A Failing Empire, Part 1: Russia & China's Military Strategy To Contain The US

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Looking at the global political landscape over the last month, two trends are becoming more apparent.

  1. The infamous military and economic power at America’s disposal is declining,
  2. whereas in the multipolar field, an acceleration has occurred in the creation of a series of infrastructures, mechanisms and procedures to contain and limit the negative effects of America’s declining unipolar moment.

This series of three articles will focus firstly on the military aspect of these ongoing changes, then the economics at play, and finally, how and why smaller countries are transitioning from the unipolar camp to the multipolar field.

One of the most tangible consequences of the decline of US military power can be observed in the Syrian conflict. Over the past few weeks, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies have completed the historic and strategic liberation of Deir ez-Zor, a city besieged for more than five years by Islamists belonging to Al Qaeda and Daesh. The focus has now shifted to the oilfields south of the liberated city, with a frantic rush by both the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the SAA to free territories still held by Daesh. The final goal is to claim Syria's resources and strengthen a weak US position (the US is not even part of the Astana peace talks) in future negotiations concerning the country's future. To understand how much the US dream of partitioning Syria is failing, one only need note repeated US failures as seen in the liberation of Aleppo and then Deir Ez-Zor, and now the crossing of the Euphrates river. In spite of American intimidation, threats, and sometimes even direct aggression, the Syrian army continued to work against Daesh in the province of Deir Ez-Zor, advancing on oil rich sites. Thanks to the protection given by the Russian Federation Air Force during the conflict, Damascus has obtained a protective umbrella necessary to withstand attempts by the US of balkanize the country.

Further confirmation of Washington’s failed strategy to divide the country a la Yugoslavia appears evident from the strategic realignment of the most loyal allies of Washington in the region and beyond. In the course of the last few weeks, several meetings have taken place in Astana and Moscow between the likes of Putin and Lavrov with their TurkishSaudi, and Israeli counterparts. These meetings outlined the guidelines for Syria’s future thanks to Moscow’s red lines, especially regarding Israel’s desire to pursue regime change in Syria and an aggressive attitude towards Iran. Even the most loyal allies of the United States are beginning to plan a future in Syria with Assad as president. US allies have started showing a pragmatic shift towards a reconciliation with the factions that are clearly winning the war and are going to call the shots in the future. The long-held dreams and desires of sheikhs (Saudi-Qatar) and sultans (Erdogan) to reshape Syria and the Middle East in their image are over, and they know it. Washington's allies have been let down, with the US incapable of keeping its promises of fulfilling a regime change in Damascus. The consequences for the US have just begun. Without a military posture capable of bending adversaries and friends to her will, the US will have to start dealing with a new reality that involves compromise and negotiation, something the US is not accustomed to.

An example of what can happen if Washington decides to go against a former friend can be seen with the Gulf Crisis involving Qatar. Since the beginning of the aggression against Syria, the small emirate has been at the center of plots and schemes aimed at arming and financing jihadists in the Middle East and Syria. Five years later, after billions of dollars spent and nothing to hold onto in Syria, the Gulf Cooperation Council, as expected, has plunged into a fratricidal struggle between Qatar and other countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Egypt. The latter accuse Doha of funding terrorism, an undeniable truth. But they omit to acknowledge their own ties to the jihadists (Egypt in this framework is excluded, fighting continually with terrorists inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood in the Sinai), showing a hypocrisy that only the mainstream media can rival.

The consequences of Riyad’s actions against Doha, backed up by a large part of the American establishment, seems, almost six months later, to have finally pushed Qatar and Iran together, reopening diplomatic ties. These are two countries that have for years been on opposite sides of many conflicts in the Middle East, reflecting contrasts and divisions dictated by the respective positions of Tehran and Riyadh. This seems to be no more, with Doha and Tehran coming closer and circumnavigating sanctions and blockades, overcoming common difficulties. This shift can only be described as a strategic failure by Riyadh.

