System Changes

Gagik Harutyunyan

27 March 2009

Everything that happens in the world today is characterized by the
expert community as a system crisis. This wording is reasonable,
because considerable changes, accompanied by economical recession,
expansion of terrorism, creation of new seats of instability, take
place almost in all areas of life activity.

The Challenges of Multi-Polar World

The main process going on in the political space is the creation of
multi-polar world order. The geopolitical outlines of this new system
are very dim and the rules of the game are not laid down yet. This
dictates terms to the international actors, who have to clarify their
current policy and to elaborate new tactics. The foregoing tendencies
are reasonable. The political philosophy of the United States, which
was dominating, turned out to be plain and many countries reacted
adequately on it. Today there are several centers of global power;
their relations comply with the logic of new "cold war" and turn into
military (local wars), diplomatic and informational conflicts. The
current economic crisis, as a matter of fact, is also a geo-economic
component of that "Cold war": energy products price deflation,
"gas war" between Russia and Ukraine, decline in capacities and many
other developments of that kind definitely touch on Russia, China,
and this reminds the economic war against "social camp" during the
"First cold war".

It is also significant that today contradictions are deepening not
only between traditional opponents (the USA- the RF, the USA- the
CPR, the USA-Islamic countries) but also implicitly between the EU
and the USA. For example, some official circles in the EU regard the
disapproval of "Treaty of Lisbon" on a referendum in Ireland (it had
to substitute the rejected Euroconstitution) in 2008 as a result of
Pentagon and CIA activity (there was even unofficial investigation
pursued on this matter)1.

There are different and contradictive characteristics of new
political developments in the circumstances concerned. But there
is one issue that political analysts are concurrent. The formation
of multi-polar world contains many dangers and in this context the
growth of possibility of new wars outbreak is inevitable.

Pessimistic scenarios

The culture of political forecasts is more cultivated in the USA and
on this matter it is significant that there was a report on danger
of expansion of mass destruction weapons (they had in their minds
North Korea and Iran) that the US special services presented to the
Senate in 20082. It is interesting that the report contained not
only observations on the difficult situation in Iraq, Afghanistan
and Pakistan but it also touched on the problems which might cause
political instability in Europe (look above). In another report
made by internal security service, there was said that in the coming
five years the United States might be attacked by WMD3. The report
"Global trends – 2025" 4 by National Intelligence Council (NIC),
which also contains some troublous signs, needs special analysis.

Russian analysts are not optimistic either5. Some of them stand on the
opinion that the state of war has been sustainable since September 11,
and it is difficult not to agree with this point of view. Others think
that this crisis may cause large-scale nuclear war. It is significant
that in 2008 the USA and Russia reconsidered their military doctrines;
the EU, Great Britain and China also introduce military reforms6.

While examining the forecasts by research centres and separate
analysts, it is necessary to take into consideration that they have
informational and agitation influence component and thus they partially
pursue the tactical aim. It is also known that such forecasts, at
some extent, direct possible scenarios of future developments, and,
what is most important; they seem to be objectively reasonable. Unlike
two-polar world (the USA-the USSR), there are no "deterrent mechanisms"
formed in multi-polar world, there are no treaties on the restriction
of strategic weapons. All this increases the possibility of large-scale
(or even nuclear) war.

"Geo-political legacy" of President George Bush: Middle and Near East

In the context of nuclear war in recent years (especially in 2003-2007)
MNE was considered as "risk" zone, where the relations between the
USA, its ally Israel and Iran were escalated because of the nuclear
program of Iran and developments around Iraq. At present (in spite
of the new conflict between Palestine and Israel which broke out in
December 2008) there is an impression that all sides reached some
non-official agreements which deescalated situation and reduced the
possibility of nuclear war in the region. This is evidenced by passive
behavior of "Hezbollah" and particularly by the fact that on January
11 of this year Ali Khomenei prohibited the citizens of Iran to take
part in current war and terrorist attacks against Israel.

It is remarkable that in the course of Israeli-Palestinian
confrontation Turkey took the toughest stance. Prime-minister Erdogan,
when raising the issue of barring Israel from the UN, tried "to be
a greater Catholic than the Pope". While the main reason of the
contradictions between Turkey and Israel is the Kurdish factor,
which stirred up after the war in Iraq and in this issue Turkey’s
approaches are closer to the policy conducted by Iran in this line. In
addition to this, the ebbing of influence of the US in the region,
the emerging "identity crisis" in the inner sphere and other problems
make Turkey look for new partners in Eurasia, among which Russia may
also be included. It is also obvious that well-known tendencies in
the relations with Armenia also comply with that logic. Anyway, today
national interests of Turkey and Israel principally differ and former
strategic partnership between these countries, in all appearance,
is in the past7.

