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In a televised interview with American journalist Charlie Rose that aired on March 29, 2015, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad  argued  that  the  world  political  order  required

“balance” moving forward. Assad did not elaborate on what he meant by the word “balance.” Nor would he ever be able to do so, given that he is a dictator whose family has ruled Syria with an iron fist for over 40 years now and thus has no understanding of what “balance” constitutes. Assad’s espousal of what is known as “Arab secularism” or “Ba’athism” contributes both to a lack of balance in his worldly outlook, and to the indignation toward him on the part of religious communities within both the Muslim and Jewish populations that are integral parts of the social and political fabric of the Middle East. In recent years, the philosophy of Arab secularism and Ba’athism led to the downfall of both Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gadhafi in Libya, and it also led to the humiliation of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt during the Arab uprisings of 2011. The philosophies of Arab secularism and Ba’athism may well, in fact, lead to the downfall of Assad in Syria sometime in the near future. According to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant – known as the father of Western philosophy – peace within any set of geographical lines is political, not legal. The law, when effectively enforced within any given territory, is the effect of a political peace imposed by an utmost powerful entity. Kant adds that war is the normal transition to peace as the world becomes smaller and more interconnected; once the utmost powerful entity completes the war (which is the essence of politics), it then follows that the utmost powerful entity establishes the peace. When laws are enforced, it signals that the most powerful entity within a territory is not only powerful enough to enforce laws, but also willing enough, through a sense of moral responsibility, to enforce laws.1 Kant’s thoughts on peace (which is the objective of international politics and relations)

undoubtedly carry an Epicurean strain, for it was Epicurus who said: “There is no such thing as Law; there is only Power.”

In some cases, a political sovereign can be powerful enough to refuse enforcement of laws while imposing its political will. But in any case, the law is a political tool of the most powerful entity or entities, used to impose political will in a particular territory. Law is one of many instruments in the imposition of what is known as “world order.” In today’s globalized context, however, the imposition of power, law, world order, and the responsibilities that come with power must now be carried out on a global scale by a range of nations. By some accounts, Western discourse on peace and international law, particularly on the part of international lawyers in this day and age, emphasizes the legal aspect of peace and obscures the most important aspect, which is the political aspect that carries with it numerous moral, ethical, cultural, and religious dimensions. Moreover, acts such as torture, carried out by the intelligence and military institutions of the United States of America since September 11, 2001 that are questionable in legality, not only undermine the political aspect of peace, but also undermine long-standing legal conventions created by Western nations that guide the enforcement of peace. Along with the prohibition on torture, sarin gas had been banned by international law after the devastation it caused to Europeans during World War I, and the Geneva Conventions soon after World War II were a response to the atrocities and genocide that were committed against the Jewish people in Europe during the Holocaust by the Nazis.

Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and the countless CIA black sites around the world, where torture was committed in the name of security, have upset the stability of the Middle East and, in turn, the stability of the entire world in a way that is similar to what happened before the outbreak of World War I and World War II.  In fact, much of the fighting that occurred during World War II occurred in the Middle East and North Africa, before the fighting actually intensified on European territory. Governments in the

broader Middle East that abetted the torture through acquiescence or collaboration—like the Syrian government of Bashar Al-Assad, the remains of Gadhafi loyalists in Libya, the Shi’ite government of Iraq, and the U.S.-backed government of Afghanistan—are now targets of those individuals and groups who were subjected to the torture. The Al-Qaeda of the past has transformed into something even more barbaric, criminal, and insane by the name of Da’ish, known to Westerners as “ISIS” or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Westerners have directly felt the devastating impact  of ISIS on world order over the past few years in places like France, Belgium, and even the United States.

The effects of chaos in the Middle East, as shown in recent times, have not been confined to a localized context. The chaos of the Middle East carries yet another dimension, which is the re- emergence of the division within the world political order between the Western world, led by the United States of America, and the Eastern world, led by Russia and China. The lines have essentially been drawn: Russia now supports the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Shi’ite militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the government of the Syrian Arab Republic led by Bashar Al-Assad, whereas the United States supports the Sunni government of Saudi Arabia, the Sunni Syrian rebels, the Sunni government of Yemen in exile in Saudi Arabia, and the Sunni government of Bahrain against the Shi’ite opposition in Bahrain. Sectarian tensions that were once dormant in the Middle East have now been set aflame due to geo- strategic moves made by both the United States and Russia. Kant’s model of “peace through war” now applies in the Middle East. Each side now seeks to tilt the balance of power in its own favor in order to establish at least a semblance of peace.

What is troubling to the West, and to all stakeholders, is that the United States has not been able to form a consensus on UN Security Council Resolutions pertaining to the Middle East since its 2011 mission in Libya, as demonstrated by Russian and Chinese vetoes and abstentions over Syria. Consensus-building has often

been seen as a hallmark feature of America’s superpower status. The decline of America’s ability to build a consensus with other nations is yet another sign of America’s decline in overall power. And yet, according to Francis Fukuyama, every single dimension of development, including peace and security, are, in his words, “heavily influenced by what goes on at an international level.”2 Given the state of politics at the international level among the world’s major powers, such as the United States and Russia, the reality currently does not bode well for peace prospects in the Middle East or anywhere else. Both Ukraine and its implications in Europe and the broader conflict in the Middle East are reflections of the tension between the United States and particularly Russia  at the international level, as referred to by Fukuyama. China will be the one seeking to capitalize off of a divided Western world fraught with tensions between the U.S. and Russia in a matter of time, and China is currently converting economic resources into military prowess and growing in geopolitical stature. China, in July 2017, unveiled its first military base on foreign territory in Djibouti in eastern Africa. China’s rise, seen through a comparative lens, can be attributed to the decline of Western nations. The idea that China is rising due to the decline of Western  nations is encompassed in  a concept or theory known as “relative decline,” which has been developed in recent times by Harvard Professor Joseph Nye. One of the first examples of “relative decline” in history comes from the Judeo-Christian tradition, where King Solomon’s numerous indulgences in women lead to the rise of Rome, which in turn became a great empire and eventually destroyed the Kingdom of Israel. Before addressing China’s rise, however, the United States and various Western nations will have to put their own houses in order, so to speak. Common features of American society since the end of World War II, such as peace, stability, and “order,” which many people have taken for granted, are now in question and are feared by many to be in danger. Donald Trump famously spoke of bringing back “law and order” to American society as his number-

one priority in his nomination speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Trump’s  acute  sense  of  order  having  broken  down  within American society, as well as throughout the globe, prompts a study and an exploration of the broader idea that is known as “world order.” Conspiracy theorists and anti-establishment folks alike have often spoken of a “new world order,” and have alluded to secretive yet immensely powerful groups, such as the Illuminati, the Bohemian Grove, and even the Bilderberg Group, as proof    of such an entity being in existence and demonstrating immense global power. George H.W. Bush’s relatively famous speech in the early 1990s, in which he calls for a new world order to replace what he called “the law of the jungle” in international affairs, gave fuel to the fire of many conspiracy theorists. When the elder Bush’s son, George W. Bush became president in the year 2000, many conspiracy theorists thought the “neoconservatives” of the Bush 43 era, as well as the Israeli Lobby in Washington, DC, were the all- powerful forces of the world, until the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States in 2008 dispelled that particular illusion. However, there are also conventional and intellectually coherent sources that have discussed the idea of world order and have expressed that there is a need for such a thing to exist. Henry Kissinger offered a wholesome take on the idea of world order in a book that was unsurprisingly titled World Order and was released in 2014. Pankaj Mishra, an Indian intellectual and a master of the English language, in 2016 released a book titled The Age of Anger, in which he rhythmically evaluates modern Western history and then comes to the conclusion that the basic global issue of our   day and age is the issue of preservation versus destruction (or in other words, the issue of “order” versus “anarchy”). And in 2017, Richard Haass (President of the Council on Foreign Relations who formerly served as Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department under George W. Bush) came out with a mediocre book titled A World in Disarray, in which he seems to have subtly

and sublimely arrived at the conclusion that the establishment of world order and the overturning of the disorder that exists in the international system today depends mainly on education and self- reform.

As it appears, a number of elite intellectuals and thinkers have discussed the issue of world order in conjunction with Donald Trump and the radicals of our world. Both the “elite” and the “radicals” agree with each other in principle that world order exists as an idea at the bare minimum, and that its existence is necessary. Yet neither side can agree on the method that should be used to arrive at such a state. Nevertheless, what every single discussant of world order has done to a certain extent or another is tie history with the present, and to make history inseparable from the present. The fundamental cause for the inseparability of history from the present is because the issue of world order is more religious and spiritual in essence as opposed to being political or economic in nature. When one adopts a  historical  outlook  toward  the  issue of world order, one will ultimately conclude that politics and economics are the byproducts of religious and spiritual foundations. It is no coincidence that C. Wright Mills, one of America’s foremost intellectuals of the Cold War era, argued that the goal of all social scientists is the conversion of “private troubles” into “public issues.” One of Mills’ contemporaries in America during the Cold War era was Hans Morgenthau, a European Jewish intellectual who came to America as a refugee escaping Nazi persecution. What ultimately defined Morgenthau’s legacy and reputation was his abandonment of intellectual positions to pursue what he called “the truth.” From an academic standpoint, the pursuit of the truth is facilitated by what is known as the Socratic method. But the truth is that the Socratic method is not  really  Socratic. In  fact, the  first  person to apply this method was Moses, the prophet and leader of the Israelites. The wisdom behind the Socratic method (or the Moses method) is such that if a person continuously asks questions, the questions will eventually lead the person to the truth. As the Holy

Qur’an states, “who brings the truth…shall have what they will of their Lord’s bounty.” Amidst his pursuit of the truth, Morgenthau defined “world order” in a masterpiece titled Politics Among Nations. For one, Morgenthau implored policymakers to achieve the “lesser evil” rather than making a futile attempt to establish absolute good, simply because the realm of international politics is nothing but the realm of interests. Because the basic reality of international politics and relations is nothing other than the pursuit of interests, not only does the pursuit of an absolute good become a matter of subjectivity, but what follows in regards to the issue of world order is that world order is essentially the creation of a world state that fosters “peace through accommodation” through the advancement of diplomacy, which Morgenthau defines as the promotion of interests through peaceful means. Diplomacy also has its roots in antiquity, and the success of diplomacy over war had been inscribed in Solomon’s throne, where the dove clenches the hawk.

Diplomacy, according to  Morgenthau,  consists  of  four  tasks. The first task is for an individual or a nation to determine their objectives or interests within the limits of their power and capabilities. The second task is to determine the objectives and capabilities of other nations. The third task is to determine whether the various objectives of individuals and nations are compatible with one another. And the fourth and final task is to employ the means designed for the pursuit of diplomacy. Morgenthau notes that there are three means for diplomacy: persuasion, compromise, and force. Diplomacy is the basic element of every foreign policy of every nation, according to Morgenthau. War, from Morgenthau’s standpoint, is simply the failure to reconcile the interests of various entities through diplomacy. Peace, on the other  hand, is the reconciliation of the interests of two or more different entities through diplomacy. Morgenthau concluded that, in order for world order to take hold, the “moral, social, and political conditions” of the world have to be ripe for a world state. And it logically follows that the absence of such a world state is essentially the absence of

world peace. Many so-called “pundits” of politics and international affairs in America have deemed the starting point of establishing world order to be the elimination of terrorism in relatively far-off places, like the Middle East, without considering that the terrorism and instability abroad may actually be a reflection of the breakdown of domestic order within the United States, as identified by Donald Trump. Since the downfall of European imperium soon after World War II, the “question of order” tied in with the policies and the responsibilities of the United States. Before World War II, it was Britain who dealt in large part with the issue of world order. Although Britain managed to fend off Nazi aggression and defeat Hitler during World War II, the toll that European fratricide took on Britain’s capabilities to manage world order was immense. Thus, in 1946, during a famous speech in Fulton, Missouri, Sir Winston Churchill (Britain’s savior during World War II) designated the U.S.-British relationship as a “special relationship” in part because of cultural ties that united the two nations. Although it was the “Iron Curtain” theme that has stereotypically been attributed to Churchill’s 1946 speech in Missouri, the core significance of the speech came from the signal message that Churchill embedded within the speech. The message from Churchill in Missouri was that Britain had to choose between managing the turmoil within its own colonies or managing world order, and Britain could not manage both tasks at the same time. Therefore, aside from the cultural ties that forged the U.S.-British “special relationship”, was that the United States would be the guarantor of “world order” and in essence assume Britain’s place in world affairs. This transfer of power from Britain to the United States in Missouri was also one of the first modern-day instances of “burden-sharing” that is now a major source of controversy in transatlantic affairs. Nevertheless, the issue of “burden-sharing” was also a source of controversy amongst the European allies even during World War II, because

U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt warned Churchill that America was not going to help Britain in its re-colonization efforts.

But for better or for worse, the United States assumed both global leadership as well as the management of world order during the latter half of the 20th century, beginning with U.S. President Harry Truman. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama seemed to have unequivocally accepted America’s leadership role in world affairs, despite occasional qualms toward being the leader.

That basic post-World War II assumption regarding America’s leadership role in world affairs, as well as its status as guarantor  of world order, has come under question by many thinkers and observers as a result of China’s rise. But the election of Donald Trump in 2016 shifted the discourse from bringing that assumption under question to shredding it into pieces. What shattered the image of the United States as a global leader and manager of “world order” was Donald Trump’s inauguration speech on January 20, 2017. Trump’s decree in his 2017 inauguration speech that the guiding principle of his administration’s policies would be “America first” rendered the speech a blatant parallel to the less blatant and somewhat cryptic speech about Britain’s decline that Churchill gave in Missouri in 1946. Both Churchill’s speech in Missouri in 1946 and  Trump’s  inauguration  speech  in  January  2017, nevertheless, were indications during two different points in history that the nature of world order had changed because of the changing role and status of its designated guarantor. In today’s context, the two major factors affecting world order are the “relative decline” of the United States and the rise of China as a major power. Despite its relative decline, the United States remains the foremost power in the world. Harvard Professor Joseph Nye – in a book titled Is the American Century Over? – provides a detailed account of American resources and capabilities, as well as a somewhat logistical explanation for why the United States still remains the foremost power in the realm of international relations. But what hurts the United States the most, in terms of U.S.“relative decline” aside from the economic aspect of relative decline, is that there is now broad- based recognition of a Chinese alternative for world order that

exists parallel to the Anglo-American form, which has dominated world affairs for approximately the last couple of centuries. The late Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as national security advisor to

U.S. President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981, wrote in his final book, titled Strategic Vision, that for 1800 years prior to the rise of European powers in the 19th century, the common state of affairs in the world was such that Asia, and particularly China, had the largest gross national product (GNP) in the world. Europe’s technological advancement and the fact that Europeans had the edge in terms of weaponry over everyone else was the cause for China’s demise in the 19th century. Despite this “national humiliation” at the hands  of European powers beginning in the 19th century, the Chinese maintained the notion that their nation was the “Middle Kingdom” and thus the center of the universe, and that their leaders always had a mandate from heaven to rule over their inferior periphery. Even if the Chinese refrained from ruling any other nation directly, the expectation was that all nations would abide by a tribute system, in which all nations would recognize Chinese superiority in return for economic concessions by Chinese leaders. Another feature of the Chinese tribute system was that tributaries would offer material royalties to the Chinese emperor in return for protection against tribal invaders from modern-day Mongolia. The Chinese always saw Europeans as distant barbarians, and thus the rise of Europe in the 19th century is considered by the Chinese to be an anomaly in history’s chain of events that will soon be corrected in a matter of time by Chinese development.

Along with notions of Chinese superiority came a religion- based understanding of world order on the part of the Chinese. The fusion of Confucian and Taoist precepts fostered a belief among the Chinese that world order is in fact a natural order that is maintained by what the Chinese call Tao. There is no concrete definition for Tao. However, the root meaning of Tao can be translated into English in the form of “the way” or “the way to divine energy.” The root meaning of Tao is identical to the root meaning of the word

tariqa, which comes from the Islamic tradition, thus the argument on the part of some intellectuals that Islam and Confucianism share common roots, as well as a common source. Sun Tzu, an ancient Taoist philosopher from China, is said to have described Tao as being the cause for subjects coming under the control of a ruler. An individual or a nation can attain Tao through something called “cultivation.” The cultivation of Tao or tariqa consists of seven basic elements: withdrawal from society, patience, prayer, charity, gratitude, an unequivocal belief and faith in God, and an unequivocal belief and faith in the afterlife. There are two things that facilitate the seven elements that cultivate Tao or tariqa: a true and correct understanding and application of divine revelations,  as well as the ability to forgive, given that “forgiveness is divine.” What Tao or tariqa brings to mind is the English expression that salvation comes not from the bustling centers of civilization, but from lonely places. The fruits of cultivation end up being described by Shakespeare in a long poem called A Lover’s Complaint, in what seems to be a reference to the Jewish and Muslim prophet Joseph, the son of Jacob: “O, then, advance of yours that phraseless hand/ Whose white weighs down the airy scale of praise/Take all these similes to your own command/Hallow’d with sighs that burning lungs did raise/What me your minister, for you obeys/Works under you; and to your audit comes/Their distract parcels in combined sums.” Shakespeare also sums up the characteristics of the ruler that Sun Tzu had described as having attained Tao (“For thou art all, and all things else are thine”). As a result, Tao or tariqa is an issue of internal order and the preservation of the individual mind and soul that inevitably has external implications for the world at large. The personal and internal struggle to peacefully preserve one’s mind and soul is called jihad in Arabic. German romantic notions of natural order developed by the likes of Leibniz and Kant are imitations of Chinese and Islamic precedents.

The deviants, heretics, and corruptors of Islam today are none other than the Iranian government led by a group of retrogressive

mullahs in charge of what is known as the “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps” (IRGC), who are giving a hard time to Iranian reformers seeking better relations with the outside world. Both the Deobandi school of thought and a number of Iranian mullahs have defiled and adulterated the traditional and individualistic Islamic notion of peaceful jihad into a social, political, and sectarian war cry that has destabilized both the Muslim world and the world     at large, despite the fact that traditional Islam does not allow sectarian divisions, nor does it even allow division and social strife within humanity as a whole. All of today’s smaller deviants and heretics in the Muslim world that have long been spreading lies and disinformation about Islam, such as  the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Hezbollah, and the Assad Regime, are tied either directly or indirectly with the bigger deviants and heretics of the Muslim world, which are none other than Iran and Wahhabis. Tao is attained and tariqa is fulfilled only if a divinely chosen leader acquires divine energy through the cultivation process that accompanies the traditional and individualistic Islamic struggle known as jihad. And it is only the divinely chosen leader with divine energy, who has established internal order within himself, who can bring  external, or  global, order. Arguably, this is how Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and Mao Zedong before him attained their power. At the moment of this book’s publication in October of 2017, China will be having a major party congress to elect their party leader, and it is highly likely that Xi Jinping will win a second term as Chinese premier, given his resume, as well as the need to continue his anti-corruption agenda. When Mao Zedong was a young rebel in the early 20th century, he fled China’s bustling eastern coastal region and sought refuge in the mountains of western China. Perched in the mountains of western China, Mao began a process of reflection, which prompted him to write the all- famous book titled The Little Red Book. Eventually, this process of cultivation that began with a withdrawal from society led Mao into becoming both China’s most powerful figure, as well as a dominant

figure on the world stage. Mao’s ultimate contribution to political thought was his distinction between war and peace, and how the latter can be attained only by a diplomatic outreach on the part of capitalist powers, which ended up being prophetic and true, given that China’s relations with the United States improved only after an outreach to China by the Nixon Administration. Furthermore, Mao elaborated on Leninist thought by pointing out that the ultimate struggle in world politics was the struggle between capitalism and socialism.

Whereas Chinese and Islamic notions of world order are  based on nature and divinity, the world order that developed out  of Europe in the 17th century as a result of what is known as “the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) is based on humanist thought and what Europeans call “rationality.”What European-based rationality takes into account is mainly secularism (a social and cultural break from religion) and national interests that are determined by secular leaders and elites. Henry Kissinger, in World Order, stated  that the goal of the Westphalian order (which in fact persists to this day) is something he called “equilibrium.” The best description   of equilibrium that Kissinger could provide was “limited wars,” which ultimately meant “not total conquest.” Equilibrium appears to be the natural state, especially when considering that, at the conclusion of the Ethiopian-Eritrean War from 1998 to 2000, 100 million Ethiopians (with international support) ended up in nothing more than a stalemate against 5 million Eritreans who were severely disadvantaged in material terms. The fundamental difference between Westphalian notions of world order and Chinese notions of world order is a difference between human rationality and thought on one hand, and notions of divine will and religious traditions on the other hand. One can argue as a result that U.S. relative decline is essentially a decline in human rationality and thought on the one hand, and a rise of divine-based traditions and notions in the international system on the other hand, as a result of China’s resurgence in world affairs.

When the secular and monarchic order of Europe, established by the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, fell apart with the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte and his democratic attempt to conquer all of Europe in the early 1800s, European monarchs and elites attempted to moderate and to temper the pursuit of national interests in the realm of international politics and relations through the creation of what is known as “international law.” The foundation for today’s international law was set in 1815 in Vienna during the famous Congress of Vienna. The “laws” created in Vienna in 1815 were essentially norms and customs that each European monarch was expected to honor. However, the goal or the objective of the 1815 Congress of Vienna remained the same as the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, in the sense that equilibrium, not total conquest was the goal, and the Congress of Vienna was essentially a referendum and a rollback against Napoleon’s attempt to conquer all of Europe. Nevertheless, the norms and customs of international relations originating from both the Westphalian foundation of the 17th century, as well as 19th-century Vienna served as the foundation for today’s understanding of international law. The foundations for all laws are principles that are derived from a range of sources, and all these principles are connected one way or another to the exegesis of what is known as natural law. What natural law upholds are certain “natural principles,” all of which reflect what is known by many to be “divine will.” When laws are violated, so are the principles embedded within the laws. And depending on whether an individual is religious or secular, one can argue that the violation of natural law and the principles embedded within natural law is essentially a transgression upon divine will. Thus, the essence of international politics and relations is moral and political, despite the secular and humanist background of modern-day international relations and international law. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights highlighted just some of the natural principles embedded within international law in his discussion of the Saudi Attacks on Yemen: “The principles of proportion, distinction, and

precaution fully apply in this context. International human rights and humanitarian law should be fully respected.”3

Respect for international law arguably means enforcement, and enforcement requires political will. Nevertheless, it is almost an absolutetruththatinternationallawregularlybecomescompromised by nations for the sake of their respective national interests, and thus regional organizations in the Middle East, such as the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), are directing their political will toward the containment of Iranian expansion in the Middle East at the cost of international law, as demonstrated by their bombardment of Yemen. The result of pursuing narrow national interests in the Middle East has been the humanitarian disaster in Yemen and Syria, as well as a major sectarian conflict that has had spillover effects across the globe. Discord within the UN Security Council and disregard for international law by regional organizations in pursuing political objectives simply does not equate to a political peace. Discord equates to discord. However, in addition to constraints imposed on the enforcement of international law by the pursuit of self-interests and national interests, the fact of the matter is that the capacity and the logistics for any one nation or set of nations to impose or enforce international law is limited. As the saying goes, “strategy is for amateurs, and logistics is for the professionals.” Because the objectives always seem to exceed capabilities, or to put it in Pankaj Mishra’s words that “will exceeds capacity,” the enforcement of international law becomes a daunting task for any superpower.

And because the will of the United States has exceeded its capacity over the past fifteen years, the world is now transitioning from a unipolar world dominated by the United States after the fall of the Soviet Union, to what seems to be a multipolar world that includes a Putin-led Russia, an economic powerhouse in China that is threatening to undermine the hegemony of the U.S. dollar, an India with its own interests and rising stock, and a theocratic Iran that is now a rising regional power in the Middle East. The

transition from a unipolar world led by the United States to a multipolar world is not only a transition from a tenuous peace to  a state of potential warfare, but it is also a situation in which basic world order is transforming into a “multiplex system,” in the words of Dr. Amitav Acharya, rather than a multipolar system, simply because there are now different options and choices in terms of templates for world order, as there are different options and choices when one walks into a movie theater.

Henry Kissinger states the reason as to why a multipolar or multiplex, world leads to war, as opposed to peace, in the following words:

“In the world of geopolitics, the order established and proclaimed as universal by the Western countries stands at a turning point.Its nostrums are understood globally, but there is no consensus about their application; indeed, concepts such as democracy, human  rights,  and  international law are given such divergent interpretations that warring parties regularly invoke them against each other as battle cries.”4

U.S. relative decline is a fundamental aspect of the breakdown of the U.S.-led world order, and it has also enabled rising powers all around the world to challenge the Western-led order that Kissinger mentioned. And with this breakdown of world order comes geopolitical challenges pertaining to competition between the United States and all other rising powers over natural resources and technological superiority.

As the 10th-century Afghan philosopher Al-Farabi explained in a book titled On The Perfect State, “prophecy” is essentially the sole means to felicity, but more importantly, it is only from a thorough

understanding of prophecy that one can attain leadership over mankind. And given that the U.S.-led world order transformed from one based on Wilsonian aesthetic values, principles, and natural law to a disorderly system based on the philosophy of realism, it became inevitable that the U.S.-led world order experienced the natural phenomena associated with realism, such as corruption, decline, and decay. King Solomon, according to Jewish and Islamic traditions, was given a kind of earthly sovereignty by God that   no one else would ever attain, thus requiring all world powers subsequent to King Solomon to have measured power as opposed to hegemonic power. Saint Augustine of Hippo, in the early Middle Ages, asserted in a book titled The City of God that the cause behind the fall of the Roman Empire was that the people of Rome had forgotten God. Aristotle, who is considered the father of political science, concluded his treatise titled “On Politics” with the assertion that “the mean, the possible, and the becoming” rest solely with education and the improvement of one’s character. By extension of Kant’s argument over the issue of peace, one could argue from a humanistic perspective that world order requires a unipolar world and a hegemonic world power in order to exist. However, given the religious and theological background from which Kant’s thoughts developed, one could argue on the contrary  that  the kind of hegemony Kant had visualized was actually metaphysical and theological, rather than being humanistic in nature. After all, Kant wrote about “the metaphysics of morals” and was never really involved with the European status quo of his time.

And despite the election of Donald Trump, the United States still stands as the only idealistic nation in a turbulent world that continues to be plagued by a clash of cultures and national interests. The fact that there are rising powers in the world only exacerbates the turbulence that exists within the international political system. And even though the issue of rising powers is an external issue for the United States, it is in fact the issue of external affairs that is behind the phenomenon of U.S. relative decline. It is no wonder

that Chinese political philosophy has always considered external issues to be the most important of all issues. As a result, the most basic belief underlying the study of comparative political systems is that everything that happens inside of a country is directly affected by what goes on outside of a country. Because of this reality, the United States has a responsibility as the world’s largest power to at least try and affect world affairs, for both its own survival and for the sake of international peace and security.

As Joseph Nye wrote at the start of his book titled The Future of Power, the source of power is a mystery. One can argue that love is a lot like power in the sense that love is also mystery. And according to Sufi philosophy, love is essentially God, and God acts and thinks in mysterious ways. Thus, what follows from such logic is that all power is essentially in the hands of a supernatural being that acts and thinks in mysterious ways. As Moises Naim stated in his book titled The End of Power, what has happened is that power is shifting from brawns to brains, and that states are becoming less powerful vis-à-vis the people due to the advances in technology that have been fostered, for the most part, by “non-state actors.”What has also empowered regular people is the information available to everyone via social media and various other outlets. Shifts toward democracy, while commonplace in Western nations, may begin to take shape within peoples whose traditions have never accommodated Western or democratic norms and principles. Much of the shift towards democracy in places like the Arab world, Africa, Latin America, and Asia is the result of a youth bulge, accompanied by a shift in attitudes away from tradition and toward modernity, which has been facilitated by technological advances, as well as social media. The “Scholarism” movement in Hong Kong, led by Joshua Wong – who was just a teenager when he organized and led massive public protests against the central authority in Beijing – as well as the “Facebook Revolutionaries” of Egypt in 2011, are just two examples that show how the potent combination of youth and technology have wracked the nerves of the elders who are clinging onto the

reins of power everywhere.

Where America fits into such global phenomena will be the difference between the failure or the success of world transformation and the U.S.-led world order. A professor of mine at George Mason University named Char Miller said once during a lecture in 2008 that America is Epicurean, and it was Epicurus who said there is no such thing as law, for there is only power. It is power that provides a stable military-security framework for the perpetuation of life in general, and security is a core objective in international relations and in U.S. foreign policy. However, Epicurus also added that friendship is the greatest value, and thus friendship is a value that is advanced through diplomacy, which in turn is the mitigation of hostilities through peaceful means. Aside from providing a military-security framework for the perpetuation of life, diplomacy is yet another tool through which powerful countries like the United States can mitigate hostilities between nations, and especially the hostilities that now exist amongst Western nations as a result of what is known as “Brexit.” Nevertheless, many individuals and nations do not perceive friendship as being a value worth striving for, and thus war becomes inevitable in the realm of international relations.

Fortunately for America, as a result of modern history and World War II, it still holds the edge in “hard power” (the sum of military and economic resources) over liberal-democratic systems like the European Union and the United Kingdom. While in the 19th and 20th centuries the competition for global power had been confined within Europe, today’s competition for world domination is mainly among America, Russia, and China. The European Union has tried to overcome social and political divisions from within in order to create a unified political entity that could compete with the United States on the global stage. But unfortunately for ambitious European nations like Germany and France, the European Union has not been able to translate economic unity into the political unity that is essential for global preeminence, as demonstrated by Guy Verhofstradt in a recent book titled Europe’s Last Chance.

But despite the competition among great powers, all the world’s nations have had an interest in maintaining global peace and security while pursuing their individual interests. It is argued that security “is a necessary precursor to stabilization and progress toward a return to something approaching ‘normal’ economic activity.”5 America, after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, engaged in a securitization project around the world, starting in Afghanistan. Through its efforts in Afghanistan, the United States sought to find a moral purpose for all the military and economic resources it had at its disposal in order to both prevent economic stagnation and to eliminate terrorism. The Europeans wanted a development project thrown into the U.S.-led security project, particularly in Afghanistan. But the pitfall for the United States in its global securitization project appeared from the beginning of the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, in the  sense that the U.S. response to the issues  of  corruption, governance, and terrorism was in line with a “national security doctrine that celebrated realpolitik and the importance of military power in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.”6 Development, or peace building, was concomitant to “Operation Enduring Freedom” in order to create a post-Taliban social and political system in Afghanistan.7 Europeans appeared to have pressured the United States into participating in a U.N.-led enterprise, which was  constructed  after the Cold War to stabilize “failed states,” enforce post-war settlements, and to engage in social engineering.8 Donors and aid agencies, primarily outside of the United States, sought to deploy a “peace-building package,” which included democratization, good governance, government accountability and transparency, human rights, the rule of law, security sector reform, and a market-based economy.9 The pressure from the Europeans, as well as key advisers within the Bush Administration, may or may not have rightly led the United States into what was essentially “mission creep” with the deployment of “Provincial Reconstruction Teams” (PRTs) and an expansion of objectives outside of military-based security, despite

the objections of top U.S. officials, like Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, as well as U.S. Vice President Richard Cheney. But given that the basic definition of security is intertwined with economics and development, the United States and the European Union have been doing what is necessary in unstable parts of the world such as Afghanistan. Furthermore, U.S. efforts in places like Afghanistan have always been a matter of both power and principle. Americans, up until now, have donated more to charity than all other nations combined, and as a result many Americans believe that their true source of power are their values. I would argue that the real shift in U.S. policy toward Afghanistan began in the late 1990s, when Diane Sawyer entered Afghanistan and filmed an episode of her news show on ABC that covered the abuses of the Taliban against Afghan women. In terms of U.S. policy towards Afghanistan, as well as many other issues, the driving force for policy amongst the American public has long been the desire to do what is right, despite being ill-informed more often than not on foreign policy issues. That desire to do what is right may have been the main source, if not the sole source, of American power for all these years. Kant’s deontology, which calls for an individual to do what is right, even if it may seem costly, has long been the driving force behind U.S. foreign policy.

Now, the international community is gradually withdrawing from Afghanistan, due mostly to the fatigue that has resulted from the realization that Western willpower for helping developing nations like Afghanistan exceed Western capacity, in addition to recognizing the growing inability of the international community to destroy a Taliban-led and ISIS-backed insurgency in Southern Afghanistan, which is now backed by the likes of Russia, Pakistan, Iran, and China. The tradeoff now for the international community is that more focus and attention will have to go into strengthening Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), which will most likely lead to the absence of a democratically accountable state that fails to provide goods and services to its people, given that the revenues

accrued by the ANSF will be diverted to security groups associated with civilian and political elites, and a portion of these revenues may be used for private consumption.10 This tradeoff, as well as the limitation of expectations in Afghanistan, is necessary because the immediate challenge for the international community will be the maintenance, and more importantly the survival of, a Western-led global political and security order, set up by the United States and the international community after World War II.The stark reality of this challenge for Western nations prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to argue that “the fundamental question” of our day and age is whether or not Western nations have the will to survive during  a speech in Warsaw, Poland on July 6, 2017. In the near future,  the challenge of finding a moral purpose that first and foremost unites and revitalizes Western nations trumps the challenge of establishing good governance and economic development in third world countries like Afghanistan.

Based on a qualitative research class I took as a graduate student at American University’s School of International Service in 2013, a researcher must ultimately identify the philosophical underpinnings of what they are researching. While the methods employed for any research endeavor pertain to tactics and decisions, the methodology of research must take into account the philosophy adopted by the researcher. What exists beyond the academic and intellectual realm of politics and international relations, one can argue, is the “truth.” And according to Epicurus and Hans Morgenthau, the truth is power. The main argument I sought to explore and understand through the course of my research for this book was not my own argument.The main argument of this book belongs to a man named

E.H. Carr. In the 20th century, E.H. Carr was one of the world’s foremost scholars of politics and international relations, and was also a British diplomat. His fundamental argument was that “only the West is in decline.” And given that power is the main currency of international relations, and that now there is a demand for power parity and even equality on the part of “dissatisfied” powers in less-

developed countries, E.H. Carr’s argument may, in fact, be valid even in this day and age. Nevertheless, today there is essentially a battle for what E.H. Carr called “equity” between the East, led by Russia and China, and the West, led by the United States of America,   and it is this demand for equity on the part of developing nations of the Eastern world that may actually be the cause of disorder in the world today. Although developing nations might never achieve equity or equality with the United States, the United States will have to come up with a comprehensive and effective definition for the concept of “fairness,” and then implement some sort of policy or strategy based on this definition, so that the United States can stabilize its relations first and foremost with the Western  world   so that the threat of a rising China to U.S. geopolitical standing can be contained somewhat in the coming future. The difference between somewhat containing China and totally containing China is crucial. The nuances between the two strategies were initially weighed against each other in 1999 by Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan political expert affiliated with the RAND Corporation, when he came up with a concept known as “congagement,”  which is essentially a blend between what is understood to be “containment” and “engagement” with China. The dichotomy within the international political system in this day and age is such that an entire civilization known as the Western  world – which    is led by the United States, and whose values seem to have been derived from the various Abrahamic faiths, as well as intellectual traditions that include everything from the equality of all men to democracy and free-market economics– is being threatened by an Eastern Chinese power that is rising and might actually be holding imperial designs. Chinese power is Han-centric  in  essence, and as a result, it is ethnocentric in nature. Any geopolitical strategy that is aimed at reasonably containing a rising China will have to ultimately include as a key feature the revitalization, as well as the expansion, of basic Western identity to the extent that it is inclusive of nations and religious groups that have traditionally not been

identified as being Western. As the Prophet Muhammad told his followers in Medieval Arabia in the 7th century A.D., a person must know who they are before they come to know God. And while identity politics serves as the first layer of the issue of world order, the core of the issue is none other than the issue of rising powers that are “non-European,” such as Russia, China, India, and even Iran. Several questions emerge when addressing the issue of world order. For one, does the Westphalian order include and apply to today’s culturally different rising powers? Or is the Westphalian order simply just a Western European fraternity, through which cigar-smoking old white men “share the pie” known as the world? Due to the fact that there are now rising powers challenging the status quo, otherwise known as the Westphalian order, it appears as though the days when FDR and Sir Winston Churchill traded oil-rich Arab countries, the way school kids used to trade Pokémon cards when I was 12 years old, are now over. In order for any notion of world order, or even human life, to exist, there must be a paradigm shift in international relations from one that is military-based to    a paradigm based on diplomacy. This paradigm shift is not only crucial. It is in fact vital. And it is vital to undergo a paradigm shift in international relations, given that today’s battles will have to be won through diplomatic means, due to the fact that the common enemy today is what Kierkegaard called “the common plight of man” stemming from a universal spiritual decline.

There is something to remember: open intelligence is enough. And as The Economist had as a headline, one must transcend from “euphoria to economics.” There is always a social objective to economic development, if you think about it deeply enough, and thus economic development is the agenda of Donald Trump. Look at Iran. The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is Turkish by blood, not “Iranian,” and thus there is a split between Iranian hardliners and those seeking  better  relations  with  the  West. The reason why healthcare (again harking back to economics) is unaffordable is because social barriers among nations prevent

healthcare in the United States from becoming affordable. Once free trade supplements healthcare, U.S. social services, otherwise known as “entitlements,” can be reduced to only 20 percent of U.S. expenditures because the private sector and the financial markets have already done a lot to take the traditional place of entitlements. The baby boomers have accumulated quite a bit, and their millennial children will inherit the funds, thus there might actually be a reduction in dependence on public sector entitlements and social services. After all, how is health insurance funded? Aside from consumer buy-in, health insurance is funded by corporate profits. And because America’s economy is an international economy, the solution to healthcare inside of the United States is going to have to involve a structural political change to the international political economy that shifts U.S. global economic policy from one that is mercantilist in the traditional European sense to one that is based on classic free-market economics, somewhat along the Chinese model, but with an American twist that must have a Chinese buy- in. As Mao said, when you reconcile the two opposing forces of the dialectic, you have essentially solved everything. In an international relations perspective, the dialectic means reconciling the U.S. and China, two of the world’s largest powers in the world.

Thus, the solution to world order is economics-based, but the strategy is political and the objective of the solution is social. I had the honor and privilege of meeting Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski in March of 2015 at American University, and I asked him how we can break the Iranian and Russian connection. Dr. Brzezinski told me one thing: China. On television, Dr. Brzezinski also told the American people: “If you push China, Russia will follow.” America must not fight China, but it must spar with China on a friendly basis so that the whole world straightens out its act. Again, once you resolve the dialectic, which means bringing China and the U.S. together, you have solved all the world’s problems. When the U.S. and China partner up, everyone benefits.

Thinking in economic terms is a good thing. For one, the theory

of marginal utility suggests that more quantity means less value. China has money, but it has nowhere to spend it, and thus needs the United States.The Bahai leader (Baha’ullah) once said that America has everything except a spiritual leader. Donald Trump seemed to have understood that, because he is from New York and it is known that New York City is the Mecca of American patriotism. Iran has advanced against the United States as far as Latin America, which is a concern to our security here in the United States. Mao said:“When dealing with enemies near you, seek friends from afar,” and that is why Donald Trump seeks better relations with Russia and China. America is progressing internally. For one, interracial marriages are growing in number, which is a sign of social development here in the United States, and that is good for the U.S. economy. America needs to remain a free and peaceful environment. In America, it   is shown that Mexican laborers are six times more productive in America than in Mexico, which is proof that nationalist socialism hurts growth and productivity. Nevertheless,  places  like  Iran  and Afghanistan cling onto nationalist socialism, and thus their economies are hurting. Iran is the most anti-American nation on the planet, and it reflects on whoever deals with them, especially Hamid Karzai. It is important to note that Karzai, in his final year as president, skipped the UN General Assembly meeting in New York and he went to Beijing. Socialism hurts the one instituting it. Free trade is the solution for all nations.

We should look at economics in today’s day and age. For one, economics is money-based, not resource-based, and thus the supply of money is controlled by state central banks around the world. The key thing to understand about money, however, is that money is artificial, and so is the supply of money, and that is what financial and technological innovations like Bitcoin set out to prove. Up until now, major powers have used what is known as “gunboat diplomacy” to advance a state-based economics program, as opposed to free trade based on diplomacy, because there is no trust among different nations. Trust has not even been cultivated, which is why there are

so many tensions among different peoples.

The rise of prices over the last fifteen years was only partially a result of greater demand from rising powers for natural resources. The main reason as to why prices have gone up is because of the manipulation of the world’s general money supply and then its shift away from the people toward the top. Classic economics is about two things and two things only: productivity and growth. Both productivity and growth are determined by a person’s value system. Furthermore, the goal of economics according to Henry Hazlitt is to increase productivity and growth and at the same time minimize the costs and the effort to increase one’s productivity and growth. Profits are a byproduct of productivity and growth, and there are four ways of using profits. For one, an individual can expand their industry with profits. Secondly, a person can invest in other industries with their profits. Thirdly, profits can be used for consumption. Fourthly, profits can be used for charity. And as many economists know, value systems are normative, or, in other words, they are subjective. What made the world economy collapse in the last fifteen years is the fact that economics became money- centric instead of being centered on productivity and growth, and was not undergirded by a sound value system. Money, by natural design, is nothing more than a means of exchange, and it is not  the basis of economics. When money becomes more than just a means of exchange, what gets hurt ultimately is productivity and growth. There is no doubt that when an economy becomes money- centric, productivity and growth is zapped, and because money zaps productivity and growth, the world economy collapsed as a result of the global financial crisis of the early 21st century.

China understood the reality of the nature of economics very well, and what China did was that it maintained its productivity and growth simply by taking less money for their productivity and growth. China took less money than others normally would, and they took less money at a steady rate and pace. Because of China being able to take less at a steady rate and pace, the result is that

China now has more currency reserves than the United States. The fact that China did not allow a money-centric world economy to negatively affect its own productivity and growth attests to Chinese cultural resilience, sound Chinese work ethic, and wise Chinese leadership. Leadership has failed in many situations, especially in South Korea. For one, the South Korean youth rose to protest in 2016 against Park Geun Hye because of failure in leadership to address economic issues. The youth in South Korea called their own country the “Hellish Kingdom,” and The Economist in May 2017 called the uprising of the South Korean youth an inspiration to all activists around the world.

Society can be divided based on three groups: conservatives, hypocrites, and progressives. And the hypocrites are worse than either of the other two groups. Much of the politics around the world is religious-based, and thus no one is willing to regulate vices like alcohol, prostitution, and the rest because people prefer to either ban these vices or look away from them. But prohibition does not work. Philosophers and prophets are thus a vindication  of the “Personality Theory of Politics and International Relations,” and, as a result, the chain of personalities from Adam of Hebron  to today’s personalities are, in essence, a chain of intercession between Heaven and Earth and so it follows that the Personality Theory of International Relations is a vindication of Ibn Arabi’s claim pertaining to the existence of “Qutb,” or spiritual poles that connect Heaven to Earth. Economics is the start, and religion is the destination of politics, and that is why the biggest concern for all major powers must be Iran. What Iran has tried to do is essentially create division not just among Muslims, but also among human beings in general. Iran has tried autarky, and it has not worked. Whatever has come down on Iran these last few decades, it is of Iran’s own doing. But how did Iran maintain the dynamism of its economy, despite sanctions? The answer is legalizing prostitution.

Iranians call prostitution “temporary marriage,” but there is no such thing in Islam. What the Iranians call “temporary marriage” is

actually what the Holy Qur’an calls “mut’a”, or “pleasure contracts” in Arabic (Chapter 4, Verse 24). The conflict over the issue of mut’a between Iran and the Sunni sect, which is predominant in the Muslim world, is that Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, the second caliph, banned mut’a, despite it being in the Holy Qur’an. What the Iranians did was overturn Umar’s ruling on mut’a, and in a sense reverted to the prophet’s ruling over the issue of mut’a, which again is the Islamic concept for “pleasure contracts.” Dr. Kristin Soraya Batmanghledji, who is a scholar of gender and sex studies from Columbia University, has focused deeply on the issue of prostitution in Iran, and she has found that prostitution continues to thrive      in Iran despite the advent of an “Islamic republic” in 1979. Iran also regulates music and does not ban it outright, and the kind of music that passes regulatory measures in Iran is known as “majaz”, or “permissible.” Iranians regulate music because they understand Al-Ghazzali’s inquiry into the effects of music on the  human mind and soul, and thus music’s effects on economics. It relates to the Disney theme of “whistle while you work” here in the United States. Nevertheless, Iran’s treatment of refugees over the past few decades has been horrendous. Iranians regularly deprive Afghans of education, and Iran’s treatment of Afghan refugees goes to show that what goes around, comes around. The overriding main point of this book, despite the fact that there are many points to argue here, is that if the world seeks world peace, the whole world must go after Iran offensively, only after dealing with Afghan corruption through draconian measures.

This entire book has been written off mental  notes;  so  if there are any flaws in this writing, please accept my apologies. Furthermore, you will see that there are multiple options in this book for policy makers, but the option that is most important and overrides all other options is putting so much pressure on Iran  that it finally succumbs to international pressure and crumbles. Dialogue with Iran should simply be about extraction from Iran, rather than making concessions to them. I hope this book counts

as a contribution to the development of the Personality Theory of Politics and International Relations, the seeds of which were first planted in America by Dr. Richard C. Snyder, an American political psychologist, and Ernst Kantorowicz, a European monarchist who taught at Princeton. Kantorowicz happened to have mentored George Kennan, one of America’s foremost diplomats and scholars. Kennan was the father of containment, a policy aiming to reduce the ascent of rising powers. However, Kennan later abandoned the containment of Russia because he believed Russians were not the ones who needed to be contained. But with Russia evolving and China having integrated quite well in the international community, it is important for the world’s major powers to address the issue of Iran and its attempts of building an empire that is unacceptable to all nations. To minimize objectives would mean a greater focus on a grand strategy that would encompass the entirety of U.S. foreign policy. Nevertheless, any grand strategy employed by the United States for foreign policy would have to include pragmatism and freedom from ideology and intellectual rigidity. The reason for why pragmatism and flexibility are so important is because status quo nations, like the United States, will need to diplomatically co-opt countries with revolutionary tendencies, like North Korea, in order to gradually make them receptive to the status quo. Countries who continue to show revolutionary tendencies, like Iran, can then be distinguished from countries like Cuba, who would otherwise relinquish their revolutionary tendencies in a gradual  manner.  The main issue in international relations is one of maintaining   the status quo versus the pursuit of revolution and overhaul of the international system led by the United States, and it is in everyone’s interests to maintain the status quo and thus maintain a U.S.-led global system of international relations.



Some Key Issues Pertaining to Politics and International Relations


Given that the human race and the world as we know it were literally born out of a state of crisis, the only way out of a state of crisis and into a state of peace

and tranquility throughout one’s lifetime will begin, and ultimately end, with a process of self-education and reform. Self-education is the means, and reform is the end. John F. Kennedy, despite his poor grades as a student, found the means and the imagination to become President of the United States through self-education. Furthermore, politics is essentially warfare, and international relations, one can argue, are the traditions within the ubiquitous reality of human life, which is none other than warfare. These traditions of international relations essentially develop out of a thought, or a series of thoughts, which can be described as “theories.” Despite being in what is now called the “post-truth world” and amid proclamations of the “end of theory” in the year 2017, it is worthwhile to mention the theories that have shaped thought, as well as the application of politics and international relations, until now.

There are essentially four major schools of thought or theories (or ways of thinking) relating to the study of politics and international relations. The first is “realism,” which dictates that everything in international relations is determined by war, anarchy, and thus the need to survive and the need to accrue military might and resources in order to survive. Realism explains why historically, many countries have struggled to grab as much land and natural resources as possible, and at the same time build powerful militaries and police forces in order to do so. What makes realism the dominant philosophy, or theory, both inside and outside of the United States, in my opinion is for one the infatuation with nationalist histories and the vendettas carried throughout those histories. Americans like Woodrow Wilson have tried to overcome history through what is known as “idealism,” but the world continued to relapse

into war, and thus realism became a somewhat indisputable theory. The second theory is the liberal-democratic theory, otherwise known as “liberalism,” which holds as a basic belief that the world can become peaceful if the law were enforced through mutual cooperation among countries and states. Third is “constructivism,” which states that realism and liberal-democratic theory are human constructs and not necessarily a reality, and that these theories can be changed through growing ideas-based social interactions among individuals. E.H. Carr spoke along constructivist lines when he said that the objective of international relations after war will be for countries to find “the moral equivalent of war,” which in his opinion was to collectively improve the standards of living of all people around the world. And the fourth theory is “Personality theory,” which dictates that individuals and leaders are the most powerful forces in international relations and can thus make the biggest impact in the world. Some have argued that “radicalism” is the fourth major theory of international relations, and it is a theory that demonstrates how individuals or groups have made international economics or wealth inequality the main issue of international relations. But given that radicalism is an aspect of an entity’s character, situation, and personality, one can rightfully argue that radicalism falls underneath the umbrella of personality theory. In assessing the role of theories, one can argue that theories serve as intellectual reservoirs that are to be drawn from in order to shape and mold a steady and coherent philosophical and metaphysical outlook, and in turn, create a person’s worldview. Theories, given that individuals are the ones who develop them, are thus influenced by external factors, such as economics and social situations. Because economic and social situations differ among the individuals who develop theories, the result is that there is a range of theories that come from different social and cultural environments. Therefore, it is difficult to determine whether one theory is more relevant to global politics than another, given the differences in culture among different people and nations. What one can derive mathematically

from there being four major schools of thought in international relations is the 25 percent rule, which demonstrates that politics is essentially 25 percent economics, 25 percent leadership, 25 percent diplomacy, and 25 percent warfare. Why realism has dictated international relations, for the most part, is the fact that the war has essentially been between universal religious thought, based on the belief in abundance, and Western economic behavior and thought that is based on the notions of scarcity and greed.