Looking back six years, one of the reasons for the eruption of the conflict in Syria has everything to do with the famous pipeline that Iran intended to build connecting Iraq and Syria. Incredibly, the end of the conflict will see a new transport line emerging between countries that for years have had opposing and diverging strategic goals. Iran and Qatar are currently engaging in trade agreements, and rumors have it that a joint effort to build a new pipeline that should cross Iraq and Syria, to end in the Mediterranean, is in the making. The idea is to jointly exploit the world's largest gas field, and in so doing become a new supplier for a Europe that is looking to diversify its energy imports. Riyadh and Washington will have to take full responsibility for this failure of epic proportions.

A clear sign of how fast things are changing in the region and beyond comes from Israel. Even the Jewish State has had to abandon any dream of territorial expansion into Syria, despite several attempts by Netanyahu to persuade Putin of the existential danger that Israel faces with Iran’s presence in Syria. A smart and pragmatic Putin is able to let Israel know that any request to impose conditions on Russian or its allies in Syria will be firmly refused. But at the same time, Moscow and Tel Aviv will continue to pursue good relations with each other. Russian political figures are far to smart to play double games with their long-standing allies in Syria or to underestimate the capacity that Israel has to disrupt the region and plunge it into chaos. Furthermore, Assad has invited Russia into Syria as well as Iran and Hezbollah. Even if Putin were willing to help Netanyahu, which is doubtful, international law prohibits this. If anything is clear, it is that Moscow respects international law as few nations do. All other foreign nations operating in Syria, or flying over Syrian skies, have no right to be there in the first place, let alone to impose decisions over a sovereign territory.

If Tel Aviv’s goal was to expand the illegal border in the Golan Heights and proceed with regime change, the situation has ended up totally different six years later. Iran has expanded its influence in Syria thanks to aid provided to Damascus in combating terrorism. Hezbollah has increased its battle experience and arsenal, as well as expanded its network of contacts and sympathizers throughout the Middle East. Hezbollah and Iran are seen as Middle Eastern peacemakers, playing positive roles in fighting the plague of jihadist terrorism as well as against Israel and Saudi Arabia, states that have tried in every way to assist terrorist organizations with weapons and money. Washington, Riyadh and Tel Aviv six years later find themselves in a totally different environment, with hostile neighbours, less collaborative friends, and in general, a Middle East increasingly orbiting around the Iranian and Russian spheres of influence.

Another indicator of American decline in military terms can be clearly seen on the Korean peninsula. The DPRK has obtained a full nuclear capability through a development program that has paid scant attention to American, South Korean and Japanese threats. The imperative for Pyongyang was to create a nuclear deterrent capable of dissuading the desire of many US policymakers enact regime change in North Korea. The strategic importance of a regime change in the DPRK follows the strategy of containment and encirclement of the People's Republic of China, a failed doctrine well known as the Asian pivot.

Beside its nuclear deterrent, the US is unable to attack the DPRK because of the conventional deterrent that Pyongyang has patiently put in place. Trump and his generals continue the rhetoric of fire and flames, dragging Seoul and Tokyo into a dangerous game of chicken between two nuclear powers. Not surprisingly, Trump’s words worry everyone in the region, especially the Republic of South Korea, which would pay the heaviest price were war ever to break out. In light of this assessment, it is worth pointing out that the military option is simply unthinkable, with Seoul and perhaps even Tokyo ready to break with its American ally in case of disastrous unilateral action against Pyongyang.

Kim Jong-un, as well as Assad and other world leaders facing pressure from Washington, have fully understood and taken advantage of America’s declining military power. Trump and his close circle of generals are full of empty threats, unable to change the course of events in different regions around the world, from the Middle East to the Korean peninsula. Whether it is through direct action or through proxies, little changes and the results remain the same, showing a continuous failure of goals and intents.

The underlying rule guiding US policy makers is that if a country cannot be controlled, such as with a Saudi-style regime serving only American interests through something like the petrodollar, than that country is useless and ought to be destroyed in order to stop other peer competitors from expanding their ties with that country. The Libyan example is still fresh in everyone's minds. Luckily for the world, Russia has stepped in militarily, and on more than one occasion has, together with her allies, sabotaged or deterred the US military from taking reckless actions (Ukraine, Syria and DPRK).

