More Countries Start Exploring Alternatives To The US World Order

Authored by Federico via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

There are two countries that more than others show how the Western world order is undergoing a profound change. Japan and Turkey occupy two distinct and diverse geographical areas, yet they share many of the same strategic choices about their future. Their geopolitical trajectory is increasingly drifting away from Washington and moving closer to China, Russia, India and Iran.

Both Japan and Turkey are two important states in the US’s strategy for controlling the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Both countries have economies that are competitive in comparison to their neighbors, and both often conveniently find themselves allied to countries within Washington’s orbit. Japan has a good relationship with South Korea, and Turkey (until a few years ago) had a privileged relationship with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Keeping in mind that the US aims to prolong and consolidate its regional dominance, Washington has always tried to have excellent relations with these two countries as a way of ensuring its constant presence in regional affairs.

Japan and Turkey have perfectly fulfilled America’s role for them in military, financial and economic terms. Ankara, for example, is a key part of NATO and offers military bases like the Incirlik Air Base, allowing for US military influence in the Middle East. Qatar, for example, is a satellite of Turkey, thanks to the shared religious bonds of the Muslim Brotherhood. Not by coincidence, one of the most important US air bases is located in Qatar, helping further lock in America’s regional presence. The goal, of course, is geopolitical, highlighting America’s ongoing confrontation with Iran, Russia and China. The United States tends to control certain geographical areas because of its military and economic power that is expressed directly or indirectly through compliant allies like Turkey and Japan.

Japan, for example, appears to be in a historically favorable position to be able counter the Sino-Russian influence in the Pacific. Japan, a key ally of the United States, has been subject to Washington’s military diktats ever since the conclusion of the Second World War, always being viewed as a chain of islands ideal for containing the military expansion of Russia and China.

Originally, in the minds of policy makers like Brzezinski, countries like Japan and Turkey held vital importance because of the dual role they played. They offered not only an obvious contrast to China and Iran respectively but also to Russia, given their privileged strategic position. In a different way, and with different degrees of success, Turkey and Japan have had some acute differences with Iran, Russia and China over the last few decades. Russia and Japan have never signed a peace treaty since the end of the Second World War. Japan and China have for years had very heated differences over the events of the Second World War as well as over their rivalry in the Pacific. In the Middle East, Russia and Turkey almost came to blows only a few years ago; and on the Crimean affair, Ankara took an anti-Moscow stance. Most importantly, Turkey is one of the advocates of the war against Syria, which is a great ally of Iran.

Trump’s victory, the decline of the unipolar world order, and a series of sensible strategic choices by Iran, Russia and China, have served to usher in a process of transformation in these two regions. The manner in which this transformation is occurring differs significantly. In the Middle East, the forces supporting Damascus are ending the conflict and moving Turkey away from the aggressor camp. Ankara has chosen to keep one foot in each camp, and even though Moscow is perfectly aware of this, it is still better than Turkey being one step away from declaring war with Russia. In the same way, the failed coup in Turkey, which Ankara attributes to Gulen and the CIA (mistakenly, in my view, about which I wrote at the time), has had as an immediate effect of moving Tehran and Ankara closer together, in spite of their differences over the situation in Syria and Iraq. Other factors that have served to bring Turkey closer to the Sino-Russo-Iranian axis concern the rift within the Gulf Cooperation Council, with the commercial and industrial blockade against Qatar, an ally of Turkey, conducted by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and enjoying Trump’s blessing.

To this extent we can also add the understanding between Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey on the Kurds and the territorial integrity of Syria. Contrary to what Erdogan would have expected, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are Washington's tool for illegally occupying Syria and influencing events in the country. And, lastly, another consideration to take into account is the increasingly strong tensions between European Union countries and Turkey, especially between Berlin and Ankara, with Erdogan and Merkel increasingly driven apart by humanitarian and strategic positions occasioned by the migrant crisis since 2014.