Classic political philosophy stemming from the Greco-Roman period that predates the Middle Ages, as well as the European Renaissance, dictates that there is only power, and thus makes realism the most powerful theory in international relations, even in modern times. Individuals select and develop different theories based on their general philosophy. The latest and most conclusive description of what is known as “philosophy” might well in fact have come from a German philosopher by the name of Martin Heidegger. In an essay titled “The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking” that first appeared in 1966, Heidegger explained that philosophy is essentially metaphysics, the methodology of which is essentially nothing other than what he called “intuition” and “transcendental subjectivity.” Heidegger went on to explain that, once there is an understanding that philosophy is metaphysics, the thinker will arrive at what he calls “the end of philosophy,” and as a result “Aletheia” – otherwise known as “unconcealment” – takes place in the mind of the thinker. From the point of Aletheia onward, thoughts that were held before “Aletheia” are essentially discarded, and all thoughts that occur after “Aletheia” take on a metaphysical essence.

In terms of power, Harvard Professor Joseph Nye coupled classic “hard power”(the combination of military and economic resources) with what he called “soft power,” which is essentially the ability to persuade others to do things for you without giving up too much hard power. The term “hard power,” as mentioned before, translates into money and military force. Between the years 2000 and 2008,

the United States of America lost both soft and hard power under the administration of George W. Bush, as a result of both Bush’s failure to honor the custom of multilateral diplomacy with European allies before invading Iraq, as well as the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 that essentially exposed what appeared to be the severe moral depravity underlying American society. The 2015 Hollywood movie “The Big Short” is a fairly accurate account of the social and political corruption that festered under the Bush Administration, which in turn led to a financial meltdown that is now considered to be the biggest economic disaster in world history. The 2007-2008 financial meltdown in the United States led to what is known as

  • relative decline (a term coined by Joseph Nye of Harvard), and as a result of U.S. “relative decline” the world witnessed the rise of “BRICS” nations that include Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. There are a number of nations throughout the world, as well as in the ASEAN region of Southeast Asia, that are now affiliated with the BRICS organization that is led by China. Another consequence of U.S. and European relative decline is the adoption of a policy called “austerity,” which translates into higher taxes and lower government spending on the people’s needs and wants. Austerity led to the rise of right-wing movements in Europe that blamed their nations’ shaky situation on immigrants, rather than on the failure of government policies, and the 2007-2008 U.S. financial crisis also attributed to the rise of right-wing groups in America, such as the “Tea Party” and the “Trump Movement.”

As a result of U.S. relative decline, China appears to have seized the opportunity to challenge Western leadership of the international liberal-democratic order set up by Western nations after World War II. The biggest political question in the world today is a question of leadership and the management of world order. China’s rise also appears to have loosened the constraints  on its military behavior in places like the South China  Sea,  which are governed by international law. In 2016, China defied the Hague’s decision regarding The Philippines v. China case,

which called for China to stop all military buildups and island seizures in areas of the South China Sea that were disputed by the Philippines. Bolder Chinese military behavior, as well as China’s defiance of international law, calls into question the stability of world order and the ability of the United States to prevent such behavior. Michael J. Mazarr, in an article featured in the January/ February 2017 edition of Foreign Affairs, stated that international orders rest on two pillars: the balance of power among different nations, as well as “prestige” and “shared values.” Mazarr went on to state that the most fundamental objective of any global order   is “keeping the peace among great powers.” Strategies in enabling peace among great powers, however, are not concrete and can end up being anything. In that same edition of Foreign Affairs, Evan

  1. Feigenbaum wrote an article on China and used the creation of the Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank (AIIB) by the Chinese as evidence to argue that China is attempting to build a “parallel government” within the international political system against the U.S.-led world order so that there is an Eastern alternative to what the United States provides for the Western world, in the form of NATO and other multilateral institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

If one were to take a classic political viewpoint to determine who would win the global competition between the United States and China, the winner would have to be the one with the greatest material resources (according to British Political Scientist Paul Kennedy). But in a world where people are moving against the status quo, where information is massively diffused through innovations in technology, does having the advantage in material resources matter as much as it did in the past? It was in fact Moises Naim in The End of Power who said that world power is shifting from what he called “brawns” to “brains.” Practices such as reverse engineering have shown that countries like Iran can reverse their deficit in material resources in a matter of time. After downing     a U.S. drone that had crossed into its airspace, Iran managed to

replicate and manufacture the drones in what seemed to be a matter of days. Considering that the international liberal-democratic order requires a balance of power in order to survive, it may actually   be necessary that the West undergo a state of relative decline. A balance of power means in one sense the diffusion and distribution of power from where it is concentrated (the West) to where it is going (the East). This may be a natural phenomenon in politics and international relations, and not something that should solely be blamed on an individual, like George W. Bush. But the responses to China’s rise, especially on the part of former U.S. President Barack Obama, seemed both disoriented and aggressive, which conveyed a lack of interest on the part of the United States to accommodate China’s rise. President Obama shifted his foreign policy focus to East Asia and, in particular, China during the second term of his presidency through what he called the “Asia Pivot,” which was essentially a U.S.-led alliance-building mission in both East Asia and Southeast Asia that had as its aim the containment of Chinese expansion through both the military enhancement of China’s neighbors, as well as diplomatic outreach to those nations in Asia that may feel threatened by China’s rise. But the measures former President Obama took in containing the rise of China triggered a backlash from the Chinese and exacerbated long-standing tensions between America and Asian countries. Measures such as the continued armament of Taiwan by the United States, as well as the green light given to Shinzo Abe by Barack Obama in the spring  of 2015 to re-militarize Japan, only further provoked the Chinese to take the military actions they are taking in places like the South China Sea. The United States was also working on fully installing a missile defense system in South Korea that would deter China’s air capabilities, but former South Korean President Moon Jae-In brought the project to a halt in the spring of 2017 amidst the threat of economic sanctions against South Korea from the Chinese.These examples of U.S. military activity in East Asia have shown to only embolden the Chinese in their counteractions against the United

States and its Asian allies.

China could be like any ordinary rising power in the sense that it has set out to engage in the kind of rent-seeking political and economic practices that almost all rising powers have practiced. It was Machiavelli who said politics creates ethics and that practice makes theory. However, one must take China’s rhetoric seriously, especially the rhetoric conveyed by Chinese Premier Xi Jinping at China’s September 2015 Victory Day military parade in Beijing. Xi said that China “cherishes peace” and will do whatever it can to ensure peace in the world from its new position of power. China’s platform is essentially a BRICS platform, and the BRICS platform is one of collective security, trade, agriculture, and the development of infrastructure. The implementation of an economic platform is the reason why the BRICS nations rose over the past fifteen years and it is the reason why America and Europe went into relative decline. War undermined American security, because war has a destabilizing effect on the economy when pursued with the wrong strategies. After all, security “is a necessary precursor to stabilization and progress toward a return to something approaching ‘normal’ economic activity.”11 Given that security is essentially aimed at economic progress, and given that economic progress is ultimately free trade (according to E.H. Carr),  the  protectionist  policies  that tend to be imposed by nationalist governments in times of economic malaise are counterproductive to economic development and prosperity. What the European Union has advanced within its frontiers in the form of the “four freedoms” is essentially a normal state of economic activity, with the “four freedoms” being the free movementof goods,services,capital,andpeople.Whatthe European Union has accomplished internally through its economic union, the United States, Japan, and China must somehow accomplish both internally, regionally, as well as globally in order to stimulate the kind of economic progress that the politicians have promised to the people, and it’s long overdue.

And it is in fact security – as well as the leadership that can

provide both unity and security – that America is in dire need of at this moment. Before getting elected, Donald Trump in 2015 gave a campaign speech to a rather large crowd in Alabama. During that speech, Trump decried America’s condition by stating that America is “dead” and that “nothing is here anymore.” Trump was able to detect the general pulse and mood of many Americans who, as a nation, have suffered from about fifteen years of misguided war that resulted in America’s economic decline. One of the major qualities of leadership is the ability to detect the pulse and mood of a nation, and it is possible that Trump’s psychoanalytic abilities got him elected President of the United States in November 2016. Trump, whether for better or for worse, tapped into the general fears of Americans that stemmed from their sense of economic insecurity. Donald Trump did what C. Wright Mills called for, which was to turn private troubles into public issues. When Trump launched his campaign in the summer of 2015, he confessed during a press conference his inability to sleep peacefully at night, and he admitted that his mind raced because he no longer felt secure, which was a sentiment and a condition that almost all Americans felt and continue to feel. What remains unclear at the moment is whether Trump can actually stem the rise of new powers on the global stage. It is also unclear as to whether Trump can provide the leadership necessary to rejuvenate America’s economy, given the scandals that have plagued American politics over the past fifteen years.

Both international security, as well as the revitalization of not only the American economy but also the entire world economy, which happens to be tied to the fortunes of the United States as a result of globalization and interdependence, rely heavily on what is commonly known as “strategy. Diplomacy ends up being an essential part of strategy because ultimately strategy is political, and it equates to getting what you want while at the same time avoiding and abstaining from the initiation of “hot rhetoric and  war,”  which is both self-defeating as well as mutually destructive for all parties involved. (For an emphasis on the point about avoiding and

abstaining from “hot rhetoric and war,” read Derek Chollet’s latest book titled The Long Game: How Obama Defied Washington and Redefined America’s  Role in the World.) One particular article in TIME Mmagazine published in June 2017 made a compelling argument about why wars are no longer winnable. The argument was that the nature of the 21st century economy, considering advancements in technology, makes war more costly than profitable. Thus, it makes it all the more likely that a successful strategy will be political in the 21st century, rather than military-based. Given the premise that wars are now no longer winnable, it is necessary to avoid the escalation of tensions that would most likely lead to war in economically critical places, like the Middle East. As a result, Trump’s  rhetoric  and  the  “Bush  Doctrine” that  preceded Trump end up being more counterproductive than anything else.

Coincidentally, the increasingly popular Strategy: A History, Lawrence Freedman seems to argue that strategy is political, rather than military-based. While the overwhelming history of Western political thought, now overshadowed by the likes of Von Moltke and his intellectual posterity, would advance the argument that strategy is based on the military, Freedman’s argument becomes even more valid when taking various cases of political struggle into account. Commentators and thinkers who tend to abuse Mao’s expression that “power  comes from the barrel of a gun” ignore the conclusion of his expression, which states: “therefore, the gun must be controlled by the party.” For example, in 2014, the United States condemned Thailand’s military coup, which overthrew the “red-shirt” civilian government that happened to be favored by the United States. The U.S., after the Thai military coup, held firmly onto its position, stating that it would not support governments resulting from military coups. Yet in 2013, the United States held a somewhat contradictory position on the military coup that overthrew the civilian government in Egypt. U.S. acquiescence to the military coup in Egypt was most likely the result of political (and thus strategic) designs and purposes. Allowing the military

coup to proceed in Egypt in 2013 was strategic, and thus political in the sense that it would presumably sustain a peaceful and stable balance of power among Israel and its Arab neighbors. There was a fear that the democratically-elected civilian government in Egypt, hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood led by Mohammed Morsi, would eventually disturb both the balance of power and the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel that had been established as  a result of an initiative by the Carter Administration. Taking these historical examples, as well as many other examples, into account, Lawrence Freedman’s borrowed or original argument that strategy is political appears quite sound.

In a book titled The Future of Power, Joseph Nye of Harvard University states that “grand strategy” is based on what a leader of a nation or a state develops as his or her theory and story about how to provide security, welfare, and identity for a nation, and that strategy has to be adjusted for changes in context. Nye believes

U.S. grand strategy (according to what he wrote in The Future of Power) is simply two things: survival and providing public goods for the world. Considering the aforementioned to be the key features of a grand strategy would mean that strategy at its highest level necessitates shifting between different instruments of power. Military power is simply one aspect within the entirety of power. Nye’s definition of grand strategy also implies that strategy in and of itself is decision-making. The decision to use military force is one decision in a set of decisions that accumulate into a grand strategy. The use of military force itself is not strategy. It is a collection of tactics within the framework of a broad political strategy or grand strategy.

Nye is also emphatic about a concept called “power conversion,” which measures power by the smart and wise usage of economic and military power, and not by the mere accumulation of these two things. Presumably, Nye’s view could be that there are states with fewer economic and military resources than others that are still powerful and can hold their ground when it comes to the defense

of their most important interests. Nye apparently argues that gaining power depends in large part on the wisdom of the decisions you make, not by the wanton accumulation and expenditure of resources. There is a common outcry among pundits these days that Russia “played a weak hand effectively” and that Vladimir Putin has been able to achieve his goals in various areas of international affairs, whereas the United States has rendered unsatisfactory results despite the military and economic advantages it has over Russia. Much of Russia’s success in achieving objectives, and the

U.S. failures to do so, result from a consistent and political grand strategy on the part of the Russians and the absence of such a grand strategy on the part of U.S. policymakers that would enable the United States to convert military and economic resources into sustainable power and sway over other nations.

Effective strategy in this day and age being the 21st century, therefore, depends on power conversion, a concept that sees power being inherent, not in money and militaries, but rather in the wisdom of their use and conversion into something sustainable and meaningful. Strategy applies to a variety of life’s issues, as demonstrated by Lawrence Freedman’s book. Money cannot solve all problems – as shown by Qatar’s inability in the summer of 2017 to break an Arab blockade despite their deep pockets—nor will violence outside of self-defense achieve anything in the way of accomplishing political objectives. As those who have advanced the “irrational theory” leading to war termination would suggest, one must avoid making the means, warfare, the end. Henry Kissinger, in World Order, contends that the ends of strategy must be elevated principles, and thus money and militaries are instruments in achieving and advancing such elevated principles. Individuals and groups who hold positions of power are thus best positioned to advance such elevated principles, such as peace, security, equality, truth, justice, and social harmony through money and military resources. Individuals and groups must also determine where these elevated principles are derived from. Do these elevated principles

come from God or from Caesar? It all goes back to the differences in notions of world order, and while the Western world has traditionally thought of elevated principles as being derived from Caesar (human rationality), the Eastern World sees God (divinity and natural order) as the source of everything that man possesses.

Teddy Roosevelt, who was arguably the father of modern American foreign policy strategy, argued that power and principles go hand-in-hand. One cannot exist without the other. “Speak softly, but carry a large stick” implies that hitting all nails with a sledgehammer may not help you achieve your desired outcome.  In the summer of 2015 at the Hague, during a brief question and answer exchange I had with Dr. Joris Voorhoeve (the former defense minister of the Netherlands),I asked him what it is precisely that gives Europe its credibility and legitimacy in international affairs. To my utter surprise, he responded with Teddy Roosevelt’s all too famous quote, mentioned at the top of this paragraph. The implementation of Teddy Roosevelt’s wisdom by the Dutch is probably why the Netherlands is the ideal country in the world where capitalism is used to ensure social welfare for all its inhabitants. The Dutch, as a result of their experiences with Spanish imperial oppression in the early renaissance period, have also developed a social tradition of tolerance and looking the other way when someone acts outside the bounds of social norms. (A great explanation for the openness and liberal tendencies of Dutch culture can be found in a book titled Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City by Russell Shorto.)

This culture of openness on the part of the Dutch has contributed to the success of the liberal-democratic model of governance in the Netherlands, and it is in fact the erosion of openness and tolerance that is now leading to the erosion of democratic governance in many parts of the world, including the United States. If the American center-right were to adopt the social and economic policies of the center-right in the Netherlands, the Republican Party in America would attract more independents and minorities, and, as a result,

would have more staying power in American politics than they currently have. Independents comprise of approximately 40 percent of the American electorate, and they will be the ones who determine the outcome of future American elections. Independents in America also tend to think beyond the confines of the two-party system that has placed limitations on the evolution of American society. The two-party system in America has also placed obstacles in the way of the successful implementation of the liberal-democratic system in America. Trump, after all, manipulated and played within the rules of this American two-party system that is dominated by the influence of money, conflict, and the sheer neglect of the people’s needs to become president. Because of the tyranny of money and its equal influence on both parties, the two-party system in America has become a two-party dictatorship, the way the Soviet Union was a two-party dictatorship in the 1980s when Soviet politics were divided between a Brezhnev faction and a Gorbachev faction.

At times, it may be the content and softness of one’s speech that helps an individual achieve their goals and objectives, which is why dialogue is an important instrument of diplomacy. And when elevated principles become the underpinnings of power, one can argue that the strategies that follow automatically become effective. “So much for your strategy” if the underpinnings of power are anything other than “elevated principles.”The status quo will always face the prospect of revolution, even in the 21st century. But the natural principles that govern both the status quo and revolutionary forces remain perennial.

It was Sun Tzu who emphasized the importance of a leader maintaining their cool in times of adversity in order to conduct an objective analysis of events and affairs. Lack of composure, especially on the part of a leader, leads individuals and nations down a path of destruction. Some may argue this is mere philosophy. But others would argue that philosophy is a truth in politics, as demonstrated by the successes of individuals like Pericles or the Prophet Muhammad in consolidating their power over their respective

body politics. Only internal fortitude through the adoption and cultivation of elevated principles can firmly balance an individual or a nation against external threats, which is yet another prescription of Sun Tzu.

The great philosophers and prophets of the past, from Sun Tzu all the way to Clausewitz, contributed to nothing other than the cultivation of divinely-inspired principles that would open the way to the development of power. After acquiring power through the cultivation of principles, power would then be used primarily to deal with external threats. Furthermore, once the cultivation of principles leads to power, only the sustenance of the principles can sustain power. Sustaining principles then becomes the main method for the sustenance of power. By logic, the sustenance of principles and thus power becomes a never-ending cycle from within. When one is detached from the other, both will perish. The continued cultivation of principles leads to security and stability, because principles are the cause and power is the effect. Human power does not cause principles. Rather, the reverse is valid. The continuation of balance between principles and power, in favor of the former, is the basis for Sun Tzu’s notion of security. Once principles establish power, the likes of Hans Morgenthau, Stephen Walt, and Henry Kissinger explore the necessary balance between principles and power in an effort to sustain power and interests from a defensive realist perspective. Traditionally, the realm of international politics and relations was the realm of state or national interests. However, due to the gradual breakdown of traditional collective identities   as a result of globalization, migration, and technology, the realm of international politics and relations is beginning to become the realm of self-interests or individual interests.

E.H. Carr outlines the perennial context of political strategy, which is essentially the struggle between satisfied powers (the status quo) and dissatisfied powers (revolution). The likes of Brzezinski and Mearsheimer would later outline the means of balancing against threats in the development of a theory known as “offensive realism.”

Brzezinski would develop the theory in action as national security adviser to former President Jimmy Carter, whereas Mearsheimer developed the theory academically at the University of Chicago. Brzezinski and Mearsheimer may argue that, while it is the primary objective of a state to maintain the balance of power against external threats, it is also necessary that a state possess the means to tilt the balance against external threats when the opportunity to do so arises by means of “internal balancing” (applying principles internally for the internal development of a nation). As Sun Tzu asserted, and as Brzezinski witnessed in his own lifetime, your enemies will definitely present you the opportunity to destroy them with your own hands. But in order to destroy your enemies, whether it means destroying them through economic means or through military means, one must first develop power internally through the cultivation of principles best derived from divine sources. In the words of Sun Tzu, “You must win the battle before it is even fought.”

There is very little doubt that the advancement of elevated principles was a motivating factor for the United States’ continued efforts in places like Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan in recent times in order to help free a variety of Muslim and non-Muslim nations from the clutches of evil and immoral forces like ISIS. Peace, as cliché as it may sound, is the antithesis of war and mere survival, and peace is also the objective of international politics and relations. But peace will not come as a result of the imposition of self-conceived interpretations of international law by one major power upon the other. National interests, after all, will always trump international law. What the United States deems as Russia’s violation of international law, Russia will most likely deem as vital to national interest in order to ensure the survival of the Russian people. U.S. policy toward Russia appears to be the advancement of democracy and the protection of minorities under Russian control, free and fair elections, nuclear disarmament, a free market, and the formation of political parties in Russia. But the real driver behind

U.S. foreign policy since the rise of the United States as a naval power in the early 1900s has been nothing other than “economic internationalism,” otherwise known as globalization. The issue of economic internationalism has been and still is a major – if not the biggest– issue facing the world today, and was recently elaborated on accurately by Pankaj Mishra in a 2016 book titled The Age of Anger. The philosophy behind economic internationalism tends to be apolitical, which is why the United States tolerates and sustains the autocratic Saudi monarchy, despite all the talk from the U.S. establishment about democracy and human rights. Economic internationalism is also mercantilist (state-run) and protectionist  in nature, which is why the U.S. market is very much closed off from the rest of the world despite all the hot air on the part of    the U.S. political establishment regarding free-market economics. As a matter of fact, USAID and U.S. government officials told some American businessmen, led by Wes Harris, who sought to replace opium production in Afghanistan with cotton production, that U.S. law prohibited support for any business venture that would set up competition with the U.S. cotton market. Angela Merkel, after a major G7 summit in Sicily in 2017, also noted to Donald Trump that the overwhelming majority of German cars were  sold  outside  of  the  United  States, despite  Donald Trump’s exaggerations about the market share of German cars in the United States. Furthermore, it is in fact economic internationalism that has led to the militarization of U.S. foreign policy, which is why

U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War  affected the execution  of

U.S. policy toward Russia. The execution of a militaristic economic internationalist policy led to a horrible situation in Russia in the 1990s, where Soviet authoritarianism had been replaced by a mafia- based oligarchy that left a scar on the psyche of the Russian people and for the time being has made tolerable for many Russians the authoritarian rule of Vladimir Putin. After the horror of the 1990s, Russians cannot decide whether Soviet authoritarianism or the mafia-based oligarchy of the 1990s was the lesser of the two evils.

The situation in Russia in the 1990s is similar to the situation in Iraq at the present moment, where ordinary Iraqis cannot decide whether the secular dictatorship  of  Saddam  Hussein  or  the  Shia militia dictatorship of the current Iraqi government, which created a sectarian backlash in the form of ISIS resulting from Bush’s invasion of Iraq, is the lesser of the two evils. As Kissinger mentioned in World Order, the removal or collapse of a state leads to a political vacuum that can only be filled by either international terrorist groups or by international mafia entities.

U.S. energies and policy vis-à-vis China and Russia  have  long been driven by American fears that Russia will dominate Europe and that China will dominate Asia, and once Russian and Chinese dominance over Eurasia materializes, Russia and China will then join forces to seize and control the natural resources   and wealth potential of Eurasia. That fear of joint Russian and Chinese domination of Eurasian wealth is the main driver of U.S. foreign policy, and thus, the main driver behind U.S. economic internationalism and globalization efforts. Eurasian wealth and resources are the main reasons as to why global politics have transformed into what is called a “zero-sum game,” where the gain of one side is deemed an indisputable loss for the other side. How to overcome this paradigm of global politics, and making sure that the inevitable rise of Russia and China does not become a threat  to the United States’ national (or economic) security, are the main challenges for U.S. policymakers.

So far, the United States has maintained its national (or economic) security through a military strategy that is known as “defense in depth,” which was identified by Melvyn P. Leffler, an American Cold War scholar and historian. This military-based strategy on the part of the United States to ensure economic prosperity has not gone without its effects on international stability and security. As the expression goes: “When Washington coughs, the entire world catches a cold.” And given that military-based security will serve as only one dimension of security in the long

run, the large remainder of a comprehensive security strategy will surely depend on the elevation of living standards throughout the world by way of diplomacy among the world’s major powers. This will indeed take time, given that superpowers like the United States are “newcomers to diplomacy,” as Hans Morgenthau once wrote. Serious diplomatic resolutions in Europe, like the creation of the European Union, materialized only after the large-scale destruction and decline of European nations. And while fortunately and thankfully the United States has avoided destruction, U.S. relative decline, as indicated by Joseph Nye, may signal the beginning of  a shift in U.S. foreign policy from one that is guided by military- based security to one that is guided by a grand strategy that ensures

U.S. national security through diplomacy.

Superpowers  will  have  to  collectively  work  either  with   or against smaller nations in order to spur development and employment globally and thereby stabilize the world’s social and economic environment, which is becoming ever more global and interconnected by nature. As E.H. Carr initially argued, and Sir Paul Collier has advanced in recent times, development does not stop with food, clothing, and shelter. Rather, it is employment and jobs that will serve as the impetus of social and political development around the world. It would be a win-win situation for all three major superpowers to advance free-market economics globally and to spur development in a more scientific way. And although the purpose may not achieve equality between the northern and southern spheres of the international economy, it will produce balance between them. All the world’s major superpowers have reached the brink of securitization through the development of nuclear weapons. To step back from the brink of nuclear war, however, would require the de-escalation of militarization efforts through a shift in focus to basic economic concerns. The overall effort to maintain major power status will require major powers to initiate a revolution in superpower relations.This cannot be achieved overnight, nor should there be any expectation to do so given that the general policy of

major powers – according to Hans Morgenthau – must undergo a slow and gradual evolution from militarization to diplomacy. This potential revolution in superpower relations, as well as international relations as a whole, is an aspect of an international peace process that takes years to carry out and conclude. As E.H. Carr outlined in his book titled Conditions of Peace, any effective peace process will take many years to show healthy results. An effective peace process, for example, begins with a solemn cessation of hostilities (an armistice) and the implementation of war termination strategies. Immediately after an armistice, practical and tangible economic reconstruction of war-torn areas is necessary. Social transformation and abstract ideas can take hold only after, or in conjunction with, practical and tangible economic reconstruction in war-torn areas. After economic reconstruction, continued economic development is in fact the vehicle for social influence that must be used to advance further diplomatic efforts, and it is the social aspect of diplomacy that is the platform for the politics of peace and conflict resolution. These multi-faceted and complex efforts will, in the end, enable what E.H. Carr called a “peace conference” in a matter of six or seven years.

In terms of who constitutes the major players in global politics, there are essentially six major political players or units in the world today: the United States, Russia, China, the European Union, Great Britain, and the Muslim world. The key to world peace, therefore, comes from an unlikely source, and it happens to be a man named Michael Lind, a Texas native and a policy scholar in the United States. In an article titled “Blocpolitik” in the July/August issue  of The National Interest, Lind argued that neither the hegemony  of the neoconservatives and neoliberals, nor the balance of power, where one international alliance pits itself against another, is the solution to the geopolitical challenges facing all major powers. Rather, the solution is the creation of geopolitical blocs.

The questions are, how many blocs are there, and what countries would each bloc include? The answer is that they already exist by

natural design, and they are based on the six major powers listed above. Brexit may have happened for a reason, given that a predominantly Protestant Britain has its own path to take and is ideologically, as well as culturally, different from a mainly Catholic, Orthodox, and Agnostic continental Europe that is now dominated politically by Germany. If these six naturally designed geopolitical blocs were  to be acknowledged and realized, the result would essentially be   a level playing field, where all six major geopolitical blocs would compete with each other for not only ideological preeminence,  but also religious preeminence on a global level. Geopolitics is and should be subject to the same law of competition that dictates basic economic theory. It would serve Israel well if it took part in helping to build and develop the Muslim world bloc, given that Israel has now integrated with the Muslim bloc.

All of the six major powers listed above contain certain elements of democratic principles, but all of them are nonetheless wrought with some elements of dictatorship, as well as features of a “Hobbesian state of nature” that have had adverse effects on the world as a whole.Trump’s election and the Brexit referendum of 2016 demonstrated that a latent Hobbesian state of nature exists beneath the surface, even in the most sophisticated nations of the world, and can be triggered at the slightest sense of economic insecurity. Brexit was, without a doubt, a setback to the steady social transformations that have been taking place in the United Kingdom over the past few decades. These remarkable social transformations in the United Kingdom include the election of Sadiq Khan – a British Muslim of Pakistani descent – as Mayor of London, as well as the election of 38-year old Leo Varadkar (gay and of Indian and Irish descent,) as prime minister of Ireland. Brexit was a setback to social progress in  the  United  Kingdom  the  way  Donald Trump’s  election  was  a setback to the progress made in the United States as a result of Barack Obama’s presidency. But despite the downside to Trump’s election and Brexit, the upside of these two dangerous events is that the entire world mobilized in reaction to what they perceived as a

deviation from traditional Western and progressive values. With the rise of newer powers or players in the realm of international relations, the only two advantages that the United States had over China – namely, a relatively open immigration system and values – were nearly compromised not necessarily by Donald Trump himself, but by certain characters inside the Trump Administration, such as Steve Bannon, who are essentially the “rotten apples” of the bunch, both in terms of policy and general philosophy. The economic nationalism of Bannon is counterproductive to productivity and growth. Fortunately, Trump fired Bannon in late August 2017, thus steering the general outlook of the Trump Administration more toward the mainstream center of the U.S. political spectrum.

This seemingly global reaction and backlash to both the election of Donald Trump and Brexit have manifested through both positive short-term results, as well as the triggering of long-term, gradual social transformation. As far as the short-term backlash against Trump and “Brexit” is concerned, the victory of Emmanuel Macron in France’s presidential elections in 2017, in addition to his forward-looking En Marche! movement, winning a solid majority in French parliamentary elections serves as proof that  the backlash is real. Additional proof of the short-term backlash against Trump and Brexit is the loss of Geert Wilders and his party during the 2017 parliamentary elections in the Netherlands, as well as the establishment of a real balance of power in the British parliament between the Conservatives and Labour when Theresa May blew the conservatives’ 17-seat majority in the British House of Commons on June 8, 2017 after a “snap election.” Theresa May thought that by holding a snap election, the conservatives could build on their 17-seat majority, but instead the move turned into a gamble that failed miserably and ended up having the conservatives lose whatever majority they had initially. As far as the gradual and long-term global backlash against Trump and “Brexit” is concerned, social transformations in Europe and the United States will reflect through the election of newer and progressive leaders and activists,

like Emmanuel Macron in France. For one, Macron’s platform of anti-nationalism and pan-Europeanism, which was  inclusive  of all people as opposed to exclusive, may have been the one thing inter alia that prompted former U.S. President Barack Obama to endorse Macron’s candidacy. France derives its clout within the European Union because of a belief that French leadership is essential for the survival of the European Union, in addition to maintaining influence and a great degree of control over a variety of resource-rich satellite nations that provide an economic cushion to France, and by extension the European Union as a whole. But without a Pan-European leader like Emmanuel Macron at the helm in France, the French would be out of the European equation, and the absence of France from the European equation would most likely lead to the breakdown of the entire European Union project. Brexit can destroy the European Union only if France follows suit. If France avoids the right-wing fanaticism that led to Brexit, the European Union will remain intact and will maintain its counterweight against Britain. The world’s problems, whether of an ecological nature or economic nature, are all nonetheless political because of the recent corruption scandals that have plagued political systems everywhere. If the Western world can overcome the social, economic, and political corruption that seems to have taken grip of the international political system, this feat would enable the Anglo-American order to overcome the breakdown of Western unity exacerbated by the election of Trump and Brexit, which in turn would enable effective counteraction against rising powers. And in America, the Democratic Party is beginning to employ an effective tactic, which is to recruit veterans of the military, as well as ironworkers, as candidates in upcoming elections in order to gradually take blue-collar votes away from the plutocratic Trump.

For one, the will and the power of the people must coincide with a kind of diplomacy between states that is based on honor and ethics. No longer can money-based corruption and racism inhibit principled and effective diplomacy, nor can it blind individuals and

nations toward the reality that various national interests have to  be balanced between one another. One way to distribute power and to balance various national interests is through a geopolitical arrangement known as “regionalism,” whereby, according to the teachings of E.H. Carr, each major power would carve out its own sphere of influence in order to stabilize major power relations. Regionalism and spheres of influence became the essence of what is known as the “Nixon Doctrine,” replicated by none other than the famous Henry Kissinger. As the saying goes, if someone is saying something, it must have been said before. Donald Trump coincidentally appears to have adopted regionalism and the Nixon Doctrine as his basic foreign policy paradigm, given his relatively friendly interactions with the Russians, as well as his abandonment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that China had strongly opposed. Trump’s concessions to both Russia and China are indeed reversions to regionalism” and the Nixon Doctrine as basic foreign policy paradigms. In return for Trump’s abandonment of the TPP, China agreed to join the recent blockade of Qatar, masterminded by Trump and the UAE, and eagerly carried out by a number of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia. But with the rise of energy security as a vital interest of all major powers, the Middle East and the Muslim world appears to be the place where all major powers are going to, and this could lead to conflict instead of leading to a geopolitical arrangement that can be cemented through diplomacy among the world’s major powers. The only solution to major power conflicts and the proxy wars associated with them appears to be the pooling and sharing of vital natural resources, such as water and oil, which was yet another solution proposed by E.H. Carr. The estimated value of the “freshwater industry,” if it takes flight, is somewhere around 600 billion U.S. dollars annually, according to a Fortune Magazine article published in 2014.

Leadership based on natural principles derived from the books that matter is another requirement for world peace. In the end, only a “morally persuasive” leadership (a term coined by E.H. Carr) that

aims for the development of individual energies and arguments can ensure peace among different peoples. The aim of a morally persuasive leadership is similar to what Martin Luther King Jr. called “tapping into the ‘conscience’ of a nation.” Thomas Jefferson made this his life’s purpose when he said: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” The dream is to be free from demonic forces that plague human hearts and minds by reading and learning from the books that matter. As Pankaj Mishra pointed out in The Age of Anger, the likes of Schopenhauer and Baudelaire maintained the belief that Satan was the most powerful universal force to ail the human race, despite the rationality of the European enlightenment era in which they lived. Aiming for the conquering of Baudelaire’s Satan will spark a worldwide renaissance and a revival of sciences that will help develop not only material prosperity, but also wisdom and a form of spirituality that is almost nonexistent in the world today.

Henry Kissinger, in a book titled Diplomacy that came soon after the end of the Cold War, argued that international politics would not be based on East-West relations, but rather on the evolution of the 21st century. Kissinger opted not to take both sides of the coin into account, because the divisions between East and West, in addition to the divisions within the Western world, are as relevant today as they were in the past number of decades. The “Atlantic Alliance,” at this point in time, is rocky and filled with distrust, and animosity as signaled both by the failure of a transatlantic trade partnership to materialize, as well as Brexit. The worst part of the tensions within the Western  world is that  the Atlantic Alliance now lacks a purpose, whereas, in the Cold War era, the United States  stood  unified  with  Western  Europe in the effort to both contain and rollback Russian expansion. The European Union also recently slapped Apple with an egregious  tax bill for its investments in Ireland, which is just one of many reasons why trust and confidence is eroding between the European

Union and the United States. Nevertheless, the European Union   is being crushed by both the United States and Russia politically, economically, and militarily through U.S. superiority in hard power, as well as European dependence on Russian oil and natural gas. Because of the watered-down Hobbesian state of nature among Western powers, efforts by people in both the East and West to forge a purpose for human life that is beyond mere survival continues to be undermined by the lack of unity that exists within the Western world in particular. Whether Germany is happy about it or not, German politicians now have no choice but to design and solidify a trade pact between Washington and Brussels in order to stave off the adverse effects of both Brexit on the European Union, as well the decline of social and environmental standards that will result from Chinese economic expansion. Given the void left as a result of the failure of the United States and the European Union to solidify a trade pact, Japan, as the second-richest economy in the world   in monetary terms, has filled the void left by the United States     in Europe by themselves signing a trade pact with the European Union on July 5, 2017.

Professor Charles Doran of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, in a scholarly article titled “Power Cycle Theory,” suggested that political theorists should determine China’s  role in world affairs as if China’s  role  is unclear. In case Charles Doran is unaware of antiquity, China has in large part defined its own role, which appears to be Chinese expansion in correlation with and in response to the rise of money- based corruption and militarism coming from the Western world. The overwhelming influence of money on American politics also undermined any basic belief in American exceptionalism in the 21st century. The United States of America is the only country whose national interests are up for sale through lobbying, and the U.S. Congress as well as the U.S. Supreme Court have created a “pay- to-play” system in American politics that puts common people at  a severe disadvantage. The two major indicators of money-based

corruption in the United States over the past fifteen years are in fact the 2007-2008 financial crisis, and the culture of government contracting and sub-contracting that  began  with  Afghanistan  and Iraq, and fueled the former indicator. Had the United States provided minimal funding and training for Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) soon after 9/11 and allowed the world’s private sector and the Afghan diaspora to develop their country, the culture of money-based corruption that originally began with Afghanistan and Iraq, and later contributed to the U.S. financial meltdown, would not have festered out of control. U.S. military generals and some U.S. government officials, through the culture of government contracting and sub-contracting, interfered with fundamental economic laws and activities that are best suited for the private sector, established corporations, and the free market to undertake around the world.

However, the sole basis of American exceptionalism, oddly enough, is America’s lack of national interests and strategic calculations, due to a near abundance in American resources and capital that in turn fosters the very famous “American dream.” American values and capital also negate the existence of those rigid national interests based on race, ethnicity, and culture that are common in almost all places outside of the United States. Thus, by being the worst nation in the sense of lacking national interests and strategic calculations, America is essentially the greatest nation on earth. It is indeed a mind-boggling paradox. Nevertheless, the United States is an idea-based empire and an idea-based nation in decline.As Kissinger mentions in Diplomacy, a declining empire and nation end up setting two particular objectives first and foremost:

1) Deal with adversaries that will take advantage of weakness in the imperial center, and 2) Reassert authority over the periphery. The United States has tried carrying out objective number one in Turkey to a conclusion that is not clear as of yet, and it may have successfully carried out objective number two in Brazil, Argentina, and Cuba by helping to overthrow Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, by

helping to install Mauricio Macri in Argentina, by improving relations with Cuba, and by helping to fuel anti-Maduro protests in oil-rich Venezuela.

The decline in both U.S. power and the U.S.-led world order  is, for the most part, caused by a decline in “sophisticated” U.S. leadership, as Zbigniew Brzezinski wisely noted in his final tweet before passing away in May of 2017. A decline in U.S. leadership around the world signals a decline in the values of the American people. Just one out of the many failures and tragedies resulting from America’s decline, as well as America’s failure to honor its commitments to other nations, was the creation of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. Duterte sees the history of U.S. involvement    in the Philippines as being nefarious and destructive to the development of his nation, and as a result he has resorted to intense anti-American rhetoric since his rise to power. When the United States failed to defend the Philippines’ territorial sovereignty in recent years, as necessitated by a mutual defense treaty between Washington and Manila against an intrusive China in the South China Sea, U.S. inaction simply enforced and confirmed what Duterte believed about the United States, and, as a result, Duterte sought to improve his country’s relations with Russia and China. His hallmark policy, in defiance of international law and human rights, has been to perpetrate extrajudicial killings and executions of drug dealers and drug addicts. Many Filipinos believe that Duterte is a convert to Islam, given that his mother comes from a Filipino Muslim family, and thus there is a prevalent belief in the Philippines that Duterte will be more successful in forging a peace agreement with Islamist rebels in the Southern Philippines than any of his predecessors. However, the war he has waged against Islamist rebels in the Southern Philippines has been bloodier than expected. And despite Duterte’s anti-American rhetoric and his outreach to Russia and China, the Philippines is still the most pro- American nation in the world, according to a Pew Research survey highlighted by Asian expert Gordon Chang in the May/June 2017

edition of The National Interest. The fact that the Filipino public holds such pro-American views might actually influence Duterte to withdraw from his anti-American position in the coming future. As shown by all the scandals surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, secrecy and dishonesty currently prevails over transparency and honesty, not just in America but also in many other parts of the world. Leaders, even tyrannical ones, are merely a reflection of their people. Leadership will require the correction of the dystopian state of affairs caused mainly by the tyranny of sex, rare earth, oil, drugs, and money. Without proper leadership, this dystopian situation will not change, given that Afghanistan has characterized the history of modern international politics and the future will bode the same, given that Afghanistan is the intersection of tomorrow’s oil, natural gas, lithium, rare earth, uranium, and Asian water; as a result, Afghanistan is the intersection of sex and


Because of Afghanistan, many Western leaders have been put in a rather uncomfortable position in which the spirit of democracy has been compromised by this dystopian reality. Leaders are responsible for creating and then sustaining democracies, and yet many democratic projects in the Western world, as well as Western- backed nations, were on the brink of collapse in recent years. Furthermore, democracy also requires empowering the people over the intrigues of right-wing nationalists and populists. As classic democratic theory demonstrates, almost every single nationalist  or populist uprising in recorded history has led to a dictatorship. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping may or may not be creating democracies in Russia and China. Nevertheless, democracy is an evolution managed by an enlightened and inspired leader.

According to Bill Easterly of NYU, in a book titled The White Man’s Burden, development can only take place from within oneself, and never from the outside. While countries like Russia and China continue on their own paths of development, America should also continue on its personal path of development by finding

a moral purpose for its superpower status in order to compete  with Russia and China globally, and thus maintain its advantage politically as well as economically. America will always face the danger of veering off-track in its democratic project the way Russia has under Vladimir Putin. As Mao Zedong argued, the final stage of capitalism is communism.

Also as a result of the dystopian nature of world affairs, the two issues that will seriously dictate the course of international politics, and relations in the short-term as well as the long-term, will be wealth inequality and perceptions of resource availability throughout the entire world.  What  people  are  sensing,  rightly or wrongly, is that a monopoly of monetary wealth, by just a few individuals at the top of the world’s social and economic pyramid, is exacerbating the state of wealth inequality throughout the world. Furthermore, the vast concentration of wealth in the hands of a few individuals negatively affects people’s perceptions of resource availability in virtually all countries. At the beginning of 2016, BBC highlighted an Oxfam report, stating that the number of individuals with 50 percent of the world’s wealth fell from 388 in 2010 to 62 in 2016. Furthermore, to be in the top 1 percent of the world’s economic elite, you would need at least 760,000 U.S. dollars’ worth of cash and assets. This means that about 99 percent of the world’s people have much less. Oxfam predicted that the world’s top 1 percent economic elite would overtake the entire world at the beginning of 2015, and that takeover seems to have taken place at exactly the time that Oxfam predicted.

As Derek Chollet concluded in his latest book titled The Long Game, the “media-political-industrial complex” that is pushed and sustained by the world’s wealthy few has influenced U.S. national security policy and foreign policy in an extremely adverse way. And after seeing FOX News Anchorman Chris Wallace wandering around in a parking lot and talking to himself outside of a Wagshal’s off Massachusetts Avenue in Northwest Washington, I personally concluded that the American mainstream media is essentially two-

faced and presents an artificial face to the American public while concealing their true face.The practices of the American mainstream media relate to what Thomas Jefferson called the “tyranny of the mind,” given that the practices of the American mainstream media are essentially an exploitation of first amendment rights afforded by the U.S. Constitution. When people’s perceptions of the future and present reality are damaged, it essentially lowers serotonin levels in people’s brains. Serotonin is one of four major hormones in the brain, and serotonin is responsible for people’s feelings of well-being and happiness. When serotonin levels rise, people’s feelings of well- being and happiness also rise because feelings of well-being and happiness are caused primarily by a sense of resource availability. Thus, rising serotonin levels first and foremost augment a person’s sense of resource availability, and as a result of a larger sense of resource availability due to higher levels of serotonin, a person’s sense of well-being and happiness also rise.

A byproduct of the media-political-industrial complex happens to be the reduction of serotonin levels in people’s brains, in addition to the rise of epinephrine and norepinephrine levels. Epinephrine raises adrenaline levels in the human body, which in turn manipulate heart activity, and thus human beings are driven to stress about their survival. Norepinephrine rises in conjunction with epinephrine, and what norepinephrine does is that it mobilizes the brain and body for action. When this happens, there is an increase in the wear  and tear on the brain and body, and norepinephrine reduces the brain’s ability to shut itself down in order to get sleep and rest, and it is sleep and rest that serve as the first and foremost requirement for good health and survival. And because the media-political- industrial complex” adversely alters our sense of resource availability around the world, our perceptions of incentives, rewards, goals, and motivations are also altered, and thus dopamine – a hormone that reacts to what we believe and perceive to be rewards and motivation

  • rises to unnecessarily high levels. And when dopamine levels rise to unnecessarily high levels, epinephrine and norepinephrine levels

also rise at the expense of serotonin levels.

Basically, the media-political-industrial complex” that Derek Chollet identified alters the four main hormones in our brain (serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine), which in turn alter our sense of everything around us and within us in a harmful way. (See Phyllis A. Balch’s book titled Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition for a list of the four major hormones of the brain.) If the general population can begin to differentiate reality from what the media-political-industrial complex propagates, society will then have a firm grasp of politics and will have enough clout to wrestle political power out of the hands of those controlling the media.

The reality of resource availability in America, for example, is implied in Peter Zeihan’s book titled The Accidental Superpower. After you read Peter Zeihan’s book, you will realize that Americans are, in fact, quite safe, and have little reason to fear about basic survival. The problem is that of perception resulting from abnormal levels of serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine in the human brain, and thus the state of war and struggle within the world’s 99 percent.

What the media has failed to do is provide the American public with the political, legal, and religious basis for human rights and what human beings are entitled to naturally. Sustenance (known as rizq in Arabic) for a human being means both truth and the fulfillment of desires and wishes. Furthermore, sustenance rests outside of the cycles of production and consumption, regardless of the economic schemes set by the world’s economic elite. The fulfillment of bodily desires alone does not sustain a normal human being. In order for a human being to maintain their health, it is absolutely necessary to have both the truth and the fulfillment of desires and wishes. Technology will speed up the spread of new ideas and new religious concepts. Communication among different groups of people has become much less difficult due to the prevalence of the English language as a positive byproduct of British internationalism. One

must stress that the newest ideas and religious concepts come from Islam. Ferdowsi once said: “If Islam comes, everything will fall apart. Races will mix together. Every valueless slave could become king.” King Abdullah of Jordan once said: “True Islam will always succeed.” Golda Meir, a former prime minister of Israel, once told Americans in the 1970s that the Muslim world is weak politically, but that Muslims will become very powerful if they begin to overflow their mosques for Fajr prayer (the early morning prayer in the Islamic religion). However, what the media and the intellectual class in America has failed to understand and explain is that the West and Islam are completely compatible  and  identical  with one another, given that the ancient Greeks ended up having their value system transferred to Islam, as opposed to the Romans, who collapsed just a few centuries before the rise of Islam, and Islam essentially gave ancient Greece’s value system to the West.

Because of the failed reconciliation between  the  West  and the Islamic World, peace processes are already beginning to take root among Muslim populations because Russia and China are imposing their will in the resource-rich Middle East and Muslim world. Neutral countries in the geopolitical battle between the United States and China, such as Israel and Pakistan, are beginning to turn eastward toward China and Russia. Machiavelli’s assertion that there is “no virtue in neutrality” will probably lead Eastern countries into coalescing around common religious perceptions and cultural norms in opposition to a Western-led world order pushed by the United States after World War II.

Sunlight, earth, water, and wind, which are four of the basic material necessities for political and economic survival, will probably remain in abundance in North America, the Muslim world, and Asia once they are harnessed.They can only be harnessed after purging political corruption, given that political corruption  is the cause of ecological deterioration. The two most important necessities for political and economic survival that complement the material necessities are, of course, divine intervention and

angelic movements. Oil and natural gas, like coffee and tea, are stimulants for basic political and economic productivity, and these four resources are also in abundance in the Muslim world and Asia. Fire, when tamed and controlled, is an innovative gift, but   a curse when out of one’s control, and thus fire has transformative effects on worldly lifestyle. Japan and India could take the place of Britain and the European Union as part of the top six world powers (with the other four being the United States, Russia, China, and the Muslim world) only if Japan and India initiate bold structural reforms that will have lasting cultural impacts. Luxury goods (the modern-day biblical “golden calf ”) and the desire for them led   to the political corruption and thus decay of the Western world. According to Tolstoy, no greatness can exist without simplicity, goodness, and truth. After all, as E.H. Carr argued, only the West is in decline. But in order to reverse its relative decline, the United States must first resolve its geopolitical challenges with Russia and China by first avoiding another Cuban Missile Crisis, and second by contesting China’s advances into the Western Hemisphere. China has recently announced massive trade and development packages worth a minimum of two hundred and fifty billion dollars in Latin America alone. The Russians and the Chinese have made advances on America in the Western Hemisphere due to America’s disproportionate and also misguided focus on the Middle East.

America was supposed to become a new world, free from the racist games, oppression, and tyranny of the old world. Francis Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner” states the following: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave, From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” This often forgotten verse of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” despite recent misinterpretations based on an erroneous understanding of this particular segment due to incorrect perceptions that Francis Scott Key intended a racist tone, is essentially a denunciation and rejection of the old world comprised of Asia, Europe, and Africa

and a glorification of the new world that was supposed to develop in America. The philosophy of America was the philosophy of Emerson in the days of the early republic, and it was Emerson who told us to “create a world, away from the madness.” America essentially became the world’s main sociopolitical experimentation of “Schumpeter’s Gale,” which led to both the erasure of old world social norms as well as basic American success in accomplishing what Europe tried to accomplish through revolutions like the French Revolution, but it ultimately failed.