In this sense, Hillary Clinton's defeat, more than Trump's victory, seems to have instilled some sense into this declining empire, if one ignores the persisting strong rhetoric. One can only shudder on imagining a Clinton presidency in the current environment, with her predictably careening at full speed towards a conflict with Russia in Ukraine and Syria or a nuclear standoff with the DPRK in Asia.

Trump and his generals are slowly adapting to a new reality where it is not only impossible to control countries, but where it is increasingly difficult to destroy them. The old doctrine of wreaking chaos on the world, with a view to emerging once the dust settles down as the world's hegemonic power, now seems like a distant memory. Just looking at the Middle East, even Syria, in spite of the unprecedented destruction, is on the road to reconstruction and pacification.

Russian military power and Chinese economic might have thus played an invaluable role in restricting the US war machine. The DPRK even took a further step by attaining a formidable nuclear and conventional deterrent, effectively blocking the United States from influencing domestic events by bringing about destruction and chaos.

While this reality is difficult for Washington to take, it must come to accept it. After almost seventy years of imperialistic chaos and destruction wrought all over the globe, America’s friends and enemies are starting to react to this situation. Washington is left with a president full of sound and fury, but a credible militarily posture is now but a thing of the past.

The financial mechanisms that have allowed for this indiscriminate military spending are based on an intrinsic bond between dollar, oil, and the role of American money as the world reserve currency. The transition of the world order from a unipolar reality to a multipolar one is deeply tied to the economic and diplomatic strategies of Russia and China.

The next article will explore the role of gold, investment, diplomacy and the petroyuan, which are all decisive factors that have accelerated the transformation and division of power on a global scale.


philipat Shemp 4 Victory Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:44 Permalink

Whilst I agree with the conclusion for broader reasons, I'm not sure that Syria provides a convincing example to prove the point. The US has no legitimacy in Syria under International law; Russia does. Despite several attempts at the usual false flags (chemical weapons etc) which the US usually uses as a pretext to justify a "moral" response in the form of killing millions of civilians, in Syria that fell flat on its face also because the world now knows what to expect from the US and its duplicity so is the lookout for it. The recent weapons shipments story and the very recently proven presence of US special forces in Syria illustrate this duplicity perfectly.But the US still (just!) sees a need to attempt to be able to maintain a facade of righteousness and plausible deniability for the MSM to propogate so it is impossible, especially given all of the above, to enter the Syrian conflict directly and in force.Syria is indeed an illustration that things have changed but in the above respects, especially with Russia on the moral high ground, it is something of a special case. So to use Syria as an illustration of US military decline and weakness is not convincing.

In reply to by Shemp 4 Victory

lucitanian philipat Tue, 09/26/2017 - 10:25 Permalink

How about ships bumping into each other in the night - incompetenceHow about the military role being taken over by the CIA backing AlQaeda, or operating drones and hit lists - DuplicityHow about the failure of anti-missile systems or billion dollar fighters unfly-able , unaccounted trillions - CorruptionWhen without false flag (Vietnam - 9-11 WOT), or just invented intelligence (Iraq 1 and 2), was the last time the US had "the moral high ground"? You can go back to the Philippines and the Sp/Am War for that matter.The US is rotting from within, and your military is part of it and can play act at logistics putting troops and equipment to threaten Russia's boarder or "Pivot" to the west Pacific, but even faced by an insignificant threat like N. Korea, your options are limited to complete nuclear obliteration, and the sacrifice of millions in S.Korea and Japan, both of which countries the US "pretends" to protect while actually using its bases for offensive actions against third countries, or nothing. So far all the hype, money, and sacrifice; the meaning of having this global footprint at the cost of trillions, is as the article suggests, to kick around small guys who can't fight back and who are forced to pay their tithe to the US petrodollar hegemony . So that's why the world is looking at a multi-polar solution, as apposed to uni-polar and the US is incapable of changing its perspective, and with its inefficient hammer, the only tool its left itself with, sees all challenges as a nail.The US military as a solution to anything has failed.