Even though Japan enjoys relatively good relations with Washington, trade tariffs have given Abe further incentive to pursue a much more independent policy than in the past. Trump’s abandonment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) confirmed the fears of Abe and the Japanese establishment. Tokyo seems to have fully embraced multi-stakeholder relations and is assigning strong economic priority to this end. The creation of an economic zone between ASEAN, Japan and South Korea has been suggested as a replacement of the TPP. There has even been an attempt by Japan to diversify important sources of energy (80% currently comes from the Middle East), with Russia being an easily accessible source.

The Kuril Islands dispute with Russia will first need to be resolved. Nevertheless, it is conceivable that economic and energy relations could be established while setting aside highly divisive matters for now. Another important aspect in Japan's strategic opening concerns participation in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which would greatly enhance the synergies between the two countries.

What can clearly be seen in analyzing Turkey and Japan’s situation is that they find themselves in very different situations, but both have a wide range of options at their disposal. These two countries are in a transitional phase that cannot last forever. Both are currently enjoying the benefits of a fruitful dialogue with both contending groups, the US and Europe on the one hand, and Russia, China and Iran on the other. The strategy of Abe and Erdogan seems to be aimed at avoiding to have to choose in the future what side to be on.

For Turkey, an important member of NATO, it is almost impossible to leave the NATO, given the country’s strategic importance. Having said that, Turkey’s pursuit of third-party weapon systems like the Russian S-400 already seems to be setting a course for a showdown with Washington.

Japan still seems more hesitant in diversifying its relations than Turkey, preferring to continue a fruitful dialogue with Washington and its main allies in the region. One element that could severely curb Abe's support for Trump concerns the negotiations with North Korea. Abe has no reason to cheer at the prospect of a union of the two Koreas. Japan would find itself with a strong competitor in the region that would inevitably end up integrating completely with China, strengthening the triad of China, Russia and Korea to the detriment of Japan, which would be left isolated from the continental block.

This change is already happening in the Middle East, with Turkey, Iran and Russia in Astana trying to pacify Syria without the involvement of the United States. It would represent a major loss of US influence in the region were Tokyo to begin an important trade cooperation with ASEAN, an energetic one with Russia, and participate in an infrastructure project like the BRI with Beijing.

These processes require significant changes that will not happen overnight. An economic indicator that suggests Japan and Turkey could be moving away from the US dollar system is the entering into bilateral agreements that are not denominated in the dollars. This is precisely what Turkey is doing with Iran, as reported by Press TV. A general moving away from a dependence on the US dollar as the world reserve currency is explained by the Strategic Culture Foundation:

“The US Treasury Department report for April published on June 15 revealed that Russia sold $47.4 billion out of the $96.1 it had held in Treasury bonds (T-bonds). In March, Moscow cut its Treasury holdings by $1.6 billion. In February, Russia reduced its bond portfolio by $9.3 billion. Other holders did it too. Japan sold off about $12 billion, China liquidated roughly $7 billion. Ireland ditched over $17 billion.”

Moscow, Beijing and Teheran will have to offer to Japan and Turkey peace, development and mutual gain in order to accelerate the replacement of the United States as a central player in the international relations of these two countries. It will not be easy, given the nature of Abe and Erdogan, but Xi Jinping and Putin have shown themselves to be masters of cleverly combining the commercial, economic, military and diplomatic skills of China, Russia and Iran.


Yen Cross Thu, 06/28/2018 - 21:47 Permalink

  They should... There's nothing wrong with sovereign identity and culture.

 That's why people travel and explore different cultures.

  SHENZEN is toast. 

  Respect the cultures of other people, and you'll be treated with respect.

swmnguy Rapunzal Thu, 06/28/2018 - 23:04 Permalink

Yep, now it's the pre-bankruptcy & liquidation, to be followed by the dump.  That's why so many placed in the Administration have histories of amassing great fortunes through B&L.  They're about ready to go for the biggest B&L looting prize ever, the United States of America.  What citizens of Venezuela, Greece, Argentina, Chile, Spain and pretty much all of Africa have experienced, US citizens are about to experience.  John Perkins' confessions are going to sound like nursery bedtime stories.

