threats by ordering his navy in the Gulf region to open fire on any Iranian forces which come close its ships. Russia, for its part, fears that Washington’s gradual cancellation of the control and reduction of armaments’ system will eventually slip into inflaming the situation in Europe. Furthermore, the southern side of the Mediterranean has reason to be concerned that the Libyan conflict will turn into a conflict between superpowers with AFRICOM’s American forces preparing to “counter” the real or alleged presence of Russian military capabilities in this country, which can apparently go as far as trying to involve neighboring countries, like ours, which have long tried to be kept out of such tension…. Meanwhile, multilateralism has received another serious blow when it needs to be prepared for helping the world to cope with the post Corona era, which will have terrible security, economic and social consequences of which we are already seeing the first signs.
The next five months will undoubtedly be too long….