In reply to by philipat

not dead yet SilverRhino Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:10 Permalink

Why would China do something that stupid. Typical American thinking. China and Russia are going all over the world cutting deals in a win win for both parties while the US forces countries to do things that only benefit the US. With countries turning to alternative currencies the death of king dollar and the end of the US stranglehold on the financial system is on the horizon. If the US had treated other countries with respect and cut winning deals with them we wouldn't be discussing the death of the dollar. The US has a mighty military but the damage that can be done with control of the financial system dwarfs what's possible from the military.

In reply to by SilverRhino

Killdo not dead yet Tue, 09/26/2017 - 14:36 Permalink

westerners find it hard to believe that not all cultures are predatory, hoarding psychopaths who want to steal everything from everyone and it's still not enough. Many cultures like Russians, Serbs, etc just want to live in peace and to mind their own business. Psychopaths as usual try to spin this simple human instinct against anyone who dares to not allow Anglozionist mafia to enslave them

In reply to by not dead yet

Killdo sinbad2 Tue, 09/26/2017 - 14:42 Permalink

psychopaths cannot be any other way (it's not their fault - it's the nature of their sickness). It's not universal at all - although all my American jewish friends tell me that it is. Most cultures just want peace and to be free from any other predatory psychopathic 'cultures' who feel they must enslave everyone else because they are mentally sick psychopaths, obsessed with greed, hoarding, stealing because that's the only way they can view life due to their sickness. They have the loudest megaphone, but that does not make their sickness right or desirableit's not even good for them - that's why most psychopaths (or psychopathic cultures, countries etc) tend to self-destruct eventually. We are living through this process as we speak

In reply to by sinbad2

Killdo HRClinton Tue, 09/26/2017 - 14:47 Permalink

and more than anything else it's due to Anglosheeple's natural cheapness, the fact they are very easy to bribe  to sell their souls or their mothers (if they could). That's what happens when a 'culture' values money (and not even the real money) more than anything else. And especially if they live in a Dark Age when it comes to meaningful social interaction and natural biological instincts (like self-preservation). It starts with religion, turning sheeple against itself as they are brainwashed to focus on un-reality instead of what is really happening around them. Plus Anglosheeple are naturally cowards despite the Hollywood propaganda

In reply to by HRClinton

BobEore 07564111 Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:05 Permalink

You are correct... though most probably not in the manner you are thinking."Switch sides" being the key phrase. The EU is being/will be degraded, prior to its' dissolution and the absorbtion of the rump states into a loose coalition of Sraeli-directed satrapies dependent pon that pirate state for policy directions internal and external. Germany, on the other hand, having been at long last seduced into abandoning the Atlanticists and joining up with the Eurasianists, will remain a powerhouse in trade and influence... in exchange for protection under the SCO wing against possible retaliation from former "partners." For the rest of Europe, the future is ZATO... Germany, always under the control of that same management since defeat in the last great war, will be merely transferring it's de facto ownership into the hands of those who already hold the balance of power in Russia - the Lubavitch millennialists bringing Merika to it's knees of the moment.Russia has already agreed to a sweeping partnership in energy production and sales with the sionist state, and will be joining that pirate potentate in managing pipelines through client state Turkiye, while setting aside a junior partnership for the Iranians... who... when the time is right for the announcement... suddenly 'see the light,' and like the other "muslim" states now rushing to be friendly with Srael, drop all pretence of phony 'hostilities' and join the new gravy train with abandon.Indeed, this is all happening right now, before the sightless eyes of a complicit media(msm 0r "alt" matters not a whit)tasked with building smoke screens like this screed to hide the real deal making in progress right now as the Syrian imbroglio draws to its' inevitable conclusion.The intravenous cord of "strategic-culture" style pap will continue to feed the fantasies of occidental exceptionalists, lost in their suicide watch... but the screams of indignant disbelief and outrage here will grow ever fainter and more hollow, as all the above occurs in steps leading to the new pax-Sionista... replacing the Empire which those same mind-controlled dupes cheered the demolition of - with nary a thought as what Even Worse Evil Empire might follow.  