Getting back to the absolute basics, the essential needs, and in a sense the advancement of the fundamental research of everything is of utmost necessity. More important than a “Glass-Steagal Act” is the urgent need for governments to find the willpower to impose the agenda of free trade and investment on banks and to limit the ability of banks to exploit the masses through usury. What usury does in modern times is create a debt that cannot be repaid due to limits on the supply of money, and when debt rises, both creditors and debtors initiate either violent wars or attempts at retribution. The only way out of debt, aside from a futile war for the United States, as well as a number of other nations, will be some sort of progressive tax system coupled with a reduction in funding for what former President and General Dwight Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex.” What is necessary is a repudiation  of Reagan-style economic policies based on the gospel of Arthur Laffer. Even though Dwight Eisenhower  served  honorably  as  an important U.S. military  general  before  becoming  president, he became more and more suspicious of the military-industrial complex as his presidency progressed, and finally, at the conclusion of his presidency, he opposed it explicitly. Finding creative and impressive ways to conduct international trade and investment is not the same as exploitation and usury, and the distinction between good and bad structural policies has been made by the European Union, despite its many flaws. Germany and the European Union seized the reins of the banking and finance industry in Europe after

World War II in order to impose a trade and development agenda on banks, and also to prevent exploitation and usury from taking root again in Europe. Cooperation over oil through an international consortium initiated by Saudi Arabia and advocated by the world’s major powers, as well as the truthful acknowledgement that oil and natural gas will not run out in the Middle East, would bring stability to superpower relations. The law of adverse possession has essentially rendered Gulf and Bedouin Arab ownership of oil and natural gas invalid. The Saudi monarchy, in order to maintain its legitimacy, should consider balancing its portfolio between oil and water, and, as a result, mitigate its own fears of survival. By doing something as simple as diversifying its portfolio between oil and water, the Saudis will remove the pressure they place on themselves through imposing an authoritarian Wahhabi system over Muslims, and, as a result, both Saudi citizens and the people of the Muslim world can easily attain normal democratic rights, and at the same time the Saudi Monarchy can maintain its legitimacy. If Saudi Arabia were to become a constitutional monarchy instead of an authoritarian monarchy, the effects of such a transformation within Saudi Arabia would reverberate throughout the Muslim world.

Furthermore, by allowing the abundant water resources of Saudi Arabia to become accessible to other people in the Middle East, there will be a great degree of stability in the Middle East since water would spur agricultural activity in Israel and the Levant. Arabian water alone may well indeed bring peace between Israel and Arab nations.

In the end, the biggest obstacle  to  world  peace  might  be  the hostilities between Britain and Germany, both of whom are Germanic in terms of race and ethnicity and yet are at each other’s throats and are driven by the sad desire to settle some old scores stemming from World War II. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a kind-hearted and loving person who really seems to have all people’s interests in mind, responded to European stubbornness and intransigence by making concessions to the European Union

through signing a major trade deal in 2016 between Canada and the European Union in an effort to mitigate tensions between Britain and the European Union. But despite Mr. Trudeau’s efforts, as well as the noble efforts of U.S. President Barack Obama, the biggest political and moral challenge in the coming days and years for Western nations will nonetheless be the unresolved political tensions among Britain, Germany, and the European Union as a whole. The world must pay serious attention to the situation in Europe before it pays yet another price for the all-too-familiar breakdown of the “Concert of Europe” that is resulting from nationalist divisions.

Furthermore, the resurgence of Russia and the Russian right- wing led by Putin means that world politics is yet again subject to a Cold War  context, and thus the United States has to make one  of two geostrategic choices. For one, the United States will have to try and integrate Russia into a U.S.-led international liberal system and order. It is important to note that George Kennan – who was the father of the famous Cold War geopolitical strategy known as “containment”aimed at the Soviet Union – ended up abandoning the strategy of containing the Soviets, and he believed that Russia was not the country that needs to be contained. Aside from integrating Russia into the international liberal system through diplomatic means, the United States can continue with trying to contain Russia through efforts in places like Ukraine and Georgia, and the result will be a vicious pushback from Russia. Putin is arguably the final Charlemagne of European and possibly world history, and his demise will render Fukuyama’s “End of History.” Coincidentally, in a June 2017 Pew Research poll, the global approval ratings of Putin, as well as Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, hovered abysmally somewhere in the 20 percent range.Despite Putin’s lack of legitimacy, any democratic transformation in Russia will have to be a peaceful one through influence from both outside Russia and within Russia, as opposed to militaristic measures. Nevertheless, the hope is that the integration of Russia into the liberal international order led   by the United States through diplomatic means will preclude the

possibility of a violent overthrow of Putin, and will persuade Putin to facilitate a democratic transformation of his country and to become forward-looking by abandoning the traditional and hostile politics of the past.

Rumi said: “I did what Muhammad did – I closed my eyes to both the world and the hereafter.” Also, as J.M.E. McTaggart of Britain concluded, nothing material exists.This kind of metaphysical morality along Kantian lines as described originally by Rumi and by the Holy Qur’an as “seeking the face of God” is something that should be expected out of our leaders and politicians, and it is a type of morality that transcends ethics. TIME magazine, shortly before the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, reported that Vladimir Putin is carrying out an old British imperial policy called “divide and conquer” through what is called the “Gerasimov Doctrine.” It is now evident that a breakdown in Western unity and the absence of a moral purpose on the part of the Western world has enabled countries like Russia and Iran to successfully pursue brute survivalist policies and objectives.

E.H. Carr argued that democracy is incompatible with the kind of nationalist socialism advocated by the likes of Putin and North Korea. Nationalist socialism is, in fact, the political and social system that fosters drug lords, mafia groups, and terrorist groups in places like Latin America and Asia. As Pankaj Mishra implied both directly and indirectly throughout his latest book titled The Age of Anger, nationalism is ultimately a fraud. What is necessary for progress is progressive democracy, as well as something that Pankaj Mishra called “intermediate institutions” that can navigate between elite and popular interests. Ultimately, the global battle that is taking place in every single society of the world is the battle between conservatives (those who cling onto superstition and insist on keeping culture static despite the fact that culture can never remain static) and progressives (book-based reformers).The drive for progressive reforms and the existence of “intermediate institutions” are virtually absent in the American system at the moment.

Nevertheless, the adversarial system of politics in America does enable the system to ultimately lead to compromise and deal-making. The United States, by applying its internal model   of collegial politics externally, will have to engage in compromise and deal-making with foreign nations. Compromise and deal- making with foreign nations in the short-run will ensure U.S. standing globally in the long run. Compromise and deal-making initiated by the United States are also the initial steps toward the transformation of other nations. Engagement and dialogue are victories for the United States, even if the terms of an agreement do not initially appear to be in America’s favor, because the appeal of America alone is enough for foreign nations to make concessions to America in the future as long as good relations are maintained.

The ideology behind what is known as the “Obama Doctrine” of U.S. foreign policy was that economic sanctions and the isolation of rogue nations did not break rogue regimes. In fact, economic sanctions and isolation only emboldened rogue regimes and motivated them to act the way they were acting. Therefore, only engagement and dialogue can enable the transformation of a rogue regime or government. The Obama Doctrine is slowly proving to be a success in the places in which it was experimented, primarily Iran and Cuba. As far as Iran is concerned, the Obama Doctrine solidified a formidable opposition to Iranian hardliners that are now backed by a majority of the Iranian people who seek better relations with the United States. Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, as well as Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, are very much Europhiles and have a deep understanding of, as well as a great deal of respect for, Western culture. Cuba quickly rushed to improve ties with the United States after Barack Obama shook hands with Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Also, Barack Obama’s approval rating amongst the American public shot up only after he fulfilled his promise to engage diplomatically with Iran and Cuba. The results of Obama’s diplomacy with American adversaries were profound, and they are a severe repudiation of the Bush Doctrine

that sought violent preemptive action and regime change, which served to only inflame and exacerbate global terrorism instead of leading to its eradication. Secular Ba’athists in Iraq, for example, later became Islamist terrorists and the leaders of ISIS as a result of Bush’s failed policies. Furthermore, the Bush Doctrine failed to realize that the capacity for regime change is naturally hindered  by both international realities as well as domestic politics in the United States.

The failures of the Bush Doctrine in both Iraq and Afghanistan prompted the American electorate to vote for the democrats in 2008 and to elect Barack Obama as president. The results of the Obama Doctrine were also respectable in Afghanistan, when in 2009 the Obama Administration initiated a peace process with   the Afghan opposition. As a result, about half of the Afghan opposition ended up laying down arms and entering the fold of  the Afghan government backed by the United States toward the end of the Karzai presidency and the beginning of Ashraf Ghani’s presidency. Karzai is a part of the evil opposition to the United States at this moment. The other half of the Afghan opposition seems to be getting a better deal from China, Pakistan, and Russia, which is why they are fighting the Afghan government. The current opposition to the Afghan government is not necessarily fighting out of hatred towards the United States. Nevertheless, the United States continues to fight the Afghan opposition in conjunction with the Afghan government because an anti-American alliance   is currently backing the Afghan opposition. Mullah Mansour, the leader of the Afghan opposition, was killed by a U.S. drone strike on his way back from a visit to Iran.

Nevertheless, the United States sought to make progress in U.S.-Russian relations through engagement with Russia under the Obama Administration, but all hope was lost when Ukraine fell  to ultra-nationalist Ukrainians in 2014. The one country that the

U.S. may never be able to make progress with is Pakistan, for a number of reasons. For one, Pakistan continues to host international

terrorists and anti-American political groups, even after Osama bin Laden was tracked down and killed by American forces in 2011 inside of Pakistan. Also, Pakistan seeks to push America and the international community out of Afghanistan because Pakistan seeks total conquest of Afghanistan as it did in the past by installing the Taliban and helping them take over about 95 percent of Afghan territory in the 1990s. What makes Pakistan extremely dangerous, and more dangerous than any other country, is that Pakistan is controlled by a military dictatorship that is managing the world’s largest drug trade and is armed with nuclear weapons. Through the drug trade that it controls out of Southern Afghanistan, Pakistan provides monetary, as well as logistical, support for international terrorists, and at the same time, it demonstrates a history of anti- American sentiment. For these reasons, the Obama Administration made the rollback of Pakistan the “silent pillar”of U.S. foreign policy. Even Stephen Hadley, who was George W. Bush’s national security adviser, warned in 2009 that Pakistan is the biggest challenge for

U.S. foreign policy. India entered the foreign policy equation for the United States when the Obama Administration cemented its silent pillar, and as a result there are statistics that show U.S. weapons sales to India have grown almost exponentially since Obama became president. The United States, under the Trump administration, will have to sustain its relationship with India (as well as U.S. weapons sales to India) in order for a global strategy against Pakistani- sponsored and drug-based terrorism to be successful. While the Pakistani military government engages in nefarious activities, a great majority of Pakistani civilians and the general populace in Pakistan are generally good people, and they are upset about the situation in their country. The majority of Pakistanis are not in favor of being ruled by a nefarious military government. In the 1980s, it was a matter of fact that a majority of the Pakistani youth was in favor of joining the Soviet Union so that Pakistan could transform their conservative military dictatorship into a modern socialist society along Western  lines. Many Pakistanis were angry that  the

Afghans resisted the Soviet occupation of their country, because the Afghan resistance to the Soviet Union prevented the Sovietization of Pakistan. America’s support for Pakistan’s military dictatorship prompted massive protests by the Pakistani people against America in the streets of Pakistan during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

The individuals who are probably best qualified to inform and educate the world on politics and international affairs are people called “autodidacts,” and they are individuals who are for the most part self-educated. It was Epicurus who said: “Self-education is the best education.” It was in fact self-education that enabled Malcolm X to dominate the world shortly before his death, and self-education led to John F. Kennedy becoming president. Education is also the thing that shapes the character of institutions, especially those within the media. Magazines like Foreign Policy might veer too far to the right and are based on a belief that a “clash of civilizations” is inevitable. Other magazines like Le Monde are too far to the left and are anti-American to a certain extent.

Centrist policies used to be the norm in America, and the virtual absence of centrist policy proposals during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaigns reflected the polarization of American society as well as the desperation for radical changes and reforms on the part of the American public. TIME magazine also discussed Putin’s  influence on the 2016 U.S. elections through his use of  the Gerasimov Doctrine. But despite Russia’s influence on U.S. politics and the Trump campaign, the backlash against Russia has to be tempered by the reality that U.S. policy success will depend on the success of multilateral diplomacy among the world’s major powers (including Russia) going forward. There is a criterion for

  • policymaking, and the elements of this criterion are scattered throughout Henry Kissinger’s book titled Diplomacy:
    • Democratic governments all throughout the world
    • Diplomacy based on honor and ethics
    • Balancing competing definitions of national interests and creating a power equilibrium
  • Principled leaders
    • Defining and then balancing against common threats, which can never be done unilaterally
    • Development of individual energies, arguments, and opinions that eventually lead to world peace

National level politics and regional level politics are the unchangeable reality of international politics simply because no single power can establish global hegemony or space hegemony and then sustain it for long, and this reality is in turn the main rationale behind the objective of equilibrium with the Westphalian order. But the belief behind this rationale never really existed in the Western world, which is why the world had to endure the likes of Hitler, Napoleon, and the “neoconservatives” in their quest for global hegemony.

Ultimately, the forum or institution through which multilateral diplomacy will have its greatest efficacy and success and can be advanced will be the United Nations. Traditionally, the role of the United Nations, based in New York City, has been agenda-setting for the world, in the sense that members of the UN set clear goals and objectives for the world to be met within a certain timeframe. The historic outlook of the United States toward the United Nations, as well as involvement with the outside world, has been split between deliberate isolation from world affairs and Wilsonian multilateralism. Donald Trump’s election in 2016 initially tilted the United States toward deliberate isolationism, which, if continued, may have left a power vacuum in the Middle East that would eventually be filled by either Russia or China. Trump’s tomahawk missile attack on Syria in the spring of 2017, the recent U.S. focus on North Korea, Trump’s engagement with Saudi Arabia, as well as the dropping of the “mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan in 2017, however, might signal a shift back to Wilsonian multilateralism on the part of the Trump Administration.

The Trump Administration has so far made “America first” its guiding principle. This suggests that the United States will pursue

national interests, as opposed to the  global  interests  advocated by multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, as well as traditional U.S. alliance systems. The United States under Donald Trump is seeking to recuperate from fifteen years of wars in the Middle East in order to enhance and strengthen its economy so that there is a fair and balanced equilibrium throughout the entire spectrum of U.S. power, with power having three basic elements according to the teachings of E.H. Carr: military power, economic power, and power over opinion. And while the reputation of the United States may have suffered around the world as a result of a Trump presidency, U.S. competitors do not fare well either. Chas Freeman, the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, once said that Russia has almost nothing except nuclear weapons that can  be countered with second-strike capability. China is still trying to convert cash into military prowess and power over opinion without much tangible success. India is said to be twenty years behind China in economic terms, and the pollution and damage to the environment in India is far worse than in China. Joseph Nye’s book titled Is the American Century Over? provides a brief yet detailed and convincing argument that the United States is still decades ahead of its competitors in terms of power and capabilities.

But what multinational institutions and forums like the United Nations seek to achieve is something called the “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDG). This UN-led agenda for development is something I  learned  about  and  discovered  when  I  attended a youth conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City during the summer of 2016. There are supposed to be 17 sustainable development goals that are to be accomplished by all UN members by the year 2030. These goals were actually supposed to be met earlier and were known as “Millennium Development Goals” (MDG), but member states failed in their attempts to do so, and the agenda has been renamed to “Sustainable Development Goals,” to be successfully carried out by the year 2030. By changing the name of the agenda and the deadline,  it demonstrated a

lowering of expectations by the United Nations at a time when economic security is the hot topic and main issue to be dealt with. Xi Jinping framed globalization, free trade, and world economic development as the main objectives for world leaders at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos. If the United States and China can get on the same page in terms of globalization and world economic development, then there will at least be an attempt at the securitization of the world economic situation, which in turn will translate into some sort of political and social willpower in favor of satisfying and discussing the UN agenda. As mentioned before, there are supposedly 17 sustainable development goals that the UN has outlined. But these 17 goals can fit within four major policy principles: peace, international security, respect for human rights and thus international law, as well as economic development (which, according to E.H. Carr, begins with employment).

Both the Trump agenda (based on international business and economics) and the UN agenda will unfold, but not necessarily in conjunction with one another anytime soon. But the definition of economics has to be clear because economics is the starting point toward the four major principles, goals, and objectives of the United Nations, and economics should be based on the definition provided by Henry Hazlitt, and independent American economist in the 20th century. Henry Hazlitt defined economics as an art that consists of looking not just at immediate effects, but also long-term effects of acts and policies, and tracing the consequences of policies not just for one group, but for all groups of people. President Obama, in an essay to The Economist before the 2016 U.S. elections, noted in the end of the essay that U.S. policies are and should be tailored toward the betterment of all people around the world. And while the accomplishment of goals may require changes in plans, goals must be embedded in an agenda that has both a clear starting point (economics and employment) and a clear end point (fairness in the standards of living for all people). But traditional employment is changing and is being transformed by technology, which prompted

the World Economic Forum to write a report stating that the traditional eight-hour workday is now a relic of  the  19th  and 20th century Industrial Revolution, and that greater work hours does not necessarily correlate with efficiency or even productivity. Being inclusive of different racial backgrounds is also a key to productivity and efficiency, and that means the elimination of racial discrimination when it comes to hiring employees in the Western world. The World Economic Forum found that companies with a diverse racial workforce were at least 35 percent more productive than companies with less diversity in their workforce.

Even if the U.S. global scope is not entirely narrowed down,   it must be altered and re-shaped in a way that is selective toward particular national and regional interests wherever those interests may pertain. And once the regional focus of the United States becomes solidified, then the United States can compete with Russia and China for global influence, regardless of whether it is moral, economic, political, or social influence that the United States seeks. But if the United States wants a restart that can enable itself to correct the overstretch that has taken place over the past fifteen years or so, then regionalism as a first step toward an enduring global position would be wise for the United States.

Given that Donald Trump has emphasized economic recovery throughout his tenure in politics, it would be worthwhile to explore the various perceptions and ideas pertaining to economics. The definition of “economics” coined by Henry Hazlitt has already been stated. For the most part, Hazlitt built on the ideas of Ludwig von Mises, who deemed economics to be the free pursuit of various goals and ends in life. The strategy for economic policies thus becomes a matter of enabling this free pursuit of goals and ends in life. Thomas Rustici, professor of economics at George Mason University, called economics “life.” Manuel Suarez, a professor of mine at American University’s School of International Service, called economics “incentives.” Regardless of the different perspectives of what constitutes economics, it is clear that an individual’s preferences

and values are the direct influence on decisions and economic behavior that, in turn, affect productivity and growth, which are the main objectives of economic behavior. Pragmatic economic behavior (which focuses on productivity and growth rather than the accumulation of material wealth) is the key to success when adopting the economic philosophy of theorists like Henry Hazlitt.

Whatever angle one uses, economics is political and is a tool of politics, and according to Joseph Nye, politics is about getting what you want. But in order to get what you want, you need wealth and victory in the material realm, according to Paul Kennedy in a book titled The Rise and Fall of The Great Powers. In an essay titled “The Way to Wealth,” Benjamin Franklin noted that there are only two ways to become wealthy: savings and hard work. Converting savings and hard work into participation in “The Great Game” might be one of the philosophical underpinnings of Joseph Nye’s concept called “power conversion.”

And it begs the question: Who are the players in “The Great Game” and where is wealth concentrated? The answer is families. Gary Becker deemed families to be the primary economic machine in the world, and according to Dr. John Coleman – in a rather obscure and controversial book titled The Committee of 300 – families are the primary political players in what is known as “The Great Game.” Families are essentially the 1 percent in the world who sit atop the 99 percent and are playing what is known as “The Great Game.” What China wants is participation in “The Great Game” at a time when the United States does not know how China will behave on a global stage. Some experts have called America’s fiscal deficit the biggest national security crisis that America faces. Guibert created a formula: Hegemony = Military + Values. But in order to preserve its values and its military, America must take into consideration the economic aspect of power.

Right now, the economic malaise in the world is the result     of what Larry Summers of Harvard University called “secular stagnation.” Families in the 1 percent refuse to unleash capital into

the 99 percent for economic activity. The way to break through Larry Summers’ “secular stagnation” is through a top-down release of capital outlined by Thomas Piketty in a book titled Capital in the Twenty-First Century. The “moral equivalent to war,” as stated initially by E.H. Carr, does not exist, despite the need for it. It was Lord Acton who said power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. But given the inequality that exists among nations and within nations, many people have taken to civil disobedience both in the past and in the present in the form of “The 99 Percent” movement, the “Black Lives Matter” movement, the “Tea Party,” as well as the Trump Movement, despite the opposing positions of these various groups.

Another consequence of the economic inequality that prevails throughout the world is the rise of populism and nationalism. Fareed Zakaria wrote an article on populism soon after the 2016

U.S. elections, and he attributed the rise of populism to a country’s immigration policy. However, one may also argue that populism  is directly connected to prevailing political corruption within a society, and it is political corruption that serves as the direct cause of inequality between the elites and the masses, not immigration. Superstition, in most cases, causes the majority population to scapegoat immigrants when elite corruption  is  the  real  cause  for populism, and it is in fact superstitious beliefs outside of the bounds of reason on the part of Steve Bannon (the rotten apple of Trump’s administration) that led to Trump’s travel ban on Muslims. But when life is good, and when governments are not corrupt, the majority of a nation or host country usually welcomes immigrants. West Germany used to roll out the red carpet for Afghan refugees fleeing the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Now, there is a large group of Germans from the right-wing AfD and PEGIDA parties who want to turn Afghan refugees, as well as other refugees, away. The United States would accept Afghan refugees (which included my mother and father) without hesitation in the 1980s in order to show that they were the more humane power in the Cold War struggle.

Populism is now a worldwide phenomenon that has spread to    the United States. One example of populism and nationalism is   in Turkey. Many people have specified Erdogan’s authoritarianism and his neglect of minority groups. But it will take basic human security and economic securitization for the Turkish people before Erdogan loosens his grip on power. And until basic human security and economic rights are ensured to Turks through international trade and commerce, political groups like the liberals and the Kurds will be seen as foreign agents seeking to undermine the stability and unity of the Turkish nation for their selfish benefit.

The elites hold the edge over the people not just in the United States, but also globally, because of their mental ability to convert resources into sustainable social and economic progress. The way to secure the balance between global elites and global populism is by securing basic food, clothing, and shelter for the people within the framework of a capitalist system. But what will secure food, clothing, and shelter? The answer is the securitization of water, basic resources, and necessities. To ensure basic economic rights for all will eventually require the pooling of economic resources (not necessarily money) along the lines of the “European Economic Community” that developed soon after World War II. What is more important than oil and natural gas is water, because water is the most basic essential of life, (Read Peter Zeihan’s book titled The Accidental Superpower). What is almost comical is that while the United States has pursued oil and natural gas in the Middle East, everyone else has been pursuing water outside of the United States. A young man in Qatar told me once that oil and natural gas are cheaper than water in the Middle East. And in the water game, who is the winner? The answer is the United States, according     to Peter Zeihan in a book titled The Accidental  Superpower.  What Peter Zeihan found was that the United States is naturally endowed with about 17,600 miles of internal waterways, whereas China and Germany have only about 2,000 miles of waterways. France only has about 1,000 miles worth of waterways, and what

is most shocking is that the Arab world only has about 120 miles worth of waterways. But what Peter Zeihan discounted was the underground water supplies that the Arabian Peninsula possesses, which can probably make up for the shortage of surface supplies.

But given that the anthropomorphic and manmade political system of realpolitik has been bolstered since the era of European colonialism to the detriment of the UN charter and religious scriptures, what the anthropomorphic and manmade political system of realpolitik has rendered is essentially an anthropomorphic and man-made imposition of “chaos and anarchy”upon Kenneth Waltz’s top level of analysis called “the international system.” Because of the manmade imposition of Kenneth Waltz’s levels of analysis, the human, and thus personality “ingredients” for what is necessary to break out of the “chaos and anarchy” characteristic of Waltz’s top level of analysis, are missing, which renders the kind of situation internationally that Paul Nitze claimed when he stated that “all is uncertainty.” According to Waltz, below “the international system” are two other levels of analysis: states and then individuals.

The uncertainty caused by human inactivity in the face of economic inequality has made any vision of social progress even more far-fetched than before, despite the fact that philosophers    of the past have outlined a clear vision for social progress. For example, Sir Bertrand Russell argued that exceptional men who seek to become well-read and well-educated do so for the intent and purpose of having satisfying sex. This would suggest that governments would have to make Freud’s “pleasure principle” the guiding principle for all policies. However, he also added that intelligent people wish to know everything about the world, and that convention is the enemy of reading, writing, and education, and thus convention is the enemy of science. Sir Bertrand Russell also added that science is the pursuit of truth. It is important to note that Sir Bertrand Russell belonged to the Philosophe tradition of Europe that became famous through the Frenchman Voltaire, and the central belief of the Philosophe tradition is that human thought

and reason can significantly improve the life of an individual and perhaps the lives of many others.

Sir Bertrand Russell also attributed neurosis to the threatening behavior of parents and nurses as to the perceived consequences of masturbation. Love, according to Sir Bertrand Russell, is based on intensity. There are three things, according to Sir Bertrand Russell, that are beyond rationality and thus become an art form: religion, war (politics), and love.

Sir Bertrand Russell added that the enemy of love is work and economic success, and that passionate love is the greatest thing. Everything begins with love, and from love comes one’s efforts and pursuits, and from one’s efforts and pursuits come enriched social interactions. Dr. Otto Weininger concurred that love is the greatest thing. Sir Bertrand Russell apparently had no objections to polygamy if it was within the context of love, but was staunchly opposed to prostitution. Sir Bertrand Russell also outlined the process for sexual interaction, which is a three-step process. The first step requires prolonged courtship of a woman. The second step requires passionate love. And the third step is the desire for companionship.

Sir Bertrand Russell seems to have adopted the view Erasmus of Rotterdam held, in the sense that there is a need for an international government, and that there is a perennial struggle between the young, symbolized by genius, and the old, symbolized by tyranny. He also noted that the young westerner is comfortable and powerless, and that the secret to happiness is specialization complemented by interests that are as wide as possible.These are just a few characteristics of what can be called “The Universal Man,” as suggested by Sir Bertrand Russell. “The earth and heavens as a bed for rest and relaxation,” as stated by the Holy Qur’an, creates the perfect setting for Sir Bertrand Russell’s “Universal Man,” which is a type of man that is in short supply today.

Jonathan Haidt wrote a fascinating book titled The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics And Religion, and

the basic argument of the book is that “moral psychology” based on religion is the most important thing in politics and life. Yet, realist scholars like Paul Kennedy have argued that peace equals change in physical sciences, technology, and material resources, while completely ignoring the superiority of religion and spirituality in the attainment of internal peace, as well as peace between different peoples. It goes back to what Machiavelli said about how practice creates theory, and politics creates ethics. The truth of history, which is attainable, is essentially a chain of cause and effects known as “determinism” or “verticalism.” Deterministic and verticalist explanations for everything go to the extent of explaining the plight of the Jewish people, the cause of which happens to be King David and Jesus Christ both cursing the Jewish people with their own tongues. Some have noted that strategy needs guidance, and that even liberal democracy requires a “morally persuasive” leadership apparatus. Decline in material terms, after all, is an increase in debt, a decrease in the quality of education, a rise in economic inequality, and political decay within the elites. While offensive realism would dictate that “the best defense is a good offense”, the defensive  side comes with a “morally persuasive” leadership apparatus that combats decline. The formula for the demise of civilizations is such that political corruption equals the demise of civilizations, and the demise of civilizations are marked by severe economic disparity and ecological problems. Noah’s biblical “Great Flood,”which prompted him to build his all-famous ark, is one of the very first examples of an ecological disaster resulting from political and social corruption in human history.

If one were to seek a constellation of power around the world today, one would find that power has essentially been distributed between six major powers: the United States, Britain, China, Russia, the European Union, and the Muslim world. Henry Kissinger considered India and Japan to be part of a constellation of six major powers, but some (including myself ) would respectfully disagree, given that India and Japan have exhibited major cultural

obstacles to the adoption of internationalism. All six major powers have demonstrated immense business prowess and thus political prowess, given that politics and business are two sides of the same coin, by some accounts. Marx even considered law and medicine to have transformed into big businesses, given that the “bourgeoisie” has overtaken the fields of law and medicine, and it is the Muslim world that has demonstrated superiority in the field of medicine due to the fathering of modern medicine by the likes of Ibn Sina.

By some estimates, Russia is considered to be the most educated nation in the entire world, with the second-most educated nation being North Korea, the third being Japan, the fourth being Canada, and the fifth being the United States. The United States, by some estimates, is behind Russia in standards of education, and that demonstrates the balance between Russia, a weaker nation in hard power terms, and the United States, which is obviously the stronger power in hard power terms. Interestingly, the United Kingdom does not make it to the top five in terms of education, despite hosting Cambridge and Oxford. And the main reason for poorer standards of British education is a downturn in the amount of history and philosophy taught in the U.K. education system. It does not appear that many British students know about Sir Bertrand Russell or the history of British colonialism in Jamaica. The United Kingdom, after all, has an incredibly dark colonial history beginning with the slave trade, followed by its intrusions into Iran and Afghanistan. After their interference in the affairs of Central Asia and the Middle East, the British took part in concocting the infamous “Sykes-Picot” arrangement at the end of World War I. Then, after World War II, the British divided the Indian subcontinent, which led to the deaths of millions of civilians, and then for multiple decades, the British used the United States as a tool to suppress the will of the people in Iran until the Iranian people rose and kicked the British out in 1979. However, Islamist clerics led by Ayatollah Khomeini hijacked the Iranian revolution of 1979, and, as a result, the Iranian revolution quickly transformed from a democratic

revolution with a pluralistic nature to a theocratic dictatorship. The Franco-Iranian existentialist philosopher, Dr. Ali Shariati, warned of the dangers of “dark Shi’ism” taking over Iran soon before his mysterious death, which took place right before the 1979 Iranian revolution. Dr. Shariati knew that if the world’s major powers did not help the Iranian people foster a truly democratic pluralism, the monarchical and largely secular dictatorship led by the Shah of Iran would be replaced by nothing other than a theocratic dictatorship driven by what he called “dark Shi’ism.”

After Iran’s revolution in 1979, Britain elected Margaret Thatcher, and the result was a failed attempt by the British to take back Iran, which in turn led to the rise of Britain’s modern-day Labour party. There is a solid chance that the youth and minority groups in Britain can slowly but gradually garner support for Labour and enable a social and political transformation in Britain through which liberals and moderates slowly push conservatives and “Tories” out of power. Much work has already been done in Britain by minorities and the youth through the registration of new Labour members from traditionally disadvantaged social groups and their election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of Labour in 2015. Whether out of personal ambivalence over her policy position on issues such as Brexit or to raise political capital, Theresa May called for a “snap general election” on June 8, 2017, approximately three years earlier than the scheduled date of May 2020 for the British general elections. Theresa May called for a “snap election because she claims to have sought a solidification of popular support for Brexit as she begins negotiations with the European Union. However, on the flipside, Theresa May could have attempted to pull off a David Cameron in the sense that she sought clarification as to whether Brexit was a “one-off,” and thus determine whether it was right for her and her circle to remain in power or not. Nevertheless, any transformation of British politics and society in the long run will require a Labour-led transformation with the British youth, minorities, and moderates at the helm. The Tories, especially after

Brexit and the hijacking of the British Conservative Party by the likes of Theresa May and Boris Johnson, are now dominated by a wing of the party that puts ethnic nationalism above everything else, and thus British conservatives can do nothing for Britain or the world except take everyone back to the Dark Ages. Theresa May’s wing of the British Conservative Party, like the Trump wing of the Republican Party in America, are the antithesis of education and progress due to their unhealthy obsession with ethnic nationalism. The obsession with ethnic nationalism on the part of Trump supporters within the Republican Party in America was so unhealthy that it has now compromised the ability of Trump voters to maintain affordable health care. As the saying goes, “there is no such thing as something for nothing.” Little did Trump supporters know that the price of putting Trump and his people in office would be their own health and well-being. There is an expression that states: “The rich get richer, and the poor get…conservatives.”

Once internationalists and enlightened folk return to power in places like London and Washington, DC, the wisest thing they can do is to provide affordable “bread and circus” to the ill-informed people who voted for Donald Trump and Brexit so that they are too busy to leave the house or the football stadium on election days. The policy of “bread and circus” had most famously been put into practice by the ancient Romans, and was most probably authored by Aristotle in order to placate the masses and to prevent populist uprisings from occurring. The policy of “bread and circus” by the Ancient Romans worked for the most part until the political elite of Rome became corrupt themselves and proactively prevented the ministry of Jesus Christ from taking effect. A wise man from Denver once told me that the difference between the minority and the majority is that one pursues integrity, whereas the other pursues “the rice bowl.” At the crossroads of life that appears over and over again, the road to reading and learning is the road less taken in comparison to the road leading to “bread and circus.” But the choice between reading and learning or “bread and circus” is essentially a

choice between power and pleasure, specifically the choice between Nietzsche’s “will to power” and Freud’s “pleasure principle.” And ultimately, after a close reading of Kierkegaard, the choice between power and pleasure becomes a choice between what is eternal and what is transitory. Nevertheless, the choice for every human being is a personal one, and the choice has to be made based on individual liberty, not through dictatorship or compulsion on the part of the group or the elderly. Even if it may come as a surprise to some, there is equal opportunity for either power or pleasure. Tom Davis, a former U.S. congressman from Virginia and a professor of mine at George Mason University, said once during a lecture that power is available to anyone who seeks to attain it, but not exactly in those words. However, the ideal life would be one in which an individual strikes a fine and intelligent balance between power and pleasure and achieves “the best of both worlds,” so to speak.

Because of its dark past, Britain has always been driven to act as what is known as the world’s “offshore balancer,” which is a euphemism for pitting one nation against another. As a result, Israel waged an independence movement against Britain in the 1920s and it was a successful one. The United States, led by a maverick and rogue general by the name of George Washington and an outlaw by the name of Thomas Jefferson, kicked the British out of America in the 1780s. The British Commonwealth is probably the strictest in its enforcement of false borders between humanity, and they have gotten even more nefarious after Brexit, given that the main motive behind Brexit is the destruction of the European Union.   In a globalized world, borders no longer exist tangibly. They are essentially imagined, given the rise of technology and the Internet. It was most likely James Baldwin, an African-American writer and thinker early in the post-World War II era, who said: “To find enemies is to construct an identity.” The “North American idea” of Robert Pastor, for example, was the stepping-stone for regional cooperation in North America that transcended borders in the Western Hemisphere.

It is becoming increasingly clear that free trade, commerce, and the “four freedoms” that characterize the European Union (freedom of the movement of goods, services, people, and capital) are essentially the antidote to the “Schumpeter’s gale” that has already taken place all over the world due to the rapid innovations in technology. The United States, as the world’s leading power, has a responsibility to render the entire world as a “common market” undergirded by the free movement of goods, services, people, and capital, the way the European Union has done regionally. McDonald’s plans to expand throughout Europe and in the Netherlands in particular, and this expansion will enable two things: increased disposable income for the working class of Dutch society who are not natives, as well   as increased economic security for the native Dutch population, which will in turn enable the stimulation of the Dutch economy. McDonald’s will have to meet European standards for food production, which is a good thing for McDonald’s. Marco Polo made the world appear to be a global market. But the solidification of the world as a truly global market can happen only through   the free flow of international trade. Free trade will have to be the initiative of the United States by opening its own market to foreign investment and by opening foreign markets for American capital through shrewd diplomacy.

Given that governance is the relationship between the state (described by Aristotle as a group of socially and politically cohesive families sitting atop of society who have a monopoly on the use of force based on either law or just simply military, economic, and persuasive power) and society (everyone else), it follows that civil society is the intermediary between the state and society. It seems as though the goal of civil society is to forge a stalemate between the 1 percent elite and the masses of the  99  percent, and  the hope is that the stalemate can translate into a peaceful settlement between the two groups. The families that form the basic elements of a state become the “masters” of society because, according to Aristotle, they have been able to convert economic clout into a

deep understanding of philosophy and politics, whereas the rest of society carry out “errands” for the masters. E.H. Carr wrote that nationalist socialism based on the promotion of a culture or race could never coexist with democracy, mainly because of the natural intertwining of capitalism and democracy that essentially leads to a somewhat organized structuring of society based on individual liberty and self-interest. Capitalism enables democracy, and in turn democracy enables a social system based on individual liberty and self-interest that stands as an antithesis to the pre-capitalist social system based on collectivist dictatorship. George W. Bush famously said that the biggest obstacle to leadership is democracy.

And given that the basic motivation behind capitalism is individual or collective greed and self-interest, and given that capitalism can only exist in a democratic society where individualism prevails over collectivism, the triangulation of the state, society, and capitalism can only be moderated by a civil society that is actually vulnerable to capitalism, given that capitalism emerges from civil society and has the material and intellectual means to overtake  the state. Capitalism is fostered and promoted by the economic elite of society that represents only one percent of society, whereas labor represents 99 percent of society. Because nationalist socialism (with its ideological and social basis being communalism) is unable to coexist with individualist democracy due to the intrusions of capitalism into both the state and society, the democratic socialism represented by the likes of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn    is, at best, a compromise and balance between the  economic  elites that represent 1 percent of the population throughout the world, and the people/labor force that represents 99 percent of   the population throughout the world. The compromise between the 1 percent economic elite and the people and labor force that comprise of 99 percent of the world’s population is negotiated and struck by none other than civil society. The members of civil society form an anthropological and well-read social and political body that ultimately strikes the balance and compromise between the 1

percent economic elite (capital) and the 99 percent of the world’s people and the world’s labor force. The three tools that the “masters” of society have at their disposal in order to maintain power, according to Aristotle, are the law, the ability to use force, and friendship with the masses.

Civil society does contain union leaders, but it does not mean that all of civil society represents unions. Civil society, at times, is torn between capital (1 percent) and labor (99 percent). State and society are trapped between the back-and-forth between capital and labor. Civil society is essentially the social and political “elite” that is torn between capital (1 percent) and labor (99 percent). Whereas democratic socialists like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn seek to bridge the material and psychological gap between capital and labor, there is a dangerous chance that Donald Trump might balk at the promises he gave to labor during his campaign and actually increase the material gap between capital and labor, given that Donald Trump represents capital socioeconomically while having attested to being a centrist socio-politically.

Where religion intertwines with politics, there is the dichotomy between Victorian British materialism that refuted the spiritual and philosophical discoveries of individuals like Sir Bertrand Russell and J.M.E. McTaggart, and transcendental love and spirituality,  as revealed first by Jewish thought, followed by ancient Greek thought, then preached by the Christian gospel, and later preached by the ministry of Prophet Muhammad in Arabia. In the American context, transcendental spirituality has been perpetuated through the teachings of Emerson.

The main characteristic of“the Complete Man”otherwise known in Islamic terminology as “Insan Al-Kamil,” is his desire and his efforts to know everything. The study of philosophy and the study of politics lead “the Complete Man” to an encyclopedic knowledge of everything. Muslims believe the encyclopedic knowledge of everything is present to man in the form of the Holy Qur’an. Western renaissance thinkers have referred to “Insan Al-Kamil” as

“the Universal Genius.” The father of the European Renaissance era was a universal genius by the name of Leonardo da Vinci. What automatically follows from the desire and from the effort to know everything is an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge and information, and what results from an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge and information is an inquiry into what is known   as “natural religion.” One result of an inquiry into natural religion, for example, is the fact that at least four witnesses are required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a man or a woman has had   an adulterous relationship in order to protect a male or female defendant against libelous, false, and unilateral accusations of adultery. Furthermore, there is a requirement that the four witnesses must have simultaneously witnessed (with proof ) the illicit sexual acts that are said to have been committed. These requirements in the due process of incriminating adultery as prescribed by natural religion are in fact safeguards  that  are  designed  to  minimize  the wanton punishments handed out for adultery based on the principles of clemency and mercy. Knowledge without prayer is just knowledge. Knowledge with prayer is wisdom.

There are essentially two main elements, pillars, and destinations in the inquiry into “natural religion”: 1) The Universal Soul (God), and 2) The human soul. Islam, Christianity, and Judaism believe “the Universal Soul” to be a singular entity (God) from which all other things are created, thus the monotheistic element of the Abrahamic faiths. If there were more than one universal soul, the belief is that the nine heavens, the various planets, and thus the universe or multiverse would collapse into anarchy. The perceived anarchy of the human kingdom does not translate into an imperfection in the governance of the Universal Soul. The perceived anarchy within the human kingdom is merely the result of a lack of compliance with the governance of the Universal Soul on the part of human beings. Aristotle contributed to the study of the human soul by mentioning that human beings are hylomorphic in the sense that the human body is a container for a soul that comes from a universal

soul. Thus, a prerogative of politics is the need to respect and maintain the human body, with the soul as the entity that governs the human body. Early Islamic intellectuals revered Aristotle and referred to him as “Al-Hakim”or “The Wise One.”The constitutions for God’s government are the sacred books such as the Torah, the Holy Bible in its original form, and the Holy Qur’an, because all three are believed by Muslims to have transferred ancient wisdom from the Jews and the Greeks to the West.

No one knows what the universal soul (God) and the human soul are made of. The only thing that one can conclude from an inquiry into the universal soul (God) is that the material for the universal soul is essentially non-material. Thus, the conclusion is that there are non-material forces (God, angels, spirits made of smokeless and invisible fire) governing the material realm in which human beings reside. Death is the equivalent to full residence within the spiritual realm and a full departure from the material realm, given that human beings are currently traversing between two planes (spiritual and material) by virtue of their bodies being fully within the material realm, even while the soul maintains a connection to the spiritual realm despite being contained within the material human body. In a sense, religion renders time and space as the setting for a play and script between four characters (God, angels, spirits made of smokeless and invisible fire, hylomorphic human beings) aiming for one of two destinations: Heaven (The Eternal Garden of Pleasure), or Hell (Eternal Fire).

It then follows that the interdisciplinary approach toward the study of political and philosophical contexts lead to an inquiry into the religious context of politics dictated by the dichotomy between the material and spiritual planes. What the spiritual plane renders based on Islamic thought is the dichotomy between the Garden and the Fire. Obvious to many religious observers is the transitory phase between Fire and Garden: purgatory. In Islamic thought, purgatory is both spiritual and material, and can possibly be the earth itself. And because all intellectual and spiritual inquiries lead

to an inquiry into natural religion, it then follows that an inquiry into natural religion leads at the bare minimum into an inquiry of the Garden and the Fire.

Given that the final inquiry is an inquiry into natural religion and that an inquiry into natural religion is an inquiry into the Garden and the Fire, it follows that eschatology is the final science. And because science is the pursuit of truth according to Sir Bertrand Russell, it follows that eschatology (Garden versus Fire) is the final pursuit of truth.

The pursuit of the Garden or the Fire is an individual pursuit, both intellectually and spiritually, according to Islamic scripture, which may have in fact led to Jefferson’s lobbying for an American system based on individualist freedom over a collectivist dictatorship based on family, ethnicity, race, and culture. The battle between individualist freedom and collectivist dictatorship constituted the essential nature of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and because America stuck to its roots and supported the cause of individualist freedom for the most part, the United States managed to induce the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The goal for America during the Cold War was to transform man “from barbarian to American.” Or, as Dr. Ali Shariati stated, “from dust to God.” This transformational agenda toward mankind was essential to American foreign policy and is still essential in the final phase of America’s global initiative that followed the Cold War, which is called the “Global War on Terror” (GWOT).

These transformational policies on the part of the United States, it must be noted, stem from the dominance of Western values over all other policy institutions within the United States. In America, it is not about the people, but instead America is about the principles. From a fundamental standpoint, one must view big business and the military as institutions. Individuals or groups come together to form what are known as “institutions.” Once formed and established, institutions adopt certain procedures or processes that are carried over through time by the individuals that sustain

their respective institutions. The Economist magazine issue for January 7 to January 13 highlighted two points about institutions. The first is that institutions make or break a nation. An institution is essentially an organization, and an organization is essentially a body of people with a specific purpose. Also, The Economist stated that there are two types of institutions: 1) Extractive and exclusive institutions that exploit people for self-benefit, and 2) Inclusive institutions that foster economic growth for all people. The second major point that The Economist got across regarding institutions was that the openness of nations and institutions helps to overcome the shortages and scarcities that accompany nationalist socialism. The Economist of January 7 to January 13 used the example of China and the successes it enjoyed since opening its society to foreign investment over the past few decades.The example of China demonstrated a major axiom of free-market economic thought, which was that openness serves as the only way to overcome scarcity and the only way to attaining the dream of abundance. This positive outcome of openness is one motivating factor for the 1975 Helsinki Accords between the United States and the Soviet Union that later enabled Mikhail Gorbachev to initiate his policies of “glasnost” and “perestroika,” with both policies being based on the desire for social and economic openness in order to overcome scarcity and shortages.

Nationalist socialism is a natural barrier to openness, which   in turn translates into scarcity and shortages. To put it logically, nationalist socialism is racism, and racism leads to shortages and scarcity, and as a result racism not only has political implications, but also economic implications (shortages and scarcity). By far, the worst crimes are in fact racism, lying, and child abuse of all forms, and one can rightfully argue that these crimes are worse than blasphemy and murder. After all, what prompted the arrival of Islam were the Prophet Muhammad’s efforts to put an end to the baseless pride in being Arab, the falsehoods the Arabs clung onto regarding human existence, as well as the female infanticide that was commonplace in Arab society during his time. It is also important to note that

Islam in the 7th century AD actually restored a woman’s right to divorce after Europe had essentially deprived women of their right to divorce during the medieval age of Europe. Corruption (deviation from a moral framework or purpose) leads to the breakdown of institutions, which in turn leads to the breakdown of basic human security necessary for economic progress. Once there is a breakdown of economic progress, ecological problems emerge within a society and ecological problems exacerbate tensions between people as in the case of Syria shortly after 9/11. What political corruption and decay essentially does is that the state (the unified body of families tasked with upholding the law through the monopoly on violence) breaks down due to the blatant violation of the law by corrupt institutions. The breakdown of the state then leads to the ultimate outcome of corruption, which is the overall breakdown of social relations between individuals.

The breakdown of social relations between individuals then leads to anarchy and possibly autarky, which is in essence an opposition to openness that, in turn, fosters scarcity and shortages within nations and borders. Thus, any kind of war against corruption will have to be a globalized effort that addresses localized sources. Whereas institutions were localized and tribal in the past, institutions are now becoming more and more global in nature, and thus, the  need for the international government or state that the likes of Sir Bertrand Russell and Erasmus called for in the past.



Europe and The Issue of Identity


urope after World War II was the first region of the world to solidify liberalism and cooperative multinational institutions in the form of NATO and

the European Union. Before World War II, however, Europe had risen from the medieval period, divided based on “national (elite) interests.” In 1815, the colonial monarchies of Europe convened what is now known as “The Congress of Vienna” and established a balance-of-power system known as “The Concert of Europe.” The principle undergirding “The Concert of Europe” was known as “power equilibrium.” In essence, “The Concert of Europe” was a reaction to Napoleon Bonaparte’s populist upheaval of traditional European systems based on monarchical rule. The “great power politics” of Europe, driven by national interests before World War II, formed the foundation for what is now known as “international relations theory” and “international law.” The United States, after World War II and the demise of Europe, cultivated and developed both international relations theory and international law to the benefit of Europe and its institutions. U.S. efforts in developing constructive international relations and enforcing international law led to the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the end of the Cold War. But despite the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, Europe still faces a threat to its multinational institutions from a nationalist, populist, and resurgent Russia led by Vladimir Putin. There is very little doubt that Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, is a “Eurosceptic” seeking the demise of the European Union led by France and Germany.

How the United States deals with Russia in the coming future will determine the fate of the European Union and will affect European unity or disunity. In 2009, President Barack Obama pushed the figurative “reset button” on U.S.-Russia  relations  in an attempt to improve relations between the two major powers.

The effort on the part of the Obama Administration was a serious failure. Since 2014, relations between the two major powers have gone cold due in large part to the takeover of Ukraine by ultra- nationalist Ukrainians in 2014 and the apparent overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, who was an ally of Russia. The United States supports the ultra-nationalist Ukrainians led by Petro Poroshenko in Kiev and the west of Ukraine, whereas Russia supports the ethnic Russians of Ukraine in the east of the country. In response to the U.S.-backed takeover of Kiev by the likes of Poroshenko, the Russians sponsored a “referendum” in Crimea in the east of Ukraine and placed Russian troops there, which was perceived by the West as a Russian annexation of Crimea. The West  considers the Russian annexation of Crimea as a violation  of international law. The Russians argue that the people of Crimea wanted the placement of Russian troops in Crimea for the security of Russian Ukrainians. Nevertheless, due to the U.S. support of ultra-nationalists in Kiev and in response the placement of Russian troops in Crimea, U.S.-and Russian relations are at an extreme low. Furthermore, in response to the placement of Russian troops in Crimea, the United States placed sanctions on the Russian economy, which undermine Russia’s ability to engage in financial and economic activities with the United States and the European Union.

Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, may have been infuriated more by the individual that is now in charge in Kiev than the actual NATO-endorsed overthrow of the previous Ukrainian government that had close relations with Russia. Petro Poroshenko, it must be said, was a target of Vladimir Putin during the latter’s cleanup of mafia entities in Russia after he took control of Russia in the year 2000. Poroshenko was one of the biggest mafia entities in Moscow during the 1990s, and is now a thorn in the side of Putin as President of Ukraine. When Poroshenko had to flee Russia due to Putin’s crackdown on the mafia, Poroshenko took his personal wealth out of Russia and invested in chocolate factories all

throughout Europe. Now, Poroshenko is known in Europe as “the chocolate king” as a result of his investments in European chocolate manufacturing. The United States still supports Poroshenko despite Poroshenko’s links to what was the Russian mafia.

Vladimir Putin and the Russian people have absorbed the adverse effects of sanctions and have continued their support for Eastern Ukrainian Russians in the ongoing Ukrainian civil war mainly as a reaction to the takeover of Kiev by ultranationalist Ukrainians like Poroshenko. The United States should first reconsider its relationship with Poroshenko if it hopes that the implementation of the Minsk agreement(s) will be a success. It    is also common sense that diplomacy with Putin is necessary to mitigate tensions between the United States and Russia over the issue of Ukraine. John Kerry, during his tenure as Secretary of State, made numerous visits to Moscow to talk Putin out of supporting his Russian brethren in the east of Ukraine, as well as Bashar Al- Assad’s government in Syria. But because the Russians saw Ukraine and Syria as vital interests, Kerry’s attempts to get Russia to step down from its commitments to Eastern Ukrainian rebels and Assad were to no avail. Ukraine is of utmost importance to Russia after, of course, the Russian mainland, due to Ukraine’s religious, cultural, and economic significance. Ukraine was an economic bridge and a passageway for Russia to integrate into the European economy while Viktor Yanukovich headed Ukraine. Now that Poroshenko is in charge of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is dealing with a mortal enemy that is obstructing the European Union’s economic integration with Russia. The economic sanctions currently imposed on Russia by the United States are upheld by the European Union, and as a result, the Russians have themselves cut off from European financial institutions that serve as Russia’s network to the world economy.