In reply to by Rapunzal

Rapunzal swmnguy Thu, 06/28/2018 - 23:28 Permalink

It’s sometimes make me wonder the IQ of the majority of the people is incredibly low. I always ask in economic discussions “Who has the most interest, destroying the dollar?” Most answer the “Chinese or Russians” I just can laugh, the largest debtors in all human history are the US with 22trillion debt and over a 100 trillion unfunded liabilities and the 6 big American banks with 200 trillion derivatives with no value. So again who is really interested to kill the dollar :)

In reply to by swmnguy

Precious Hawk shemite Fri, 06/29/2018 - 06:56 Permalink

How long would it take to sell - dump - the US$???

One transaction to purchase all the Gold held by Comex would be a good start.

Do you imagine the Russia and China don't have a plan?

Then ask about the debtor countries, ones that owe billions denominated in US$.

They would be beholden to the country that dumped the US$.

Where do you think the top 1% old their money? In cash? In the bank?  They would lose, big.

Just rambling on!

In reply to by shemite

OutOfThinAir swmnguy Fri, 06/29/2018 - 10:15 Permalink

I get confused, and some random notes follow.

How would a crashed USA help Israel? Contain Russia? Regime change Iran?

Maybe the whole plan is to burn the whole thing down.

Order out of chaos and such.

But then why go through all the trouble of creating Israel in the first place?

That was a lot of effort: World War Two, convincing US Christians to support it, and so on.

When you're on top, why risk rocking the boat?

Or are our overlords actually human and have made strategic blunders that leaves them with few options?

Khazaria was already defeated once....

In reply to by swmnguy

Yen Cross Pernicious Gol… Thu, 06/28/2018 - 22:46 Permalink

  The Turks had at least 30 air launched U.S. nukes at Incirlik before they started playing games with German diplomats.

   That was when Erdogan was playing crack down games last year.

  I'm pretty sure those weapons have been re positioned.

  What really pissed Trump off, was that debacle in D.C. with the Turkish secret service and protestors.

In reply to by Pernicious Gol…

Greed is King Yen Cross Fri, 06/29/2018 - 08:27 Permalink

"Respect the cultures of other people, and you'll be treated with respect."

Which is why America will never be respected, America will never be respected because they have never shown respect to others.

Both Japan and Turkey have good reason to hate America, Japan has been a vassal state used as Americas lackie for decades; and Turkey`s dictator Erdowan knows it was America`s CIA under orders from America`s Piggery that organised the failed coup to overthrow him. Like all power mad tyrants, Erdowan bears grudges.

In reply to by Yen Cross

Boonster Thu, 06/28/2018 - 21:54 Permalink

Let them deal with the Russians, Chinese and Iranians for a while. Those three countries have few allies for a reason. They treat people like shit.

Boonster besnook Fri, 06/29/2018 - 04:56 Permalink

Are you serious? It's not even close. Who are China's and Russia's allies? Only a handful. All of Eastern Europe hates Russia because of the atrocities committed under the USSR. All of China's neighbors hate them too, especially India and Vietnam. China's only real allies are Pakistan and North Korea. Russia's main allies are India, China, Belarus, Iran and Syria. 


In reply to by besnook

Ghost who Walks Boonster Fri, 06/29/2018 - 05:46 Permalink

Don't confuse like with need.

I can assure you that many countries have Allies that they don't like, but they need to maintain good relations with those countries because of mutual strategic interests. Don't forget that Germany and France may not be the best of friends in the past, but they operate together to ensure mutually positive outcomes.

As an example in Asia, both Myanmar and Laos may not like China, but as they share borders they have mutual interests that causes them to operate co-operatively to suppress drug smuggling.

Australia currently exports about 5 times as much to China as we do to the USA. We might be Allies and friend to the USA, but only until your Government tries to put sanctions on China that we are supposed to respect. We need China. We currently import twice as much from the USA as we export to the USA and it is Australia's biggest trading imbalance.