In reply to by 07564111

samjam7 BobEore Tue, 09/26/2017 - 05:42 Permalink

Makes total sense Israel got it all under control, which is why they bother to support Barzani across in Iraq in his vain attempt for independence and desperately try to attempt to keep Iran/Hezbollah out of southern Syria with no success so far. But they have everything under control and are best friends with Russia and just waiting to get their gas pipelines set-up through Syria,....right!Russia does what is best for its interests. At least while Putin is at its helm, if Israel's and Russia's interests happen to align then Putin will do what is in Israel's interests. But only then, he is neither Israel's friend nor foe. Israel wanted Assad out, Israel wants Kurdistan, Israel wants Hezbollah gone. Israel wants a great many things, it did not get any of the above these last few years but you choose to not remember those inconvenient facts in your rants.

In reply to by BobEore

BobEore samjam7 Tue, 09/26/2017 - 06:31 Permalink

WELL WELL WELL...L@@k who's back... new avatar... same ol game. Our fave* "in house" sockpuppet has arrived, as the muddled east begins again to eat up headline space.Bin waitin for ya, lil buddy... since you disappeared so long back - after kindly splaining to me how I could "become popular & win the votes"... jus likeU>>>We'll just wait and see, as the distance widens between our respective track records of geopolitical predictions, shall we>>since our meet up last summer, I've done a credible job of reporting the "TrumpDeception"(tm) along with a welter of other affairs of import which lie way over the heads of your type of sheep dog. Do try to keep up ol buddy... I don't want to miss the moment you fall to the wayside on your exceptionalist highway to hell - joining the other roadkill warriors I've passed along the trail!*save for "Mr Bigs' own personal "break glass and use in emergcncy" SP. He and I have a rematch due. L@@kin forward to it - westcoastdannybouy!

In reply to by samjam7

BobEore BobEore Tue, 09/26/2017 - 07:52 Permalink


We’ve been over this multiple times now.

I said “challenger”... a furry finger on the vote meter is NOT a challenge - it's A CONCESSION.

My browser just crashed as I wrote this comment... funny how many weird things happen on this site.... and how wonderfully err... advanced... technology is gettin!

(Yu can smell the piss n panic in the back office as things start to slide ‘outta control.’ Won’t long now fore ‘Mr Balrog’ the Python luver gets called up from mordor. ///mergency in aisle 7!)


In reply to by BobEore

lucitanian BobEore Tue, 09/26/2017 - 11:16 Permalink

Speaking as one European, how stupid do you think we are? The pendulum is swinging in Europe but the benefits of the European Union have been greater to its citizens than its pitfalls, so far. Democratization, loose federation, a central banking system that works for the Euro-union as a whole could all be improvements to the experiment, no doubt. Nothing is static but seeing the EU as fatally flawed and verging on extinction, while swaying between West and East and only subject to outside influence and pressure is not only simplistic, but unrealistic.There are plenty of ideas and movements towards inevitable logical and pragmatic reform:DiEM 25 ManifestoThings sometimes have to get worse before they get better, but nothing stays the same.

In reply to by BobEore

BobEore lucitanian Tue, 09/26/2017 - 12:37 Permalink

seeing the EU as fatally flawed and verging on extinction, while swaying between West and East and only subject to outside influence and pressure is not only simplistic, but unrealistic.

I'd pretty much agree with - not sure why you're addressing that concern to me, tho. Much, if not most of the 'influence and pressure' pon Europe is internally generated.

One of the great misunderstandings of "European" history is the extent to which 'outside forces' have come 'inside'... such that nativist narratives massively underestimate...

for example... the extent to which that history is a product of a programmatic infiltration of talmudic ideologies accompanied by economic intrigues which QUIETLY BUT EFFECTIVELY suborn both sovereignty and popular will, all the while making it seem as if the changes are of domestic doing.

Such is the power of the MEDIAS which guide that same process, in modern form, of the moment, that my predictions of what is surely to come in the near future

are nothing more than an observation as to WHAT HAS ALREADY OCCURRED, to large extent - yet remains masked by mutual convenience - convenient to the predator, as allowing them to complete their task, unhindered...

convenient to the victim, as allowing them a few more minutes of basking in the false hope of some kind of reprieve, from the fate which awaits them - a fate largely made inevitable by the careless avoidance of both historical record and established patterns of character unchanged over millennia now.