However, the leadership in Russia in the form of Putin has made a critical choice and a decision that could stave off the adverse effects of U.S.-led economic sanctions. The Russians, like the

United States, have made what is called an “Asia pivot,” primarily toward China. The nuances of the U.S. pivot toward Asia may differ from the Russian pivot to Asia because it is still not clear what  the primary objectives of the U.S. pivot toward Asia actually are, aside from a “containment” of China that started with the Obama Administration and is now in question as a result of Donald Trump’s presidency. As for the Russian “Asia pivot,” Vladimir Putin has forged a Russian-Chinese economic alliance as a deliberately chosen alternative to what are now severed ties with Europe and the United States. In 2014, Vladimir Putin brought America’s worst foreign policy nightmare to life by signing a gas deal with China that is valued at hundreds of billions of dollars. It is common sense to infer that closer economic ties lead to closer political ties, and partial evidence of this can be Vladimir Putin’s close physical proximity to Xi Jinping throughout the entire duration of China’s major military parade in 2015. The leaders of the two Asian powers have visibly grown intimate, and this intimacy comes undoubtedly as a result of closer economic ties. Now that Asia has become a mutual priority for both Russia and China, one of the results is that Russia and China now share an interest in excluding non-Asian parties, like the United States, from economic organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in retaliation for attempts by Europe, and especially the United States, in restricting Russia’s economy via sanctions, as well as the containment of a China that is growing both politically and economically. In addition to excluding the United States from Asian organizations like the SCO, the Russians and Chinese will now pursue the ouster of the United States from Afghanistan.

And despite the sanctions pertaining to Ukraine, Russia has grown politically over the last couple of years. Russia has been able to maintain its support for Eastern Ukrainian autonomy despite  the objections of ultra-nationalist Ukrainians in Kiev, and have protected their interests in Ukraine even further by preserving a Russian presence in Crimea despite the objections of NATO.

Furthermore, Vladimir Putin managed to deploy Russian military personnel to Western Syria on numerous occasions to preserve Russia’s naval base along Syria’s Mediterranean coast, as well as to protect the government of Bashar Al-Assad from the onslaught   of the Syrian opposition that may or may not be dominated by ISIS. Russia has also been able to overcome its differences with Turkey in recent months in an effort to bring opposing sides of  the Syrian conflict closer to a peace agreement. There is reason to believe that the warming of Russian and Turkish relations in recent days is the result of Putin’s assistance to Erdogan minutes before one of Turkey’s rebellious military units sought to detain Erdogan during what turned out to be a failed military coup in July 2016. Erdogan is now indebted to Putin, and the result is that Putin and the Russians now have greater room to maneuver throughout the Middle East as a result of closer ties to Turkey. Closer ties between Russia and Turkey is undoubtedly a loss for the United States and the European Union.

In one particular press conference, Vladimir Putin stated that Russia’s primary concern in Syria was the defeat and dismantling of ISIS. The United States has voiced an interest in collaborating with Russia in defeating ISIS in Syria, but Russian involvement in Syria may be unilateral as long as the United States continues its support of Poroshenko’s government in Ukraine. One of the United States’ stated objectives is the removal of Assad, whereas the Russians have stated that Assad needs to remain a relevant political player in Syria because he is now the clear alternative to ISIS in Syria.As long as this difference remains between the United States and Russia, it is hard to see how the two major powers can cooperate in Syria. Nevertheless, the logical path of settling both the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria is by starting with Ukraine, given the direct threat that Ukraine poses to Russian national security with Poroshenko in charge of the Kiev government. By first resolving their differences over Ukraine, Russia and the United States can carry over the potential momentum of   a Ukrainian settlement into the Syrian peace process. It may not

come as a surprise if a quid pro quo between Russia and the United States concerning Poroshenko and Assad materializes, given that there is a Russia-friendly administration in the United States led by Donald Trump at this particular moment. But ultimately, the rollback of Russia from Ukraine and Crimea will depend on the neutralization of Ukraine by the world’s major powers. By becoming “the Switzerland of Eastern Europe” through the initiative of the United States and the European Union, Ukraine may in fact allow for relations to improve between Russia and the Western world. Tolstoy, after a trip to Europe in his youth, is said to have concluded that Russia’s destiny is to integrate with Europe. Thus, as long as the United States avoids engaging in efforts to integrate Russia with the Western world, tensions between Russia and Europe will persist until the end of time and if there is ever a World War III, it will be because of Europe and Russia, not the Middle East.

Nevertheless, any political situation that arises in Europe in the future will undoubtedly stem from what has occurred in Europe throughout the course of its political history. The utility of history in helping one to understand current events has been summed up by the iconic British historian E.H. Carr when he wrote the following: “The function of the historian is neither to love the past nor to emancipate himself from the past, but to master and understand it

as the key to the understanding of the present.”12

The history of European politics, especially after the European Enlightenment, equates to a history of what is known as “The Great Game.” In general, life – in all its aspects – is a game and a pastime. Arguably, politics is the greatest game a human being can play in his or her lifetime. As Derek Chollet suggested in a book titled The Long Game, politics is like a virtual world, but it is most likely the only world worth being in, given that it is much more meaningful than the “real world” the majority of people deal with. But it is a “big boys’ game,” so to speak, and as Harry Truman said: “If you can’t stand the heat, then get the **** out of the kitchen.”

In a book titled Nationalism and After,E.H.Carr seemed to have

defined “The Great Game” as essentially being the determination of the number, functions, and boundaries of the national units exercising authority within it.13 The main objective of “The Great Game” is essentially the securitization of natural resources by the world’s major powers short of war. Because much of the sought-after natural resources in the world are situated in the Middle East and the Muslim World, these places serve as the recurring battleground for what is known as “The Great Game.” It is possible that the game-changer will be a decision by the United States and the more developed nations of the world to transition away gradually from “fossil fuels” and move toward alternative sources of energy and to balance and diversify their energy portfolios.

After the European Enlightenment in the 15th century, and after the rise and fall of European empires like Spain and France, the greater part of European colonialism saw Britain and the Ottoman Empire as being the two most premier players in “The Great Game.” The former was a Protestant power, and the latter was a Muslim power. The decline of Spain in the 19th century meant the rise of Britain. But like the decline of Britain in the 20th century, the decline of Spain in the 19th century led to rebellions in its colonies that were engineered by Bolivarian movements in the Western Hemisphere.

It was primarily corruption, as well as intrigues by the British, that gradually brought down the Ottoman Empire. The collapse of the Ottomans came soon after World War I. But Britain also began collapsing soon after World War I as a result of independence movements throughout its colonies, as well as the intensification of hostilities within Europe that eventually induced World War II and thus the end of European premiership in “The Great Game.”

After World War II, the United States stood as the premier world power and continued what Britain had done throughout its reign of power, which was to maintain a so-called “balance of power” within the international political system. The United States, after World War II, sought to continue Britain’s practice of distributing

power to various units within the international political system, and the belief by some leading political theorists of the Cold War era (first and foremost being Hans Morgenthau) was that a fair distribution – or balance – of power would establish an enduring peace and stability throughout the world. “Balance of power,” or the “fair and proportionate distribution” of power to all groups and to all individuals, is the most basic and central principle of world politics, as well as its main point and conclusion. Yet, millions of people would die as a result of worldwide conflicts stemming from the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

After the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, war and conflict continued in disparate places like the Balkans, Africa, and Afghanistan. However, the prospects of war did diminish after the end of the Cold War as a result of what seemed to be the successful efforts of the United States in cementing what some thought to   be a conclusive distribution of power between the various political units within the international political system. That distribution of power would be turned on its head and shattered after the gruesome terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The United States’ final effort in achieving victory and world power supremacy in “The Great Game” came after 9/11 by entering Afghanistan. Entering Afghanistan and establishing a firm position there would mean having the upper hand politically in Asia, a continent of the world that happens to be the ultimate prize of “The Great Game” for a number of reasons.

But what many U.S.soldiers and military personnel discovered in Afghanistan was a dark and disturbing intersection of international politics and economics that stemmed from the age of European colonialism and “The Great Game.” When Britain controlled Southern Afghanistan during the age of European colonialism, it used the opium grown in what was then British India to wage what are known as the “Opium Wars” of Asia. Britain was the biggest trafficker of opium in the age of colonialism, and their opium came from British India. A major part of British India was Southern

Afghanistan, which now produces over 90 percent of the world’s opium. One U.S. soldier told a friend of his, who happened to be a guest speaker in a class I took on American Literature in the 1960s at George Mason University, about the Afghan drug trade. He told our class that his friend’s unit was ordered to protect poppy fields in Southern Afghanistan, most likely in order to satisfy the British. Drug processing labs are based in Pakistan, right across the border from Southern Afghanistan. And even to this day, Pakistan is a member of the British Commonwealth. All members of the British Commonwealth are “subjects of the British Queen” and are thus subjects of her policies, which include the waging of “opium wars.” Immediately after the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 on U.S. soil and the fall of the Taliban, Britain contributed troops to the international effort in Afghanistan in order to secure the southwest region of Afghanistan that coincidentally grew virtually all of the country’s opium. According to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a conversation with the Council on Foreign Relations in 2015, opium is grown and purchased in Afghanistan for pennies by the international mafia backed by a nuclearized Pakistan, and then the opium is processed in drug labs across the border in Pakistan, and is later sold in advanced cities like Amsterdam for over 40 U.S. dollars an ounce. The Pakistani government and a variety of Afghan warlords in Southern Afghanistan are responsible for the growth, production, and processing of the opium used for retail in Europe. Along the Britain-Pakistan-Southern Afghanistan economics chain falls Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. These three Arab countries combined account for approximately two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves. Qatar also has substantial natural gas reserves, and it is a fact that Russia, Iran, and Qatar combined possess over half of the world’s natural gas reserves. Thus, the lifeblood of the British-Saudi-Qatar-UAE-Pakistan-Southern Afghanistan economy consists of oil and opium.Britain’s connection to Arabia developed during the age of colonialism. In the 18th century, Britain installed what is now the Saudi monarchy and the

extremist clerics that legitimize it in Saudi Arabia. Britain installed the Saudi monarchy in order to undermine what was then Ottoman rule of Arabia. The Ottoman Turks based in Anatolia possessed Arabia and much of the Levant to the south, and it was a goal of the British during the age of colonialism to break apart Ottoman possessions and take Arabia, due to a British belief that Arabia held vast oil wealth. Britain secured possession of oil-rich Iran during the age of colonialism and was seeking to expand its oil possessions by fully securing Arabia away from the Ottomans. While British India (which included present-day Southern Afghanistan) was the “jewel” of the British Empire, Iran was the “pearl” of the British Empire. Oil was essential during the age of colonialism because the age of colonialism coincided with the rapid industrialization that took place in Britain. Very few events in history are as evil as the adoption of a policy called “democracy at home, tyranny abroad” by the British during the age of European colonialism. Nevertheless, it is evident that this policy continues in modern times, given that the British are in bed politically with the Pakistani ISI as a result of the drug trade, and the United States is in bed with tyrannical governments like the Saudi monarchy in order to securitize its supply of oil. Calls to overthrow the theocratic dictatorship of Iran would be justified only if such calls coincided with calls to reform dictatorships, like the Saudi monarchy and the Egyptian military government in the Arab world.

For some odd reason, fate and destiny would determine that the British continue its business in opium in Afghanistan but lose its control over oil in the Persian Gulf. In 1933, Britain handed over its rights to explore and secure oil in Arabia to the United States. In approximately 1938, the U.S. struck gold and found oil in Eastern Arabia. Now, the United States sits atop approximately two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves and a substantial amount of natural gas. Britain would also lose its oil and natural gas possessions in Iran as a result of the Khomeini-led revolution that pushed European powers out of Iran in 1979.

The friction that the U.S. faced in Afghanistan after September 11, 2001 came not with destroying the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, but with the alliance, alignment, and axis that sustains them for the pursuit of their political and economic objectives (money gained from oil and opium). The Taliban (Sunni Pashtuns in Southern Afghanistan) and Al-Qaeda (Sunni Arabs) relate to each other and to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates through religious and cultural sectarianism. Sunni Islam is one of two sects in the Islamic community. Shia Islam is the other sect. Iran is Persian and it subscribes to Shia Islam, and thus Iran faces a degree of hostility from Sunni Arab Al-Qaeda, Sunni Arab Saudi Arabia, Sunni Arab Qatar, and the Sunni Arab United Arab Emirates. Pakistan provides logistical and operational support for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, while Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE provide the financial support needed for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to tilt the balance of power against the opposing alignment that consists of the European Union sans Britain, as well as Russia, Iran, Northern Afghanistan, India, and Japan. Both opposing alignments are trans-Eurasian. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda ultimately became a symptom of the international balance of power politics between the two opposing international alignments, and they were created and fostered by the Britain-Saudi-Qatar-UAE-Pakistan-Southern Afghanistan alignment. To this day, the Taliban maintain their political office and their connection to the outside world through Qatar with the support of the Qatari government.

One thing is now clear: Afghan drugs and opium  are  the cause of terrorism around the world. When the Taliban sought an independent foreign policy from Pakistan in the late 1990s, the central  element  of  the  Taliban’s  independent  foreign  policy  was to turn away from opium and drugs and to integrate Afghanistan into the Central Asian oil and natural gas sector. The Taliban was seeking to turn Afghanistan into “Pipeline-istan.” Immediately after the Taliban’s decision to switch away from drugs and opium and toward Central Asian oil and natural gas, 9/11 happened.

And it was Pakistan that was responsible for the terrorist attacks on 9/11, simply because the United States, under the Clinton Administration, and the Taliban agreed that oil and natural gas pipelines for Afghanistan would be a better economic alternative to the drug business imposed on Afghanistan by Pakistan. In essence, Pakistan completely undermined the “Pipeline-istan” project in Afghanistan by launching the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in order to salvage the drug trade. This is the real story behind 9/11, despite a number of conspiracy theories erroneously claiming that 9/11 was an inside job by the Bush Administration. Information about 9/11, however, was withheld from George W. Bush inside  of the White House prior to when the terrorist attacks actually took place. The mole inside the White House can be none other than Zalmay Khalilzad, because Khalilzad was Bush’s National Security Adviser on Middle Eastern Affairs and was the only one with the latest information on Middle Eastern affairs inside of the White House. Given that George W. Bush and many Republican presidents are famous for delegating work away from themselves to their associates so that the President’s office can streamline its own work, Khalilzad had information on Afghanistan and Pakistan that President George W. Bush did not have.

It is a known fact that German and Israeli intelligence officials approached the CIA in the months and weeks prior to 9/11 and warned the U.S. of an impending terrorist attack on American soil. When the CIA approached President Bush with the information from Israeli and German Intelligence, the latter could not believe that anyone would be so audacious to ram commercial airplanes into buildings in the United  States,  and  rightfully  so. There  is no doubt that when President Bush received this information regarding 9/11 from the CIA, he must have sought to corroborate this information with the expert on Afghanistan and Pakistan in the White House, who happened to be none other than Zalmay Khalilzad.What Khalilzad must have done was deny any knowledge of any impending terrorist attacks on the American homeland from

Afghanistan and Pakistan, and thus Khalilzad increased President Bush’s doubts about the likelihood of a terrorist attack. The fact that President Bush could  not  prevent  9/11  from  happening  was because information about 9/11 was withheld from him by Khalilzad, who was undoubtedly the one with the information that George W. Bush did not have. Proof that Khalilzad had a tendency to withhold crucial information from President Bush can even be found in Khalilzad’s latest book titled The Envoy, where Khalilzad writes that President Bush was keen on knowing why such bad things were happening in the Muslim world. In Khalilzad’s latest book, the reader is bound to discover that Khalilzad would only offer the tip of the iceberg to George W. Bush, and while explaining to President Bush that the war in the Islamic community is between conservatives and progressives, as it is in all parts of the world, Khalilzad did not explain to President Bush that the source of funding for conservatives and the way they financed such nasty terrorist attacks was through the drug money that Khalilzad helped to revive in Afghanistan. It is a known fact that Khalilzad had links to Hamid Karzai long before 9/11. When 9/11 happened under Khalilzad’s watch, Hamid Karzai became president of Afghanistan, and when Hamid Karzai became president of Afghanistan, the drug trade skyrocketed yet again in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It  is also important to note that Hamid Karzai is related to major Pakistani power brokers through marriage ties. If President Trump has the courage and the will to re-investigate 9/11, he will have to look into the corruption within the Republican and conservative establishment of the United States, first and foremost, to know what happened both inside and outside of the United States both before and after 9/11. There are still a number of people within the

U.S. political class and bureaucracy who tout a pro-Pakistani policy, and it must be because a Pakistani lobby that is financed by drug money pays these individuals either directly or indirectly. Ultimately, what Mr. Trump will find, if he does, in fact, conduct a sound investigation of 9/11, is that it only took one person (Khalilzad)

to shatter world order and to put the United States in the state      of relative decline that it is in today. The Obama Administration’s Attorney General shrewdly pressed corruption charges against Khalilzad, but the charges were soon dropped as a result of what appears to be Republican and conservative pressure on the Obama Administration to drop the charges against Khalilzad. All that was needed to convict and sentence Khalilzad for corruption was proof of intent, and the proof is clear because all you need to do in order to prove intent is to examine one’s actions. In Khalilzad’s case, his politicking was to profit off the shady businesses that were bound to take root in Afghanistan after 9/11 as a result of laundered drug money. Bush’s intent was to seriously fight terrorism and respond to the terrorist attacks on American soil, even though his methods in doing so were misguided. Nevertheless, Bush did not intend on being corrupt like Khalilzad, given that Bush comes from one of the wealthiest families in America and Bush is not interested in profiting off politics like Khalilzad. However, if you take one step back, one can argue that the cause behind U.S. relative decline, and thus, global disorder, is actually the stolen election in Florida in 2000 that put Khalilzad in a position to cause chaos around the world. Thus, after scrupulous examination of history, one can safely conclude that the Republican and conservative establishment in the United States is responsible for both U.S. relative decline and global disorder. What comes to mind at this point is E.H. Carr’s message in What Is History?, when he instructs the reader to pay less attention to what is being written, and learn more about the person who is doing the writing. But I would argue that Zalmay Khalilzad is the only one to blame for global disorder and U.S. relative decline because he deviated from the neoconservative plan, which was to deal with the threats emanating from Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.

And it is only Pakistan’s ISI – with the sixth-largest military  in the world, which contains nuclear weapons, an anti-American ideology, and the willpower as well as the logistics and capability

stemming from egregious drug revenues – that was able to orchestrate the terrorist attacks of 9/11 against the United States.

However,Pakistan’s attack on the U.S.on 9/11 could only happen with cooperation from Iran. Both Pakistani and Iranian intelligence agents dress as mullahs with long beards and are known to pick off very poor or emotionally vulnerable people, and their families are either paid off or they are persuaded individually through propaganda to conduct terrorist attacks  against  both  Muslim  and Western  societies, and both the money and the propaganda   to recruit terrorists are financed primarily by drug money out of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakistani generals continue to boast about their efforts to create a “Sunni Islamic military alliance,”which was a pet project of former Pakistani president and general Zia ul- Haq during the 1980s, when the Pakistanis backed an insurgency against the Soviet Union and their satellite in Afghanistan. But if the United States can persuade Pakistan to use this “Sunni military alliance” against Iran, then this Sunni alliance can be useful to the United States. Russia, especially since the beginning of Putin’s rule in the year 2000, was staunchly opposed to the drug trade coming out of Southern Afghanistan and Pakistan, and as a result, the Russians were supportive of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan starting  in 2001. The truth of the matter is that international terrorism is inextricably linked to drugs, oil, and thus economics, and the issue of international terrorism has nothing to do with Islam or religion. In fact, America is more Islamic in character than the so-called Muslims of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and  the  Middle  East,  who are scrambling to profit somehow off drugs and oil and have no education whatsoever. The corruption and hypocrisy that originates from the Middle East and the Muslim world and has now touched the United States is money-based and has nothing to do with religion, given that all true religions promote goodness. Thus, the greater evil is Iran, not Pakistan, because Pakistan has suffered from the same problems that the United States has suffered as a result of drug traffickers that are linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard

Corps (IRGC). Drug traffickers are linked to Karzai, and Karzai  is linked to Iran. By seeking a friendly relationship with Iran out of defiance towards the United States, Karzai in turn got Iran to facilitate the trans-Eurasian drug trade. In return for facilitating Karzai’s trans-Eurasian drug  trade,  Karzai  did  Iran’s  bidding  in Afghanistan by allowing elements of the Taliban to foster an inhabitable environment in Afghanistan for the United States and its European partners.

The U.S. counterinsurgency plan against what appears to be a Karzai-linked drug mafia failed because no economic alternative to the drug trade could be established for Afghanistan in a state of war. Nor is there an economic alternative established in Afghanistan even to this day, given that Pakistan has sworn to keep a state of insecurity in Afghanistan, and it is only in a state of lawlessness and insecurity that the illicit drug trade can continue. If there is  no will to take the fight to the Karzai-backed drug traffickers and their Iranian proxies directly, the only choice left is to legalize, regulate, and tax the drug trade. The legalization and regulation of the drug trade is not to trample on morality and values. Rather, the legalization and regulation of the drug trade is aimed at defeating the drug trade and the Karzai-backed terrorists that conduct the drug trade by lowering the price of opium. Right now, the illicit economy of the Karzai-led drug trade leads to higher prices and thus higher revenues for the Karzai-backed terrorists and Iran. When you crash the price of drugs through legalization and regulation without really manipulating the initial supply, the source of the drugs (international terrorists led by Karzai in Southern Afghanistan) will collapse through competition because the revenue of dollars they enjoy currently will evaporate. As soon as the drug revenues begin to evaporate, Karzai, and thus international terrorism, will be standing on its last leg. In addition to the drug money that Karzai had been accumulating all these years to fund terrorism, the Iranians used mullahs as the poster-child for false bearded Islamic piety as an advertising tool to get money and financing from a range of

people. Because the oil-rich Arab nations of the Persian Gulf were, quite frankly, gullible and mistook having a long beard for Islamic piety, many oil-rich Arab nations, like Qatar, willingly gave away sovereignty to Iran, thinking that they were supporting an Islamic movement. As the Prophet Muhammad warned, the ones with the long beards will be the soldiers of Satan.

The biggest accomplishment of the Trump administration thus far has been to approach Saudi Arabia and settle the issue of terrorism once and for all, and this deal between Donald Trump and the Saudis has manifested in the rapid defeat of ISIS in and around Mosul as of July 2017. The Saudis are instrumental and are essential in helping the United States to, first and foremost, defeat ISIS in the Levant, and then finally address the issue of terrorism in Iran, which is undoubtedly the manufacturer of international terrorism and the main source of instability in the Middle East.   In addition to the legalization, regulation, and taxation of drugs, human trafficking capabilities can be curtailed only if governments, including the United States, legalize, regulate, and tax the voluntary prostitution and escort business. Thus, the legalization of drugs, voluntary prostitution, and the escort business, as well as their regulation and taxation, end up being for a moral purpose, which is quite the paradox, but that is the case with almost everything that is logical. After all, legalizing, regulating, and taxing drugs and voluntary prostitution is less evil than the killing that is going on in places like Syria, which is caused by the Iranians. Furthermore, when the law prohibits doing something, the tendency to do that thing becomes greater, as shown by the history of the famous Prohibition in the United States during the early part of the 20th century. That is why many Eastern world gurus monitor certain vices, such as alcohol consumption, instead of prohibiting these vices, given that history shows prohibition is always counterproductive in limiting certain behaviors.

In terms of the Afghanistan  reconstruction  issue,  Japan  sided heavily with the EU sans Britain-Russia-Iran-Northern

Afghanistan-India Alignment. Many small states either “balance” between the two major alignments in the international system,     or they opt to “hedge,” which is essentially to put one foot in one door and the other foot in the other door. Smaller powers also “bandwagon,” which is a policy of going along with the status quo power, or they “accommodate,” which is a position based on a policy of non-interference. Ironically, Clausewitz mentioned the existence of opposing forces, thus making their existence a historical reality. These opposing forces are essentially the two alliance systems or alignments that are of a northern versus southern economic nature, with the southern economy clinging onto drugs and oil as their basic product, while the northern economy explores the potential for a more creative economy.

The Bush Administration’s stated policy toward international terrorism after 9/11 was the defeat and destruction of Al-Qaeda and the states that sponsor them.14 However, the execution of such a policy led the Bush Administration into dealing with the symptom (Taliban and Al-Qaeda) rather than the cause (the alignment) of international terrorism, which was the drug economy of Pakistan fostered by outside forces. But it is important to note that Iran maintained ties with everyone involved in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Thus, there is reason to believe that Iran orchestrated 9/11, and thus Karzai and Khalilzad were in on the Iranian plot. The Bush Administration essentially followed the same line of the two opposing alignments as China. As the world’s second-largest power after the United States, China seemed to remain neutral between the two opposing alignments after 9/11. China dealt with terrorists supposedly linked to Al-Qaeda within its own borders in western China’s Xinjiang Province, a region of China that happens to border Pakistan and is inhabited by the ethnic Uighurs, who are Turkic   in essence. The United States dealt with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood terrorist threat at  home,  but  also  in  Afghanistan, in an attempt to deprive Al-Qaeda and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood of an operating base. But it is important to note again

that the Muslim Brotherhood has historic ties with Iran.

The Bush Administration remained neutral between the two opposing alignments for economic and political reasons, despite the fact that one alignment was pro-western and the other one   was clearly anti-western and anti-progressive. As a result, the Bush Administration adopted a “leveling the playing field” policy within Afghanistan between northern and southern Afghanistan, and this policy maintained the balance of power between the anti-western alignment that created and fostered the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, and the alignment opposed to the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and Iran.15

Later on, as a result of scarcity, which appears to be a law of Western economic theory,the Obama Administration had to choose one of two major foreign policy priorities and thus make a trade- off. The choice was between either continuing the Bush policy of defeating and dismantling Al-Qaeda, the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood, and Iranian proxies throughout the Muslim World, or to focus on its own balance of power against China. As a result of the “Asia pivot,” the Obama Administration reduced its resources toward the fight against anti-western forces like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, thus reinforcing the balance of power between two opposing international alignments.

Thus, upon examining the short and recent 21st century history of what is known as “The Great Game,” it appears that U.S. policy and military operations fell, to a large extent, under the influence of what appears to be an international balance of power system stemming from the age of European colonialism and “The Great Game.” Two poles emerged within the international political system (the U.S. and China), both of whom were dealing with two opposing alignments (EU minus Britain – Russia – Iran – India

– Northern Afghanistan – Japan versus Britain – Saudi Arabia – Qatar – UAE – Pakistan – Southern Afghanistan) that set into motion two opposing political forces that seem not only northern and southern by nature, but also opposites in the sense that one    is  pro-western  and  the  other  is  anti-western.  Hugh  White,  an

Australian political strategist, ended up writing an essay in 2010 and the basic message was that smaller and medium powers would eventually have to choose between Washington and Beijing as their main source of support. By then adopting the policy of leveling the playing field in Afghanistan, the United States distributed equal power between northern Afghanistan, which was staunchly opposed to the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood, and southern Afghanistan, which has long been held under the sway of anti-western forces like Iran, the Taliban, Al- Qaeda, and the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood. Because Iran is leaning towards China as a result of Karzai pulling them   in China’s direction, the United States will have to let the Chinese trample upon Afghanistan so that Iran crumbles under both U.S. and Chinese pressure from the West and from the East. Iran claims to be neither East nor West, and as a result, the centrifugal forces of East and West will ultimately tear Iran apart. The U.S. military operations in Afghanistan have been dictated by this policy of leveling the playing field, such that military operations still intend on helping the European-backed Northern Alliance maintain a hold on Northern Afghanistan. The United States is still under pressure by the European Union to take counterterrorism measures against elements of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in Southern Afghanistan and Pakistan that threaten the balance of power and the equal distribution of power established by the United States in Afghanistan between two opposing international political alignments after September 11, 2001. But the result will ultimately be such that the United States, China, and Pakistan will have to take a joint approach toward Afghanistan so that the international community maintains its eye on the ball, which is Iran.

And although “The Great Game” has greatly  characterized the nature of European politics over the past few centuries, the study of history, as well as natural history, will leave an observer pondering over the basic identity of Europe and European peoples.

One might ask: What is Europe? Is it merely a continent? Or is    it something bigger than just a continent? Notwithstanding the obvious differences within Europe, such as east and west, as well as north and south, there is a sort of unity, scope, and breadth within Europe that is overlooked in recent times due to the rise of populism, which has exacerbated the differences, as opposed to emphasizing the similarities, between the people of Europe. Some have called Europe a republic. And in recent times, due to the development of a common market and common currency, Europe is now beginning to develop into an idea, as opposed to simply being one of the seven continents on Planet Earth. Politics, after all, is the forum, as well as the struggle, for ideas, and as the European Union, through the leadership of figures like Angela Merkel, seek to convert economic cooperation into something bigger, ideas will matter when it comes to finding a political and social basis or idea for the existence of constructivist and cooperative bodies like NATO and the European Union.

One can persuasively argue that Europe now begins in Vancouver and ends in Peshawar. Those peoples who can really be considered non-European are the native and aboriginal peoples of the Americas and Australia, the Berbers and peoples of sub-Saharan origin in Africa, the Bedouin Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula, the Dravidian peoples of modern-day Pakistan and India, the Mongols as well as peoples of Mongolian descent in Central and Eastern Asia, the various Sino-centric tribes that comprise of what is now modern-day China, the various nations of the modern-day ASEAN organization, as well as Korea, Japan, and the island peoples of the Asia-Pacific region. Turkey, according to Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, is a part of Europe.

What characterizes the relations between European and non-European peoples in today’s world is interconnection and interdependence. For example, one of the reasons why the United States is able to borrow cash from China at leisure, despite the immense debt the United States has, is because the United States

is the most important market for Chinese exports, and without   the U.S. market, the Chinese will not be able to import, given that the purpose of exports is to enable the Chinese to import their necessities. The thought of being self-sufficient in today’s globalized world is now ill-founded. The path taken to reach today’s globalized and interconnected world had been mentioned in one of Immanuel Kant’s essays written a few centuries ago titled “To Eternal Peace,” and it is an essay I referenced in the introduction of this writing.

U.S. domination and intervention in world affairs beginning soon after World War II merely facilitated, and continues to facilitate, the process toward Kant’s “Eternal Peace.”

What Europe lacks, and what most non-European peoples probably have, is a belief that their values and political system is based on natural religion. In reality, however, European peoples have inherited a political system based on natural religion, despite their belief that their political system stems from their culture, whereas Eastern peoples believe that their political system stems from natural religion, despite the fact that almost the entire Eastern world has political systems based on culture in this day and age. Because the world has now witnessed the breakdown of numerous systems, the reversion to natural religion is now based on the belief that only religion can provide an explanation for everything. In secular theoretical terms, the possibility that everything – especially the status quo for everything – can be explained by one particular thing is known as “structural functionalism.” Religious people believe structural functionalism has existed and has actually been moved forward through time, beginning with the school and order of Adam and Eve of Hebron, and then through Seth of Mosul (Son of Adam and Eve of Hebron). The ancient Greeks continued the advancement of religious-based structural functionalism as ancient Egypt, the Levantine powers, and Mesopotamian powers collapsed, and Persia grew powerful due to the divine inspiration provided  to Cyrus the Great by Zoroaster of  Northern  Afghanistan. Iran has stolen everything from everyone. The Prophet Muhammad

and his followers in Arabia during the 7th Century A.D. salvaged ancient Jewish and Greek wisdom, and Islamic knowledge soon transferred to the Western world, which in turn led to the epoch  of history known as the “Western Renaissance.” Also, the Prophet Muhammad ordered his followers to pummel Persia after his passing.

The individuals and thinkers within the school and order of Adam and Eve of Hebron and its advocates throughout history  are known in the Islamic religion as “Qutb,” which translates into “spiritual poles” on Planet Earth who are directly connected to God’s throne on the Ninth and final Heaven. (Read Ibn Arabi for an explanation of Qutb.). The existence of Qutb is the sole reason why Earth and its contents exist, according to Islamic belief. There were numerous Qutb in the religious world of the past, but the decrease and the loss of Qutb on Earth is directly correlated with the increase of killing and conflict stemming from a post-religious popular outlook, as evinced by the slaughter and bloodshed that took place in Europe and around the world during World War I, World War II, and the Cold War.

The school and order of Adam and Eve of Hebron stood in staunch opposition to the school of Thucydides and Machiavelli, the main contributors to what is now known as the “realist” school of thought. Whereas the school and order of Adam and Eve advanced divine principles as their cardinal principles, the school and order of Thucydides and Machiavelli advanced a policy of aggression and fear. Much of what the school and order of Adam and Eve of Hebron has produced throughout history has either been completely destroyed or lost in translation. But the revival, resuscitation, and preservation of the school of Adam and Eve of Hebron came with the revelation of the Holy Qur’an from God to the Prophet Muhammad beginning in 610 AD. The Holy Quran has been preserved by Muslims as a result of a miracle ever since. By some estimates, today there are approximately 21 million people who have memorized the Holy Qur’an by heart, and if all the hard

copies of the Holy Qur’an were to somehow disappear off the face of the Earth right now, there would be 21 million people to ensure that the Holy Qur’an continues to exist. It was Sir Bertrand Russell of Britain who declared the works of Confucius, the Holy Qur’an, and Marx’s Communist Manifesto to be the three most sacred books of mankind. John Locke of Britain, who was the inspiration to Thomas Jefferson in America, once said: “There are thousands of ways to obtain riches. But there is only one way to Heaven.” Jefferson, in turn, gave Muslims the right to practice their religion in the state of Virginia because there is a real possibility that Jefferson had a gut feeling that it would be a Muslim who would expand on the theory of structural functionalism through a religious basis in the United States. (Read Denise Spellberg’s book on Jefferson and Islam for possible hints.)

What unites the territories spanning Vancouver to Peshawar from a religious perspective is a “United Zoroastrianism” ending with Muhammad of Mecca in the 7th century AD. The racial unity of the peoples and territories spanning Vancouver to Peshawar – despite their ethnic diversity – is a foregone conclusion according to the Rand McNally Atlas of 1944. The republic that the Greeks envisioned as being the handful of individuals who would uphold the principles of this nation is what the followers of Muhammad called the “ummah.” Friendship, as revealed to Epicurus of Samos, would be the greatest virtue, trumping tribe, family, relatives, and common perceptions of national identity. The Afghans have an expression that relates to what Epicurus revealed: “It’s me and my brother against my family, and it’s my family against my tribe, and it’s my tribe against my province, and it’s my province against my nation.”

Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the first male to convert to the teachings     of Muhammad of Mecca at the tender age of thirteen, said: “Brotherhood in humanity is greater than brotherhood in religion.” The ummah as the international community envisioned by Muhammad of Mecca has as its main responsibility the maintenance

of a global governance system advanced by the proponents of Erasmus of Rotterdam. It is worthwhile to explore the link between the belief in natural religion and the rise of civilization. Poland, for example, reached the peak of its empire in Europe when its relations with Muslims were at their best. Communal relations between Muslims and Christian Poles were the best during the peak of the Polish Empire and at a time when Polish authorities respected and encouraged the establishment of mosques and Muslim religious practices inside of the Polish Empire. When the Ottomans were beginning to collapse in Eastern Europe before World War I, Dr. Timothy Winter mentioned that a great number of Turks were more concerned about the bloodshed and violence that  would take place among the Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe than their imperial possessions. Eastern Europe’s longest period of peace was thus the result of Islamic influence and Muslim civic involvement with Slavic communities and ethnic groups.

What gave European peoples the political advantage over non- European peoples after the demise of Al-Andalus in the 1400s was the preemptive use of violence, as demonstrated by the Spanish Inquisition, not the early formation of European states, as some Western academics might claim. Non-European peoples, like the Ummayad Empire based in Damascus, as well as the Abbasid Empire based in Baghdad, had brilliant states and administrative systems. Muawiyah, the founder of the Ummayad Empire, is said to have been the first leader to institute a postal system in the world. Nevertheless, Islam still has its due place within European civilization despite it being overlooked. Vladimir Putin in 2015 inaugurated one of Europe’s largest and most architecturally aesthetic mosques in Moscow in a show of goodwill to Muslims living under Russian rule. And while Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Prime Minister, started off his political career rabble-rousing against Muslims, the Hungarian parliament in 2016 followed Vladimir Putin’s lead and stood up against Orban to allow a number of Muslim migrants to come to Hungary.

But Europe’s staunchest proponent and advocate of Muhammad’s vision was Thomas Carlyle of Britain. Only in recent years has there been a growing belief in the research community that Muhammad was not Semitic, but was actually Aryan, and this might explain the historic divide between the Hashemite Arab group that produced Muhammad and the Bedouin Arab peoples that stood in opposition to Muhammad’s vision for quite some time. Otto Weininger, an Austrian Jewish philosopher and intellectual in the early 1900s, also defended Muhammad’s Aryan background.

The people who are known as Jews are considered by the Holy Qur’an as “The Children of Israel” and are not considered “Jewish.” The Jews were and are Aryan peoples who were later considered Semitic by the prevailing intellectual discourse in Europe after  the birth of what is known as the “European Enlightenment.” The prevailing intellectual discourse in Europe did affect Weininger’s ideas about Jewish peoples in a negative way. The “re-Aryanization” of Jewish religious and intellectual discourse occurred through Karl Marx of Germany. Ludwig Von Wittgenstein, the leading Jewish philosopher of his time in Europe, based out of Austria, seemed  to have converted to Irfan, a spiritual movement that began in the Khorassan region of modern-day Iran and Afghanistan.

The desire to connect the territories between the shrines of Adam and Eve of Hebron and Seth of Mosul could be a driving force behind the concept of what is known as “Greater Israel.” At this point in time, there might be greater opposition to the idea    of a Greater Israel from the Quartet than from  real  Muslims. ISIS, a terrorist group that espouses a destructive political and secular ideology based on Arab extremism, destroyed the shrine  of Prophet Seth in Mosul in 2014, which  sparked  outrage  in Iran, as well as amongst other Shia Muslims. The destruction of Prophet Seth’s shrine in Mosul prompted Shia militias in Iraq to organize a campaign against ISIS in Mosul, which appears to have been successfully conducted. In June 2017, ISIS also destroyed the historic Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, and it infuriated even those

outside of the Islamic community.

Fortunately, not all is lost. As Rumi wrote: “When we are dead, seek not our tombs, but instead find us in the Hearts of men.” Given the opposition that ISIS has drawn from all walks of life, there is a possibility that the future of the Middle East will involve peace and reconciliation among the various nations of the Middle East at a time when a slow but sure rise of anti-Semitic sentiment is taking place in Europe and America. A source I had in Washington, DC once told me that the United States prevented a peace deal that was supposed to be signed between Israel and the Assad government in 2010. A deal between Israel and Assad in 2010 would all but surely have ensured Assad’s rule over Syria. But because the United States threw its weight behind the opposition to Assad, at this point it is impossible for states in the Middle East, or anywhere else, to invest in Assad’s future. China might fully replace the American presence in the Middle East in a matter of time due to the reduction in American resources and capabilities stemming from American global overstretch. China is building a major military base along the coast of Western Pakistan in the port town of Gwadar that will put Chinese forces on a direct path through the Indian Ocean toward the Middle East and Persian Gulf oil and natural gas. And there is even talk of Russia having acquired the rights to a military base in Eastern Libya toward the end of the Obama Administration.

The “Easternization” of the world, as mentioned by Gideon Rachman, is gradually taking place as a result of Western fatigue and a lack of vision as to how to go forward policy-wise on the part of Western nations. To prevent the continuation of Easternization around the world, the United States will have to determine and assess the possibility of expanding the number of partners it has around the world through diplomatic means. Regime change in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Pakistan, South Asia, and Southeast Asia through diplomatic means, with an economic aim, will be the only way for the United States to overcome Marx’s market contractions, and thus, averting war over

natural resources with other major powers will be the only way for the United States to nullify Marxism. And if the United States nullifies Marxism through averting war and transforming regimes through an economic agenda, the nullification of Marxism will mean the nullification of an entire political and social system based on nationalist socialism, and this could have numerous other policy implications, as well as numerous other opportunities for world transformation.

Whether it was because of destiny, politics, or merely natural resources, it is now hard to deny that history has demonstrated a deep intertwining of European and Muslim peoples. Europe has long had to confront the issue of Islam over the past few centuries, willingly or unwillingly. French intellectuals, as a result, have long had a fascination with Islam, but the French people could not embrace religion after the nihilistic disillusionment with religion that resulted from two major world wars, as well as a history of religious wars in Europe. These world wars, it must be added, were preceded by the religious wars based on ethnic divisions in Europe, and these wars indeed led to gross bloodshed. These wars in Europe, aside from the massive bloodshed, resulted in yet another fatal byproduct: the resuscitation of retrogressive Frankish thought that reincarnated Charlemagne-like figures in modern Europe. Wars in Europe led to economic collapse, and economic collapse in turn led to the rise of Frankish leaders like Hitler and Mussolini. French existentialist thought developed and became rich in more peaceful times with the varied contributions of Rousseau, Baudelaire, Camus, Sartre, and Ali Shariati in an effort to provide an alternative to   the Charlemagne wing of French society sustained by the anti- enlightenment forces of French society. Albert Camus, in particular, managed to captivate the hearts and minds of the French people  to such an extent that, had he avoided his tragic and premature death, he would have been a revolutionary leader inside of France. Camus was so critically perceptive and emotionally intelligent to the extent that he was able to notice a common theme amongst all

of Dostoevsky’s heroes, and it was that all of Dostoevsky’s heroes were polygamous. The existentialist wing of French intelligentsia and politics has had its successes, and is currently successful with the election of Emmanuel Macron as president, in addition to Macron’s party winning a majority in the French parliamentary elections of 2017. Ahmad Shah Massoud, an Afghan freedom fighter of the late 20th century, who sought to eradicate extremism in all its forms in Afghanistan, and who figure-headed the Afghan resistance against the Soviet Union, was a graduate of the French Lycee Isteghlal in Kabul and was hailed by many Afghans as a champion and hero of European revolutionary thought and peoples. However, Massoud was not an angel, and while fighting the Soviets, he also bargained with them in order to position himself in the Afghan fratricide that occurred after the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

The creation of the world as a “fatherland for all” (a concept coined by Erasmus of Rotterdam) is the responsibility of the united Aryan Zoroastrian peoples that cover territories stretching from Vancouver to Peshawar. Territorial borders drawn by the elites of the past became part of what is known as a “constructed identity.” A narrower identity that discriminates based on factors like culture and ethnicity (which is never static due to the world automatically becoming smaller, as described by Kant) and borders are elements of a “constructed identity” that opposes the comprehensive identity of individuals naturally extending beyond imagined constructs, such as borders. Wittgenstein’s “language games,” one may argue, is one refutation of constructed identities.

In addition to an existing comprehensiveness of identity, many social issues are subject both to the existence of natural religion, as well as its complete neglect throughout the history of European peoples. The call by Epicurus of Samos, for example, to maximize pleasure and minimize pain, is mistaken for hedonism by the European masses. Sir Bertrand Russell equates pleasure to the transformation of pain into art. With pleasure as art, and with art being the highest form of culture, it leads to Weininger’s assertion

that culture is the womb for the insertion of religion. Thus, pleasure becomes the antithesis of hedonism.

The starting point for a united Aryan Zoroastrian fatherland for all was to ensure economic rights for the masses so that there would be a political transcendence, as described by Locke and Jefferson, that would ultimately lead to a social transformation within Aryan peoples, and afterward, this social transformation of Aryan peoples would enable fruitful social relations not only between Aryan and European peoples, but with non-European peoples as well. The final destination of world politics is divinely inspired and love- based social activity and relations among all people, according to Erasmus.

But the social transformation that is the final objective of politics among European peoples never occurred due to two major world wars in the 20th century, as well as many European religious wars beforehand, and as a result, European peoples went back to square one, so to speak, and are now scrambling to re-secure basic economic rights after the devastation of the Cold War. There are essentially two things that affect what goes on in a country: people and international influences. Politics, according to Marx, is the sole emancipation of man, because politics is the sole method of self- purification before death. What Marx mentioned as “emancipation” meant emancipation from worldly desires and temporary pleasures. The inability of European peoples to emancipate themselves, in the Marxist context, is the cause of war and instability all throughout the world.The inability to emancipate oneself in the Marxist context comes from a “zero-sum” mentality that prevails in international relations. In turn, the zero-sum mentality prevalent in international relations serves as the main cause for war, and thus, the collapse of social relations among different groups of people.

The zero-sum mentality prevalent in international relations is also the reason for the resurgence of right-wing populism throughout the world and in Europe in particular.But for the most part, in today’s global context, the zero-sum mentality on the part of major powers

is focused squarely on oil supplies and their securitization. If the world’s major powers can secure their oil supplies and energy flows, the probability of conflict and proxy wars among the world’s major powers will diminish. However, the process of securing oil supplies and energy flows could trigger conflict. In terms of the course of history leading to the current political and economic situation in Europe, there was a delay in the “domino effect” to take place upon right-wing extreme forces in Europe due to U.S. intervention in Western Europe since World War II, but the domino effect may take place due to a disproportionate focus on the Middle East by the United States for the past fifteen years or so. And while the first domino to fall was Russia in 2000, the second to fall was Poland over the last couple of years, and the danger of Poland falling to right-wing forces is that there is a history of the Polish right-wing planning military operations with Russian forces, as recorded by

  • Carr soon after the outbreak of World War II. History can always repeat itself. Ukraine fell in 2014 and is now divided by right-wing forces on both sides of the Ukrainian conflict. Then Hungary fell as a result of the election of Viktor Orban. And then came the fall of the biggest European domino of them all, which was Britain in 2016 by virtue of its Brexit referendum. The Brexit referendum indirectly put Theresa May and her far-right British conservative circle into 10 Downing Street. The British people  did not elect Theresa May as prime minister directly. The far right of the British conservative party installed her by using the Brexit referendum as a pretext. And what happened as a result of recent Brexit-related events in Britain was the rise of political activity and buzzing on the part of right-wing extremist elements, like the AfD and PEGIDA in Germany. There is little, or rather no, doubt at all that the anti-Islamic platform of right-wing parties in Germany like AfD and PEGIDA is merely a cover or a “burqa” for their hatred toward Britain. Furthermore, the various political parties in Spain literally handed the government to its conservatives in 2016, even though the conservatives failed to win the majority, and despite the

respectable showing of the Podemos Party, a center-left progressive movement constituted mainly by some of Spain’s youngest and brightest politicians. Spain’s worsening economic situation also reflects in the Spanish government’s attempts to charge a range of celebrities and athletes, like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Jose Mourinho, for tax fraud, and draw millions of dollars from them to fill government coffers. Google has also been slapped with a huge tax demand from the EU in June 2017, most likely in an attempt to fill European government coffers. Moldova, with its dominant Russian community, fell to right-wing forces towards the end of 2016. There is also a growing fear that Germany will not only polarize, but that it will also militarize in reaction to both Brexit and Russian aggression in Ukraine and Crimea. The Netherlands, however, averted a victory by Geert Wilders and the Dutch far- right in March of 2017, but the only realistic way in which the center-right, led by Mark Rutte, can avoid far-right obstruction in the coming future is by forging a coalition with the Dutch left- wing, and, in particular, the Dutch “Green” party, which has strong support from the Dutch youth. That Dutch coalition has not yet materialized because there is a standstill in negotiations over the issue of immigration among the various Dutch parties. However, the election of Emmanuel Macron as French president – a 39-year old socialist banker, and thus, centrist – on May 7, 2017 by over 66 percent of the vote may have, in fact, salvaged and revived the life of the European Union and the greater European project. Many observers have characterized Macron’s overwhelming defeat of right-wing populist Marine Le Pen as a victory of hope, love, and optimism over fear and hatred.

According to De Tocqueville, the destiny of the Europe he saw was in the hands of the United States and Russia. But the Europe that now exists as a result of colonial influences, the rise and fall of empires, and common origin throughout the world means that the fate of the entire world is now in the hands of the United States and Russia. However, the zero-sum mentality that has prevailed

in international relations since the rise of European colonialism drove the United States and Russia into spawning violence and bloodshed throughout the course of the Cold War. Otto Weininger wrote that Russia is the only European-based nation that is “not Greek,” and thus differences in culture, philosophy, and religion are the main reasons for the friction and tensions between Russia and Western civilization. Much of Western civilization, unlike Russian civilization, is based on Heidegger’s “transcendental subjectivity,” a concept that led Heidegger to proclaim what he called “the end of philosophy” stemming from Greek times. Philosophy, according to Heidegger, is metaphysics, and thus differences in the theories toward metaphysics serve as the basis for clashes of civilizations. Sir Bertrand Russell believed that the Chinese were godless materialists, and thus, the Chinese could not contribute to world development because of their lack of metaphysical views. The way people think about God,  and  the  epistemological  and  ontological  outlook  of Western philosophy in general, are the main factors in world politics and arguable everything else. It relates to the idea that both ontologically and epistemologically, the truth is one, yet there are different ways of arriving at the one single truth. Politics, therefore, becomes a matter of theology and is theological in nature, according to Joseph Loconte in the March/April 2017 edition of The National Interest. Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher who is known to be the father of modern-day existentialism, wrote that men are to will one thing and one thing only, and that is God and what he called “the eternal.”The passage of time and the evolution of history has not rendered a clash of civilizations, but instead it has rendered the clash of two inherently conflicting systems of social behavior and outlook (namely the United States and the Soviet Union) that have undergone a process of apotheosis as a result of being the last ones standing after the largest bloodbath known to mankind, otherwise known as World War II. But Paul Pillar, a former CIA agent and analyst, argued that the West is responsible and is to blame for the hostilities that arose between the West and Russia.