In reply to by Boonster

nmewn Umh Thu, 06/28/2018 - 22:03 Permalink

Well, not to state the completely obvious but...we've never been conquered and never defaulted (like France, Germany, Russia, China etc) so, there is that!

Hey, we understand, when you're the champ everybody wants a crack at you whether they're actually worthy of the title or not so, take your best shot ;-)

In reply to by Umh

LetThemEatRand TBT or not TBT Thu, 06/28/2018 - 22:30 Permalink

Seriously?  Granted the earlier civilizations did not have global reach as we know it today due to lack of things like missiles and planes and  nuclear weapons, but you're telling me France around 1700 wasn't top dog?  And you don't think Germany was ever at the top of the heap when they took on the world?  And you don't think China was ever the most advanced civilization?

In reply to by TBT or not TBT

TBT or not TBT LetThemEatRand Thu, 06/28/2018 - 22:40 Permalink

No.  France always has had rival European powers.    China was a big deal in China for a long time .   Germany never defeated the UK nevermind any of its prosperous spawn, including of course the USA which massively outproduced Germany .    Russia persisted by throwing millions upon millions of nearly unarmed peasants into the breach, while depending on the USA for a lot of its war material.    Read Churchill's on the beaches speech for a sense of the awe as proud a man as Churchill held for "the new world" to ultimately crush Germany .

In reply to by LetThemEatRand

nmewn LetThemEatRand Thu, 06/28/2018 - 22:41 Permalink

The short answer is no. None of them were ever top dog. Britain, Spain were always competitors with France and China & Russia were never even in contention. Germany was nothing but "land rich" under the Nazis which, if you can't hold it, you don't own it.

And they all found that out no matter what they decided amongst themselves at the Berlin Conference on Africa. 

They couldn't hold it after all ;-)

In reply to by LetThemEatRand

Greed is King nmewn Fri, 06/29/2018 - 08:41 Permalink

America has been fortunate in having weak and non-aggressive neighbours on its Northern and Southern borders, and its Eastern and Western coastlines protected by the super moats of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; BUT, America needs to understand that the days of bulky slow moving battleships and aircraft are gone, today potential invaders have supersonic bombers and missiles, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are no barrier or deterrent to them.

In reply to by nmewn

besnook Thu, 06/28/2018 - 21:59 Permalink

japan's future is with china. they know it. the usa doesn't want to know it. a unified korea has the same intention. they are returning home to the greater asian prosperity circle.

Yen Cross besnook Thu, 06/28/2018 - 22:10 Permalink

 I appreciate the fact that you've researched the idea.

  Might happen, but not in our lifetimes.  I plan to live to at least 100.

 When this whole cosmic idea was started, it was decided that intellectual knowledge should be handed down from generation after generation.

 It's a pretty novel idea. Some things are shared over generations, while the most important secrets are shared on the deathbed of the patriarch or matriarch, with most entrusted individuals, to carry on the blood line.

In reply to by besnook

1 Alabama Yen Cross Thu, 06/28/2018 - 22:37 Permalink

by 71 you'll spend 1/2 the private day wishing you were dead and the other half in joyous public denial, dont believe me?

how long do the aches and pains last after you wake in the morning?? It only gets worse everyday for the average joe six pack.

You can lie to yourself and its all good, you lie to me and the mirror and then see the misery

In reply to by Yen Cross

SergeA.Storms besnook Fri, 06/29/2018 - 00:39 Permalink

Historically you must not have read about the wars between Japan, China, Korea, and parts of SouthEast Asia.  There is no history of cooperation, there is a lot of history of raping and piliging.  30 years ago China was a developing nation, guess who paid for it?  America carries the world debt.  That debt is income.  300 million population vs 2 Billion population, economically who do you bet on?  I’m taking the ones who don’t still have mass amounts of families living in huts and have lead the world in all forms of advancement. Have we been assholes along the way, yes, but we have also done more for more countries in the world than any other country.  We lost our course, time to correct it.  

In reply to by besnook