On the assumption of the aforementioned tendencies, one may say that
in the future the strongholds of the US in MNE will be Israel, with
some reservations Iran (thereby we should remember that the relations
between Israel and Iran and the US and Iran used to be rather warm)
and Kurdish formation having status, which is close to a state. From
the point of view of classical strategy this scheme is optimal for
the Americans because the contradictions between the parties will
essentially raise the role of the US. The strategy of George Bush,
who not only remade that key region, but also brought the political
content of MNE into line with the national interests of the US and
Israel, should be particularly distinguished. We can state that by
using power methods and ignoring the reduction of his rating president
Bush left a "huge geo-political capital" to his successor

President Barak Obama: "Large scale PR project"

As early as 2007 comparatively "peaceful" tendencies in MNE were
"outlined" in American experts’ forecasts8. The changes in the US
policy after the presidential elections in 2008 were also assumed. It
had been supposed that the democrats would replace "neorepublicans". In
those reports there was emphasized that under the conditions when
the US "retreat", the doctrine of preventative military operations
would be replaced by the strategy of "soft power".

But foreign observers, who followed forecasts and pre-election
processes, could hardly imagine that impressive victory of senator
Obama and estimate the influence of that victory on the US and global
policy in general. Of course it is early to speak about political
achievements of newly elected president, but it is obvious, that
political establishment of the US implemented a large-scale PR project,
which can conventionally be called "Barak Obama". The commentators are
unison in the opinions that the mission of the newly elected president
is to raise extremely low rating of the US in the international
community and it is hard not to agree with such an approach. It is not
surprising that by his first decree president Obama closed notorious
prison in Guantanamo. The withdrawal of American military forces
(MF) from Iraq on a tight schedule is expected. But let us mention
that this last step, in all appearance, have to continue the "big
strategy" of the Bush administration, which pursued the aim to create a
"managed chaos" and to split that country. The current realities in
Iraq evidence that the most part of that task is completed. Iraq is
divided between Sunnis, Shiahs and Kurds and the misrule prevails in
the country. During the occupation more than 500 thousand locals were
killed in consequence of acts of violence and compulsive actions. At
the same time American military presence at some extent restricts
terror and interfaith clashes, and one can assume that the withdrawal
of occupational troops may encourage the growth of terrorism in that
country. In other words, the current US administration will try to
continue the policy of its predecessor and, at the same time, they
will attach it some new mode or format, which is "acceptable" for
American and international community. We think that such an approach
will be also implemented in other directions of American policy.

In all circumstances we should state that "nuclear accents" in MNE
appreciably softened. At present the problem of nuclear war sharpened
in the space of the relations between India and Pakistan. As one
political commentator mentioned in his day "if during the Cold war the
big amount of missiles the USSR and the US possessed was a preventing
factor, then the limited amount of nuclear missiles as in case with
Pakistan and India has quite an opposite effect. The absence of mutual
consent and the fear to be pushed back to the wall enhances the wish
to use the missiles".

Pakistan-India confrontation or "positive result from negative
processes" political technology

When on August 19, 2008, the president of Pakistan Pervaz Musharraf
resigned under the pressure of opposition, the international
community was mainly occupied by the war in South Ossetia between
Russia and Georgia and other political developments were pushed to the
sidelines. Meanwhile from the point of view of classical geopolitics
Central Asia is key region and superstates always were keen to control
that part of Eurasia.

Without going into historical details it should be remembered that
Afghanistan was the first aim of the USA after the attacks on September
11th. It is significant that in 2001 political technology, which can
be conditionally called "positive result from negative processes"
(positive reaction on negative action), was realized. Taking terrorist
attacks on September 11th (negative process) as a basis, the US (and
NATO) transformed it into a big geopolitical conquest and established
military presence in Central Asia, in the neighbour of the RF and
the CPR (positive result). In the past the same technology was used,
e.g. in 1941 when they used Purl Harbour to enter World War II. And
quite recently, in 2008, various "coloured" election developments in
the RA9 and Georgian-Russian war10 can be regarded as the examples of
such an approach. In this political conception informational factor
is of great importance, and this allows some analysts to regard it
as a component of "informational wars of third generation".