Could Paul Pillar be correct? Upon reflection, one could ask why it is that Romanticism failed in Germany, as chronicled by Rudiger Safranski, and from there determine the reasons for the zero-sum mentality that arose in international relations, and coincidentally with the rise of European powers including the United States. And despite the hostilities between the United States and Russia during the infamous Cold War of the second half of the 20th century, the two major powers have always been on the same side of every major international issue in past decades, if not centuries, according to Anthony D’Agostino in an article written in the May/June 2017 edition of The National Interest.

Since World War II, the United States has tried to be the “moral hegemon” that Kant believed was necessary for world peace hundreds of years before the rise of the United States, and  it was only the United States who was able to provide that kind of leadership and moral purpose that E.H. Carr had called for after World War II. Yet, some would argue that the politics of the United States after World War II became a zero-sum game against the Soviet Union, and the sole objective of this game is to accrue as many natural resources as possible (evidence of this can be found in books such as The Devil’s Game authored by Robert Dreyfuss). The United States’ pursuit of military and economic hegemony through a lopsided focus on military strategy and a lack of focus on diplomatic strategy in turn led to the decline of the United States over the past fifteen years, and has created a diplomatic opening for countries like Russia and China to impose their will in places like Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

And because of U.S. relative decline due to the wars and conflict the United States became embroiled in over the past fifteen years, the biggest threat now facing the United States and Europe is a resurgent Russia driven by the same zero-sum mentality that has led to the inter-western wars and conflicts of the past. Russia’s insecurity, paradoxically, stems from oil and natural gas, even though it is oil and natural gas that has fueled the Russian economy

for many years now. There is a theory prevalent in Central Asia and in Afghanistan that the oil and natural gas supplies within Russia’s borders are now moving southward into Afghanistan and Central Asia beneath the Earth’s crust. Peter Zeihan also noted in his book titled The Accidental Superpower that Turkish peoples like the Tatars are the ones who actually reside in the oil-rich and gas- rich territories within Russia’s borders, and they were colonized by ethnic Russians many years ago, and therefore many people would argue that those Turkish territories do not belong to ethnic Russians. Irredentist claims along racial or religious lines by Turkish peoples within Russia’s boundaries could undermine Russian economic security in the future.

Russian aggression and hostility toward the United  States  and what it stands for are the main reasons for why U.S. grand strategy has not worked in the world, whereas China has worked within the prevailing international liberal order and is now interested in perpetuating common world order mechanisms, such as free trade with the United States. The reality of Russia serving as the final obstacle to U.S. military and economic hegemony is something Kissinger confirmed in his book titled World Order, when he noted that Russia’s ideology has been based on the belief that conflict between Russia and the Western world is inevitable. People around the world are now cognizant of the sentiments and cultural divisions driving international politics and they are keen on identifying nations that are hostile toward  the  West.  There was an international poll identified by the BBC a few years ago   in which respondents were asked which countries they hated the most. The four countries that people around the world hated the most were Israel, Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea. What do these four countries have in common? The answer is their relationship with Russia, which has long been the head of the snake in terms of the international anti-western movement, and these four Russian proxies also have nuclear weapons in violation of international law. Based on international law, only the five permanent powers of the

UN Security Council (The U.S., Russia, China, Britain, and France) are allowed to possess nuclear weapons.

And as a result of Russia’s renewed activity in the international politics arena stemming from Putin’s takeover of the Russian government,“Soviet realism” is still an ideology and a reality fueling the continued existence of anti-western sentiment throughout the world. Also, Soviet realism was, in fact, an art form combated by the CIA through the likes of Jackson Pollack during the Cold War. While much of the resentment towards the West on the part of some nations is of an economic nature due to the zero-sum aspect of international relations, the inclusion of factors, such as religious perceptions and culture, still give anti-Western sentiment a religious and philosophical dimension, despite the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991. It was just recently that Vladimir Putin claimed Russia is a self-sufficient nation and can continue to be that way as long as it can maintain its security regarding the Western world. Putin’s argument undermines the common themes of free trade and interdependence that the Western world touts and believes, for the most part. One will learn after reading Kissinger’s book titled On China that China, for example, never thought itself interdependent with Western nations until the latter days of the Cold War  in recent times. But the isolation from the Western world that Russia encourages for itself and for others has shown to be destructive  for anyone who wishes to engage in such behavior. BBC recently reported the revival of Kyrgyz religion and culture after the demise of the Soviet Union, which goes to show the prosperity many smaller nations enjoy when free from entanglements with anti- Western and exploitative nations like Russia.

Henry Kissinger’s “promised land” of world politics, as outlined in World Order, is far from being reached at this  moment, not only because of the prevailing zero-sum mentality of individuals and nations, but also because of what former U.S. president Barack Obama announced as “crude nationalism” in a visit to Greece during the later days of his presidency. Differences in religion and culture

have exacerbated the effects of zero-sum thinking, and, as a result, there are probably even deeper divisions between the West and the East than ever before. Russia’s ideology-based opposition to the United States has enjoyed receptivity in places like Latin America and the Middle East, where there is a military and economic domination by the United States of America and its satellites, like Israel and Saudi Arabia. America’s inability to show equity in its relations with smaller powers, such as Latin American nations and Muslim nations, is the main reason as to why Russia and China have been able to advance against America as far as the Western hemisphere. There were even talks between Russia and Cuba for a renewal of a Cuban Missile Crisis, as reported by the BBC in 2016. There is a short poem, which undoubtedly casts light on the state of human relations as a result of the zero-sum mentality that has taken grip of the hearts and minds of most people throughout the world:

Oh! If only all men were wise, And all of them meant well!

The earth to them would be paradise, But now it is mostly hell.

But on the flipside, the antidote to the prevailing zero-sum mentality, according to many thinkers throughout history, like E.H. Carr, may, in fact, be a deeper understanding of what is known as “natural religion.” As Professor Khalilullah Khalili, an Afghan poet and thinker, once wrote:

“The heart of the Believer, Disdains fear of stormy events. The Believer’s heart knows Only one ship captain: God.”

As Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski expressed toward the end of his book titled The Grand Chessboard, a lack of religion and lack of morality will undermine U.S. power.

Dr. Brzezinski also wrote that the goal and objective of international relations is peace. E.H. Carr, in a book titled Conditions of Peace, subtly implied that peace could result solely from equity among nations in terms of standards of living. But the issue standing in the way of equity, in terms of standard of living, has been and will be the issue of the wealth disparity between the elites and the masses. There is often a disdain for the elites on the part of the masses, but the feeling is mutual in the sense that the elites may also have a disdain for the masses. Alexander Hamilton once said, apparently, that the masses should never take power, and that the elites should always be in charge. Henry Kissinger is also said to have shown disdain for common folks joining the military, and he believed they were good for nothing. It was class-based politics and philosophy that led to Jefferson’s opposition to Hamilton, and, as a result, the entirety of American legal theory is based on one thing: balance between elite interests (as represented by the likes of Hamilton) and the interests of the masses (as represented by the philosophy of Jefferson). Also, in the early days of the American republic, there was a general fear, as expressed by the likes of Henry David Thoreau, that the growth of what is known as “artificial intelligence,”which is now the impetus behind the growth of science and technology today, would undermine basic human intelligence, and that the elites would conquer the masses. However, the 21st century has shown so far that the exact opposite has happened, as suggested by Moises Naim in his book titled The End of Power. The masses continue to assert themselves against the elites through the expansion and evolution of technology, and in order to prevent the realization of traditional and classic democratic theory where the masses produce dictatorship, the elites and the masses must find a way to accommodate each other’s interests. Furthermore, the divisions between the elites and the masses are now global, in the

sense that there is now a global elite class and a global masses class.

E.H. Carr, however, argued that even though the individual might not represent the state, the state by nature has to represent the individual, and thus, the binding of the state with the individual and the inevitability of Locke’s “social contract” between the elites and the masses. E.H. Carr, in the beginning half of the 20th Century, might have even sensed the Cold War before there was even a mainstream notion of a “Cold War” because, in a book titled What Is History?, Carr pointed out that the Bolshevik revolution overthrew every notion that the Russian peasant was a pious Christian. Thus, the Cold War began in 1917, not in 1939. And because Putin, a representative of the Bolshevik revolution, is the state, he represents the individual, and thus, the entire system of Russia automatically stands in opposition to the United States and its allies in this day and age. Classic democratic theory dictates that dictatorship will always arise from democratic and populist revolutions, like the Bolshevik revolution, and it explains Putin’s grip on power, because Putin has moved center-right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The ideal system will always be one in which there is a fair balance between elite and popular interests, something that the United States has sought to preserve, not just socially and politically, but also legally through its system of legal jurisprudence called “American legal realism.”

The Cold War, therefore, never ended, and it began earlier than commonly perceived. The United States, as a result, has taken multiple measures in the midst of continuously cultivating an effective policy  against  Russia, and  these  measures  include a military presence in Eastern and Western Europe to counter Russian aggression against European peoples, as well as an attempt to preempt Russian domination of Central Asia through a military and diplomatic presence in Afghanistan. These measures are also complemented by two moral objectives: democracy and minority rights in Russia’s sphere of influence, which contains approximately over 150 different ethnic groups. The drawdown of Russian nuclear

weapons has been an American policy objective since the escalation of the Cold War in the 1950s. Personality and containment were the two elements to America’s success in the original Cold War, according to the teachings of John Lewis Gaddis. Now, in the 21st century Cold War, America will have to find new personalities and new containment strategies that will succeed in a new era of Cold War politics. As Richard Nixon said: “The Cold War isn’t thawing; it is burning with a deadly heat. Communism isn’t sleeping; it is, as always, plotting, scheming, working, fighting.”

Historically, in Western societies, social and economic liberalism is thought to have served as an antidote to personality theory, given the experiences Western societies have had with populist leaders that transformed into authoritarian leaders, like  Hitler,  Franco, and Mussolini. But liberalism and the existence of an international order did not solve all the problems leading to World War II. Coincidentally, the main argument of Hans Morgenthau in one    of his books titled Scientific Man Versus Power Politics was that power determines the efficacy of liberalism, not vice versa. In fact, it was personality and power that served as the antidote to the virulent personalities that stoked the fires of World War II, in the sense that it was Churchill who served as an antidote to Hitler during World War II. Churchill brought FDR and Harry Truman along to serve as an antidote to Hitler’s belligerent and violent manifestations during World War II. Without war, there would be no Churchill, and thus, there would be no personality along the lines of Churchill who could salvage British survival amidst the slaughter and collapse resulting from World War II.

And in a post-WWII context and in a Cold War context, the demise of Europe as a hegemonic power in world affairs created a triangulation of power among the United States, Russia, and, to an extent, China. In this day and age, the divisions within and among nations are not only political, but also material and spiritual. Given that there is a breakdown in the U.S.-led  world order based on  the growth of previously underdeveloped nations, such as Russia,

Iran, India, and China, and their demand for markets, E.H. Carr’s prediction comes into play, which is that the only two alternatives to the status quo, once it breaks down, are either religion or communism. It is believed that Al-Ghazzali illustrated the state of the religious man in a world gripped by realpolitik and repetition: “The Believer is a royal falcon, in the grip of an old wretched woman (Earth).”

But the divisions among religious groups characterize the world’s politics more so than any one particular religion alone. In the Middle East, for example, sectarianism, for one, and the importance of the Alawites (Bashar Al-Assad’s ethnic group) comes from the fact that they provided protection to the 12th Imam, the savior (Al- Mahdi) who would facilitate the return of Jesus Christ in the later days. The issue of religion, especially in places like the Middle East, completely transforms the fundamental nature of politics outside of the United States, and it becomes exacerbated in times of economic discontent and political corruption. Given the fundamental nature of the U.S.-led world order, which is internationalist and has fostered interdependence and interconnection throughout the world, E.H. Carr’s conclusion that only the West is in decline leads to yet another conclusion, which is that the decline of the West means the decline of everyone else. The international system is such that when the anchor of the system (the United States) declines and sinks, everyone else goes down as well.

There is also a debate as to whether science and technology can spur development, or if religion and antiquity is the answer. Given that science is the pursuit of truth, according to Sir Bertrand Russell, and that truth is revelation, and that revelation is the disclosure of the soul, and that the soul is the intellect, it follows that intellect  is essentially “eidetic memory,” given that eidetic memory is the goal of learning. Any intellectual pursuit that renders knowledge and information from eidetic memory is thus from the soul, and is to be taken as truth. But what triggers one’s eidetic memory? The answer is self-learning, or what is known as “autodidact-ism”. After

all, it was Epicurus who said “self-education is the best education,” and it was self-education that was put into practice by Malcolm X, as well as other prominent figures, like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and John F. Kennedy. Self-education and autodidact- ism are interchangeable terms and concepts. If the American youth are freed from the shackles of the K-12 “Dewey mass education system” in America, leaders and educators should encourage self- learning and also demonstrate the techniques of self-learning, which begin with active engagement with primary sources and books within each respective field of learning. Innovations in learning and education will require innovations in pedagogical techniques. As Einstein once said, there is no need to memorize something you can look up, and this is something that is not properly internalized with the American public school system. Primary sources and books for every field of learning will have to be introduced to students, all of which stem from reflections on religion and philosophy stemming from antiquity. Thus, the debate among science and technology and religion and antiquity is the question of whether the chicken or the egg came first, but in a different form. The “clash of clans” style of politics that has prevailed throughout the world up until now is due solely to the zero-sum mentality spawned by a misunderstanding of not only religion and antiquity, but also by a misunderstanding of the uses of science, technology, and money.

Books of philosophy and religion, for one, have planted the seeds for social welfare and charity policy. In the Islamic religious and philosophical tradition, for example, there are eight qualified recipients of charity and social welfare:

  1. Those living without the means of livelihood (food, clothing, shelter)
    1. Those who cannot meet their basic needs (food, clothing, shelter)
    1. Charity collectors
    1. Those sympathetic to or expected to convert to religion, recent converts to religion, and potential allies to religion
  • Those seeking to be freed from slavery, servitude, and prostitution
    • Debtors who have incurred debt while attempting to satisfy their basic needs or while debtors are in pursuit of a worthy goal
    • Those persons who are struggling for self-improvement, and persons who are upholding their conscience in the struggle to overthrow the clash of clans system based on fear and superstition, and who are not salaried
    • Wayfarers, stranded travelers, and travelers who are traveling for a noble cause but cannot reach their destination without financial assistance

Thus,  primary  sources  and  books  pertaining  to  religion and philosophy provide an alternative to  secular  methods  that the great thinkers of the past, like E.H. Carr, deemed bound to become obsolete. There was a somewhat obscure article about China and its social welfare programs in an edition of Foreign Affairs magazine in the summer of 2015. What has essentially happened demographically in China is that the elderly population has amassed on top of a narrow base of working young people  due to the one-child policy. The West is also witnessing the same phenomenon, but to a lesser extent than China. By some estimates, 67 percent of the Pentagon’s budget goes to social welfare for retired employees, and if social security remains, the burden will be placed on the shoulders of a youth population in America that is currently economically disadvantaged compared to the elders. The main issue that will define the relationship between Donald Trump and China in the next four to eight years will be the issue of adjusting social welfare policies through structural reforms in order to relieve the economic situation of young people in their respective countries. Howard French, an African-American scholar from Columbia University who has had a profound interest in China from childhood, argued in a spectacular book titled Everything Under the Heavens: How the  Past  Helps  Shape  China’s  Push for Global Power that demographics and the one-child policy

of the past in China will be the two factors that put China at a disadvantage over the United States, because the United States does not suffer from a demographics issue as a result of immigration and the relative openness of American culture and American values. What follows from this reality is that China will eventually become more dependent on the United States in the long run in order to relieve both a social and economic dilemma that is bound to arise in China. The likelihood that China will become more dependent on the U.S. for economic prosperity serves as leverage for the United States over China, and the United States should use this leverage to resolve the Durand line issue between Afghanistan and Pakistan that China is currently using to its advantage to build a naval base in Western Pakistan that may threaten U.S. energy security stemming from the Persian Gulf.

Structural reforms within nations will prove to be necessary departures from the ordinary way of doing things, given that the problems that have rendered structural reforms necessary stem from the lapses within the status quo perpetuated by the elderly of all major powers. Larry Summers of Harvard University has already addressed the structural cause of social and economic malaise: “secular stagnation.” What “secular stagnation” means is that the elites lack both the material and the moral motivation to unleash capital to the world’s youth and economically disadvantaged. E.H. Carr, in Nationalism and After, outlined the three main layers of human transformation  after  basic  human  security  provided  by a military framework: economic securitization provided to all by the world’s elite, political rights for common people through a democratic system, and social transformation of common people as a result of political rights ensured through a democratic system. But after analyzing trends in social transformation from an international perspective, one can conclude that the United States has not been able to incorporate Russia into the prevailing world order because of the perpetuation of nationalist socialism on the part of Russia. Nationalist socialism and the current world order,

based on the expansion of U.S. military and economic benefits driven by multiculturalism, cannot be reconciled, because capitalism and nationalist socialism are opposites that cannot be bridged and, by nature, are mutually exclusive. As a result, Russia is essentially the last piece of the “puzzle” that needs to be solved by the U.S.-led world order created after World War II.

Furthermore, the inability to forge peace in the Middle East and Afghanistan to this day is because the world continues to      be confined within the context of a Cold War perpetuated by a zero-sum mentality on the part of Russia that is being manifested violently in the Middle East and the Muslim World. The United States, through its military and economic hegemony, oftentimes provides the resources to smaller nations in an effort to establish relationships based on cooperation rather than conflict. Russia prefers different methods in pursuing its interests, as shown by its destruction of Syria in the last couple of years. The only way the Cold War can end is through the abandonment of the zero-sum mentality on the part of Russia, which, in turn, will lead to peace in places like Afghanistan and the Middle East. But before the United States can rein in Russia through an internationalist and diplomatic approach, the United States will have to improve its relations with Europe, which were damaged soon after World War II, when Nixon dropped the gold standard and allowed for the value of the dollar to float. The biggest loser of the floating dollar in 1971 seems to have been France, because the EU and France had the most gold at that time, and in a sense the EU had to relinquish its gold to America’s Federal Reserve in order to obtain dollars, because the dollar became the world’s reserve currency after World War II due to American military might. Thus, one wonders whether it will   be easier to resolve the silent conflict between America and the European Union, or the Cold War between America and Russia. The relative decline of the United States compared to the East has led to two specific things, which in turn have had a range of effects throughout the international system: fragmentation and division

within the West, and the coalescence and integration of Eastern nations with one another, either voluntarily or involuntarily, for what seems to be a “Silk Road” project, masterminded by China and motivated by economics and trade. China seeks to economically integrate the Eurasian landmass through this Silk Road project, and China’s initial deposit for this Silk Road project as of the year 2017 amounts to approximately 1 trillion U.S. dollars.

There is obviously an interconnection between a U.S. presence in Europe and the survival of the European Union, in addition to the interconnection between the survival of the European Union and the Labour Party being relevant in British politics. As long as the Tories, or Conservatives, are in power in Britain, the European Union faces an existential threat coming out of Britain.Furthermore, it will be hard for the European Union to trust the United States after the 2016 U.S. elections and the election of Donald Trump, because the 2016 U.S. elections showed the world that America can be just like any other country in the sense that the American system rests upon both the breakdown and the renewal of relations between the American elites and masses, despite America’s repeated claims of being exceptional. Popular will carried more weight and had more clout in France’s election in 2017 than the American elections of 2016 because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the election. And as the Brexit referendum showed, one political shift within one component of the European Union can have a crucial impact on the other components. At a time of popular discontent and anxiety, Europe will have to allow its better self to overcome its populist demons in order to prevent self-interest and crude nationalism from undermining the European project.



Asia and the Pacific: China and “The Thucydides’ Trap”


ao apparently claimed that if one were to reconcile the dialectic, all problems would be solved. In a materialist political sense, that means if the United

States and China were to somehow reconcile their respective interests, all the world’s problems would be solved. With the relative decline of the United States and Western nations over the past several years, one can argue that the world is undergoing an “Easternization” phenomenon, in the words of Gideon Rachman, accompanied by the rise of countries like Russia, China, Iran, and India. China and India, in a hasty and somewhat jealous attempt at achieving economic parity with the West, have oftentimes neglected Western keys to development such as the “Kepler’s Curve,” which demonstrates that, in the long run, reductions in pollution must take place in order for continual growth in GDP. Nevertheless, China and India have done very little, and in many instances have done nothing to address important social and  economic issues like pollution and climate change. But the signing of the Paris Agreement over climate change in 2015 by the Chinese – which Donald Trump sadly and officially broke the U.S. off from at the G20 Summit in Hamburg in July 2017 – could be a signal that   the Chinese are beginning to transform their economy in a more environmentally-conscious way, similar to the way Western nations adopted in the past.

In recent years, the major preoccupation of the Asia and Pacific region has been the rise of China. The result of a rising China    has been the theory that the Chinese now seek to challenge the dominant position that the United States and its Japanese allies have enjoyed in the Asia and Pacific region since World War II. Relations between the United States and China changed for the worse in 1949, when Mao Zedong led the Chinese masses to overthrow the U.S.-backed nationalist monarchy. The “Maoists”

came into power remembering the Opium War waged by Britain and the United States against the Chinese mainland in the 1800s, and initially Mao was anti-Western. It took the souring of relations between China and Russia, as well as a visit by Richard Nixon    in 1972 through the advice of Henry Kissinger, for the relations between the United States and China to thaw, and finally, in 1979, under the purview of Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski, the United States officially recognized the “People’s Republic of China” in Beijing as the legitimate government of China.

Relations between the United States and China since 1979 have been stable. Deng Xiaoping, China’s leader from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, cultivated economic relations with the West, which in turn sparked China’s rise in international politics. After opening China’s economy to the West, Deng Xiaoping cooperated with the United States in fighting via proxy the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The Chinese recently agreed with the United States on the issue of climate change at a summit in Paris in 2015, and in 2017, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, voiced the importance of free trade as a fundamental mechanism of international order at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Barack Obama was a very popular figure in China and was warmly received in China every time he visited, and despite their cultural differences, China and the United States have strong economic ties, and both countries engage in numerous cultural exchanges with one another.

Nevertheless, the strategies employed by the United States and China in “securing” East Asia have increased tensions between the two major powers as of late. For the most part, the tensions between the United States and China stem from territorial disputes over islands in East Asia, ranging from Taiwan to many of the smaller islands dotting the South China Sea. Economic considerations have also contributed to the tensions between the United States and China, with many in the United States calling for the international community to label China as a “currency manipulator” and thus a violator of international rules on trade and commerce. But there is

very little doubt that the only way out of the tensions between the United States and China is through high-level engagement, as well as mid-level and low-level engagement, between the two nations. Steady and constant engagement with the Chinese can swing the pendulum of U.S.-Chinese relations toward partnership sooner than expected.

What China’s rise and its rancor over territory in East Asia have triggered is alarm and vigilance on the part of Japan, China’s neighbor as well as its worst enemy. The United States, from 2015 onward, had little to no control over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s desire to re-militarize Japan in the face of what the Japanese perceive as a growing Chinese threat. The Chinese have apparently taken note of Japan’s desire to re-militarize, and thus, in addition to having constantly improved its own military capabilities, China has also forged closer relations with Russia, which is yet another Eastern nation that happens to have sour relations with Japan historically. And while economics was the key to creating interdependence between the United States and China since the liberalization of  the Chinese economy by Deng Xiaoping in 1979, the key to trust- building between the United States and China in this day and age will be America’s ability to mediate and to mitigate inter-Asian tensions that have been brewing underneath the surface since the end of World War II. To put it in stark terms, all the relevant parties in East Asia need a clear and precise policy pronouncement from the United States in order for the United States to avoid being misunderstood in terms of its intentions. On the other hand, the United States will also have to solidify its understanding of what motivates Eastern nations politically in order to fully understand East Asian social and economic behavior. Right now, a Kennan- style analysis of Chinese, Korean, and even Japanese intentions on the part of the Americans is long overdue, but it seems as though the different nations of East Asia have solidified and maintained their understanding of American intentions – whether right or wrong – through the guidance, as well as the propaganda, of their

leaders. Nevertheless, in order to establish a two-way street of understanding, and to bridge an obvious and incredibly real cultural divide that exists even to this day, the United States will not only have to engage the various nations of East Asia diplomatically, but it will also have to mediate among them in the capacity of a culturally alien superpower that is not bound by the culture of revenge and vendettas common in the Asian continent, and even the Eurasian landmass as a whole.

Through building trust and understanding each other’s motivations, there is a chance that cooperation among the United States and the various nations of East Asia will expand to other areas in the realm of international affairs. As long as there is constant diplomacy between the two countries, Henry Kissinger has noted in a book titled On China that the potential for war between the U.S. and China constantly diminishes. Nevertheless, the challenges for the United States in East Asia are numerous.   In general, whether interpersonally or internationally, economic development and technological advancement tops the list in terms of socially and politically significant issues. Taking all factors into consideration, there is evidence to suggest that the various nations of East Asia hate each other more than they hate the United States, and that is, if they even hate the United States to begin with. And if one carries out an emotionally intelligent and socially conscious analysis of the overall situation, one can conclude that the political motivation behind the economic development and technological advancement of countries like Russia, China, North Korea, South Korea, and Japan is not necessarily to undermine the position of the United States around the world, but rather to seek revenge against Germany in the case of Russia, and Japan in the case of China, North Korea, and South Korea. Revenge-seeking has not in the least bit abated, for it was just recently, in 2016, that Russia installed a missile system in Kaliningrad which puts these missiles well within striking distance of Berlin, the German capital. Why does Russia seek revenge against Germany? The reason why Russia seeks

retribution and revenge against Germany is because over 20 million Russians were killed as a result of Nazi aggression during World War II. And by seeking revenge, Russia, China, North Korea, and South Korea essentially seek to destroy and annihilate Germany and Japan. And in the middle of this entire international crisis is the United States, the nation that managed to ascend politically, economically, and socially by being isolated from the rest of the world, and from the world’s culture clashes, for quite some time. While the United States developed in isolation, the rest of the world destroyed itself as a result of culture wars that are in danger of re-igniting yet again. But with preeminence in the world comes the responsibility to manage the world, and the responsibility of the United States, whether it is happy about it or not, is that it must use its wealth and resources to at least mediate among conflicting nations and groups around the world, even if the United States cannot successfully conclude peace processes among them. The world’s social and economic transformations resulting from increased globalization over the past few decades have made it such that the wellbeing of the United States depends on the wellbeing of the rest of the world. Asian countries cannot act as if they can be in isolation from America, and America cannot act as if it can simply live in isolation from Asian countries. As James Fallows, editor of The Atlantic, said in an interview with BBC early in 2017, the fate of the United States rests with the rest of the world.

John Mearsheimer, Professor of International Relations at the University of Chicago, thinks that the rise of China will not be peaceful, and that a clash between China and the United States     is inevitable because of what is known as “The Thucydides’ Trap,” which is a theory that explains how status quo powers almost always end up going to war with a rising power that seeks to challenge its position. However, the Chinese, under Xi Jinping, have called for a “new era of superpower relations” that could transform the nature of superpower relations from one that is dictated by a zero-sum mentality to one of cooperation and fairness, as well as a “positive-

sum”mentality aimed at the mutual benefit of the two major powers. The Chinese, led by Xi Jinping, have found a renewed discipline and a desire to revive their ancient heritage based on Confucianism. Xi Jinping has also led a major campaign against corruption inside China, whether for better or for worse. Chinese philosophy also plays a major role in Chinese policy, and one of the doctrines of Chinese philosophy is Sun Tzu’s “Art of War,” which states that a nation or individual must ensure victory in war before waging it. Deng Xiaoping, in the 1980s, promised his people that he would defeat the Americans with their own dollar. China seems to be reaching that goal at the moment, given the constant rise of the U.S. national debt to over 20 trillion dollars, in addition to a steady rise in Chinese currency reserve dollars. One U.S. military official called the U.S. national debt the biggest national security crisis that the

U.S. faces, given that debt is probably the biggest form of control and enslavement in a money-based economy. Debt derives its power over the debtor through interest, and because the world economy is a monetary economy as opposed to a resource-based economy, debt is probably the biggest issue driving ethnic nationalism and, in turn, the tensions and hostilities that take various nations to the brink of war. China has already threatened to delegitimize the U.S. dollar  as the world’s reserve currency on numerous occasions over issues of Chinese national pride, such as Taiwan and the U.S. military presence in East Asia.

Furthermore, China has demanded that the United States withdraw from East Asia within a matter of years so that it can have free reign over the region and maneuver strategically as it pleases. Nevertheless, China is making these  demands  from  a  position of military and economic power borne out of developments in recent years. There is very little doubt that one of the objectives  of a 21st century Chinese military and economic strategy will     be the seizure of Taiwan in an effort to overcome what China perceives as the “national humiliation” that it has endured during centuries of European dominance in world affairs. One test of U.S.

power in the Asia and Pacific region will be whether the United States can thwart Chinese efforts in seizing Taiwan. But in the spirit of cooperation over conflict, the United States must engage in meaningful diplomacy with China to see if both sides can accommodate each other’s interests in East Asia. The United States must first resolve tensions between China and itself that resulted from the Asia pivot of the Obama Administration at a time when internal issues are at the forefront of American politics, and are most pressing. Without internal cohesion, it will become more and more difficult for the United States to project power externally. China, on the other hand, has, for the most part, maintained internal cohesion, not only through government policies, but also because of the fact that China’s population is 92 percent Han Chinese. The homogeneity of the Chinese population in terms of ethnicity could be the overriding factor that explains Chinese social stability at a time when the United States does not enjoy such stability.

But despite the hostilities between the United States and China since the overthrow of China’s monarchic government by Mao Zedong in 1949, there is some evidence to suggest that China’s relationship with the United States has evolved more toward peace, rather than hostility. U.S.-Chinese relations may have started off as hostile in 1949, but over time, a lot has happened to transform the relationship into a more peaceful and cooperative one. In the past, much of the evolution within the U.S.-Chinese relationship toward peace has been the result of U.S. initiative. In 1971, Henry Kissinger paved the way for President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972. Nixon’s visit made China much more open toward the United States. And in 1979, the United States recognized Beijing as the legitimate government of China. As a result of U.S. recognition of Beijing as the legitimate government of China, Deng Xiaoping established significant economic ties between China and the West. China then covertly assisted the United States in the final stages of the Cold War in Afghanistan. After the Cold War, China focused heavily on strengthening its economy, rather than engaging in worldwide wars,

and its leaders (including the present Chinese leader, Xi Jinping) insist that China’s rise will be a peaceful rise.

The prospects for peace between the United States and China are quite probable for several reasons. For one, the brief history of U.S.-Chinese relations during the Cold War and after suggests that China is open to cooperation with the United States, especially when the cooperation begins with an economic basis. U.S. and Chinese interests appear to converge when looking toward the west of China because both the United States and China are in competition against Russia over resource-rich Central Asia, despite some friction in East Asia and the Pacific between China and the United States. Due   to China’s general openness toward cooperation with the United States, all other factors for peace between the world’s two biggest powers remain relevant, and thus, are able to be cultivated through diplomatic efforts. Furthermore, China is a status quo power. China does not seek to overthrow the world’s prevailing order, nor does it seek to undermine U.S. power; rather, it seeks further involvement with the prevailing order in an effort to derive further benefits from it. China’s basic policy is rent-seeking, not the overthrow of a U.S.- led international order. As the prominent British political  scientist

E.H. Carr stated in a book titled Conditions of Peace, the world    is divided between satisfied powers seeking to maintain the status quo, and dissatisfied powers seeking to undermine or overthrow the status quo. China is different from Russia in the sense that China is quite satisfied with the contributions the United States has made to international affairs since World War II, and has  benefitted from those contributions significantly. The U.S.-led international system since World War II has been a liberalist and, for the most part, cooperative system based on social and economic networking primarily between various Western powers and Japan, not a realist system based on inevitable conflict that prevailed in Europe until World War II. Thus, China seems satisfied with a liberalist system based on further economic cooperation at the bare minimum, and does not seek to revert to a system that was common in Europe

until World War II.

The most important key to peace with China, therefore, is a reasonable concession of power to China by the United States within a liberalist and cooperative international order. Given that the recent history of the U.S.-Chinese relationship does not trigger any significant red flags, an orderly, gradual, and fair concession of power to China by the United States may have more benefits than costs in the sense that China may contribute to the maintenance of the U.S.-led liberalist system that was essentially a renunciation of Europe’s realist past.China’s growth of foreign currency reserves over the past few decades, as well as its military and economic expansion, has created a motivation within the Chinese echelons of power to continue, as opposed to change, the basic structure of the world’s political order, as demonstrated by Xi Jinping’s comments at Davos in 2017. Furthermore, cooperation will be necessary for both China and the United States, and a fair concession of power by the United States to China will have to be the logical tradeoff made in order to mitigate and contain a vitriolic ideology of anti-Americanism and anti-Europeanism spearheaded by an increasingly internationalist Russia.

But if the United States were to facilitate, and not stand in the way of, China’s continued rise in the coming years, what would happen to the U.S.-led world political and economic order based on Western preeminence? The answer may differ based on perspective. But the first step does require a transformation in the perception  of power. In a world where both of the world’s biggest powers are in favor of the status quo, power is now positive-sum as opposed to zero-sum. The issue is not compromise between the two major powers. Instead, the issue becomes one of building on compromise. If the United States does concede a reasonable amount of power to China over the course of the near future, what will China provide in return? To figure this out, it becomes absolutely necessary for the United States to remain engaged with China. After all, as Zbigniew Brzezinski seemed to have implied in his book The Grand

Chessboard, the objective of the U.S. military presence in East Asia is to peacefully integrate China into the U.S.-led international system, not to repel China, regardless of  how  counterintuitive that approach may seem. Considering that hostilities within East Asia have endured despite the passage of time, a constructive U.S. presence in East Asia has been, and will be, within the confines of reason and morality. And when a military presence is accompanied by stable and consistent diplomacy, preferred outcomes are much more probable.

Another factor that will determine the nature of the U.S.- Chinese relationship is the continuation of a particular U.S. foreign policy doctrine, developed by a range of intellectuals in the United States during the Cold War. As Henry Kissinger stated in his book titled World Order, U.S. foreign policy doctrine since World War  II demands as its core tenet that the U.S. have relations with Russia and China that are better than the relations  Russia  and China have with each other. Continuation of long-standing U.S. foreign policy doctrine in this day and age may, in fact, make peace more attainable than a change in doctrine. The reason why the core tenet of U.S. foreign policy doctrine has not been achieved is because of Russia, not China. Russia’s core and enduring ideology, as Kissinger mentioned in passing in a book titled World Order, is that conflict between Russia and the West is inevitable. China holds no such ideology of inevitable conflict  with  the  West, as  demonstrated by recent history summarized above. Instead, China most likely sees conflict with Japan as inevitable. In fact, much of Chinese revolutionary thought under Mao was based on internal reforms and an effort to seek retribution against Japan for its transgressions in East Asia during the 20th century. Therefore, a U.S. strategy that, first and foremost, seeks China’s partnership and acquires China’s assistance on issues like North Korea may enable the prospects of enveloping Russia into the U.S.-led international system later on in the future, though there is no guarantee of doing so, given that Russia’s core ideology seems to be conflict with the West even to

this day.

Thus, the prospects for peace between the United States and China will be determined, to a large extent, by three major factors: a reasonable and fair concession of power by the United States to China in an orderly and gradual manner contingent upon China’s cooperation with the United States on global issues like the North Korean threat and terrorism, unwavering diplomatic engagements between the United States and China until both countries build   on their basic compromise, and the continuation of long-standing

U.S. foreign policy doctrine as formulated after  World  War  II and during the Cold War. One possible way  the  United  States can concede a reasonable amount of power to China in the near future without diminishing U.S. power is to encourage and manage China’s westward expansion and movement. By encouraging China to expand and move westward, so that there is less of a Russian influence in areas like Central Asia, China will fit within what Brzezinski calls in The Grand Chessboard a “trans-Eurasian security system” (TESS). This system is essentially a military- security framework set by the United States, the perimeter of which encompasses Europe, the Persian Gulf Region, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. By getting China to fit within TESS, China will avoid colliding with the United States at TESS’s perimeter. Encouraging China to proceed with its Silk Road Initiative would also enable the United States to get China even more integrated into the international liberal order.

But while the United States has been busy digesting the major change in East Asia that is China’s rise, what remains consistent until now is Japan’s compliance with U.S.-based norms, as well as Japan’s preeminent position not only in East Asia, but in global affairs as a whole. Despite the passage of time, Japan has been able to maintain its position as either the second- or third-best economy in the world throughout much of the post-World War     II period. The United States of America has maintained a military presence in and around Japan since the conclusion of World War

II, and it was the conclusion of World War II that marked the beginning of security cooperation between the U.S. and Japan. At the end of World War II, Japan was devastated economically as a result of the overwhelming assault it brought on itself from Allied powers. Nevertheless, Japan seemed to have come to terms rather quickly with the idea of becoming a satellite power and an ally    of the United States soon after World War II, mainly to protect itself from a revolutionary China and to reap economic benefits from a security guarantee provided by the United States. The U.S. provided a security umbrella for Japan by shielding and fostering Japan’s economic re-development from potential security threats emanating from a tense East Asia region. Today, Japan is the largest foreign investor in the United States. China comes second in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States.

Immediately after World War II, Japan made a crucial choice between traditional militancy and economic pacifism that ended up being wisely in favor of the latter. Japan agreed to significantly limit its re-militarization to about 1 percent of its overall GDP, given that the United States, in turn, would provide a security umbrella for Japan. As a result, Japan became the world’s third-richest economy after, of course, the U.S. and the European Union during the course of the Cold War. Japan’s post-World War II political philosophy, based on economic pacifism, has served as a boon for economic development throughout the world. Japan, as a result of its vibrant economy, has been a great contributor to international liberal organizations tailored toward international development. Cooperation between the U.S. and Japan, and the alliance between the two countries, stems from a basic quid pro quo in which the former provides a security umbrella for the latter and, in return, the latter contributes to world economic development.

In order to prevent tensions from rising in an already-tense East Asian region, it is of utmost importance that the United States steers clear of changing the nature and characteristics of the U.S.-Japanese alliance by maintaining and enhancing the status

quo that exists in terms of the military-security framework in East Asia. What the status quo entails in terms of security in East Asia is a U.S.-centric military presence that essentially balances and moderates the different forces within the East Asia region, and, most importantly, it provides an incentive for Japan to pass on re- militarization and thus, avoid provoking other East Asian nations that have not recovered psychologically from Japanese assaults during World War II. During the latter part of the Obama years, doubts as to whether the United States would remain committed to maintaining a presence in East Asia gave rise to a semi-right-wing nationalist sentiment fostered and manifested in Japan through Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The main focus of Shinzo Abe and his supporters seemed to be the re-militarization of Japan in the face of what is perceived to be increasingly hostile military behavior on the part of North Korea and China. However, the United States’ presence in East Asia creates a military and security equilibrium despite the actions of North Korea and China, and, more importantly, it leads to the reduction of tensions between Japan and its neighbors by pre-empting the re-militarization of Japan, especially after the infamous period of history involving World War II and the years prior. Given that increased militarization on the part of Japan will simply disturb the military and security equilibrium set up by the

U.S. in East Asia after World War II, it follows that only an increase and enhancement of the U.S. military presence in East Asia will maintain the security equilibrium there. Japanese militarization will simply justify Chinese and North Korean belligerence, and it will sour relations with a potential ally in South Korea.

In fact, South Korea has gone through its own form of Easternization in recent days after the imprisonment of conservative president Park Geun Hye on corruption charges. Subsequent to  the imprisonment of Park Geun Hye, the South Korean people elected the center-left politician Moon Jae-in on May 9, 2017. The hostility shown to North Korea by conservative politicians like Park Geun Hye, as well as the corruption stemming from South

Korea’s “chaebols” – family-owned conglomerates and corporations

  • led to both tensions and instability on the Korean Peninsula, as well as growing inequality between the South Korean elites and masses. To provide a small insight as to the growing economic inequality plaguing South Korea, the South Korean government’s own data has shown that only five or ten households in South Korea owned about 25 percent of the country’s GDP. The tensions between North and South Korea, seen as unnecessary by the large, yet neglected, youth population of South Korea, in addition to the growing economic disparity and inequality in South Korea, stoked the indignation of the South Korean masses. Huge protests led by the South Korean youth took shape in Seoul toward the end of 2016, leading to the arrest of conservative president Park Geun Hye and a rise in support for Moon Jae-in, whose platform consists of two basic elements: improved relations with North Korea, as well as solving the economic woes of South Korea’s middle and working classes. Moon Jae-in’s family also has its roots in North Korea, which could be yet another factor in his call for better relations between North Korea and South Korea. Japan appears quite unhappy with the election of Moon Jae-in, because Japan is under the impression that Moon is seeking to divert hostilities between North Korea and South Korea toward Japan. Nevertheless, the urge to improve ties with North Korea on the part of the South Korean public is real,  as many of the youth in South Korea are tired of the U.S. military presence in their country, given that the youth population does not identify with the generation that went through the Korean war, nor with the generation that experienced the Japanese occupation, according to Dr. Louis Hayes of the University of Montana.

Japan is essentially public enemy number one, not only in China and North Korea, but also in South Korea, due to Japan’s colonization efforts in East Asia before World  War  II. Japan, as   a result of national pride, has refused to take the resolute step of dissolving tensions by apologizing to its East Asian neighbors. Given that national pride is still a hindrance to peace amongst East

Asia’s elderly generation, it will take a generational shift to dissolve the tensions that stem from the East Asia region’s  war period.   But until time transforms the demographics, as well as the social outlook and attitudes, of the people of East Asia, the prevention of Japan’s re-militarization by the United States will be all the more important in efforts to cultivate diplomacy within East Asia and  to mediate tensions there. Nevertheless, an apology from Japan to China and South Korea would improve the odds of containing the growing North Korean threat. It is also important to emphasize that the major reason as to why China has not gone all-in with helping the United States to topple the Kim regime in  North Korea is the humanitarian disaster and fallout that will definitely result from regime collapse in North Korea. China is not fully prepared to handle the humanitarian disaster that will inevitably stem from regime collapse in North Korea on its own, and that     is why China has resisted U.S. pressure to do more about North Korea. Any humanitarian disaster that might stem from a collapse of the regime in North Korea will have to be handled through a burden-sharing effort by the United States, as well as North Korea’s neighbors, all of whom happen to either be U.S. allies or are in a working relationship with the United States in the case of China.

Economics is undoubtedly an important part of the relationship between the United States and Japan,given that in terms of monetary wealth, the Americans and Japanese are the two wealthiest nations in the world. And if the United States maintains and enhances its military presence in East Asia, Japan must consider opening its market to U.S. exports in order to help sustain U.S. involvement  in East Asia, not only from an economic standpoint, but also a social standpoint. Even though China’s economy is larger than Japan’s economy, the latter continues to be a richer economy and can afford U.S. goods and products to a greater extent than many other nations. The United States should lobby for the opening of the Japanese market to U.S. goods and products in order to revive hopes of the “trans-Pacific partnership” (TPP) that has now been

cancelled by the Trump Administration. Both the United States and Japan obviously have their comparative advantages and are thus complements of one another within the overall international economy. The U.S. comparative advantage lies in its military superiority, whereas Japan benefits from its export economy based on creativity. But if the United States and Japan were to expand their relationship through the creation and customization of  a TPP, both sides would reap benefits that, in turn, would contribute to the stabilization of the security equilibrium that currently exists in East Asia.

The strengthening of the U.S.-Japanese relationship would provide continuity and calm, despite a security context in East Asia that has changed dramatically with the rise of China over the last couple of decades. The recent U.S. pivot to Asia under the Obama Administration is aimed primarily at addressing the rise of China. Coincidentally, China’s rise has been accompanied by increased Chinese military activity, particularly in the South China Sea. China’s aggressive military behavior in the South China Sea most likely aims at the achievement of two objectives in particular. For one, China seeks to ensure second-strike capability against potential enemies in East Asia by seizing various islands in the South China Sea, and secondly, it seeks to secure resources and their flow by strategically deploying its military in the South China Sea and near the Strait of Malacca. Thus, China’s military activities in the South China Sea and elsewhere are primarily for defensive and economic reasons, and the growth of Chinese military activity for economic and rent-seeking purposes coalesces into a Chinese strategy known as the Chinese “String of Pearls.” Any adaptation by the United States to the security context in East Asia characterized mainly by the rise of China should have as its main focus China’s defensive posturing, as well as its economic pursuits. One can definitely argue that China’s String of Pearls is both sea-based and land-based. But to break China’s land-based String of Pearls, one would have to break Afghanistan and Iran from China’s growing String of Pearls.

And if the United States can somehow thwart Chinese efforts in building a naval base in the Pakistani coastal town of Gwadar, the entire sea-based String of Pearls project will be rendered ineffective and insignificant. American efforts to render the String of Pearls project ineffective and insignificant can be successfully carried out through diplomatic means, rather than a military strategy, because the Chinese are more open to negotiation than is commonly perceived (see image on page 182, source:

U.S. security interests in East Asia appear to contain three basic elements: a basic desire to moderate tensions and conflicts between East Asian powers through a U.S. security presence, the securitization of the global commons (in particular, the waterways that facilitate maritime commerce in East Asia, such as the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea), and the continued integration of China into the international liberal order, primarily through cooperation on global issues. All of America’s interests in East Asia are complemented with a focus on maintaining security and stability throughout the East Asian region. However, America’s pursuit of its internationalist objectives in East Asia are being challenged   by China through its increased militarization in the South China Sea. The issue now is whether the United States can find ways to overcome China’s nationalist military assertion in the South China Sea and advance its major internationalist interests pertaining to the East Asia region.

It is not only ideal, but it is also obvious that the best strategy in achieving U.S. objectives and interests in the East Asia region would be a renewed bilateral diplomacy with China that seeks China’s cooperation on global issues. Involving China in globalist and internationalist issues that are transnational may enable the Chinese leadership to transcend above narrow nationalist objectives and thinking. Right now, the United States is still going through   a period of austerity as a result of the sunk costs incurred through its adventures in the Middle East, as well as the financial crisis that hit the United States in 2008. The United States has not fully

recovered from either political or economic setback. The unipolar moment that the United States enjoyed after the collapse of the Soviet Union began slipping away as a result of being bogged down in the Middle East and the financial crisis that hit the United States in 2007 and 2008. What accompanied the demise of the American unipolar moment was the rise of China, and a rising China is a reality that the United States must cope with if it is to have its  way in international affairs. Working with China, as opposed to working against China, will be the only way for the United States to succeed in its strategies and efforts internationally.

Through its militarization efforts and its seizure of islands in the South China Sea, China is either seeking peer power status with the United States or the securitization of its military and economic interests by attempting to establish a Chinese sphere of influence in the East Asia and ASEAN regions. Containing China’s rise, given the economic and military factors involved in its rise, would spell conflict for the United States. China, as it appears, does not seek conflict with the United States as the Soviet Union did during the Cold War, as long as it can ensure that its economic interests and prosperity are secured and unhampered. Along with the issue of economic prosperity is the issue of Taiwan, and the importance of Taiwan  to China is something that the United States appears   to underestimate. In the  case  of  China, full-blown  containment is neither necessary nor fruitful, because in an economic context where China is seeking to sustain its economic growth through military expansion, containment would take on a violent nature. Economic cooperation and the accommodation of respective national interests would distribute a reasonable and optimal amount of power to China. Given the recent rise of China, as well as the recent developments in the Korean Peninsula that signal both a mitigation of hostilities, in addition to an increase of hostilities between North Korea and South Korea, equilibrium between a Japan backed by the United States and a Korean Peninsula unified by its animosity towards Japan and supported by China might be

the likely trend in the near future. And according to intellectuals like Henry Kissinger, what results from equilibrium, theoretically, is peace and stability, given that the equilibrium is accompanied by sustained diplomacy aimed at cooperation in the maintenance of an international order that promotes peace in spite of the pursuit of national interests by individual nations. Equilibrium, when enforced by states that are in contact with one another and are working in the spirit of cooperation, will tame and moderate the pursuit of national interests.

Accommodating and moderating China’s rise through cooperation on global  issues  would  enable  the  United  States  to allocate a fair amount of focus and concentration on internal balancing and recuperation on the domestic front in order to sustain an equilibrium in East Asia that can foster eventual breakthroughs in the social and political situation in that particular region of the world. Internal balancing and recuperation within the United States will also renew the United States’ ability to deal with a range of international issues in the coming future. While the United States might prefer that the ASEAN organization remain free from Chinese domination, the least that the United States can expect is half of the ASEAN pie going to China, given that Southeast Asia will eventually become a compromise between the United States, China, and perhaps even India, in the long run.