I think of Europeans of anything but "stupid"... but shed no more tears over their fate... given its' self-inflicted origin. Your optimism is admirable, but misplaced, I greatly fear, mon liege.

In reply to by lucitanian

BobEore BobEore Tue, 09/26/2017 - 13:10 Permalink

And... to wrap up the day...

sniveling exceptionalist half-witted mouth-breathers, kindly do take note|

the ahhh... "Continental" gentleman ACTUALLY ASSEMBLED AND ARGUMENT, delivered it in cogent fashion, and completely eschewed your obligatory

style of projectile vomiting... leaving both respondents the better for having thought a little about the subject at hand... rather than how to goose their "popularity rating"... or in the case of our rather pathetic "Spam-jammer Super7... how to keep the boss happy and get another paycheck.

Al: Howard, it's pretty clear by now, the Bobster will be taking home another TKO victory tonite.
Howard: Yes Al - and the shame of it is, all those folks who came out, hoping to see a good thumping, will be heading for the exits soon, with nothing more for their time and effort than another cheap, pre-fight midget wrestling flingfest and run for cover.
Al: Howard, in all honesty now, do you think we'll ever seen a return to the good ol days of "fight club" here?
Howard: Al, buddy - we aren't ever going to see another Muhammed Ali, and we aren't likely to see a return to the great days of intellectual pugilism either. I'm outta here!

In reply to by BobEore

Killdo lucitanian Tue, 09/26/2017 - 14:51 Permalink

I am also a European, most of my European friends think EU is a mistake, they are poorer than ever, nobody can afford to buy a place. I remember back in 93 I bought a place in one of the best areas in London as a student. It was very easy to buy a one bedroom place as a grad, as soon as you get any normal job in Paris, London, San Francisco etc. 20 years later a grad can only dream of being able to rent a good place, let alone buy. EU has made most people poorer and less happy. 

In reply to by lucitanian

Rapunzal Déjà view Tue, 09/26/2017 - 07:24 Permalink

With Isreal/Rothschilds being the master of the US, the US will implode. China and Russia doesn't need to fire a bullet. Once the host is killed the bankers will officially own all hard assets, all land in the US. That's why we have all the divide and conquer going on right now. Black/white, police/people, Trump/NFL etc. The Rothschild Banks own defacto the US already, but they need to secure that possession, so disarm the people and make them hate each other.

In reply to by Déjà view

07564111 Tue, 09/26/2017 - 02:06 Permalink

Current Strategy is to watch internal divisive BS destroy the US (and the West in general )without us firing a shot.

I have free popcorn, I can share :D :D

SmackDaddy 07564111 Tue, 09/26/2017 - 02:26 Permalink

And how does the suicide of the West benefit Russia?

And here's the thing- a renaissance may still be possible in the West. We may need to rise from ash and rubble. But ultimately that's in our DNA.

But Russia, even at her peak, is a drunken dysfunctional culture that has the highest abortion rates in the world. It's really quite sickening African tier behavior

In reply to by 07564111

07564111 SmackDaddy Tue, 09/26/2017 - 02:42 Permalink

a renaissance may still be possible in the Westnot without considerable pain We may need to rise from ash and rubbleIndeed, and both Russia and China have proved that such a rise is possible. ( Unless your ash and rubble comment is taken literally ) The questions are..1) Will you be able to rise.2) Will you have learned anything from your failures.3) Will you be willing to cooperate instead of control. And how does the suicide of the West benefit Russia?Instead of spending time and treasure guarding the fence we will be able to repair our house.

In reply to by SmackDaddy

Vageling BorisTheBlade Tue, 09/26/2017 - 03:43 Permalink

They don't get it. What I found is that the Russians have a different mind set. Closer to my own than the Murican way. All this macho gun ho bullshit... No wonder they fancy salafist. What's wrong with being self controlled, flexible and when pushed into a corner... Eat your enemy alive. They forced you to that point. These think thanks forget about culture. What one perceives as weak may not be weakness at all. I see this shit daily. I get along better with my brothers in the East here then in the West. They all have this gun slinging BS going on thinking it makes them look strong. Now sit on that. 

In reply to by BorisTheBlade