Apropos of the constraint resignation of Musharraf, we can state that
the controllability of Pakistan, which was not on a high level, has
even reduced. According to some versions this trend coincides with
the programmes of Great Britain and the USA, aiming to destabilize
the region (on the basis of conception of controllable chaos) (look
the aforementioned example of Iran) and as a result to try to weaken
their major opponent, China.

Within the framework of that version the terrorist attacks on
Mumbai in November, 2008, which are supposed to be organized by
Pakistani government and mainly by Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI)
(it is regarded as the most powerful special service in the region),
show that there is such strategy. Not only Indian government but also
independent observers are of the opinion that this terrorist attack
are worked out by the special services. In this connection it should
be mentioned that the special services experts are unison in opinions
that "Taliban" and Bin Laden are the result of joint activity of the
ISI and the CIA. Such a mode is characteristic of American (and not
only American) special services. Mainly, there is a version that the
Islamic radicals in the Guantanamo and secret CIA prisons in Eastern
Europe were enlisted and "programmed" by special services in order to
arrange "managed acts of terrorism" in the future. Circumstantially the
messages, which say that most of the former prisoners of those prisons
again undergo terrorist activity, evidence in favour of that version11.

As a result of the terrorist attack on Mumbai the relations between
India and Pakistan became extremely tense; troops were concentrated
on the border; and mass media started to discuss the possibility
of nuclear war. It is significant that as back as 1997-2001 the best
military and analytical specialists of the USA worked out the following
documents: "Asia – 2025" and "Joint vision – 2020", which contained
the scenarios of possible nuclear confrontation between Pakistan and
India12. The following scenario is the most remarkable of them:

"New order in South Asia" scenario

In 2010 Pakistan is in deep economic crisis. Its economy recesses,
the inability of government brings to instability, some tribes rebel,
Islamic radicals become active, and in 2012 they invade and take
over the control of Indian state of Kashmir. India, which due to
the collaboration with the USA is in advance of China and becomes
the leader of that region, demands Pakistan to subdue radicals and
withdraw them from Kashmir but weakened Pakistani government is not
to comply with the demand. India brings additional troops into the
state. Pakistan demands to withdraw Indian troops, China supports
that demand and begins to concentrate their troops on the border with
India. The USA involves and demands China to safeguard neutrality.

The conflict reaches its climax when India being afraid of WMD
engagement on behalf of Pakistan conducts missile attacks on WMD
posts and terrorist camps (according to other scenario that conflict
emerges after Pakistani missile crashes the plane carrying Indian
ministers and high-ranked officers in the sky over Kashmir). In
response uses nuclear weapons against India. As a result of initiated
nuclear war (in which the US takes active part on the side of India
by conducting missile attack on Pakistani nuclear posts) and chaos,
in 2020 Pakistan as a state does not exist any more. Meanwhile India
turns into undeniable regional leader and all Asian countries and
firstly Iran make overture to India.

The aforementioned scenario is the most advantageous from the point of
view of the US interests. In consequence of war their main opponent
China is pushed to the sidelines and the US strategic partners India
and Iran turns into the leaders of Asia. The US has established new
higher level of cooperation with India in recent years (particularly in
the nuclear sphere). As it was mentioned above the US use new strategy
towards Iran, which can bring to partnership relations between these
two countries.

Other possible variants of the developments

There are also some American scenarios which state the dominance of
China and which suppose the displacement of the US from South Asian
and Asian-Pacific region (the so called "Mighty China" scenario). On
the assumption of China’s current development tendencies, it can be
assumed that this scenario is more realistic than "New order in South
Asia" scenario. At the same time, in multi-polar system the US is
"the first among equal" and the strategy implemented successively by
them may strongly affect any process which seems to be natural.

In addition the possibility of diametrically opposed scenarios
should not be excluded either. Zbigniew Brzezinsky, the adviser of
newly elected U.S. President B. Obama, on January 12 of current year
suggested Beijing to create the USA-PRC "big two" ("G2"), which will
be able to handle main global problems. It remains an open question
how China would react on that suggestion.

The question how China would react on that suggestion remains
open. One of the classics used to say: "it is more dangerous to be
friends with Anglo-Saxons than to conflict with them". The Chinese,
who suffered humiliation from the British during the "opium wars"
in 19th century, should be conscious of that fact pretty well. Today
the issue of Taiwan is the main offend in the relations between the
US and the PRC. At the same the rebuilding and the relative thaw in
the relations between the US and the PRC during the First Cold war
made the USSR rebuild its defense system with efforts. Anyway the
international relations in multi-polar system will undergo essential
changes and in this context unexpected developments are possible.

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