Also, the economic integration of China and its economic cooperation with the United States within an international liberal order that began in 1979 with Deng Xiaoping might well, in fact, be reaching its limits, given the rise of China as a military power. China is now converting economic power into the means of attaining political prestige, power, and position first and foremost through military expansion in East Asia. China is seeking to solidify its defense capabilities through military development and activity in areas such as the South China Sea and the East China Sea.Through military development, diplomacy, and trade, China also seeks to secure resources in places like the Middle East in order to sustain

long-term economic development. Cooperating with China and accommodating its rise would not only help the United States at a time of austerity and internal balancing, but it would also mitigate the threats to Japan, a traditional U.S. ally, that could possibly stem from a rising China if neglected by the United States. Cooperation, equilibrium, deal-making, and thus peace and stability in East Asia would set the basis for U.S.-Chinese cooperation in other regions of the world. In addition to the problems of overcoming austerity and the need to focus on internal balancing, the United States constitutes only 5 percent of the world’s population, and thus, it cannot be the world’s hegemonic power on its own. However, the United States can definitely maintain preeminence and superpower status through cultivating partnerships and by turning rivals into friends. There is no doubt that the United States, with a GDP of over 14 trillion U.S. dollars per year, is the most powerful country in the world, and that it has the technological and informational edge over all other countries. But some estimates put the value of U.S. GDP even higher. As Graham Allison wrote in his most recent book, titled Destined for War, the IMF has put U.S. GDP at about

17.4 trillion dollars annually. But what is staggering is that the IMF has put China as having surpassed the U.S. in terms of annual GDP by valuing Chinese annual GDP at 17.6 trillion dollars.

But in order to accomplish the objectives it seeks to accomplish in places like East Asia, and to advance its interests throughout the world, the United States cannot continue confronting challenges to its interests through violence and conflict, given the basic economic and social nature of the challenges stemming from places like Russia, India, Iran, and China. Although they pose a threat and     a challenge to U.S. interests, the threat and challenge from places like Russia, India, China, and Iran are not designed to undermine the basic security and existence of the United States, whereas the threats from terrorist entities like the Taliban, ISIS, Pakistan, and North Korea are now out of hand, and there is very little doubt that these groups seek the destruction of Western nations. The

challenges to U.S. military and economic dominance by countries like Russia, China, Iran, and India stem from a demand for balance in standards of living among themselves and the United States. Partnering with China and setting aside social obstacles that remain from past generations would render U.S. efforts in accomplishing internationalist objectives and advancing global interests both efficient and effective.

The United States, therefore, faces two major policy choices  in regards to China: partnering with China and thus channeling China’s rise toward the fulfillment of shared social, political, and economic objectives, or attempting to contain China’s rise and, as a result, spur hostilities that lead to the placement of the United States and China into two opposing international alignments primed for conflict. Distributing a fair amount of power to China and allowing it to reach a certain power capacity that currently falls short of U.S. power would be a small price to pay in the effort to divert China’s attention away from traditional conflicts in East Asia. In the long run, once the United States has overcome austerity and undergone the internal balancing necessary for continued power projection, the opportunity to tilt the balance of power against China may arise depending on China’s course of development into the future. But until the opportunity to tilt the balance of power against China arises in the future, the short-term to medium-term focus of the United States should be to accommodate China’s rise and to maintain a balance of power and equilibrium for the intent and purpose of achieving peace and stability in East Asia. The international system developed by the United States after World War II, based on liberalism, fostered political and economic cooperation between the United States and China that led to economic interdependence, as well as the resurrection of the world. Few people acknowledge these days that the United States in 1945 covered at least 50 percent of the world’s GDP. After 1945, in an attempt to resurrect the world from the ashes and destruction of World War II, the United States voluntarily reduced its share of world GDP to 25 percent so that

other nations could also become prosperous. That sense of spirit and benevolence of the past must reassert itself in the United States, and it must replace the war games and dangerous banter that has characterized U.S. relations with the Eastern world for many years now. Seeking to contain China’s development would push China into seeking anti-Western alliances and alignments in opposition to the United States that would bolster Chinese power and leave the United States hamstrung in both internal balancing and future power projection. Making concessions as a method toward peace is something that Confucius discussed in The Analects when he stated that if a gentleman is willing to concede to his opponents in games and trivialities, he should also concede in more important matters as well. The application of antiquity in modern times is called for if there is a sincere desire for peace as the main objective of international relations. As recently as the beginning of 2017, Xi Jinping affirmed China’s commitment to practicing international norms, such as free trade, at the World Economic Forum in Davos. It would be outrageous if the United States under the Trump Administration did not follow suit.

Moreover, accommodating China’s rise is a goal within a bigger goal for the United States, which is to have relations with Russia and China that are better than the relations Russia and China have with each other. There were a number of factors that led to the “Sino-Soviet split” during the early stages of the Cold War, and this split ended up being critical in enabling the United States to topple the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, the factors that weakened the Sino-Soviet relationship are now eroding in a 21st century context. Factors such as the novelty of nuclear weapons, the leadership in place within both countries in the past as opposed to now, ideology or the lack thereof within the Chinese leadership apparatus, and

U.S. goodwill towards China were relevant in improving U.S.- Chinese relations and eventually bringing about the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Improving ties with China not only as an end, but also as a means to an end, was the key to bolstering America’s

position regarding Russia as the Cold War of the 20th century came to a close.

Also for the sake of East Asian stability overall, improved relations between the United States and China would ease Chinese insecurities about U.S. relations with Japan.

While the canceling of the TPP by Mr. Trump is in line with the U.S. president’s campaign promise to protect the U.S. economy from an import-export imbalance, it may well be possible that Japan sees the cancellation of the TPP as strengthening Chinese power both within the East Asian region and internationally. If  the TPP were to have gone through, the beneficiaries would have been Japan and many other Southeast Asian nations that are not very fond of China. The Chinese welcome the cancellation of TPP both secretly and overtly. Opening Japan to U.S. exports was one way that Shinzo Abe and the Japanese government could have prevented the failure of the TPP. Nevertheless, the canceling of the TPP by Mr. Trump, in effect, not only negates the possibility of the Japanese market opening to U.S. material goods, but it also leaves open the possibility of a shift away from the status quo in the East Asia region that favored the Japanese position regarding China and the North Koreans. One cannot exclude an outcome    in which the cancellation of the TPP strengthens China’s position and North Korea’s position with Japan. The recent demise of the conservatives in South Korea may have been in response to this particular political shift within East Asia in favor of China and North Korea.

In terms of North Korea,Mr.Trump stated his willingness to talk to Kim Jong Un during his presidential campaign, and Mr. Trump has had a long-standing business relationship with China, which provides for approximately 85 percent of North Korea’s external trade, according to Victor Cha, who is the Director of Korean Studies at the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC. China also provides 70 percent of North Korea’s fuel, as well as 40 percent of its food. During a 2016 party congress

that took place after more than three decades in Pyongyang, Kim Jong Un stated his willingness to improve ties with the United States. Kim Jong Un also conveyed his willingness to improve his country’s ties with the United States in conversations with former NBA player Dennis Rodman. Before the death of Otto Warmbier, a young American student who was imprisoned by North Korea in 2015 for playing an innocent prank at his hotel and later died as a result of brain trauma in June 2017, Dennis Rodman was essentially the de facto U.S. ambassador to North Korea because Dennis Rodman enjoys a friendship with U.S. president Donald Trump.   In fact, it is possible that Dennis Rodman was able to secure the release of Otto Warmbier and allow for his return to the United States, where he tragically died in June 2017. The death of Otto Warmbier, however, serves as the game-changer in Trump policy toward North Korea. Shortly after Otto Warmbier’s tragic death,

U.S. president Donald Trump announced alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-In that U.S. “strategic patience” with North Korea is now over. The Trump administration is now exploring all options in seeking retribution for the range of hostile acts North Korea has shown towards the United States, as well as its allies in East Asia.

In a somewhat twisted manner, the North Koreans have historically used missile launches and nuclear tests as a signal that they want to meet and have a dialogue with the United States. For North Korea,“the threat is the asset.”The North Korean regime has always had only one objective in mind, which is the re-unification of the Korean Peninsula through military force after somehow getting U.S. forces off the Korean Peninsula. Like the Taliban does for Pakistan, North Korea serves as a “veritable arm” or proxy of China, which means that when dealing with North Korea, one must first and foremost deal with China. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, China quickly replaced the Soviet Union as North Korea’s main patron and source of support. The collapse of the Soviet Union proved to be disastrous for North Korea. Trade

between Russia and North Korea dropped from 2.35 billion U.S. dollars in 1990 to only 222 million U.S. dollars in 1993. Soon after this drop in trade with Russia, North Korea went through a horrible famine between 1995 and 1997.

The present-day situation in the Korean Peninsula can be explained in large part by one phenomenon, which is the Korean War of the early 1950s. At the end of World War II, a U.N.-led effort managed to divide the Korean Peninsula at the 38th parallel, which serves as the current border between North and South Korea. Since then, North Korea’s goal has been the military defeat of South Korea and thus, the unification of the Korean Peninsula through force. The Korean War began in 1950 with the North’s invasion of the South. Soon after, the United States provided military support for South Korean forces, and, in the process of pushing North Korean forces all the way to the North Korean border with China, U.S. aerial bombardments destroyed the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. The destruction of Pyongyang by U.S. aerial bombardment is a major reason for the vendetta North Korea holds against the United States to this day. Seeing the U.S. and South Korean advancement to its border as a potential threat to   its sovereignty, the Chinese responded by providing North Korean forces with support that eventually pushed the Americans and the South Koreans back to the 38th parallel. Both sides of the conflict called a truce in 1953 that holds to this day, and the 38th parallel still serves as the border between North and South Korea.

It is important to note that the cessation of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula in 1953 came as a result of a truce, not a peace treaty.Thus, both sides are in a state of potential conflict even now. In response to America’s development of South Korea after the truce of 1953, the Soviet Union began North Korea’s infamous nuclear program in 1964. And in the 1990s, North Korea withdrew from agreements with both the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as well as the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in response to what North Korea called “American aggression.”What the North

Koreans perceived as American aggression in the 1990s was actually Republican legislative reversals of Bill Clinton’s progress on talks with North Korea. The hostilities that renewed between the United States and North Korea as a result of Republican policies in the 1990s were only exacerbated by George W. Bush’s declaration that North Korea was a part of an “Axis of Evil” that also included Iran and Iraq. Because of Republican efforts to militarize the character of the East Asian political situation, both North and South Korea have long explored the options of “Asianism” and “New Asianism” as a paradigm shift in East Asian affairs away from American military preeminence in the East Asian region.

North Korea, with its growing military capabilities and support from China, will only cede in talks over nuclear weapons, apparently, if there is a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea. The United States historically has been unwilling to meet this North Korean demand, because the results of such a concession could be the destruction of the creative and prosperous economies of South Korea and Japan. While Japan and South Korea prospered as a result of relatively free-market economic policies since World War II, North Korea has gone through economic stagnation as a result of a command economy that is run by the self-serving Kim Dynasty. North Korea, despite its attempts at being resilient, is bound to fall for a number of reasons. First and foremost, despite its central ideology of “Juche,” which translates into self-reliance and self-sufficiency, North Korea is heavily dependent on China for its survival, as it was dependent on the Soviet Union for its survival in the past, and, as a result, the entire North Korean scheme has been built on a lie. Because North Korea is built on a lie, it is bound to collapse. North Korea will collapse, but it is a question of when and how. Undoubtedly, the Korean people are resilient, but not to the extent of China. Generally speaking, the United States has two options in regards to North Korea. For one, the United States can launch a preemptive military strike that brings down the North Korean regime. North Korea’s neighbors do not favor this option

for a number of reasons. The other option is the continuation of current policies based on economic sanctions and the isolation of North Korea. The solution, ultimately, is a “grand bargain” between the United States and China through which the United States abandons its support for Taiwan and, in return, the Chinese abandon their support for North Korea. Whereas the quid pro quo between the United States and Russia deals with Poroshenko in Ukraine and Assad in Syria, the quid pro quo that would revolutionize the situation between the United States and China will be a give and take over North Korea and Taiwan. If a multilateral effort led by the United States includes a China that receives assurances from the U.S. over Taiwan, a South Korea that can be convinced that the continued existence of the North Korean regime is not in its best interests, and a Japan that can join this multilateral effort   and make it effective by just simply issuing an apology to South Korea and China, the U.S.-led effort to bring down North Korea’s nefarious regime will be successful. What sparks this multilateral effort, however, is if the United States makes an offer to China that it cannot refuse, which is Taiwan.

With the voluntary breakdown of the TPP initiated by the Trump Administration, it now appears that the power equilibrium in East Asia has shifted in favor of China and North Korea, and, as a result, the Japanese stock could be falling. Despite the complexity of the political situation in East Asia, it is still possible for the United States to depart from the status quo and still maintain its commitment to Japan through trade deals, such as the TPP, albeit customized so that the United States also benefits and that the benefits are not lopsidedly in favor of the Asian signatories. But  it is now up to Mr. Trump to decide what he wishes to achieve through the canceling of the TPP, which is not only an economic decision, but also it is a major political decision that could change power calculations, as well as the power equilibrium in East Asia.

A resolution and common understanding of the U.S. position in East Asia will enable the United States to focus on other parts of

the globe in which there are vital U.S. interests at stake, particularly the Persian Gulf region and Latin America. For China, that would mean filling up openings left by U.S. drawdowns and reductions in places like Afghanistan and the Middle East.Robert Pastor,who was once my professor at American University’s School of International Service and who passed away in 2014, wrote something in one of his final books titled The North American Idea, and it sums up everything that the United States failed to do since it committed   a disproportionate amount of focus to places like Afghanistan and Iraq in recent times. Right off the bat, Pastor wrote:

“We (meaning the United States) need to find new ways to relate to our neighbors if we are to discover a new way to exercise global leadership.”

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States, led by Bill Clinton, supposedly turned inward and adopted an economic policy framework to augment U.S. social and economic dominance within the Western Hemisphere known as the “North American Free Trade Agreement,” the acronym of which is NAFTA. Given Trump’s election in 2016, the message coming out of the American body politic is that NAFTA produced an outcome other than the one America intended. Many Americans perceive NAFTA as a zero-sum arrangement that benefits Canadians and Mexicans at the expense of working-class Americans. Mr. Trump appears to have successfully pressured both Canada and Mexico to renegotiate NAFTA. Canadian and Mexican willingness to renegotiate NAFTA at this time is more out of fear than willingness, given that the only alternative to renegotiation would have been an unequivocal and unilateral cancellation of NAFTA by the Trump Administration  that  would  resemble Trump’s  cancellation  of  the TPP. Canada and Mexico are both fully aware that the United States still wields enough power to both make and break political and economic arrangements like NAFTA.

Obviously, terms and expressions like “global leadership” and

“private markets in public arenas” that Robert Pastor loved to use (and anyone who knew Pastor or studied under Pastor will know what I am talking  about)  were  meant  to  equate  the  meaning  of global governance with the augmentation of the “power, prestige, and position” of the United States, and to establish the fact that the United States seeks to be ubiquitous in international affairs given its position as the world’s biggest power. One textbook definition of “governance” is “a system that deals with the rules, institutions, and processes that form the nexus of state-society relations and define how government and citizens interact.”16 The story of every superpower in the past shows that global governance decays because of political corruption within established political institutions, and in reaction to political corruption, there are opposition forces, and even outside destructive forces, that rise against established institutions of governance. And as Aristotle said millennia ago, and what Kant reiterated many centuries later, war becomes the necessary means to peace. Aristotle also mentioned, however, that power is virtue, and the main issue that needs to be resolved through power is that of justice. Coincidentally, there is a disagreement today between the West and the East over the issue of justice and what it is, exactly, that constitutes the idea of justice. The West, for the most part, sees justice as constituting fairness, especially from a liberal and pacifist perspective, whereas the East sees justice as being equity or equality between Western and Eastern peoples. But given that equality can never be achieved between West and East, first and foremost due to differences in education standards, the fairest jurisprudence of the issue of justice would be the conclusion that justice equals fairness, not equality or equity.

E.H. Carr’s umbrella context of satisfied versus dissatisfied powers indeed demonstrated a context in which  there  is  one  who governs (the United States), while there are those who are governed (everyone else). The issue of Aristotle’s “govern or be governed,” arguably, is the core issue dictating relations between East and West. The East, led by Russia and China, no longer want

to be governed by a world order led and dominated by the United States, and thus there is a growing disorder within the U.S.-led world order, especially in places like Europe and the Middle East. Russian intervention in both Europe and the Middle East is the main source of the disorder in those regions of the world today.

According to Machiavelli, there are only two ways to govern: by law or by force. Given that there are not only competing interpretations of law, but also competing arguments as to what the law is, it automatically follows that power and force are the currencies and means of governance and the establishment of any notion of law. And as E.H. Carr said, there are three elements of power: military power, economic power, and power over opinion. The Trump policy towards Russia, given that it initially called for friendly relations between the United States and Russia, could induce a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in a matter of years, and the U.S. withdrawal, in turn, will lead to a Russian-led and Chinese-led transformation of the Eastern Bloc. President Trump could waste everything that the United States endured and spent  in terms of blood and treasure in Afghanistan with one stroke of the pen and a handshake with the Russians. Seeking help from the Russians to deal with issues like Afghanistan does not mean that the United States should completely withdraw from dealing with these issues. And what the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan leaves the United States with is a return to its first foreign policy, namely “The Monroe Doctrine,” as well as a focus on economics that favors and maintains the position of America’s elite and multinational corporations. Because of the Russian, Chinese, Indian, Iranian, and European pursuit of markets and natural resources, the “Monroe Doctrine” in today’s context will have oil, natural gas, and human resources as the centerpiece of American strategy in the Western Hemisphere. It is not a coincidence that mass protests  and an attempt to overthrow the Maduro regime heated up in oil-rich Venezuela after the election of Donald Trump. “Energy independence,” as promoted by the Republicans, will not only mean

tapping American resources, but it will also call for tapping into Canadian and Latin American resources, which may or may not create a backlash within the body politic of America’s neighbors, as well as the areas within the United States that will be affected. Environmentalists as well as Native American reservationists have risen  in  opposition  to  Trump’s  evolving  energy  policy. Trump’s economic policies, which encompass any energy policy he may establish, will also lead to spheres of influence among major powers like Russia, China, and, of course, the United States. However,  the pursuit of energy independence is capital intensive, and thus, America will undoubtedly face higher gas prices in the coming future, as it did during the Ford and Carter Administrations in the past. As a result, the Trump era will coincide with an even further downturn in the U.S. economy that will result in unforeseen political consequences, which can only manifest themselves toward the end of the Trump era, and it is unclear as to whether the end of the Trump era will be in 2020 or 2024. But the reversal of protectionist policies can help the U.S. economy in the short-term as well as the long-term.

Right-wing governments like the Trump Administration fail mainly because of the social and economic circumstances that lead to their elections in the first place. These social and economic circumstances are characterized mainly by the economic woes of the masses and racial divides that result primarily from economic woes. The economic woes of the masses, one can argue, are what cause the unleashing of racial divides. Once in power, right-wing governments, like Modi’s government in India, Putin’s government in Russia, and Trump’s government in the United States, will deviate from centrist policies in favor of the elites through instituting tax cuts that favor the rich and gut social services for the poor, which in turn will create a  backlash  from  centrist  independents  and the progressive left-wing. Trump voters, after having  witnessed no change in their situation whatsoever, will be at a crossroads politically, and will have to choose between staying home during the

next election, voting for Trump yet again, or changing their political orientation. Trump’s appointment of plutocrats and generals in his cabinet already signals a deviation from centrist policies in favor of right-wing policies that entrench elite interests not just within America, but also around the world.

Kissinger, in both World Order and Diplomacy, suggested that “Marshall Plans” for the Eastern World would not work because of the social and political corruption of the Eastern World, and also because the now China-centric Eastern world is, for the most part, undemocratic and divided based on a clash of cultures and ethnic-nationalism. What Kissinger may have tried to get across was that, because the West is socially and politically at an advantage over the Eastern world due to differences in corruption levels, it might be better to simply achieve a balance of power between the Western world and the Eastern world instead of trying to solidify a unipolar world in which the United States and Western nations go out seeking to transform the entire globe and, in the process, drain valuable resources. However, the rapid globalization of politics, economics, and society over the past fifteen years has shown that even though there has not been an outright revolution against the U.S.-led world order, the formation of institutions and bodies such as the BRICS organization, as well as the disarray within western institutions and alliances, as shown by Brexit and the election of   a U.S. president who has questioned the basic premise of western unity because of economic reasons, does provide support for a growing, yet nascent, conviction that there is indeed a “decline of the West and the rise of the rest.” After all, as E.H. Carr said when Europe went up in flames in the 20th century, “only the West is in decline.”





The Middle East and Africa: Islam and Natural Resources


Since the era of rapid European industrialization and the peak of European colonization in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, all the world’s major powers have made

the pursuit of oil and natural resources the main driver of their Middle East and North African policies. Sir Winston Churchill’s decision to switch from coal to oil as the main source of energy for the Royal British Navy changed everything about geopolitics, and it placed the Middle East front and center in what is known as “The Great Game.” But the pursuit of oil and natural resources by the world’s major powers in the Middle East has made political and social interaction with the people and governments of the Middle East a consequence of economic pursuits, for better or for worse. In its pursuit of oil, military bases, and natural resources, the United States is now party to the range of social, political, and ecological problems plaguing the Middle East and the Muslim World, the most disastrous of which, up until this point, have been the conflicts in both Syria and Yemen. But the conflicts in the Middle East today are also symbolic of the state of world order today. The turmoil and instability in the Middle East today shows that neither the internal actors in the Middle East nor external forces are fully in control of the affairs of the Middle East. The issue of the Middle East today is an issue of control, and at the present moment, no one is in control. At the moment, U.S. policy in the Middle East is confounded,

for the most part, by a proxy war between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, both of whom are supporting opposing sides in the Syrian conflict and thus are engaged in a major sectarian conflict with one another. The United States has generally supported Saudi Arabia and the pursuit of Saudi interests, given that Saudi and U.S. interests align a great deal, in that both countries seek to contain the expansion of Iran within the Middle East, in addition to Saudi Arabia being a critical source of oil for the United States. The

United States and Saudi Arabia both generally support the Syrian Sunni rebels, whereas Iran supports the Shi’a Alawi government of Bashar Al-Assad. The Shi’a are in the minority in Syria, and the Sunnis are in the majority. The United States, in support of what started out to be a democratic uprising and has now turned into a civil war, offered a great deal of diplomatic and material support to the Sunni-dominated rebels in Syria. Russia, Iran, and the Shi’a Lebanese militia called “Hezbollah” threw its lot with the secular and Alawi-dominated government of Bashar Al-Assad. In a geostrategic sense, Syria stands in the center of the Middle East, and whichever side dominates Syria as a result of this conflict will be in a strategic advantage to dominate the region.

Yet, while the United States and Saudi Arabia are engaged in  a proxy war with Russia and Iran in Syria, the United States and Iran signed a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, in July 2015.The deal calls for the removal of sanctions on Iran by the international community in return for Iran’s dismantling of its covert, yet well-known, nuclear weapons program. Lausanne, coincidentally, was the location where Ataturk promised the West that he would give up Ottoman colonial possessions in the Middle East in return for the securitization of mainland Turkey and his secular regime. Ataturk also agreed to relinquish Turkish sovereignty over the Bosporus Strait, and that agreement is soon to expire in a few years, and, as a result the Turks will retain control of that strategic waterway. Lausanne was also a turning point for Iran, given the immense pressure it endured from the West over the last thirty-five or so years and the demand by the West that Iran abandon proxies in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Territories in order to ensure economic progress   at home. The Iranians have offered help and cooperation to the United States on a number of occasions, including Bosnia and Afghanistan, but before relations with Iran improved under Barack Obama’s administration, the Bush Administration declined Iranian assistance in Middle East affairs and instead placed Iran in an “Axis

of Evil,” alongside North Korea and Iraq. It may take continued diplomatic (constructivist) efforts on the part of the United States to keep Iranians focused mainly on economic progress for the Iranian nation. Nevertheless, the deal signed on July 2015 between Iran and the international community led by the United States is a sign that a great deal of Iranians – both common Iranians, as well as many elements within the Islamic Republic – are willing to engage in constructivist efforts to forge better relations with the United States, the international community, and with the West  in general.

The nuclear deal between Iran and the international community led by the United States can also be seen as a strategic move in   an effort to try and break down an emerging “Eastern Bloc,” led by Russia and China. Much of the restraint shown by the Obama Administration in Syria over the last few years was, in a sense, a bargain offered to the Russians and the Iranians in order to assuage Iranian fears over what many in the Middle East perceived to be   a major regime change agenda on the part of the United States  that took flight under the Bush Administration with Afghanistan in 2001. By stepping back from regime change in Syria, the Obama Administration seemed to have garnered trust from the Iranians, and, as a result the Iranians came to Lausanne in a rather sincere effort to negotiate with the United States. And while Obama’s decisions over Syria may have sealed the deal over the Iranian nuclear weapons program, the resolution over Iran’s nuclear weapons program may have, in fact, intensified the conflict in Syria. Obama’s restraint in Syria emboldened the Assad regime’s assault on the Syrian people, and, as a result, the resistance on the part of the Syrian rebels has intensified. Syria is attracting a great deal of media attention nowadays, not only because of the conflict there that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, but also because of the influx of Syrian refugees coming into Europe as a result of Obama’s decision to avoid taking a side in the Syrian conflict. Over the last couple of years, the impetus behind the Syrian refugee influx into Europe is, without a doubt, the ferocious

bombing of the Syrian population by the regime of Bashar Al- Assad in places like Aleppo in the north of the country near the Turkish border.

Another factor leading to Obama’s decision to remain fairly neutral in the Syrian conflict is the prevalence of ISIS, otherwise known as “Da’ish,” primarily  in  the  eastern  parts  of  Syria.  The general fear of the Obama Administration was that if the Assad regime were to fall suddenly as a result of heavy-handed intervention by the United States, ISIS would be the first entity within Syria to capitalize off the situation and expand its hold over the country. ISIS attacks on places like Kobani in the east of the country, and their takeover of the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa has also contributed to the Syrian refugee crisis, and the burden is now on places like Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and the European Union to absorb Syrian refugees fleeing from both Assad and ISIS. In the midst of the fight for power between the Assad government and its opponents that began in 2011 and continues to this day, the civilian population of Syria is scrambling to get out of the country in order to find basic human security and to ensure basic survival. The main question pertaining to Syria is: how can the power struggle in Syria come to an end in order to stem the tide of people flowing out, and to enable the people of the Syrian diaspora to return home and rebuild their country?

The answer is far from simple. In the initial stage of the Syrian conflict, Bashar Al-Assad had the support of an ambivalent fifty percent of Syria’s population. Now it seems as though Bashar Al-Assad is fighting merely for his own regime’s survival. Bashar Al-Assad is said to have even persecuted a segment of his own Alawi community for showing sympathy to the Syrian resistance. Bashar Al-Assad and his Alawi ethnic group make up less than  20 percent of Syria’s population. And with the involvement and interference of both Iran and Saudi Arabia, the conflict in Syria has now become a war of ethnicity and religious sect, whereas earlier in the war, the main issue was political and social philosophy, as well as

democracy and human rights, advocated mainly by a diverse range of young Syrian political activists. Early in the conflict, Bashar Al- Assad had the support of a number of Sunni urbanites and regime loyalists espousing a philosophy of pan-Arabism, Arab socialism, and secularism. Also, the brunt of the violence against Assad in the early stages of the Syrian war came from groups like Al-Qaeda, Jabhat Al-Nusra, and what is now ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – international terrorists and violent groups funded by an illicit economy who made the war in Syria an issue of religion and sect. But Assad bombed ruthlessly, failing to discriminate between terrorist and civilian, and as the number of Sunnis targeted by Assad’s regime spread, the opposition against Assad also became more and more widespread. At this point, Assad controls only about a quarter of the country comprising of Syria’s western strip along the Mediterranean Sea that includes the cities of Damascus, Latakia, and Tartus, whereas in the past, Assad had control and the support of more than 50 percent of the country, and this support included segments of the Sunni population. Nevertheless, Assad is the main cause of the problems in Syria, because Assad and his family have unjustly clung onto power for more than 40 years now. Assad hails from the Alawi ethnic group, whose heartland lies exactly where the Assad regime controls today – the western strip along Syria’s Mediterranean coastline. The Alawi are a religious sect within a sect, namely the Shi’a sect of the world’s Muslim population. The other sect within the world’s Muslim population is the Sunni sect, and the balance in the Muslim world, at this point, tilts in favor of the Sunni sect. Overall, Muslims are about 80 percent Sunni, whereas only about 20 percent of Muslims belong to the Shi’a sect. Saudi Arabia, as custodians of the two holiest sites in the Islamic religion and thus a major Sunni nation, has assumed the leadership role of the Sunni sect and thus leadership of about 80 percent of Muslims. Iran, on the other hand, is a predominantly Shi’a nation, and is the largest Shi’a nation in the Muslim world, and as a result, Iran has assumed leadership of politically charged

Shi’a groups around the world. In Syria, Sunnis make up about 70 percent of the population, while 20 percent of Syria’s population consists of Shi’a, Alawi, and Christians. About 10 percent of Syria’s population is Kurdish. The Kurds are, religiously, a mix, and have been divided over whose side to take in the Syrian war. Like many others, the Kurds are simply fighting for survival  at this point, but, at the same time, the Kurds have a political agenda as well. The Kurds in Syria also seek to carve out a homeland and a state out of the political turmoil that exists in Iraq and Syria and the turmoil that may erupt in Iran and Turkey if the United States and Europe pursue a policy of regime change to overthrow Erdogan’s government in Turkey and to overthrow the regime in Iran. As Sun Tzu admonished, “choose your battles wisely,” which is why regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq proved futile when there were actually bigger fish to fry in the form of Iran and North Korea. The surprise is that, despite the odds stacked against them, the Shi’ites and the Alawi have survived the onslaught brought upon them by about 70 percent of Syria’s population that is Sunni.The two main reasons behind Assad’s survival and the survival of the Shi’a and Alawi is support from Russia and Iran and the restraint shown by both the Obama Administration in the past and the Trump Administration thus far, despite Trump’s famous tomahawk missile attack on Syrian military planes in the spring of 2017 in response to a chemical attack against civilians by the Assad regime. Both Russia and Iran have employed Shi’a militias, like Hezbollah from Lebanon, to join the fight in support of Assad and his people, and, in addition to Hezbollah, the Russians and Iranians have provided guidance, as well as a continuous supply of material support, for the fight against the Sunnis. In 2015, the Russians got involved directly in the Syrian conflict and began aerial bombardments of rebel-held areas. Russia has a naval base in the Alawite heartland in the city of Tartus, and thus, Russia most likely sees the survival of Assad’s government as being inextricably linked to its chances of having a naval base in Syria that connects the Russian military to Europe

through warm waters.

Thus, the solution to the Syrian problem comes down to one thing and one thing only, which is an agreement of some kind between America and Russia that enables a democratic transition in Syria, beginning with the removal of Assad and his family from the Syrian political equation. Because there has not been such an agreement at this point, the war rages on. Much of the fighting in Syria is now the result of international actors, as opposed to the local parties that began the conflict in Syria, and without a complex resolution of the conflict from the international level by America and Russia, the war in Syria will not end, given that the war within the Syrian context is now a sectarian and global conflict of an existential nature. Given that both sides of the conflict, within a Syrian context, seek the total annihilation of the other side, peace in Syria has to be enforced by the world’s major powers. Also, it is evident that the etiology of the Syrian war had nothing to do with ethnicity and sect when considering that more than 50 percent     of Syria’s population lived in immense poverty and subsisted off two U.S. dollars per day at the beginning of the conflict in 2011. The ability to overcome the deadly religious and sectarian aspect of the Syrian conflict can be made possible if the focus of the international community is cast upon the etiology of the Syrian conflict, which one can objectively conclude is of an economic nature. When considering that the politics of not only the Middle East, but the entire world, has been and is based on social issues, like the imbalance between elite and popular power and the neglect of basic human rights by regimes like the Assad regime in the Middle East, as mandated by the UN charter and its supplements, as well as neglect of economic issues like poverty and inequality by these Middle Eastern regimes, one’s perspective toward politics in the Middle East and elsewhere transforms and transcends beyond the limitations of opinion and bias. By addressing the objective social and economic causes of the Syrian war, the focus of the international community may, in fact, shift away from the religious

issue that seems to intrude upon everything that goes on pertaining to Muslims and the Muslim world.

Furthermore, having only one side become the sole victor in Syria would mean a zero-sum game in Syria in which either the Sunnis or the Shi’a meet total annihilation. But within the Syrian context, a zero-sum game equates to ethnic cleansing, something that cannot be tolerated by the Americans and the Russians in   this day and age, and especially because of the international norms and laws in place that oblige major powers to prevent such crimes against humanity from taking place. A peace agreement between Syrian minorities and the Sunni population that enables the removal of Assad and his family from power, crafted and enforced by the United States, Russia, and their respective allies, is the only way out of the carnage that is taking place in Syria at the moment. America, with its resources and capabilities, will have to pluck the Alawi and other Syrian minority groups out of the grip of Assad and the Russians in order for a political solution to take hold in Syria. Furthermore, as long as the war in Syria continues, Europe and the rest of the world will also have to continue absorbing an influx of Syrian refugees, for which the world seems to have very little or no political will. Ending the war in Syria would mean that Syrians can eventually return home and rebuild their country, and thus, Europeans and Americans can overcome their lack of political will in absorbing a growing number of Syrian refugees. Many experts have already admitted that only a political solution shaped by America and Russia at the international level will bring an end to the Syrian war. The best possible outcome outside of military efforts will be a peaceful solution in which the international community engages in a dialogue over the root causes of the Syrian war that brings a constructive end to something that continues to devastate the lives of thousands upon thousands of innocent people. But given that the outcome of the Syrian war will most likely hinge on both a military and political strategy, the removal of Assad and his family from power will be necessary if there is to be any progress

in the political track. The success of the military track will depend on greater U.S. military involvement in Syria in order to further reduce Assad’s military capabilities, especially after the momentum spurred by the recent tomahawk missile attacks on Assad’s military launched by U.S. President Donald Trump in response to Assad’s illegal use of chemical weapons against civilians. Greater U.S. military involvement in Syria will advance successes in the political track of the Syrian war by increasing the probability of Assad’s removal from power.

The ambivalence on the part of the United States to commit to a resolute policy in Syria in recent days stems from psychological setbacks caused by failures and blunders on the part of the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq since the beginning of the 21st century. Afghanistan, in particular, has exposed the incredible limits to America’s global reach, and one may reasonably argue that Afghanistan is the main reason for the demise of what many believed was America’s “unipolar moment” after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991. For the last fifteen years or so, the international community, led by the United States, has been trying to overcome a law of international affairs, affirmed and advanced by none other than an American expert on international affairs.Former CIA Agent Milton Bearden famously called Afghanistan “The Graveyard of Empires.” If America did not collapse in Afghanistan, it certainly escaped near-death. Nevertheless, America lost many lives and spent trillions of dollars on the mission thus far in Afghanistan and the broader Muslim world. Despite immense efforts, the United States and the international community transformed Afghanistan into nothing but a superficial liberal democratic order, without making any permanent reversals from the days Afghanistan was   a pariah state under the Taliban. Afghanistan is divided between Soviet-era warlords, who have cartelized the world’s largest drug economy between themselves, and the Taliban, who are backed by Pakistan and international terrorist groups, such as ISIS, and are driven by a sick and despicable anti-Western ideology. The United

States in 2001, in the pursuit of Arab terrorists in Afghanistan  like Osama bin Laden, had to choose between the lesser of two evils, and, as a result, America provided support for indigenous Afghan drug lords and warlords to fight off Pakistani and Arab terrorists who orchestrated the terrorist attacks of 9/11. America’s technological edge keeps the Taliban and international terrorists at bay in Afghanistan in the form of drone attacks, as well as technical support to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), and, as a result, most international terrorists are pigeonholed in safe havens in Pakistan. The United States also signed a Bilateral Security Agreement with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in 2014 ensuring that the United States has a platform from which it can stage counterterrorist operations against the Taliban and international terrorist groups like ISIS inside of Pakistan.

While the United States was busy falling into decline in Afghanistan as a result of a failed military effort against Pakistan that was later exacerbated by failures in Iraq, the rest was that the world steadily rose out of poverty, as Fareed Zakaria mentioned in a book titled The Post-American World, Release 2.0. Furthermore, the United States went into relative decline as a result of Afghanistan, and later, Iraq. The objective of the rest of the world was economic development, particularly for the BRICS nations led by Russia and China, whereas for the United States, the objective became war. Moreover, the United States fell into a major financial crisis in 2007 and 2008 that had severe consequences for the entire world. In fact, there is a prevalent belief that the U.S. financial crisis in 2008 led to rising food prices in the Middle East, and it was the rise of food prices that led to the infamous “Arab Spring” in 2011. Since its entrance into Afghanistan in 2001 and the beginning of a prolonged presence there, the United States also began facing a rising mental health epidemic, a drug epidemic, interracial violence, skyrocketing divorce rates, police brutality, and political disunity among various ideological groups, as well as friction among religious groups, as well as individuals of various sexual orientations as a result of the

legalization of gay marriage by the Supreme Court of the United States in 2015.

But  the  zero-sum  mentality   of   international politics  can be obsolete, and can actually be replaced and repudiated by the application of a novel theory of international relations, which is the constructivist theory of international relations, or constructivism. What constructivism constitutes is good and effective diplomacy in order to meet goals and objectives, the most important of which, in modern times, is to pull the United States and China from the brink of war with one another, and thus, the exercise of “soft power.” But in terms of Afghanistan, diplomacy with the Afghans is not the primary concern for the United States. While the United States sought a balance of power during the Bush Administration between Northern and  Southern  Afghanistan  in 2001, Pakistan is now seeking to disrupt that balance of power through support from China. In the past, the one thing that disrupted the balance of power system set up globally by the Nixon Administration was the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Afghanistan had already fallen into the hands of the Russians in 1978 with the communist takeover of Afghanistan, and, as Henry Bradsher wrote, the sudden takeover of Afghanistan by the communists took place without the Russians being fully aware of the situation, and it shows that many revolutions and coups aim for narrow chokepoints within the state apparatus that will induce the collapse of the entire society. For revolutions and coups to be successful, it is not always necessary to lead overwhelming and grueling takeovers of society as a whole. This narrower strategy of revolution and coups is being pursued by Pakistan with the support of  China  in  Afghanistan  today. But despite the ethnic divides in Afghanistan, tribal and ethnic affiliations in Afghanistan are concomitant with a broader national identity that began with the invasion of the Soviet Union, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan began what the late Louis Dupree

called “nascent nationalism” between the entire Afghan nation.

Given that all Afghans, regardless of ethnic divisions, were

supportive of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan to fight off Pakistani drug lords and terrorists, the failure in Afghanistan stemmed, in part, from failures in diplomatic efforts surrounding Afghanistan between the  United  States, Russia, China, and  Pakistan. None  of the serious Asian powers relating to Afghanistan wanted a prolonged U.S. presence in Afghanistan and in Asia. Through the continued undermining of the U.S. effort in Afghanistan on the part of major Asian powers, like Russia, Iran, China, and Pakistan, the United States, gradually had its position eroded in Afghanistan. The Russians and Chinese used classic Sun-Tzu style deception against the Americans in 2001 by luring the Americans into Afghanistan and then punishing them to the point of exhaustion. At this point, there is a gradual U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. But the United States spent fifteen years in Afghanistan while in denial of its own geography, as well as Afghanistan’s geography, and it is because of geography that the United States is unable     to sustain a  cost-effective  presence  in  Afghanistan. Geography is destiny, and due to the distance in space between the United States and Afghanistan, the latter’s Eastern world neighbors will always have a comparative advantage over involvement in Afghan affairs compared to the Americans of the Western world. China has said on numerous occasions that once the inevitable withdrawal of NATO from Afghanistan comes to a conclusion, China will take NATO’s place in Afghanistan by helping to provide for Afghan security (whatever that means). Just in 2015 alone, China played a major role in conferences with Afghanistan over development, and Ashraf Ghani’s first trip as president was to China, not America. Hamid Karzai infamously visited Beijing instead of attending the UN General Assembly in New York City during his final year as President of Afghanistan. These facts demonstrate China’s rising stock in Afghanistan vis-à-vis America’s falling stock.

One Afghan politician also made  an  emphatic  statement  that cannot be overlooked. He said that Pakistan managed to singlehandedly undermine the international community’s security

and development operation in Afghanistan. Pakistan did undermine President Obama’s counterinsurgency operation that began in 2009 by blocking off U.S. supply routes through Pakistan, as well as by providing safe havens for the Taliban and the international terrorists that supported the Taliban. Pakistan served as the launching pad for insurgents that sought to induce a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Iran, on many occasions, stated that a U.S. presence in Afghanistan was unacceptable, and thus, Iran put sectarian differences aside to engage in diplomatic efforts with the Taliban in order to begin inducing a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. There is very little doubt that Iran spoke and acted on behalf of Russian desires. While Russia and China spurred a U.S. withdrawal via proxies such as Pakistan, Iran, and the Taliban, the Afghans undermined their own security situation through corruption. Transparency International has concluded that Afghanistan is the most corrupt country on Earth, and is on par, in terms of corruption, with Somalia and North Korea. President Ashraf Ghani, through a Freudian slip at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2015, stated that all Afghans are corrupt. The corruption in Afghanistan was something that   the United States could not inhibit, and, as a result, the Afghans could not provide for their own security and development. And, as corruption in Afghanistan rose due to the influx of foreign aid, as well as Afghanistan’s drug economy that produces over 90 percent of the world’s opium and is used to produce the world’s most lethal heroin, the political will of the international community, led by the United States, to stay committed to Afghanistan dwindled, thus resulting in a gradual U.S. withdrawal and the severe reduction of foreign aid to Afghanistan.

As Steve Coll mentioned in a book titled Ghost Wars, the United States of America could have prevented the losses it incurred in Afghanistan, had it taken the advice of Ahmad Shah Massoud, a leader of the Afghan resistance against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, who was also fiercely opposed to the Taliban and Al- Qaeda. Massoud warned the United States against the deployment

of American boots on Afghan soil in order to help the United States avoid the double game and bait of the Pakistanis and the death trap that the Russians and Chinese were bound to set for   the Americans. Massoud knew the psyche of the Afghans, and he advised the Americans to give only limited material resources to Afghanistan for the sole objective of defeating the Taliban and Al- Qaeda, and thus, pushing Pakistani influence out of Afghanistan. Massoud had confidence that development in Afghanistan could be endemic, and his plan would have helped avoid the corruption issue that is now plaguing Afghanistan as a result of the influx of foreign aid that came to and went from Afghanistan. The United States, unfortunately, did not invest in Massoud to the extent that was necessary, and as a result, the United States embroiled itself in a war that cost a lot in terms of lives and material. Massoud himself ended up being assassinated by two Arab terrorists linked to Pakistan two days before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It would have cost the United States of America at least ten times less, in terms of lives and money, had it taken the advice of Ahmad Shah Massoud. Nevertheless, the United States, despite the trials and tribulations in Afghanistan, stayed in Afghanistan and incurred loss after loss until the decision to finally begin a gradual withdrawal. While other nations, such as Britain and the Soviet Union, saw a direct correlation between their decline and their involvement in Afghanistan, the United States will have to explore various policy options that will keep itself relevant in Asia through Afghanistan, despite a gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan that began during Barack Obama’s presidency. Massoud, however, is quite guilty of war crimes, and there is a possibility that Massoud could be tried post-mortem in a court of law. While Pakistan may have played a double game with the United States over the past fifteen years in regards to Afghanistan and international relations as a whole, the United States will have no choice but to deal with Pakistan’s interference in Afghan affairs outside of a military option in order to make the military effort effective in the future. Russia

and China have now joined Pakistan in supporting the Taliban    in order to oust the United States from Afghanistan. The only choice the United States has at the moment is to support mafia groups and warlords stemming from Northern Afghanistan who are associated with Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in order to provide a counterbalance against Pakistani, Russian, and Chinese proxies, such as the Taliban and ISIS stemming from Southern Afghanistan. If the United States can sustain its support for Afghan National Security Forces stemming from Northern Afghanistan, there is a chance that the United States can secure its foothold within Afghanistan, but not necessarily Asia as a whole, given the pushback against the Americans by regional powers in Asia, such as Russia, Iran, China, and Pakistan.

But beneath the international  and  regional  dimensions  of  the Afghan conflict is the Afghan dimension itself, which is mainly characterized by the Pashtun issue. The Pashtuns are an ethnic group situated mainly in Southern Afghanistan along the Afghan-Pakistani border, and they comprise of about 40 percent  of Afghanistan’s total population. The remaining 60 percent of Afghanistan’s population is non-Pashtun and are situated mainly in Northern Afghanistan. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union  in 1991, the Afghan dimension of the conflict in Afghanistan has evolved in such a way that there is now a civil war between Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns.While the Pashtuns were fundamental in helping the United States fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the 1980s, the Pashtuns are now the main group in an international constellation of Eastern world powers consisting of Pakistan, Iran, China, and Russia that is fighting to push Western powers, such  as the United States and its European allies, out of Afghanistan. Western powers, such as the United States and the European Union led by Germany, have been supporting non-Pashtuns in Afghanistan in their fight against the Pashtuns, who are backed by rising Eastern world powers, such as Pakistan, China, Russia, and Iran.The Pashtun issue is not only the main issue within the Afghan

conflict, but it could well, in fact, be the main issue of international peace and security in the 21st century. Peter Zeihan may have intentionally saved the discussion of the Pashtuns for the end of his book titled The Accidental Superpower, given the gravity of the issue for the entire international community. The Pashtuns were, in fact, the group that provided safe havens in both Afghanistan and Pakistan for Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda during the lead-up to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and, in fact, they happen to manage and sustain the world’s largest drug economy in the world with the support of Pakistan. Not all Pashtuns, however, are in support of Pakistan, the Taliban, or the drug trade. In fact, about half of all Pashtuns support the fight against Pakistan and terrorist groups. The international drug economy of the Pashtuns and Pakistan requires the cultivation of lawlessness and mafia- based violence to sustain itself. Not only have the Pashtuns and their Pakistani patrons sustained their drug economy over the past fifteen years, but they have also, in fact, expanded the drug economy exponentially. Daniel Greene, an American official who spent a great deal of time in one of Afghanistan’s Pashtun-dominated provinces in Southern Afghanistan, wrote in a book titled The Valley’s Edge that one cannot help but feel an extreme and palpable difference in the peaceful atmosphere of the non-Pashtun North in Afghanistan and the nerve-racking atmosphere of the Pashtun South. America’s foremost Islamic scholar, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, unintentionally touched on the Pashtun issue in passing during a speech by mentioning that as early as 1947, the British writer Arnold Toynbee wrote in a book titled Change or Habit that the biggest problems for the world in the future would emerge out of three countries: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. The lethal combination of terrorism and drugs continue to emanate out of the Pashtun areas of Southern Afghanistan, despite fifteen years of effort by the international community. Major Pashtun leaders in Afghanistan, such as Hamid Karzai and even the progressive Ashraf Ghani, have been mum, and very often have been silent on the issue

of suicide bombings and terror attacks emanating from Pashtun territories in Southern Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan. As for Saudi Arabia, the anti-Western and retrogressive ideology of the Wahhabis shapes the anti-Western political platform of groups, like the Taliban and ISIS in Afghanistan. And in Yemen, decades of political corruption have led to an economic, as well as ecological, disaster that may actually lead to the total disappearance of drinking water in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a.

Afghanistan proves to be a case in which there are positive correlations in the triangle of terrorism, drugs, and corruption and a lack of education. Approximately 90 percent of Afghanistan’s population is uneducated or illiterate, and thus, Afghanistan is the most corrupt nation on Earth based on standards set by Transparency International, an organization that monitors political corruption around the world. Whereas countries like Russia, Iran, India, China, and even North Korea sought to grow powerful through imitating the ways and means of Western nations, and are now seeking mutual respect from the Western world as a result of their ascendance (imitation, after all, is the biggest form of flattery), the Pashtuns, on the other hand, continue to wholly reject every aspect of not only the Western model of development, based on rules and education, but also the Western way of life and value system as a whole. Western notions of freedom and liberty are not only alien to a number of Pashtun political groups in Afghanistan, but they are also reprehensible. Pashtun political groups seek neither to develop through education nor imitate the West. Instead, the most powerful Pashtun political groups seek political preeminence in Afghanistan through the removal of Western powers from Afghanistan, and  are using any means necessary – including the use of drug money and terrorism – to induce the withdrawal of Western powers from Afghanistan.

The war in Afghanistan over the past fifteen years has not only been a proxy war between Eastern and Western nations, but it has also been a war of education and modernity versus culture

and tradition, and thus, a war between progress and backwardness. The only way that the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan would have succeeded is if there were a diversification of the Afghan economy through which opium – if not wholly eliminated – could have been reduced to just a small portion of overall Afghan GDP. Because  of Afghanistan’s agriculturally friendly soil and its being host to a complex system of waterways, Afghanistan could have transformed into both a breadbasket for Asia, as well as the vineyard of Asia. Tobacco could also have developed as an additional crop in Afghanistan. If Cuban cigars and Nicaraguan cigars became prominent in the international market, Afghan cigars may actually captivate the international market. Given that there is now a withdrawal of Western forces in Afghanistan, the transformation and diversification of the Afghan economy might well, in fact, fall into the hands of the Russians and the Chinese in particular, given that the Chinese will put everything they have into making sure that their Silk Road Initiative is a success. The Silk Road Initiative is essentially the launch of Joseph Nye’s power conversion process on the part of the Chinese. And if the Chinese were to be successful with their Silk Road Initiative, the result would be a world in which the Chinese carve out a sphere of influence for themselves based on their own preferences and to the detriment of both the United States, as well as smaller nations. Furthermore, if the Silk Road Initiative of the Chinese were to be a success without involvement from the United States,the international community – as opposed to further integrating and connecting through a globalization process

  • would revert to divisions, and will be divided based on traditional spheres of influence that would subjugate smaller nations to the authoritarian control of both the Russians and the Chinese.

Only a U.S.-designed common strategy, from which a common objective logically follows, will enable today’s international system that is based on a state system to transform into Hedley Bull’s “society of states.” An international system based on states, according to Hedley Bull, is the best organizing mechanism that

the world can find, and thus, the United States as the world’s largest power has to be proactive in the formation of states, as well as state behavior in various countries. After all, states – like the natural world – are political institutions that are created by God, according to Saint Thomas Aquinas. Some have argued that the politics of    a state is an issue of sovereignty, and one very straightforward definition of “sovereignty” can be found from David A. Lake in an essay titled “The New Sovereignty in International Relations” that was published in 2003. In that essay, Lake explains that sovereignty is an “authority relationship,” but it is also a social relationship   in which Entity A gets Entity B to follow its commands and to comply with its commands voluntarily. Sovereignty also consists of three things. For one, it consists of the creation and establishment of a state. Second, sovereignty consists of state control over a particular territory. And third, sovereignty requires that the state have a government that administers the affairs of a state. These three elements of sovereignty seem to reflect the divisions within society as a whole that Henry Kissinger perceptively described in his book titled On China, in which he divides society into three parts: the political class (the state), bureaucracy (the government), and the people. It is important to note that if corruption even slightly touches the political class and bureaucracy in any shape or form, society and the people immediately feel the ill effects of the corruption at the top, and, as a result, the society and the people begin to collapse. Philosophers and thinkers in the past, such as Sir Bertrand Russell and, most recently, Richard Haass, in a book titled A World in Disarray, have called for a form of sovereignty that transcends borders and supersedes narrow national interests.

However, the Pashtuns can be utilized in one particular way. If

U.S. policymakers truly see the world from a structural functionalist perspective, every nation with the inclusion of the Pashtuns has    a particular role to play in world affairs. And from a structural functionalist perspective, the Pashtuns, by natural design, were created to wreak havoc on Pakistan. The one way that the  Afghan

government, in conjunction with the international community, can use the Pashtuns constructively is if the Pashtuns are mobilized, trained, and resourced enough to wreak unspeakable havoc and destruction in Pakistan. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a Pashtun warlord and drug lord who was fundamental in bringing about the collapse of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the 1980s, is now a free agent, and is auctioning himself between the Americans and the Chinese through his entrance into the Afghan Peace Process. Not only will the Pashtun onslaught in Pakistan be justified according to the historic “Just War Theory,” but it will also create major roadblocks in front of Chinese efforts in establishing a naval base in the Baluch coastal town of Gwadar that will surely threaten U.S. energy security in the Persian Gulf region in the coming future if the Chinese base is completely built. The Just War Theory consists of three conditions. For one, a sovereign or a group of sovereigns must declare the war. When taking international affairs into account, and when dealing with an international context, a war will have to be agreed upon by a group of sovereigns and cannot be declared by the United States unilaterally. Second, the war must be fought for a just cause. Given that the Pakistanis provide both logistical and material support for international terrorists, like the Taliban and ISIS, and provided safe haven for Osama bin Laden at a time when the United States sought the capture or elimination of Al-Qaeda leaders, a just war against Pakistan meets this condition. And third, the war must have the right intention in order for it     to be a just war. The intention, ultimately, is to both undermine and convert Chinese-backed, as well as Pakistani-backed, terrorist groups, like the Taliban, that are targeting and killing members of the international community in Afghanistan and around the world. Like the Truman Doctrine, a containment strategy of Pakistan will require a military element that is ultimately aiming for an economic objective. Also, Pakistan – one can argue – is not a sovereign,   nor does it have a place in the international community of states because it is an artificial nation, not a natural nation like Israel or

India. Correcting a situation in the global political ecosystem by bringing an artificial nation like Pakistan under the control of a natural nation or state would help to stabilize relations between different nations and institutions around the world. Ultimately, as Rangin Dadfar Spanta once said, the choice for the United States is ultimately between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And if the United States seeks to ensure that Afghanistan does not become a safe haven for drug lords and international terrorists ever again, the issue of “transitional justice” in Afghanistan will also have to be addressed, and this was an issue that was not addressed by the Bush Administration due to immediate security concerns with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. But if the United States seriously seeks to win the war in Afghanistan and prevent the Silk Road Initiative from being just a Chinese success story, the United States will have no choice but to improve its relationship with Russia. Right now, Russia is a somewhat neutral observer of both Europe and Asia, but is leaning more toward China. If the Russians were pressed to make an immediate choice, they would most likely place their bets on the Chinese, given that their problems with Europe have historically been worse and bloodier than their problems with the Chinese. A bona fide effort and commitment on the part of  the United States to improve relations in Russia would, first and foremost, and most importantly, shift the momentum against the insurgency in Afghanistan that is backed by Pakistan. What the improvement of relations with the Russians will essentially achieve for the United States in Afghanistan is that the momentum and the kinetic movement of the war will transform into a North-to-South movement, as opposed to a South-to-North movement that the Chinese are currently stealing from the old American playbook of the 1980s, when the Americans initiated that the same movement against the Russians. If the United States were to employ a North- to-South movement in Afghanistan with the help of the Russians out of Central Asia, it would lead to the collapse of the Taliban and ISIS insurgency in Afghanistan, and once that insurgency collapses,

the Pakistanis will surrender and wave the white flag. Pakistan will then be enveloped between an Afghanistan that is independent and backed by the West and an India that has already established close ties with Afghanistan and the United States under the Obama Administration. As Richard Burt wrote in an article in the May/ June 2017 edition of The National Interest, the most effective way for the United States to stymy China is by improving its relations with Russia, India, Japan, and even North Korea. An improved relationship with Turkey would also  help  the  United States in the effort to stop the Chinese from undermining the success of the international community in Afghanistan, given that Turkish, Indian, and Japanese leaders are all ambivalent about the rise of China, and they all have a keen interest in assisting America in its efforts in Afghanistan. The Turks have gone as far as sewing the uniforms of Afghan soldiers in recent years in a show of not only solidarity and goodwill toward the Afghan people, but also a show of love and respect that has its roots in history. By acquiring the support and help of the Russians, Turks, Indians, and the Japanese, the United States can, in fact, win the war in Afghanistan against Pakistan and China. The Chinese are inextricably linked to North Korea, and it appears that President Trump believes in persuading the Chinese to put pressure on North Korea. But the only way in which any pressure on North Korea can be effective is if the United States is the one putting pressure on China, and the best way that the United States can put pressure on China is by addressing the issue of the Silk Road Initiative and the String of Pearls issue that connects to Pakistan. However, India is not an angel, and at the moment, the Indians are hedging between the United States and China by both maintaining a relationship with the U.S. and also with the Chinese through membership in the BRICS organization. The only way that the United States can put an end to the Chinese-led Silk Road Initiative and render the String of Pearls obsolete is by addressing the political situation in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, given that both countries are currently inextricably

linked to one another. Instead of starting in China, the Silk Road Initiative can start from the United States and move eastward on the terms and conditions set by the United States. And by putting an end to the Chinese-led Silk Road Initiative, the United States will essentially put an end to Chinese efforts in establishing a sphere of influence that seems to have no bounds. And by limiting Chinese expansion through an effective but moderate containment strategy, the United States will gradually foster a situation in which the nefarious regime in North Korea will implode.

Afghanistan and its people, despite being written off by the United States, Russia, China, and a number of European countries over the years, demonstrates that all people and all things are interconnected and interdependent. Because of China’s ascendance and the possibility that a rising China will divide the world into Eastern and Western spheres, which in turn will provide a platform for the Chinese to tilt the international balance of power against the West, the first and final line of defense against a rising and possibly exploitative China will be none other than an Afghanistan that is sincerely backed by an international community that is led by the United States and is inclusive of Russia. The war in Afghanistan, even if it may not have occurred to American policymakers as     of yet, is a war between a Western civilization, led by the United States, that once stood for multiculturalism and religious tolerance, on one hand, and on the other hand, an ancient Eastern civilization, led by China, that may or may not evolve into what it claims to be. Regardless of how China and the Eastern world evolve, the war in Afghanistan is a war that the Western world has to win in order to sustain not only its power, but also the credibility and legitimacy of its entire civilization. Nevertheless, any effective containment strategy designed by the United States against China will require improved relations with Russia, as well as its gradual integration into the European Union, so that Russian cooperation can enable  a north to south movement in Afghanistan that defeats the anti- Western insurgency of the Taliban and ISIS and thus cuts the

Chinese and Pakistani hand out of Afghanistan.

Only after the United States solves the Afghan enigma and wins what many believe to be an unwinnable war in the East and Afghanistan will it be able to overcome the regional challenges posed by a continuously belligerent Iran within the Middle East. Iran is currently a transit route for international terrorists and the drug mafia in Afghanistan and Pakistan into Turkey and Europe. The Iranians have recently come off the heels of a deal with the United States ensuring that the United States will gradually remove sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran relinquishing their pursuit of nuclear weapons. The deal came in July of 2015, and since then, Iran has made rapid improvements in their geopolitical stature, not only from a regional perspective within the Middle East, but also from an international perspective within Europe. The Wall Street Journal in 2015 projected that by the year 2020, Iran will be the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe. Britain and the European Union have already sent trade delegations to Tehran in order to get economic ties with Iran established. These economic developments throughout Eurasia show that there is no benefit to the United States being isolated. In fact, the only way that the United States can influence the developments in the Eurasian landmass is by being involved.

While Iranians – along with their European counterparts – have enjoyed immediate benefits from the deal with the United States,the United States does not seem to be enjoying any immediate benefits from the Iran deal as of yet. In fact, Iran’s supreme leader – Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – has continued with harsh anti-American rhetoric on social media and elsewhere. Even the moderate president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, went main stage during the United Nations General Assembly soon after the deal was signed and accused the United States and Israel of orchestrating every war and conflict in recent history. Rouhani also said Iran will move into the future without forgetting the troubled past it had with the United States. Furthermore, Iran has joined with Russia, Iraq, and the Syrian

government through an intelligence pact that is aimed at fighting rebel groups in Syria who are backed by the United States and their allies in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. So far, Iran has allowed for Russian missiles to fly over Iranian airspace and attack Sunni groups in Syria that are opposed to Bashar Al-Assad’s government. Recently, Iran has also allowed Russia to use military bases on Iranian soil to launch attacks into Syria. By no means has the deal between the United States and Iran brought about political cooperation between the two countries on regional issues pertaining to the Middle East.

The deal between the United States and Iran has been extremely disappointing to two of the former’s closest allies in the Middle East

– Israel and Saudi Arabia. Both Israel and Saudi Arabia believe that the deal with Iran endangers their survival, and neither ally sees any sort of pragmatism behind the deal. In fact, both Israel and Saudi Arabia see the deal as a Munich-style appeasement of Iran that simply should not happen for morality’s sake. Iran is viewed by both Israel and Saudi Arabia as an ideological enemy of the West that seeks to topple Western systems. Iran is also seen by Saudi Arabia and Israel as seeking hegemony in the Middle East to the detriment of all other countries. As mentioned before, the Muslim world is divided between two groups – Sunni and Shi’a – with the former comprising of 80 percent of the Muslim population and the latter comprising of 20 percent. Iran is almost 100 percent Shi’a, whereas Saudi Arabia has historically represented the majority Sunni group in the Muslim world. It is now believed that sectarianism is the main factor fueling the conflicts throughout the Middle East today, and that Iran and Saudi Arabia are on opposite sides of every single Middle Eastern conflict. But the international dimension of the conflicts show that it is, in fact, hostilities between the United States and Russia that serve as the most logical explanation for the fights and conflicts in the Middle East. It almost seems as though reconciling differences between Iran and the West is now easier than reconciling differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia within

the Middle East, or even between the United States and Russia. After all, the re-election of Iranian moderate Hassan Rouhani in May 2017 is a signal from Iran that the Iranian people, as well as the Iranian government, are open to the idea of friendly relations with the United States and Europe, especially since the Trump Administration renewed the Iran nuclear deal just days before Iran’s 2017 presidential elections. But the United States still has reasons for not trusting Iran, which is why the deal with Iran was an interim deal and not permanent. Iran continues to focus on ballistic missile development, which led to more U.S. sanctions  on Iran shortly after Donald Trump renewed the nuclear deal in 2017. Furthermore, Iran has only allowed IAEA inspectors (who are European) to inspect nuclear sites inside Iran. This prohibits the U.S. from fully verifying Iran’s compliance with the spirit of the deal. Iran has essentially compromised the neutrality of IAEA inspectors by promising Europeans oil and natural gas deals, and thus, the United States cannot fully trust Iran, nor the European inspectors that are acting on behalf of the IAEA. In consideration of these factors as well as a number of other factors ranging from Israeli and Saudi pressure to the espousal of Assad’s atrocities on the part of Iran in Syria, Donald Trump refused to certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 deal on October 13, 2017. By refusing to certify the 2015 deal with Iran, Donald Trump has essentially put the deal on a path toward severance.

Nevertheless, the United States appeared to have mitigated its involvement in the Middle East by striking a deal with the historic enemy (Iran) and withdrawing some of its opposition to an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States. This withdrawal of opposition to Iran is perceived as a loss of support for Israel and Saudi Arabia, thus perpetuating the historic zero- sum game that has dictated international relations. Saudi Arabia continues fighting Iranian-backed elements in Yemen, and the Iranians respond by attacking Saudi-backed Sunni elements in Syria. Neither the Saudis nor the Iranians wish to lose ground

anywhere in the Middle East, and as a result, there are a range     of proxy wars between Iran and Saudi Arabia taking place all throughout the Middle East and the Muslim world. The proxy wars that were once a prominent feature of the 20th century Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union internationally  are now taking place within regional contexts in places like the Middle East and Asia. The difference, however, between the Cold War  of the 20th century and the proxy wars of the 21st century   in the Middle East and Asia is that the former was ideological, whereas the latter is sectarian. One could argue, however, that secular wars throughout history have been bloodier than religious wars, especially when one takes into account the death tolls in secular and nationalist wars, such as World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. Since the demise of Papal authority in Europe as a whole, and the demise of a unified Muslim political and religious authority in the Muslim world, wars and conflicts in Eurasia and around the world have not only increased, but have also intensified due to the rise of humanism and secularism as manifested through race-based and ethnic-based politics. ISIS for example, despite claiming to be a religious authority, is the creation of Iraqi secular and Ba’athist remnants, and thus, ISIS is a racist and secular entity by its very nature. The racist and secular background of ISIS is the reason why some traditional Islamic scholars consider ISIS to be “newcomers” to Islam, according to Pankaj Mishra. While no one can deny the abuses of religious authorities, such as the Catholic Church or Muslim clerics, against people in the past and present day, history shows that secularism and humanism have led to more bloodshed than religious strife. It is true that the Catholic Church lost power in Europe only after committing abuses of power, such as the issuing of certificates to enter Heaven for a fee, as well as acting both as the gatekeepers of salvation and the intermediary between God and Man through maintaining a monopoly on information that eventually broke as a result of what is known as the European printing press. Nevertheless, secular wars ended up being much

bloodier than the religious wars of the past. In the era of religion, according to Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, opposing armies would call off battles in the event of a rainstorm because they considered the rain to be a sign from the heavens that God did not want to see them fighting.

But with outside interests involved in Middle Eastern and Asian regional conflicts, the proxy wars between Iran and Saudi Arabia can lead to a third world war with foreign entanglements being the cause. In 2015, NATO’s Secretary General announced that any assault on Turkey by Russia would lead to a response by NATO. This statement by NATO’s Secretary General is evidence that Western interests are heavily entangled with the Middle East, and it is the Middle East that could trigger a conflict between Russia and the West because the traditional “great game” between the world’s major powers has often played out in the Middle East and Muslim world in recent history. Places like Afghanistan and the Arab world have often been the battlefield for what historians call the “great game” of the world’s major powers. Russia, in 2015, began direct assaults on U.S.-backed elements in Syria, which could, in fact, intensify hostilities between the U.S. and Russia gradually, and also intensify the competition among the world’s major powers inside of the resource-rich Middle East and Muslim World.

Another byproduct of the chaos in the Middle East has been the rise of ISIS, which has attacked all sides of the conflict, including the regional and international actors. The masterminds behind ISIS are said to be remnants of Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated Ba’athist and secular regime that are now seeking a war against the Shi’a, as well as other ethnic and religious groups in Syria and Iraq. The sectarian nature of the ISIS agenda in Iraq and Syria means that the main focus of ISIS right now is within a regional context. ISIS has claimed territory in both Western Iraq and Eastern Syria, and its near-term priorities at the moment are the toppling of the Shi’a-led government of Iraq, as well as the toppling of the secular and Alawi-dominated government of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria.

And while there is an international dimension to the conflicts throughout the Middle East that includes Russia and the United States as prominent fixtures of the Middle East, ISIS does not commit to one side or the other within the international context, and, in fact, seeks to create confusion and frustration for the international and non-regional actors within the Middle East and the Muslim world. While the focus of the United States has been toppling Bashar Al-Assad’s government in Damascus and ushering in a democratic transition in Syria, the main focus of Russia has been the destruction of fairly moderate Sunni elements opposed to Bashar Al-Assad. Because these have been the main priorities for the United States and Russia over the past few years, ISIS – which is probably the most criminal organization the world has ever seen – managed to escape and evade the wrath of major powers for a great part of President Obama’s tenure. Russian and Iranian support for Bashar Al-Assad has only fueled the fires stoking the Sunni Syrian opposition, which, in fact, helps the ISIS cause. And because of the confusion and disarray within the regional and international politics surrounding the Middle East, ISIS has been able  to  act  freely and independently without being bound to either side within the regional and international dimensions of Middle Eastern conflicts. The question remains as to how to end the broader Middle Eastern conflict between an Iran that is backed by Russia, and a Saudi Arabia that is backed by the United States, while destroying an international terrorist group (ISIS) that is capitalizing off of these regional and international conflicts within the Middle East.

Unfortunately, the mitigation of the international conflict between Russia and the United States has not taken place, and instead, it has intensified as of late. While diplomacy is a necessary tool to be used in order to mitigate the conflicts of the Middle East, military involvement by the United States that is supplemented by a diplomatic track will be the only tool to effectively facilitate the end of Middle Eastern conflicts. The use of military force by the Russians in Syria since 2015 has only created doubts about U.S.

capabilities and commitments internationally. Even if the United States were to perceive of a political structure within the Middle East that would enable the coexistence of U.S. and Russian interests, concessions to Russia in the Middle East would have long-term effects such that there will be a global erosion of U.S. power that will stem from nowhere other than the Middle East. Thus, any Middle East strategy by the United States will have to include the full spectrum of U.S. power, which includes the military element, the diplomatic element, as well as the economic element.

Nancy Soderberg, an American foreign policy strategist, told the BBC in an interview on April 9, 2017 that any broad U.S. national security strategy pertaining to the Middle East will have to begin with the elimination of ISIS. However, it would also help to ponder on what the nature of such a strategy will be in the Trump era, and to briefly review the various strategies that U.S. policymakers in the past have used to combat the various terrorist groups stemming from the Middle East and the broader Muslim world. Toward  the end  of the Bush Administration and into the Obama Administration, the U.S. saw the strategy against Al-Qaeda and its affiliates and derivatives as being merely a counterinsurgency effort, and thus, the strategy had been confined solely to a military perspective. Well into the Obama Administration, the strategy narrowed even further to one that constituted “counterterrorism” as its main objective. Both strategies – given that they were solely of a military nature and had very little economic or social benefits for Muslim nations that sought to ally with the United States – were thus too narrow in dealing with a very broad and complex problem, the symptom of which is a form of anti-Western radicalism spawned by the enemies of the United States who seek to undermine not only U.S. power, but also the U.S. management of world order, which has long been a necessity for international peace and security.

The most effective strategy against anti-Western radicalism and anti-Western groups, such as ISIS, the Taliban, the Iranian government, and their Pakistani patrons, would require the U.S.-

led effort to be one of counterrevolution. Anti-Western radicalism is now the revolutionary philosophy that is gripping the world after Marxism. As David Galula rightly argues, defeating an insurgency requires a “poisoning the sea” strategy that would cut the umbilical cord of radical insurgencies. Any strategy against anti-western radicalism around the world will require more than just a military effort against the proxies of anti-Western powers. The  strategy will have to address the drug trade stemming out of Afghanistan and Pakistan if one expects it to be effective. The Taliban and ISIS are merely proxies of bigger anti-Western powers, such as Iran, Pakistan, Russia, and even China. There is reason to believe that elements of the Taliban have merely swapped their white and black flag for the black and white flag of ISIS, thus the belief that these different terrorist groups (with the Iranian government acting as the nexus for all these groups historically) are all the same and work within the same network of international actors. But the fact that  a strategy against anti-Western radicalism will require more than just a military effort makes the defeat of anti-Western radicalism and anti-Americanism a long-term effort, as opposed to a short- term effort, based on sub-strategies such as counterinsurgency and counterterrorism.

First and foremost, it is important to identify the source of ISIS’s support. What keeps ISIS and terrorist groups like the Taliban alive, despite the grueling and years long counterterrorism efforts by the U.S.-led international community? After browsing recent history, it is now clear that many oil-rich countries in the Muslim world, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, who were alienated by the anti-Islamic rhetoric and behavior of the Western world over recent decades, were one source of material support for groups like ISIS and the Taliban. The Pakistani government still provides operational support for ISIS, as well as other terrorist groups, through massive drug revenues, and, in recent days, has revived the idea of forming an “Islamic military alliance” stemming from the days when General Zia ul-Haq was the

President of Pakistan. Without addressing the sources of support for ISIS and the Taliban, the elimination of ISIS, as well as other terrorist groups, in the long run will be very difficult. Furthermore, efforts by the U.S.-led international community against ISIS and the Taliban have barely helped in strengthening Muslim states that stand in the front lines against these terrorist groups. The United States simply does not provide enough material and moral support for mainstream Muslims, like Turkey to combat the terrorist threat that has proven to be more destructive for Muslims than for the Western world. This deficiency of support for Muslims, on the part of Western countries, is itself a constraint in the overall effort to eliminate ISIS and the Taliban. It may be the case that the United States does not wish for moderate Muslim states to become too powerful in a world where there are non-Muslims, or that moderate Muslim states are simply too corrupt to sustain a fight against ISIS and the Taliban. One can make the case for either argument. But both arguments actually help anti-Western terrorists in their efforts to persuade people in both predominantly Muslim countries, as well as inside the Western world, that the United States is against Islam and Muslims, and this, in turn, is the impetus behind anti- Western sentiment throughout the entire world. The willpower of the United States to forge better relations with people, as well as governments, in predominantly Muslim countries is something the United States must attempt as part of a comprehensive strategy to defeat terrorist groups, such as ISIS and the Taliban.

E.H. Carr, in a masterpiece of history and political science literature titled Conditions of Peace, perceives the timeless political struggle of the world as being that which pits satisfied powers (the status quo) against dissatisfied powers (the revolutionaries). What gives anti-Western radicalism its clout is that this dissatisfaction toward the status quo pervades many societies, as well as many classes of people, throughout the entire world. One can reasonably argue that most anti-Western radicalism and sentiment that exists in the world is situated outside of the Muslim world, in places like

Russia and East Asia. Anti-Western radicalism has the potential to serve as the premier political ideology for world revolution in the 21st century, the way Marxism served as the world’s revolutionary ideology in the 20th century, given the history of colonialism that is now deeply embedded within the basic political identity of Western nations. It is almost impossible for developing nations throughout the world to differentiate between Western policies and colonialism when recalling both their individual and collective political histories. The issue, then, becomes one  of  containing and ameliorating dissatisfaction with the West throughout the developing world, as opposed to solely dealing with the terrorism issue, which, in reality, is a symptom of the cause (with the cause, of course, being general dissatisfaction with Western policies toward developing nations). The dissatisfaction that developing nations have with the United States can be corrected simply through U.S.- led diplomacy. Right now, ISIS and its affiliates have turned their focus away from confronting the United States directly, and are now preoccupied with confronting adversaries within the Muslim world. Anti-Western radicalism is, for the most part, contained within a sectarian struggle in the Muslim world between Sunnis and the Shi’a, given that the Shi’a, along with the mostly-secular Kurds, have, oddly enough, been the beneficiaries of U.S. policies in the Middle East over the past fifteen years. However, that bloody struggle within the Muslim world has had spillover effects, and will continue to have spillover effects in the future. People around the world may begin to discover the philosophical underpinnings of anti-Western radicalism, and, as a result, the dissatisfaction within the Muslim world that is apolitical and general at the core may spread and awaken the dissatisfaction with Western nations that exists within the Western world itself. Also, people oftentimes seek alternatives to the status quo when the status quo powers have neglected them. Therefore, it is not insignificant that Islam  is the fastest growing religion, as well as the largest religion in the world at this time. Islam has surpassed Catholicism in terms of

population of adherents. However, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that Islam is incompatible with the West. In fact, the West and Islam have a common enemy in the form of anti-Western radicals that are often supported by anti-status quo powers, such as Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and even China. The struggle for status quo powers like the United States then becomes one of containing and ameliorating general dissatisfaction toward the status quo in order to prevent Russian-led right-wing extremism from taking hold of Europe and to prevent China and Pakistan from taking over Asia and the Middle East.

Different status quo powers throughout history have dealt with dissatisfaction differently. But more often than not, dissatisfaction on the part of revolutionary powers that seek to topple the status quo has lead to war and conflict. For example, Germany’s dissatisfaction with the distribution of power within Europe led to two major world wars. The French carried out a brutal counterinsurgency campaign against Algeria in the 1950s and 1960s, and as a result, handed over the responsibility of dealing with insurgents in Vietnam to the Americans. It is an unavoidable reality that status quo powers will have to deal with popular dissatisfaction, as well as revolutionary powers, at one time or another through the course of their existence. But that does not mean that revolutionary powers are just or correct. Simple structural adjustments by the status quo can easily delegitimize revolutionary powers. Each status quo power will then adopt different strategies against popular dissatisfaction. It then becomes an issue of which strategy against dissatisfaction and revolution will  produce  one’s  desired  outcomes  and  will be the most effective. Terrorism and insurgency,  by  definition, are the use of violence against publics in order to influence the political establishments of those publics. Counterinsurgency and counterterrorism are military efforts against dissatisfaction and revolution,both of which are of different magnitudes.But what is the political and diplomatic aspect of the struggle against dissatisfaction and revolution? To have power, according to E.H. Carr, means

three things: having economic power, having military power, and having power over opinion. It is the third element of power that   is missing, on the part of Western powers, in the struggle against dissatisfaction and revolution in the Muslim world, as well as other parts of the world. But according to Cicero, the most important aspect of argumentation is persuasion, and persuasion consists of four parts: memory, arrangement, style, and delivery. Educating not only the American public, but also American leadership, of the history and consequences of inaction in dealing effectively with popular dissatisfaction sparked by nefarious regimes, like Pakistan and North Korea, against the status quo is thus the first step in fostering unity and stability within the United States. Only internal unity, stability, and an objective understanding of the basic political identity of the United States on the part of the American people can enable U.S. leaders to defeat challenges to U.S. power stemming from abroad.

According to Bob Woodward in his book titled Bush at War, George W. Bush’s biggest fear was that the United States would look impotent and hedonistic in the face of anti-Western radical groups. The mistake of the Bush Administration was that their response to anti-Western radicalism was visceral and lacked intensive thought,as shown by the strategy the Bush Administration employed in Afghanistan. The efforts by the Bush Administration in Afghanistan were, at best, hasty, and touched only on the surface of the issue. To have power over opinion in the Muslim world, the United States will have to make some crucial political decisions  in the future, not necessarily military decisions. Powerful military responses and cutting-edge technology will not undermine the assumptions of people around the world that the United States     is impotent and hedonistic. Rather, it is the decisions and the personalities that are in charge of policymaking that will improve the image of the United States internationally. But the problem is that, even if the United States makes all the decisions necessary to overcome what many perceive to be its bias in favor of Israel, the

United States will still be stuck between a rock and a hard place. Aside from Israel, a number of traditional U.S. allies, such as Japan and the European Union, are accused of the xenophobia and racism that has caused a backlash among Middle Eastern Muslims, as well as other people of color. Some of America’s newest allies, like India and Myanmar, are guilty of egregious crimes against Muslims, as well as other religious groups. Even if the United States overcomes its own version of Islamophobia, the U.S. version of Islamophobia is, and always will be, far milder than the  Islamophobia  that exists among America’s allies in places like Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Latin America. To overcome the xenophobia and racism toward Muslims will require a better understanding of Islam and what it actually means. While the United States should continue doing everything that it is doing in terms of developing an effective strategy and policy against dissatisfaction and revolution in the Muslim world, it must also divert its use of violence in  such a way that will maintain the truthful notion that the United States of America is less anti-Islamic than all other parts of the world. Every objective material indicator proves that the United States is the most powerful country in the world, mainly because the United States has always coupled its power with reliance on basic, but universal, principles. It was Bismarck who said God loves three things: fools, drunkards, and the United States of America (Bismarck’s quote has been recalled by Robert Kagan in a book titled The World America Made). But the U.S. government must also convey this inviolable truth abroad through the strategy it employs, first and foremost by empowering Muslims abroad in the fight against anti-Western groups, employing violence and military force wisely, and ignoring the notion that empowering Muslims will somehow disturb the balance of power between Muslims and Israel. Frankly, there is every reason to believe that Israel will make peace with Muslims before Israel ever makes peace with Europe, especially at a time when anti-Semitic sentiment is growing in the Western world. Furthermore, the United States must also take into

account its own domestic situation before sizing itself up against the major powers and threats its faces externally. One can argue that much of the discord and disarray that exists politically in the broader world has its roots in the recent discord and disarray within the U.S. political system and American society. The failure of many social and political policies, for one, has had a detrimental effect on the economic prosperity of many, if not all Americans, which in turn has led to the polarization, as well as the radicalization, of many social and political groups within the United States. A major reassessment of social and political policies from a domestic standpoint will be the initial step to ensure that the United States remains the beacon of hope for humanity. De-legitimizing ISIS, as well as other anti-Western groups, must first happen from within the United States in order for the fight against terrorism to have any sort of efficacy in other parts of the world. Once the United States refutes every argument ISIS puts forth through the implementation of new and dynamic policy prescriptions domestically, the defeat of anti-Western groups, such as ISIS and the Taliban, as well as the major world powers that support them, such as Iran, Russia, China, and Pakistan, will become an objective that is more attainable than before. The United States under the Trump Administration will find out, after a sincere attempt to improve relations with Muslims, that the real mastermind behind continued anti-Western politics and proxy wars around the world is a Pakistan that is sustained by the British Commonwealth, and an Iran with a revolutionary ideology that is anti-Western. The main source of hatred towards the Western world does not originate from Islam or from Muslims. Furthermore, any U.S. attempt at currying favor with Muslims will have to involve friendlier relations between the United States and Turkey. Strained relations between the United States and Turkey will be a geopolitical victory for  Russia  and China, as well as a critical loss for the United States. Turkey, as of late, has increasingly become anti-European. Much of the hostility between Europe and Turkey stems from the fact that Turkey was recently

able to pay off its debts to the IMF, which is a rare feat for countries who accept loans from the IMF. But Turkey, like its neighbor Iran, is the heart of the transit route for Afghan and Pakistani drugs that end up in Europe. This may be one explanation as to how Turkey was able to pay off its debts to the IMF. Nevertheless, Turkey  is   a vital ally of the United States, given that Turkey is the second- largest contributor of forces to NATO.

Many of the problems that have surfaced within the U.S.- Turkish relationship are the result of increased support for Kurds by the United States over the past fifteen years. The United States argues that it is supporting the Kurds in the Middle East in an effort to fight terrorist groups like ISIS. But the Kurds also seek to snatch territory from Turkey in order to form a Kurdish state in the heart of the Middle East, and this appears to be unacceptable to the Turkish government. Because of the instability in the Middle East over the past fifteen years, the Kurds have already been able to snatch territory from both Iraq and Syria in a way that is similar to the land-grabbing done by the Sunni Arabs of ISIS. Since 2015, the Turkish government has stepped up military efforts against Kurdish positions in Eastern Turkey, as well as in Syria, in an effort to rollback Kurdish attempts at carving out a nation-state in the heart of the Middle East at the expense of Turkey. Any U.S. policy toward Turkey will have to be one that supports either the Turkish government or the Kurds. The United States will soon realize that it cannot support both parties at the same time. M. Sukru Hanioglu, a Turkey expert from Princeton University, wrote an evaluation of the U.S.-Turkey relationship over the years in the May/June 2017 edition of The National Interest, and essentially concluded that, although Turkey wants to have good relations with the United States, Turkish politicians have felt desperate due to the rift that has emerged within the U.S.-Turkey relationship, and thus, are seeking better relations with Russia and China out of desperation, not voluntarily. Hanioglu added that “investment and concessions” from both sides would close the rift between the two NATO allies.

The biggest concession that the United States can make to Turkey would, in fact, be the abandonment of Kurdish fighters who Turkey sees as a threat to its sovereignty and security. Abandoning an irredentist movement that threatens the sovereignty and security of a NATO ally would logically be the starting point from which the United States can improve its relations with Turkey. It is again important to note that Turkey  is  the  second-largest  contributor of forces to NATO, and thus, the United States needs Turkey for whatever mission it seeks to conduct abroad.

The Turkish nation, whose inhabited lands cover an area that stretches between Eastern Europe and Western China, originally hail from Central Asia and north of what is now modern-day Afghanistan.And although today there are approximately 80 million Turks who inhabit Anatolia after a major migration from Central Asia many centuries ago and are separated from Afghanistan by modern-day Iran, there is an expression that states: “No Turk has ever shed the blood of an Afghan, and no Afghan that has trained under a Turk has ever betrayed his country.” The Turks, like the people of Israel, until now, have been somewhat in denial about their natural belonging to the Eastern world. Turkey’s relationship with Afghanistan is just one example of Turkey’s commitment to the development of its co-religionists and ethnic brethren, and it is also an example of Turkey’s affinity toward the Eastern world.

But despite its links with the Eastern world, Turkey’s political identity is mainly European, as a result of being one of the world’s largest imperial powers during the age of European colonialism that took flight in the 15th century and gradually declined in the 20th century. Turkey, after all, is a member of NATO, and has long attempted to gain membership in the European Union.

From Anatolia emerged the famous Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.The Ottoman Empire stretched to the gates of Vienna in Western Europe, dipped deep into the south and well into the Middle East, and also went into the Caucasus toward Russia. There is also a large Turkish population in Iran to the East, as well as in

Central Asia, and coincidentally, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is also Turkish. By the 20th century, the Ottoman Empire crumbled due to Western technological superiority, as well as a lack of vision on the part of Ottoman leaders. European leaders, primarily the British, met with Turkish leaders in Lausanne soon after World War I. The British gave an ultimatum to the Turks: Give up your imperial possessions in the Middle East, and you can have Anatolia. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern-day Turkey, acquiesced to the ultimatum in order to preserve what was left of Turkish territory and sovereignty. After breaking apart the Ottoman Empire, the British made a long-lasting commitment to preventing unified leadership in the Muslim world.

From the 1920s all the way to the rise of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AKP Party at the turn of 21st century, NATO policy in  Turkey  focused  on  the  development  of  Turkey’s  military  at the expense of civilian development and rule. Thus, the legacy of NATO in Turkey has been the development of a military apparatus that has continuously attempted to quash civilian rule. Within the context of the Cold War, there were several military coups in Turkey subsequent to the rise of assertive civilian governments.The Turkish military coup in July 2016 was no different than the military coups of the past, except that this time the civilian government prevailed. If Erdogan’s post-coup crackdown was for the sake of preserving an electoral system that stands as an antithesis to military rule, then the crackdown can be justified. Whereas the period between Ataturk and Erdogan was characterized by the development of the military espoused by NATO, the period between the rise of Erdogan and now has been characterized by the development of civilian rule over the military. While there are many who claim that Erdogan  is a radical Muslim, his harsh persona is merely a backlash against NATO policy toward the internal affairs of Turkey throughout recent history, which called for the development of the military at the expense of civilian rule. Erdogan and his party are a reaction against decades of secular military rule in Turkey that was backed

by Western powers. With time, there is a chance  that  Erdogan and the AKP Party will soften their stance toward dissent and opposition, especially if Western powers foster a better relationship with his government. The constitutional referendum of April 16, 2017 in Turkey successfully transferred more power into the hands of  the  president  and  executive  branch  and  has  shaped  Turkey’s political system more in the image of the United States where a balance of power exists between the executive and the legislative branches. While many have decried the strengthening of Turkey’s executive branch through this constitutional referendum, it has simply corrected a historical imbalance between the executive and legislative branches that has long favored the latter. The change in Turkey’s constitution also provides more stability in policymaking for years to come. Another advantage of this referendum that supporters of this constitutional change have highlighted is that Turkish voters now have more of a say in choosing the executive, whereas, in the past, it was parliament, the military, and the political parties that determined the nature and the personalities of the executive.

Turkey arguably derives its importance from being the most central geopolitical location in the world, with Russia to its north, the Middle East to its south, Asia to its east, and Europe to its west. Turkey is, in essence, the center of the world geopolitical chessboard, and, in chess, whoever holds the center will end up dominating  the entire board. After the attempted coup against his government, Erdogan came to the conclusion that the United States and Europe were too slow in condemning the coup, and thus, came to another conclusion that the United States and Europe were behind the coup. As a result, Erdogan mended fences with Putin and now Erdogan, and Turkey’s civilian government have rendered Turkey up for grabs.

U.S. and NATO dominance over Turkey via the Turkish military is gradually eroding. Many of Erdogan’s advisers and figures in his inner circle have urged him to break Turkey’s ties with NATO and to forge full-fledged alliances with China and Russia.

Turkey is beginning to shift away from the United States and Europe for a number of reasons. For one, Europe has given Turkey false hope for decades now. Europe finds one excuse after another to prevent the integration of Turkey into the European Union. Turkey is now beginning to come to terms with the fact that Europe cannot tolerate a cosmopolitan Muslim nation being part of Europe. As a result, Turkey will now look to Russia and the East the way Britain did after Brexit. Turkish apprehensions regarding the United States in recent times also pertain to Fethullah Gulen, as well as the aforementioned U.S. support of Kurdish irredentists. Erdogan and his people associate Gulen with the partition of Turkey. Once civilian rule began to develop in Turkey at the turn of the millennium, Gulen situated himself in the United States  and began propaganda efforts obviously with the knowledge of the United States. If Obama partitioned Sudan, it was not hard for Turks to believe that Obama would partition Turkey. And what bothers Erdogan and Turkish nationalists is that Gulen – the one who would most likely sign onto a partition of Turkey – is under the protective care of the United  States, living  comfortably  in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Nothing makes Gulen’s religious views special. There is no legitimate reason to believe Gulen is more liberal than Erdogan. Both were actually friends    at one point. The differences between Erdogan and Gulen are political, not religious. Erdogan actually does espouse a nationalist view, and despite his strong religious identity, he carefully separates his nationalism from his religion. By some estimates, the majority of the Turkish diaspora in Europe and around the world supports Erdogan.

Because of U.S. ambivalence over Gulen, Erdogan has now opened Turkey’s strategic options to the North toward Russia and to the East toward China in order to prevent Turkey’s partition and to sustain his government’s power. After the severe fragmentation of Turkish territory during the demise of the Ottoman Empire, many people in Erdogan’s government fear that yet another round of

fragmentation can happen through Gulen and his people, or some other European-backed proxy. These fears are legitimate, given Turkey’s political history. Turkey’s preoccupation with Europe over the last few years rendered its geopolitical position vulnerable and dilapidated. And, although it is common knowledge that Turkey still remains as a transit route for drugs into Europe, the same would have applied if a European Union proxy were in charge of Turkey. Therefore, the most pragmatic position that one can take between the religious Erdogan and the secular Turks backed by the European Union is one of neutrality. Moreover, no Turkish government can fight the drug trade without full support from the United States.

At this point, Erdogan’s focus will be to make Turkey’s foreign policy holistic, geopolitically. Erdogan will forge deals with any foreign entity willing to give a green light to his efforts in preventing Kurdish separatism within Turkey, and as a result, there is nothing inherently anti-American about Erdogan or his  party.  Erdogan has conveyed his willingness to shift, at a bare minimum, to the center of the world political spectrum through his visit to Russia, and at the bare minimum, Erdogan’s relationship with Russia staves off the possibility of conflict between Russia and Turkey for the time  being.  Turkish  foreign  policy,  given  Turkey’s  geographical position, requires a 360-degree view of the world. And given the frenzy surrounding Turkey as a result of Europe and the Middle East, there is a solid chance that Turkey will use its geographical and geopolitical position to counterbalance the West with the East through closer relations with Russia and China. Joe Biden rushed to Turkey after the July 2016 coup attempt to allay Turkish fears that Gulen will be used by the United States to partition Turkey and create a Kurdish state, the way the British partitioned the Indian subcontinent after World War II and created Pakistan as a satellite state. But Turkey is now more suspicious of Western motives than ever before, and while keeping one foot in the West, Turkey will now essentially place the other foot in the East.

Nevertheless, Turkish help will be necessary in order to resolve what is considered the “Gordian knot” of U.S. policy in the Middle East, which is the issue of Syria and Iraq because Turkey is still a NATO power that borders both of these countries. As Afghanistan and Pakistan are held in conjunction with one another in U.S. foreign policy discourse, Syria and Iraq should also be viewed in conjunction with one another because the problem the United States faces is one that straddles both sides of the Syrian and   Iraqi border. The problem is not Islamic extremism, but rather, it  is one based on anti-Shi’ism and anti-Americanism funded and supported by anti-Western entities of a criminal nature. Thus, if the United States can solve the problems of Syria and Iraq, the United States can finally root out one of the most virulent anti-Western and anti-Islamic groups in the world, which is ISIS. An American victory in both Syria and Iraq will not only result in a more stable Middle East, but it also presents the possibility of reducing Russian and Iranian influence throughout the Middle East. Even if Russian interests cannot be entirely withdrawn from the Middle East, Russian influence will have to be reduced and balanced through the whole fulcrum of U.S. power (military, economic, and diplomatic). But the steps to reduce Russian influence in the Middle East will have to be taken into account within a broader strategy that may, in fact, have to be a U.S. grand strategy.

The first step will require a common understanding among  the different nations of the region regarding the threats, as well   as the detriments to, the Middle East security that stem from an increased involvement of Russia and China in Middle Eastern affairs. Greater Russian and Chinese involvement in the Middle East will not help with democratic and egalitarian transformations in the Middle East region. In fact, greater Russian and Chinese involvement in the Middle East will lead to Middle Eastern governments reflecting the Russian and Chinese authoritarian models of governance. For the longest time now, China has claimed to abstain from involvement in the affairs of Syria and Iraq based

on a principle of international affairs known as “non-interference.” Yet, the passive stance that China has taken in regards to the crimes committed by the Assad regime against the Syrian people is itself a form of interference that is both immoral and destructive. China will simply wait for events to play out and allow for the further deterioration of the political and security situation in the Middle East. This Chinese stance is, in a sense, a conservation of its energy that is to be used when future opportunities arise as a result of a further deterioration of the U.S. position in the Middle East. The Chinese long-term outlook toward the Middle East has rendered its actions to be slow, methodical, and patient, whereas the United States – as a result of having no grand strategy – has created more problems for itself, as opposed to creating solutions. The attempt to completely overhaul the Middle East during the Bush Administration quickly turned into a situation, under the Obama Administration, where withdrawal and ambivalence were the key features of U.S. foreign policy. This sudden change of U.S. foreign policy, especially toward the Middle East, opened the way for Russian and Chinese opportunistic behavior in the Middle East. The United States will have to work pragmatically within a regional framework and get regional powers within the Middle East to solve the problems of their region as the United States provides moral support and strategic assistance in the background. If the United States does not want international actors, like China and Russia, affecting the situation in Syria and Iraq, it will have to help regional powers like Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia to manage the anarchic situation not, just in Syria and Iraq, but also the Middle East in general.

Nevertheless, the issue of Syria and Iraq is no longer about status quo versus revolution. It is now an issue of status quo versus thuggery. Putin and the Chinese, by aiding Assad in the slaughter of innocent Syrians, are now advocates of thuggery in the Middle East. The United States will have to develop both willpower, as well as a strategy, to involve itself yet again in the affairs of the Middle

East, but in a way that is consistent with both a U.S. grand strategy, as well as U.S. national interests. The United States, with the help of the United Nations, tried to bring Sunni moderates and the Syrian government to forums like Geneva to resolve the Syrian conflict. But the United States alone cannot bring both sides of the Syrian conflict to the table at this point in time. Any U.S. impact on the Syrian peace process will first require a quid pro quo with Russia before addressing the slow but sure  Chinese  competition  with the United States in this historic “great game” of the Middle East through a regional framework. After a common understanding of Middle Eastern issues is established between the United States and Russia, the United States will have to modify Iranian influence in Iraq so that moderate and internationalist Iraqi elements, such as those led by Haider Al-Abadi, can augment their hold over Iraqi society with the help of the United States. And the only way to mitigate Iranian influence in Iraq is through a continued dialogue between the United States and Iran that began with the resolution over the Iranian nuclear issue. The United States should manipulate Iran into dealing with the issue of corruption in Afghanistan, and then use Afghanistan as a platform to put immense pressure on Iran.

Although the conflicts in the Levant, North Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan have stolen most of the focus from the United States over the past fifteen years, the historic focus of the United States in the Middle East has been toward the Gulf Arab nations, such   as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.  Of the various Gulf Arab nations, none has emerged more rapidly in the international diplomatic arena than Qatar, which is a small peninsular country that protrudes into the Persian Gulf and has     a native population of about 500,000 people. By some estimates, Qatar’s native population is less than 500,000. Its white and burgundy flag consists of nine triangles, which represent the nine major tribes of Qatar. The ruling tribe of Qatar is the Al-Thani tribe, headed by Sheikh Hamad Al-Thani and his son, Tamim. Qatar received its

independence from Britain in 1971, and is an integral member of what is known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a regional organization consisting of six countries: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and, of course, Qatar itself. Qatar supposedly did not discover its oil and natural gas reserves until 1995. Before its discovery of oil and natural gas, Qataris lived a simple, nomadic, and subsistence lifestyle. Qatar’s oil and natural gas reserves are profound. It is said that Qatar, Russia, and Iran possess about 50 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves. Joseph Nye, in The Future of Power, noted that the role of the various Arab nations in the GCC in international politics would be dictated by its oil and natural gas reserves. And, despite the talk of alternative sources of energy and renewable energy sources coming into play in the more developed countries of the world, oil and natural gas has become even more important than before. For example, after Japan’s nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011, Japan’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil and natural gas increased to the extent that now Japan imports 70 percent of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Saudi Arabia. The fact that Middle Eastern oil and natural gas remain not only the cheapest, but also the most efficient, energy sources in the world will make them extremely relevant for many

years to come.

But what Nye overlooked was the impact of the people and  the leadership, as well as the religious and cultural aspects of the GCC, on international politics. Oil and natural gas are just part of the overall offerings of the GCC to the international community. While considered as the most socially conservative region of the world, the GCC is led and managed by an incredibly intelligent woman named Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, the wife of Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Al-Thani. The fact that Qatar, a very small country in geopolitical measures, has been able to assume de facto leadership of the GCC and come up with development plans such as “Vision 2030,” and win a bid to host the 2022 World Cup, has made Saudi Arabia extremely envious, and the envy that Saudi Arabia holds

against Qatar is the cause of the recent Saudi-Qatar row in the summer of 2017. Saudi Arabia’s orchestration of a blockade against Qatar can only be explained by traditional Arab jealousy and rivalry that has existed for centuries. Donald Trump, by encouraging Saudi Arabia to find a scapegoat for global terrorism and encouraging Saudi Arabia to falsely label Qatar as the source of global terrorism, has only exacerbated the tensions within the Persian Gulf region and the Muslim world as a whole. Qatar rightfully sees itself as the mediator for Middle Eastern and Muslim conflicts, not the source of global terrorism. And Qatar, in recent times, has done a lot to stem the flow of monetary support to global terrorists coming out of Pakistan. The Qatari-owned soccer team Paris St.-Germain (PSG) has also signed Brazilian soccer star Neymar for the largest payment in professional soccer, which simply adds to the envy that the Saudis have for Qatar.

The importance of oil and natural gas is evenly paralleled by the importance of Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser within the GCC. Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser holds an honorary doctorate from Virginia Commonwealth University in humane letters. Jim Moran, a congressman from Virginia, said one time during a gathering    at the Embassy of Qatar in Washington, DC that Qatar punches above its weight in the international system. The reason why Qatar punches above its weight is due to none other than Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser’s leadership acumen. What the GCC is fortunate enough to have is the leadership provided by none other than a cosmopolitan woman who is charming and, at the same time, clear about the vision she has about her country and the international role pertaining to not only Qatar, but also the GCC as a whole. It is also incredible, as well as admirable, that Sheikh Hamad Al-Thani, whose family has dominated Qatar’s politics since its independence, has devolved an immense amount of power to Sheikha Moza. Perhaps America should learn lessons from Qatar and consider empowering women as a step toward further development.

Through the leadership of Sheikha Moza, Qatar has been able

to invest not only in the present, but also the future. Fiscally, Qatar has been able to maintain a steady surplus due to its independent foreign policy, unlike Saudi Arabia. By the end of 2015, Saudi Arabia was in an approximately 100 billion U.S. dollar deficit due to its proxy wars with Iran in places like Yemen and Syria. Qatar will host the World Cup in 2022 with state-of-the-art stadiums. In a recent visit to Qatar in December of 2015, I witnessed the immense construction and infrastructural development going on inside of that country. Qatar is naturally endowed with the leadership and the resources that enable it to survive and prosper, despite the capital flight that takes place regularly from its immigrant labor force. Native Qataris are regular tourists in many countries around the world, and they provide a boost to the economies of all their destinations, which include the United States and Europe. Qatar has invested over 1 billion U.S. dollars in the creation of a city center in Washington, DC. And, just recently, Qatar was part of an 11 billion U.S. dollar international deal to purchase Russian natural gas. Doha’s “Education City” will definitely improve the intellectual stature of the Middle East in due time.

But from a regional perspective, Qatar has been trying to play a diplomatic role different from the one played by Saudi Arabia. Although Saudi Arabia has engaged more forcefully against Iran in the sectarian wars that have plagued the Middle East over recent years, Qatar has attempted to play an intermediary role in the regional conflicts that it faces. For one, Qatar has allowed the Afghan Taliban to maintain a diplomatic outpost with the outside world since 2013 in order to make its case for its inclusion in the Afghan peace process. One major folly of the Qatari government, however, has been its one-sided approach to the conflict in Afghanistan. If the Qatari government can adjust its position in the Afghan conflict such that it reduces its support for insurgent groups in Afghanistan and improves its relations with the Afghan government, Qatar will be able to play a role that is even more positive than the one it currently plays in the international arena.

Qatar’s diplomatic role within the international community is more progressive and cosmopolitan than the role it plays regionally. It is not entirely Qatar’s fault for playing a less progressive role regionally. Much of the sectarianism and radicalism in the Middle East occurs outside of Qatar’s control. Nevertheless, the governments in Saudi Arabia and Qatar will have to play a more effective role in crushing the anti-Western ideology that stems from the Wahhabi strain of Middle Eastern society, stemming from none other than the Gulf Arab nations, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The relationship between the United States and Gulf Arab countries, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, will have to transcend beyond oil and natural gas to a social relationship that includes the destruction and elimination of anti-Western forces and the ideology that serves as their impetus in the Muslim world. Given that there is now a steady rise in younger leadership in both Saudi Arabia and Qatar as a result of the ascendance of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman in Saudi Arabia and Emir Tamim Al-Thani in Qatar, the prospects of such  a social relationship between the United States and the Gulf Arab nations have increased in recent times, despite the recent Saudi- Qatar row. Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, despite being  in his early thirties, is set to take his 81-year old father’s place as King of Saudi Arabia. His father, King Salman, ascended to the throne in 2015, and, as a result, Muhammad bin Salman’s political career began as Saudi Defense Minister under his father’s kingship. Muhammad bin Salman’s biggest task as Saudi Defense Minister starting in 2015 was to manage the Saudi war in Yemen against the Iranian-backed Houthis. Although the management of a proxy war with Iran thus far has characterized Muhammad bin Salman’s political career, he has said that he does not want a full-blown conflict with Iran, which is a policy departure from his predecessors. U.S. mediation between Saudi Arabia and Iran when Muhammad bin Salman becomes king might be fruitful, given that he is young and much more flexible than the elders who have historically run Saudi Arabia. However, Iran may also take advantage of Muhammad bin

Salman’s inexperience, and as a result the United States will have to defend the GCC against Iranian intrusions and aggression.

Furthermore, Qatar has been able to position itself within a security umbrella provided by the United States in the Persian Gulf region. The United States’ largest military airbase is in Qatar. This security umbrella provided by the United States enables Qatar to protect itself from the occasional intrigues of governments like Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Iran within the region. Qatar has played  its hand with incredible wisdom, and the hope is that leaders like Sheikha Moza and Sheikh Hamad play a role that benefits not just non-regional nations, but also nations within Qatar’s region, so that there is a more open discussion about the anti-Western mentality that combines itself with the drug trade, which ultimately is the cause of terrorism and extremism in the Middle East, as well as the entire world. Ultimately, a four-party framework that includes Israel, Turkey, Iran, and the GCC, with the support of the United States, is the only way to manage and solve the problems in places like the Levant and North Africa in the short-term.

Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, in a book titled The Grand Chessboard, argued that Russia and Islam are mutually exclusive, and the two can never co-exist. A rundown of history shows that Russia’s relationship with Islam is a mixed one. At a time when Rome had collapsed and when Byzantium was in a state of collapse, Russians sought to make their country the “Third Rome” in order to salvage the declining Roman Catholic Church. But the Russians sought to explore all religions during their rise at around the time of the European renaissance, and one Russian Czar named Vladimir actually considered making Islam the state religion of Russia, but in the end opted not to, because he essentially misinterpreted the rules of fasting and considered them harsher than they actually were. Nevertheless, as the Cold War has shown, and as current events in Syria demonstrate, the result of increased Russian involvement in the Middle East has, in fact, been political and societal polarization, not just in the Middle East, but also in Europe and the United

States. The Russian involvement around the world has not been constructive, and instead has been destructive due to the grudge the Russians hold against the Western world over the issue of Ukraine. It would have been ideal to use Russia in the fight against ISIS. But Russia, time and time again, attacked moderate Muslim groups in Syria opposed to the Russian occupation, and thus, empowered ISIS. The removal of Assad will be fundamental for U.S. efforts in Syria to foster goodwill between Syrian Sunnis and minorities in the coming months and years. Nevertheless, Syria is now a sequel to what happened in Afghanistan in the 1980s, given that the Western world supports a rebellion that is against a government backed by Russia. Afghanistan is still unable to recover from the destructive effects of Russian occupation and assault of the 1980s, despite the help of the international community. The same inescapable trauma in Afghanistan from the Cold War has now been inflicted upon Syrians. Much of the damage done to the Middle East has been a lack of uniformity in U.S. policy toward the Middle East.There is no denying that Arab dictatorships have been the biggest cause behind the destruction of the Middle East. But a lack of uniformity on the part of the United States, in terms of its policy toward the Middle East, has exacerbated the damage. The way in which the United States can tilt the balance of power in the Middle East against Russia, China, and Iran, and potentially use the Middle East as a platform from which the United States can undermine Putin’s rule in Russia and contain Chinese expansion, will be the eradication of what is known as “secular Arabism.” Although the United States addressed the issue of secular Arabism in Iraq and Libya, and beat back the Taliban and their secular Pashtunism ideology  in Afghanistan in 2001, the United States abandoned democratic efforts to eradicate secular Arabism in places like Egypt and Syria, and thus, the lack of uniformity and failures of the United States in the Middle East. It is crucial for the United States to eradicate the remnants of secular Arabism in the Middle East that are both opposed to the existence of Israel, as well as repressive toward the

majority of the Arab people. The eradication of secular Arabism

– which was fostered and bolstered by the Soviet Union during the Cold War – through the elimination of repressive entities like the Assad government, the Algerian government, and the Egyptian military will enable the United States to enjoy strategic depth in the Middle East for years to come. Secular Arabism, after all, is the cause of ISIS.

And ultimately,U.S. success in the Middle East will be determined by a revolution in its policy towards the Israeli-Arab conflict. While Israel’s relations with the Arabs have soured in recent times, Israel’s support for Turkey and Azerbaijan in their fight against Christian Armenia over the territory known as Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as general Israeli approval for Kurdish autonomy, are indications of something very counterintuitive but real nonetheless, and that is the secret alliance between Judaism and Islam against, not necessarily Christianity as a religion revealed to Jesus Christ, Son of Mary of Israel, but against the political idea of Western Christianity over the past several centuries. Nevertheless, Israel is capitalizing off of a conflict between Muslim Turks and Christian Armenians that can be solved by a simple and sincere apology from the Turks to the Armenians for what is known as the Armenian Genocide of the early 20th century, carried out by the former Ottoman Empire. Judaism and Islam, in their strict adherence to monotheism, see modern-day Christianity as having pagan European  roots,  and the elements of paganism within modern-day Christianity have been acknowledged by a range of Western thinkers, such as the “Zeitgeist” movement, as well Irish writer Sebastian Barry. The potential for improved relations between Jews and Muslims has always existed as a result of history. Despite the edicts of Jizya and the “Dhimmi” status of religious minorities in the Holy Qur’an, the Prophet Muhammad is said to have commanded his followers to abolish these laws for the sake of unity among Jews, Muslims, and Christians, who are all considered “People of the Book” in the Islamic tradition. Christianity preceding Roman innovations is

also “of the Book,” based on Islamic teachings. The Gospel of Saint Barnabus, who was the twelfth and final apostle of Jesus Christ, is absolutely clear about the arrival of Muhammad as the savior of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and, as a result, the Prophet Muhammad is known as “Periklytos” or “The Royal One” in the Greek Bible. As Paul the Apostle said, laws are made to be broken.

Given that the roots of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic tradition stem from Adam and Eve, order and stability within the Middle East and the greater Muslim World is a matter of understanding time, space, and energy, all three of which cover a timeline spanning approximately 50,000 years, based on Pickthall’s analysis of the Holy Qur’an. The creation of the two original (not to mention African) human beings known as Adam and Eve (both of whom were later laid to rest in Hebron and whose tombs are present even to this day) approximately 50,000 years ago has led to the creation of approximately 7.5 billion offspring. The common African origin of man is one reason, aside from commercial reasons, that Israel has maintained ties with a number of African countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, lands that were part of Rhodesia in the past, and South Africa. Because our basic assumptions of time, space, and energy were shattered with the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD, the modern-day science and technology that was built upon religious foundations by the likes of Ibn Sina and Albert Einstein has now rendered the basic boundaries between what is “material” and what is “spiritual” to be in a state of fluctuation. This reality may have prompted Kissinger to lay the basic argument of World Order by stating that perfect order is not of this world, but of another world. Islam shattered basic assumptions of time, space, and energy held by the Arabs, given that the Arabs were the only people in the world who lacked any basic belief in an afterlife, as mentioned by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf. The Prophet Muhammad is said to have perfectly described the size and the content of the seven heavens because his basic perceptions of time, space, and energy were extraordinary, despite his inability to read and write. Astrophysicists now speak

of a “consistently expanding universe.” A human tendency toward conservation and clinging onto conventions prohibits one from acknowledging that the goal of life is neither to conserve nor to splurge. Rather, the goal of life is the proper management of time, space, and energy. As the Buddha said, balance between both the “worldly” and the “saintly” is the sine qua non for the attainment of “nirvana,” otherwise known as “ataraxia” in the Greek tradition and “Islam” in Arabic. In general, what religion and spirituality revealed initially, and what the philosophy of the Einstein school of scientific thought later facilitated, was the unity, indivisibility, and infinite scale of nature and thus, the repudiation of scarcity and division. After all, energy and matter, by definition, are things that can neither be created nor destroyed. Energy and matter can only be transformed. And the forces of time and space, which in turn fall into the realm of theology and metaphysics and thus the realm of God, govern the transformation of energy and matter. For one, this understanding and realization prompted the French philosopher Blaise Pascal to come up with what is known as “Pascal’s Wager,” which states that reason dictates betting or placing a wager in favor of God’s existence rather than against the belief of God’s existence. Nevertheless, what the Prophet Muhammad preached and taught had earlier been recorded within Jewish traditions, which is why many Jews in the Arabian Peninsula during the time of Muhammad’s ministry actually accepted Muhammad’s message. There are Jewish rabbis recognized nobly in the Holy Qur’an for having welcomed Muhammad’s message. Because the Jewish and Islamic tradition is identical, about half of the Jewish population throughout history has consistently been supportive of Muslims and the Islamic faith. Therefore, if seen in a positive light, the advent of Islam planted the seeds for peaceful relations based on mutual cooperation and respect between the Jewish people and the international Islamic community that have not yet materialized nor stabilized between Israel and the Western world as a result of the Holocaust of World War II. The main reason as to why Israeli-

Arab relations have failed in recent times is a history of Arab intransigence and a lack of desire on the part of the Arabs to find common ground with Jews. As Sir Bertrand Russell once said, Islam is the best religion, but with the worst followers. Informed Jews are aware that the Prophet Muhammad never had ill intent toward the Jewish community of Arabia, and the massacre of a number of Jews in Arabia after what is known as the “Battle of the Trenches” along the city limits of Medina was not the decision of Muhammad, but of Sa’ad Ibn Muadh. The guilt of this Jewish massacre after the Battle of the Trenches led the Prophet Muhammad to have an extremely heavy heart until his death in 632 AD, and it even led to Muhammad having doubts about his own salvation. Nevertheless, the Muslims, led by the Kurdish military genius Saladin Al-Ayoubi, sought to make amends with the Jewish community by supporting their Jewish brethren during the infamous Crusades of the European Middle Ages, and by offering support and protection to Jews during both the Andalusian era, as well as the Ottoman era. Aside from the British, the Jewish people have a better understanding of world history than anyone else.

History has an often-sad tendency of repeating itself. With the shutdown of the anti-Semitism office at the U.S. State Department by Rex Tillerson being just one of many signs that there is a renewed rise of anti-Semitism in the Western world, it is now apparent that there is nowhere for Israel to go except for the Middle East and the Muslim world. Yet, there is evidence to suggest that Israel is suffering from what is known as negative migration rates due to the fact that the Netanyahu-led Likud government is creating an inhabitable social environment in Israel, and as a result, many of Israel’s best and brightest are forced to scatter around the world yet again.

Sincethelate 1970s,Egypthasbeenseenasbeingthecornerstone of U.S. policy toward the maintenance of stability in Israeli-Arab relations because of a peace deal signed between former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak

Rabin. In 2016, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sami Shoukry made  an important visit to Israel and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In that visit, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry, agreed in principle that the status quo cannot continue in  Israeli and Arab relations. Both men agreed that a revolution in Israeli-Arab relations must take place.

If seen through an objective lens, Israelis and Arabs are cousins, and genealogically are the  posterity  of  Abraham  and are perpetuating a feud over claims to prominence within the community or family of Abrahamic faiths. This psychological battle between the Israelis and Arabs over who is the preferred child     of Abraham has transferred to more trivial matters, such as land and natural resources. However, the major reason as to why the Israeli and Arab “family feud” has continued is because no one in the international community seems to have the time or energy to assume leadership over the matter. At this point in time, however, it is hard to tell whether Israel’s relations are worse with the “Quartet” consisting of the United States, United Nations, European Union, and Russia, or with the Muslims. Nevertheless, the source of the downturn in Israel’s relations with the international community is Israeli settlement expansion. And the solution lies solely in the re- drawing of borders between Israel, Egypt, and Jordan. The borders, set by the British during the early part of the 20th century in the Middle East, can no longer stand if there is to be peace between Israel and its neighbors. Once the borders between Israel, Egypt, and Jordan are redrawn, Israel will then be able to accommodate Palestinian demands in the near-term. Following the near-term, the passage of time and a change of attitudes that accompany generational changes will enable the establishment of soft borders between Israel and its Muslim neighbors along the lines of the European Union. What makes regional integration in the Middle East more sustainable than regional integration in the European Union is the fact that the Middle East is resource-rich, both in

terms of human capital, as well as natural resources, unlike the resource-poor European  Union. U.S. President  Donald Trump, in a May 2017 trip to Saudi Arabia, has called for an “Arab NATO” that addresses security threats like Iran, as well terrorism in the Middle East. But the success of an Arab NATO can only come about with the inclusion of Israel within a broader Middle Eastern security arrangement. In fact, an Arab NATO can be a success only if Israel is included within its leadership structure, along with other major nations in the Middle East, such as Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Collaboration over security and the pooling of resources between Israel and its Arab neighbors will be the first step in the transition from conflict to cooperation in the Middle East, and there is reason to believe that the establishment of NATO-like, or even EU-like, structures and institutions in the Middle East will work better than in Europe, given that there is a religious dimension that serves as the glue for such institutions in the Middle East, as opposed to the prevalence of nationalism   in Europe that is now the source of the breakdown of NATO and the European Union. Israel, however, must first help to fulfill a democratic transformation in Arab nations before it can ensure the success of such cooperative institutions in the Middle East, and the validity of a “democratic peace theory” in the Middle East may be even more valid than in European nations because of the religious and economic dimension that have already been mentioned. The one global power that has to be an architect of such Middle Eastern cooperative institutions is none other than the United States, in order to keep China either completely out or limited in its involvement. Furthermore, these cooperative institutions in the Middle East are vital for Israel, given that demographic and ideological changes in the United States and Europe are turning the Western world into a less friendly group toward Israel. If Israelis thought Barack Obama was hostile towards Israel, they will long for the days when Obama was president once the anti-Semitic nature of America’s right wing begins to manifest through groups such as the “Tea Party” or the

“Trump Movement.” American independents, without a doubt, are less friendly toward Israel than the American left wing that is now dwindling. It is still unclear as to whether Barack Obama pursued the Iranian nuclear deal as a ploy to get Iran to abandon nuclear weapons, or to establish a balance of power between the Arab- Israeli alliance and Persian Iran. Nevertheless, it seems as though President Trump is undoing whatever Barack Obama did in terms of Iran and will seek to solidify Israeli and Arab cooperation over the Iranian issue as long as he is President of the United States, and rightfully so. Iran continues to back Shia proxies throughout the Middle East, and thus, Iran continues to undermine the stability of the Middle East and Muslim world.

Settlements can be adjusted or moved once Israelis and Muslims discuss both trivial and non-trivial matters through peaceful and friendly dialogue. Settlement expansion may also become less of an issue if an EU-like social and economic structure comes about in the Middle East that is based on the four freedoms of the European Union, which are the free movement of labor, capital, goods, and services. Israel is the oldest of the historic family of nations in the Middle East, and there should be no doubt that Israel deserves its place within the broader Middle East. A quid pro quo in which Israel gains concessions over Hebron in return for greater internationalization of Jerusalem, for example, is something that should be taken into consideration, given that one can reasonably argue that Hebron holds greater religious importance for Israelis than any other city in the Middle East. Regardless of whether Jerusalem or Hebron is of greater religious importance for Israelis, Christians, or Muslims, what is absolutely essential is unconventional thinking over the Israeli-Arab conflict, and many policymakers in the United States have not been able to engage in such thinking for various reasons.It is said that Armenian Christians own approximately 33 percent of land in the city of Jerusalem. The religious importance of Hebron, in comparison to Jerusalem, is something for Israeli, Christian, and Muslim religious scholars to

decide through peaceful and respectful interfaith dialogue, as well as a deep understanding of history. The hope, nevertheless, is that Egypt’s overture to Israel in 2016 serves as the stepping-stone for better relations among Israelis, Muslims, and Christians, and there is every reason to be optimistic that relations within the family    of Abrahamic faiths will improve, as long as the United States encourages regional transformation in the Middle East.

Another reality of Middle Eastern affairs that will be of greatest concern to the United States, and will necessitate the involvement of the United States in the engineering of Middle Eastern cooperative institutions, is China’s expansion into the Middle East through economic means and pursuits. Obviously, Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia are in a silent alliance with one another in order to avert the expansion of Iran in the Middle East. The way for the Israelis and the Arabs to bolster the alliance between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel is by getting China more and more involved in Middle Eastern affairs at a time when America and Europe are becoming more and more anti-Semitic and Islamophobic. China’s goal is ultimately rent-seeking, and as a result, Israelis and Arabs are willing to deal with a rent-seeking China as long as their alliance structure and their edge over Iran can be maintained.

Toward the end of the Obama Administration, Egypt opened its market to Chinese investment and even offered to manipulate its currency in order to provide an incentive to Chinese investment. Saudi Arabia will have no objections to a greater market share of oil for the Chinese, as long as China serves as a replacement in fending off Iranian expansion in the Middle East. Israel, given the rise of anti-Semitism in both Europe and the United States, will turn to the East for an alliance. What Pakistan shares with Egypt and Saudi Arabia is not only a transactional relationship, but also a sectarian connection in the sense that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan are Sunni nations, whereas Iran is a Shi’ite nation. And what connects Pakistan to Saudi Arabia and Egypt even further is Pakistan’s connection to China. In order to secure a naval base in

Pakistan, China has promised approximately 56 billion U.S. dollars in aid to Pakistan for a period of about seven years. Egypt has built closer ties with Saudi Arabia under Al-Sisi through the exchange of islands in the Red Sea. Furthermore, Egypt is disillusioned with the Western world because of what happened in Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring. What Al-Sisi believes is that the West left Egypt vulnerable to a takeover by Muslim Brotherhood extremists, and thus, Egypt has turned to Russia and China for political and economic relationships. And when China acts, so does Pakistan, due to a long-standing Pakistani-Chinese relationship stemming from the days when Pakistan was one of the first countries – if not the first country – to recognize Mao’s government in 1949.

As the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s showed, communism and Marxism were theories that could not  be implemented due to staunch opposition by capitalist countries, as well as the scarcity and limitations to economic growth that communism and Marxism created through their obsession with nationalist socialism. Furthermore, the collapse of the Soviet Union showed that capitalism was not the fundamental flaw of Western society. By some accounts, Burhanuddin Rabbani in 2001 gave up the Afghan presidency to Hamid Karzai  on  the  condition that the West acknowledges that Afghanistan toppled communism. Afghanistan inspired Eastern Europe to tear down “The Iron Curtain,” the Berlin Wall, and the division of the world between East and West that occurred as a result of Soviet intrigues. Zbigniew Brzezinski told Afghan fighters opposed to the Soviet Union that they would be victorious because God was with them.

Islamic theorists like Ali Shariati long knew that Marxism   and communism were doomed to fail. Ali Shariati, in a book  titled Marxism and other Western Fallacies: An Islamic Critique, argued that Marxism is the brother of capitalism in the sense that both use and manipulate the proletariat to achieve “bourgeoisie” status. But the one thing that sustained capitalism as a system, and will continue to sustain capitalism, is a constructive relationship

between the United States and resource-wealthy nations that are still underdeveloped socially, and all of them happen to be either in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. All these regions of the world have one thing in common other than their abundance of natural resources, and it is the preeminence of Islam in all three of these regions. One discovers that the philosophical underpinnings of constructivist theory are actually the Wilsonian concept of collective security, and in the 21st century and beyond, the issue that forges the need for collective security between the United States and the resource-wealthy and Islamic nations of Southeast Asia, Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East will be the rise of China. The United States went through fifteen rough years of war with the Muslim world, and the result was that the war with the Muslim world did not make Muslims submit to the will of the United States, according to Andrew Bacevich. But the Obama Administration was forced to make a tradeoff between a war with Muslims or the containment of China. Based on the precedent set by Barack Obama and what Donald Trump has done in terms of his outreach towards Muslims in Saudi Arabia, the tradeoff made by the United States as a whole appears to be one in which the United States has forgone a conflict with Muslims in order to better focus and pursue a containment strategy of China. President Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia also demonstrates that, in recent years, no other

U.S. president has been more pro-European than Barack Obama.

Lack of innovative thinking over U.S. Middle East policy due to short-term considerations has also manifested in U.S. policy toward the African continent, an area of the world that happens   to be tangential to the Middle East. Africa, in the year 2017, is almost the equivalent of China before its populist revolution in 1949. What Africa needs is leadership that will unify the continent and utilize the vitality of its youth, along the lines of what Mao achieved before his death. Africa cannot claim an elevated status in world affairs as long as the elders neglect their youth. What is not necessary, however, is a reincarnation of Mao in Africa. Any future

pan-African leader will have to overcome two major obstacles to progress. The first obstacle is the retrogression of gender relations on the African continent. For a major African leader like Nigerian president Muhammad Buhari  to  make  such  foolish  comments in front of Angela Merkel about how a woman’s place is in the kitchen is totally unacceptable. Women  have the ability, as well  as the responsibility, to serve their countries, just like men. In my own personal experience, when I was an intern for an organization affiliated with the Kenyan High Court in the summer of 2011, many of the legal cases in Kenya that I personally reviewed gave an indication that Kenyan society was facing a sexual assault epidemic. First and foremost, if African countries expect to develop, they must first learn how to give women the freedom and the respect they deserve. Gender relations in Africa require a revolution, whereas gender relations in the United States and Europe need   an evolution, given that the United States has yet to elect a female president, despite the many opportunities to do so. The current state of gender relations in Africa is quite sad, considering that in the past, Africa was among the few matriarchal societies in the world. This shows that not all change is progress.

Once Africa improves its state of gender relations, it must acknowledge its main source of political instability, which is the old and destructive clash of clans system of politics that has perpetuated a state of war and chaos in Africa since the day Europe transplanted this corrupt system of politics in Africa. As soon as gender relations and tribal relations in Africa improve, all other issues can easily be resolved with just a little bit of attention and investment from countries like the United States or even China.

Also, there is hope. As Barack Obama once said, the only place to go when you’re down is up. Africa is a story of the slow but sure transition from the old to the new. In places like Zimbabwe, the political transition may actually skip over the middle generations, and power can actually transfer from the old guard, led by Mugabe, directly  to  the  youth. Approximately  70  percent  of  Zimbabwe’s

population is under the age of 35, according to the country’s latest census findings. In some African countries, there are midpoints   in the transition from the old to the new, like in Kenya, with the transition from Daniel Arap Moi first stopping with Kibaki and after Kibaki came Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s late founder Jomo Kenyatta. In Kenya, the presidency of Uhuru Kenyatta is most likely the final stop before a new system of politics begins. Africa is going through the same thing as Russia and China. Vladimir Putin is a midpoint between the old Soviet leaders of the past, such as Stalin, Khruschev, and Brezhnev, and the youthful energy that may eventually seize power in Russia. After all, Russia and its satellites comprise of about 150 different ethnicities, and if the United States uses its resources to foster an environment in and around Russia that is conducive to democracy, minorities and young Russians will have a larger say in Russian affairs, and will be able to transform their societies over the long run. In China, Xi Jinping is the midpoint between Mao and the future. And while political instability and gender relations in Africa are long-term and structural factors that need to be addressed, the short-term to medium-term issue that should dominate the agenda is the rise of violent extremism in the form of Al-Shabab in East Africa, as well as the group known as “Boko Haram” in West Africa. The term “Boko Haram” literally translates into “Western education is forbidden,” and this gives a clear indication as to what the agenda is of these violent extremist groups. Like in so many other places, the war in Africa between Western-backed states and these violent extremist groups is a fight between development and backwardness.

Right now, the youth are fighting hard in South Africa in order to reform or overthrow Jacob Zuma and the corrupt race-based mentality that is associated with him. It is good that an influential group within the South African establishment like the Mandela Foundation called for Zuma’s resignation. That is the first step. But it is extremely important for young African leaders to be patient, and it is even more important for young African leaders to realize

that victory is a long march. Pragmatism and tradeoffs will also be necessary on the part of the African youth. Mandela, for example, fought the Dutch and launched South Africa’s independence struggle against the Dutch with the help of Israel. Before moving forward, young Africans must, first and foremost, study their continent’s history in a very close and objective manner. Their study of Africa’s history must cover all its aspects, from environmental history to religious history, as well as political history.

The main historical lesson to learn is to never repeat past mistakes, and to never follow the ways of the elders. It is good to adopt the elders’ wisdom, but you should never repeat their mistakes. As the saying goes: “It’s worse than a sin; it’s a mistake.” Young Africans must continue to persevere and push toward something new after having learned their continent’s history, even if it means risking what U.S. President Barack Obama called “your guns and religion.” As Henry Kissinger once said, change is always accompanied by pain and adversity, but change gives you the only chance to improve. And who knows? There is probably a better chance for the youth in Africa to overthrow the old clash of clans system in Africa than for young Europeans to overthrow that corrupt system in Europe. As Paul Nitze said: “All is uncertainty.” But what matters more than anything is personality and truth.

African initiative will enable further American involvement  in the African continent. American involvement cannot enable African initiative. During a time in which there is a relative decline of the United States inverse to its adversaries, it will be hard for the United States to expand its foreign policy vision to the development of Africa. Sir John Sawers, former chief of Britain’s MI6, has seen the evidence, and he has concluded that the era of American power is not only finished, but that the era of “Pax Americana” was the shortest period of power that anyone has ever seen.

Reclamation of basic African identity on the part of young Africans will also spark a social revolution in Africa that will, in turn, lead to political and economic growth. When Islam flourished

in Africa before the Europeans colonized and divided the African continent, the African  people  manifested  their  Islamic  faith  in a very artistic, beautiful, and powerful way. Mansa Musa, who is considered to be the wealthiest man in the history of mankind, embodied the Islamic art and gilded beauty of Africa. The gilded art of African Islam easily puts Andalusian Sufism, Khorassani Sufism, and Saudi Wahhabism to shame. The artistic, beautiful, and natural manifestation of Islam in Africa was truly of a global nature, whereas the manifestation of Islam in other parts of the Muslim world had regional biases and still does to this day. Islam in Africa, before the age of European colonialism and even now, has a grace and a beauty that the African-American Muslim group called “The Nation of Islam” failed to develop. In the 1960s, Malcolm   X eventually broke off from the Nation of Islam and denounced extremism in all its forms when he visited Africa, as well as Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam’s holiest sites. Malcolm X realized that there is more extremism in America and Europe than in Africa and Saudi Arabia. And the main reason as to why there is more extremism in America and Europe than in Africa and Saudi Arabia is because of the politics of European colonialism, fueled by cultural and ethnic divisions between European peoples themselves, which in turn caused the African slave trade of the past, as well as the displacement of Muslims in the 20th and 21st centuries. The ethnic and cultural divisions among European peoples, it must be added, are the cause of political disunity not just in Europe, but the entire world. When an identity is torn out of its roots and displaced, it tends to become extreme. But the truth of the matter is that Islam does not allow any room for extremism, nor should there be room for extremism in any other religion or culture. Plus, the fact of the matter is that religion never caused extremism in the first place.   It was the politics of the Cold War between America and Russia that caused extremism in the Middle East, as well as in Africa. Thus, not all is lost in Africa, but it must be recovered. This social and aesthetic recovery is the main responsibility of Africa’s youth

population. Politics is social (according to E.H. Carr), and, in order for Africa to cultivate its potential, the youth in Africa must conduct its politics in a socially aesthetic manner. And because of Africa’s potential to conduct politics in a socially aesthetic manner, Africa’s growth and power potential might surpass that of all other places.



The Americas,

from Isolationism to Trump


No discussion of global politics can be complete without a discussion over the politics of the United States of America. Initially, it is important to look at where

America came from ideologically and geopolitically and then trace its evolution to the present day. Until America’s ascendance as a naval power in the early 1900s, America was both ideologically, as well as geopolitically, an isolationist nation as a result of Thomas Jefferson’s influence. Since America’s rise as a naval, and thus global, power in the early 1900s, however, America’s military and corporate establishment has had a grip on American society through none other than the mainstream, jejune media characterized by the late Edward Said in a classic titled Orientalism. That grip over American society that the military and corporate establishment has enjoyed through the U.S. mainstream media since the early 1900s is now eroding, as demonstrated by the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president in 2016, which happened to coincide with the rise of the more democratic alternative to the U.S. mainstream media known as “social media.” However, there are class divisions within America that are not necessarily reflected in the mainstream media, and as a result, the establishment and the elites are hiring members of the proletariat and masses who do not necessarily portray the elites accurately. There are essentially six classes of people in every society: the monarchy, the aristocracy, the landowners, the bourgeoisie, the proletariat, and the masses. The U.S. constitution and the separation of power among three institutions (the presidency, the U.S. congress, and the U.S. supreme court) reflects the six classes within every society.

Since World War II, the U.S. enjoyed world power supremacy, despite facing competition from the Soviet Union until the early 1990s. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States of America enjoyed a brief but important “unipolar moment”

until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the rapid ascent of China, beginning at the turn of the 21st century. As a result of the confusion and stress caused by the conflicts of the Middle East since the beginning of the 21st century, it is generally believed that the U.S. underwent relative decline. The danger of relative decline historically comes from the recurrence of what is known as The Thucydides’ Trap, which demonstrates that it is more likely than not that a status quo power ends up going to war with the rising power that challenges its supremacy. The biggest issue for the United States, therefore, is the issue of avoiding war with China somehow and in some way. These events and circumstances inside and outside of the United States linked and connected to one another to create the political bombshell that took place in  the United States in the year 2016, which was none other than the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States.

The U.S. in 2017 is now internally embroiled in one political controversy and scandal after another, due to an incredibly heated and  controversial  presidential  election  in  2016. Donald  Trump’s presidential campaign and election victory undoubtedly created    a major shock in the international system. Furthermore, the campaign and the presidency of Donald Trump has been anything but free from controversy, due to an alleged connection between Donald Trump’s campaign team and the Russians, led by Vladimir Putin. Many people believe that the Russians were behind Trump’s victory. Donald Trump’s  candidacy  and  presidency  also  seems  to have received the most attention by the international media, and observers seem to have scrutinized Donald Trump’s candidacy and presidency with an intensity that is probably unprecedented in   the history of American politics. It is worth noting that, for many decades now, there appears to be a positive correlation between U.S. presidents getting too close to Russia and impeachment threats against that president coming from the U.S. Congress. In John F. Kennedy’s case, his friendliness toward the Russians happened to coincide with his assassination. But, for the most part, the allegations

against Donald Trump are politically motivated, given that Trump surprisingly beat the Democrats, and it is fair to say that Democrats are bitter about their loss.

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign started off with a bang in 2015 by guaranteeing that Mexico will build a wall along its border with the United States. He then got into a well-publicized scuffle with Megyn Kelly, a female news reporter who worked for FOX News at the time. Later came his call to ban the entry of Muslims into the United States. Then came his beef with the Pope, resulting from the fact that Trump slighted the Pope by not giving him any attention during his visit to New York  City at the time   of the presidential campaign. Then he told Bill O’Reilly to go see his psychiatrist after a presidential debate with Hillary Clinton. And from that point on, Donald Trump swung like a pendulum, whereas Hillary Clinton gradually and cautiously  moved  from the left to the center, but to no avail. Hillary Clinton drove home the median voter model coming straight out of a microeconomics theory textbook. But as far as Donald Trump is concerned, a book doesn’t teach you how to swim. This preference for sensation over knowledge and books characterizes life in the present day, and it is known as “the era of Roger Stone,” named after the mastermind of  Donald Trump’s  presidency. As  the  saying  goes, when  reason dies, the monsters come out. Nevertheless, Roger Stone is a highly intelligent and highly talented political operative who is part of the establishment but is bitter about the establishment. Politics in the United States, to say the least, is complex.

Donald Trump, despite his flamboyant image, displayed a political shrewdness and artfulness that very few folks of erudition actually understand or permit. Trump, despite his many flaws, demonstrated a form of genius that burst through the barriers of sophistication and skepticism and struck the raw and unrefined intuition of the grassroots. And while publicly creating a policy mosaic for the American people to interpret as they please, Donald Trump may actually be as coherent, policy-wise, in private, as

anyone  can  possibly  be. Donald Trump’s  policies  form  a  medley that is nonetheless anthropological. He does not belong to only one part of the spectrum. Rather, he attempted to become the spectrum. He has vowed to lift the poor off the streets of New York City and cut taxes at the same time. In some way, he seems to have made the connection between ISIS in the Middle East and law  and order in New York City. Based on what he has said, Donald Trump might be the only presidential candidate to believe that peace and stability around the world requires, first and foremost, harmony among the United States, Russia, and China. He knows that the instability around the world is nothing but the reflection  of the discord among the United States, Russia, and China. The hilarity of it all is that those voters, who the left and center have written off as being belligerent and uneducated whites, are the only ones who seemed to have embraced the eccentricity of Trump. His “New York state of mind” does not reflect Buckley or Rockefeller. It reflects Rucker Park. It’s one spin move, post up, crossover, no look, behind the back, and alley-oop after another, which could explain his friendship with Dennis Rodman. The one pitfall of Donald Trump’s agenda that has plagued him from the beginning, however, has been his promotion of nativist and white nationalist sentiment, which has manifested in the Trump Administration’s rescindment of the DACA (or “Dreamers”) program for Latino American youth. This pitfall, if not corrected in the near-term by Donald Trump, could lead to bad karma and thus, the downfall of his entire agenda and presidency.

Personality and gender did play a fundamental role in Trump’s victory. Despite the progress the United States has made socially over a number of decades, the U.S. electorate again refused to elect a woman as president. American women were simply unable to come to Hillary Clinton’s rescue. And the main reason as to why American women were unable to transform the idealism of having a woman as president into a reality is that Hillary Clinton did not represent something radical and revolutionary, whereas everything

that Donald Trump did during his campaign was both radical and revolutionary.The social, political, and economic situation in America and the rest of the world has become more and more complex because the overall global situation became dire as a result of major conflicts in the Middle East and the financial crisis that emerged from the United States and soon after engulfed the entire world in 2008. And because of the complexity of the world’s situation, there is no way that Donald Trump should be seen as an unexpected phenomenon. Donald Trump is a symptom of the financial crisis and the wars of the Middle East, and thus, a president that was elected on an economic platform. While neoconservatives deserve some blame for the chaos in the Middle East, most of the blame for the chaos in the Middle East should be attributed to Barack Obama. Donald Trump demonstrated anti-European tendencies during his campaign and showed a strange affinity toward Vladimir Putin, and he also appeared to be pro-Assad by virtue of his alliance with Ben Carson. During his campaign, Donald Trump also flirted with Nigel Farage, a British politician whose sole purpose in life has been the destruction of the European Union. However, any suspicion that Donald Trump is pro-Assad has now been put to rest as a result of his tomahawk missile attacks on the Syrian military in the early part of his presidency. Furthermore, the tomahawk missile attacks on the Syrian military by President Trump signals either a shift or a balancing within the Trump Administration between the mainstream of American foreign policy, figure-headed by the likes of Rex Tillerson, General James Mattis, and General

H.R. McMaster, and the far-right, represented by Steve Bannon. The ousting of Michael Flynn, who appeared to demonstrate Islamophobic tendencies and represented Russian and Turkish interests, was another signal that the Trump Administration might begin to shift toward the mainstream of U.S. foreign policy.

Trump, however, would soon cast dispersion on any notion that he is tilting toward any particular wing of the Republican Party regarding foreign policy orientation. After bombing Syrian

military planes with 59 tomahawk missiles and sending military ships toward the Korean Peninsula, Trump followed up these demonstrations of force with kind and flattering words toward North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and he also had a very cozy meeting in the Oval Office with the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador to the United States soon after sacking an FBI director that sought to expose any possible ties between Trump and Russia. What these mixed signals from Trump suggest is that he  is his own man and will think through foreign policy issues his own way, and as a result, U.S. foreign policy under the Trump Administration will be both unpredictable and uncertain, and will remain so until there is a resolute position on foreign policy within the Trump Administration. And while Trump tries  to  convince the world, as well as a domestic audience in the U.S., that he has   a monumental agenda and seeks to bring world peace once and  for all, Trump has to be a global president because there is simply no other choice. Trump’s meetings with Xi Jinping ended up with a major deal for Ivanka Trump, and his buddying up with Russia and Turkey could secure him the hotels he has always wanted in Moscow and Istanbul after he is done with being president. Using political office for personal benefits, however, is now common practice in the United States, which is why Trump should not be the only one who is castigated. Barack Obama, shortly after leaving office, shamelessly scored 400 thousand dollars for speaking to a major investment firm on Wall Street. Elected officials in the U.S. Congress always sell their souls to special interests before, during, and after their tenure in Congress, which is why Congressional approval ratings are always abysmally low.

The Economist of May 13-19,2017 highlighted the key elements of Trump’s  agenda, otherwise  known  as  “Trumponomics.” There appear to be only three key elements to his overall Trumponomics agenda, and they are the re-negotiation of trade deals with all nations, tax cuts, and de-regulation. Trump is a part of the world’s economic elite that helps shape the national interests and policies of

various governments around the world, and this economics-based agenda known as Trumponomics also happens to serve his personal interests very well. Trumponomics is interchangeable with what can be called a “Trump Doctrine” of foreign policy, just as engagement and dialogue were the core tenets of the Obama Doctrine,and before Obama it was sanctions, isolation, regime change, and preemptive military action that served as the core tenets of the infamous Bush Doctrine during the presidency of George W. Bush.

And as the world grows more complex, so will future U.S. presidential candidates, and so will the course of international history. In American politics, a perceptive observer will see the image by flipping it. America is not the schizophrenic nation. It   is the phantasmagoric nation. But unfortunately, within the last fifteen years, the financial crisis and the black hole of the Middle East joined forces to wage an assault on the United States. And America’s current and future presidents will continue to wrestle with the pain of that assault. Domestic problems within the  United States prompted a Trump candidacy and presidency that was wary of maintaining world order. Britain and Russia hoped to take advantage of American wariness toward foreign affairs under a Trump presidency, and both Britain and Russia attempted to destroy the European Union project that has long been supported by the United States. It is still too early to tell as to whether the Trump Administration will maintain U.S. resolve and leadership on a global stage. President Trump has shown his aversion to foreign affairs on numerous occasions. But because of the political situation internationally that is characterized mainly by the rise of China, there has never been a time more crucial for U.S. involvement     in global affairs. For one, NATO strategy in the Eastern world required as one of its pillars to keep Turkey separate from Russia. With that pillar beginning to fall apart as of recently, and with Brexit, the Eastern world (which includes as its major components both China and the Muslim world) has been able to attract both Britain and Russia. Europe is split between a north and south

divide that is both social and economic. In Southern Europe, an independent foreign policy is developing under the watchful eyes of the center-left in Italy and the ruling Syriza party in Greece, after Dutch and German banks severely undermined the economies of Southern Europe right before the 2007 and 2008 global financial crisis reared its ugly head. It is of utmost necessity for the United States to deal with the rollback of the West initiated by Russia and China in places like the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and even Southern Europe.

Domestically and within the United States, however, Trump’s election made evident a number of harsh realities. For one, the media failed to shape public opinion  negatively toward Trump, and instead, the publicity Trump received – whether negative or positive – aided his election. Thus, the election of Donald Trump demonstrated the lack of credibility on the part of the American mainstream media in recent times, in addition to demonstrating the media’s growing inability to take hold of American public opinion.

Donald Trump’s strategy during his campaign was paradoxical in the sense that there was no plan or strategy. Much of his success depended on his intuition. It was a political strategy that many people have not seen since Mao, and it appealed to a lot of people who were looking for something new and unscripted. Donald Trump won by following his instincts and by conveying his honest thoughts and feelings to the American people about current U.S. government policies, and he demonstrated his willingness to bring some sort of positive change to the lives of common American folks. Donald Trump managed to have both a coherent vision for America’s future and no plan at the same time, which is more artful and creative than anything else. After all, strategy changes with context, according to Harvard Professor Joseph Nye. As mentioned in a previous chapter,Donald Trump was able to become in sync with the mood and the pulse of the American people, whereas Hillary Clinton tried shaping public opinion. Hillary Clinton attacked Donald Trump, as opposed to attacking what Donald Trump  stood

for, which was the improvement of America’s economy. Because Donald Trump stood for the improvement of America’s economy, it became impossible for Hillary Clinton to attack Donald Trump’s platform. When determining whether race-based nationalism or business and corporate interests are the lesser of the two evils, it is impossible to deny that race-based nationalism is the greater evil, and that is probably another factor as to why Hillary Clinton lost the election, and it is the reason why a number of Trump  voters  in Middle America are beginning to regret their vote. “Special interests” that are focused on ethno-nationalistic pride and big donors, like those on Wall Street, also heavily influenced Hillary Clinton’s campaign, whereas Donald Trump, for the most part, ran an independent campaign and did not have to tow any particular donor’s line.

But as the tomahawk missile strikes on Syria and the removal of Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser showed, Trump eventually had to make some concessions to the mainstream and center of American politics, and had very little choice except to moderate his independent views. Not only does Donald Trump have the public to deal with as the President of the United States of America, he will also have to deal with a Republican-led congress that will not allow any one person to unilaterally forge a plan for the United States. As flawed as the democratic system is in the United States, it is still democratic, and thus, no  U.S. president can unilaterally impose his will on the system. The key to success for any U.S. president is compromise and collaboration with the American political system and the electorate, regardless of whether the president considers the system to be fair or not.

Donald Trump might still achieve what he wishes to achieve without having to unilaterally impose his will on the system. It seems as though he truly wants, at the bare minimum, a semblance of stability and optimism that existed in America during the days of Truman and Eisenhower, as far-fetched as that situation may  be at the moment. Trump is the American equivalent of Indian

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a business-minded person who denounces the politics and the corruption of his predecessors and is seeking to use popular support to advance his agenda. Donald Trump also represents a particular class within the United States, which is the business class. The business class, in many societies, if given some room to breath by their governments, will use intuition, intellect, thought, risk-taking strategies, as well as hard work to build their wealth, and, at the same time, the business class will overcome very difficult social barriers imposed by the political class of the countries they come across. The business class, despite its flaws, by nature seeks to build bridges among countries, cultures, and nations. It was the political class in America, which included the Clintons, the Obamas, and certain members of the Republican Party, who lacked both independent thought and entrepreneurial drive and were bound by narrow special interests. Throughout history, when the economy begins to slack as a result of failures on the part of the established political class, the people would turn to the business class, and as well as social entrepreneurs, to revive the economy and to bring change to the political system.

Donald Trump might personally want stability and optimism in America because he has said time and time again that he is a moderate centrist, in the sense that he aims to strike a bargain between elite interests and the interests of the working class. Even though Donald Trump  is part of the economic elite in America,  he is not part of the social and political elite of America because he challenged the establishment throughout his campaign and essentially scorned them in his inaugural address. Donald Trump will try to achieve balance, not in the sense of creating equality – which can never be achieved – but rather, in the sense of finding achievable ways through basic market economics to distribute wealth and power. After all, wealth cannot be created, according to Oxford Professor Danny Dorling. What Dorling argued in a May 26, 2017 BBC opinion piece is that wealth can only be shared and distributed, not created. Wealth, in reality, is more often than not

acquired and inherited, rather than gained. And as a result, the most prosperous nations are those who share and distribute their wealth fairly. Donald Trump may be well aware of Professor Dorling’s argument, given that the basis of his wealth was also acquired from his father.

Balance and centrism will still be very hard for Donald Trump to achieve, not only because he is dealing with a Republican-led congress that is beholden to corporate interests, but also because Donald Trump is himself a part of the American economic elite, whose business interests are at stake due to the relative decline    of American power to the rising powers. Furthermore, the U.S. presidential campaigns would have engulfed Europe in a major right-wing wildfire, had it not been for the salvation of the European Union through the election of Emmanuel Macron in France. Donald Trump was the motivation behind right-wing personalities like Nigel Farage in Britain, Marine Le Pen in France, and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. There is a now a real possibility that conflict will shift from East to West, given the rise of right-wing sentiment in Europe that is falsely attributed to immigrants, as well as social and political disunity among Western nations. The rise of right-wing sentiment in Europe and America is the direct result   of failed government policies of the past twenty-five years, and no matter what anyone says, immigrants are not the ones to blame  for the situation in America and Europe. Nor should there be an outcry about immigrants in the United States, given that everyone in the United States has their roots based in immigration. Still, marginalized groups, like people of color, newer immigrants, as well as working class people regardless of their race, are wrongly made to be the scapegoats of failed government policies. Howard Zinn skillfully described the way social, political, and economic elites in America divide and conquer the bottom 99 percent of the American population based on race and religion in a book titled A People’s History of the United States.

Nevertheless, as suggested before, people in general view the

business class as the lesser of the two evils when faced with an elitist social, political, and academic class that is heavily under the thumb of special interests that are motivated either by ethnic pride. Many Americans are now aware of the costs they incurred due to their apathy toward politics over the last twenty-five years. More Americans are now more informed about politics, even if they are not yet fully engaged with politics. In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the business class of the United States of America managed to join forces with the working class of America in order to overthrow the elitist and foreign-backed political, social, and academic class of both the republican and democratic parties, in almost the same way that the business class and the working class of Iran did in 1979, as well as France in 1789. Thomas Jefferson attributed seismic change in a nation’s  political  system, not  to the corruption of the people, but to the corruption of established political institutions. “Drain the Swamp” is a motto straight out of Iran in 1979 and France in 1789, and it is not unique to the Trump movement. The Trump movement, although notable, is a repetition of history. The American people were justifiably angry over the calamities of the past fifteen to twenty-five years, and the result of that anger was that the American people elected a charismatic and, arguably, a radical Western national leader in the form of Donald Trump, who connects with common people on a very basic and human level. The bureaucracy, the academics, and the mainstream

U.S. media that served the established political class for a long time now had to give way to the will of the people, as represented by the Trump movement, for better or for worse.

Much of America’s success from its creation until now hinged on the quality of its higher education and the free-thinking encouraged by institutions of higher learning in the United States. With the influence of money on higher institutions of learning in the United States, the quality of education in the United States, as well as the U.S. tradition of free thinking, are beginning to erode. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said in an essay titled “The American

Scholar,” when a person can read God directly, there is no need   to read what another person says about Him. In another essay, Emerson directly quotes the Holy Qur’an (Chapter 10, Verse 47, to be specific), which states: “And for every nation there is a messenger. And when their messenger comes it will be judged between them fairly, and they will not be wronged.” Two other factors that led to the belief in American exceptionalism were the system of religious tolerance and social contracts between the elites and the people that Thomas Jefferson inherited from John Locke. It is important to note, however, that the theory of social contracts was created initially by Jean Jacques Rousseau and later borrowed by Locke and Jefferson, and in actuality, Rousseau was not fond of social contracts because he considered them to be a ploy that the rich used to abuse the poor. The respect for all religions in America, as well as the ability of the American people to forge social contracts with the elites, helped to suppress race-based religious militancy, as well as collectivist dictatorships in America, for a very long time.

Also in the essay titled “The American Scholar,” Emerson said that light would eventually shine from the East upon the West. What Emerson may have prophesized is America’s eventual coming to terms with the rise of Islam from within the Western world.  The Islamic tradition that began with Muhammad of Mecca in 610 AD began with one thing: a book inspired by divine friendship and love that coincidentally provided the basis for both natural  law and the modern concept of human rights that is derived from such notions of natural law. Uthman, the third caliph and patron of Muhammad, sought to make Islam a global phenomenon by basing the Ummah’s intellectual endeavors out of Damascus. Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the fourth and final caliph of the community of friends and lovers, summed up his analysis of Muhammad’s teachings in a book that is now known as “Nahjul Balagha”, which translates into “Peak of Eloquence.” The analysis and teachings of Ali and his “Nahjul Balagha” can be summed up into one axiom: You get what you need, and you lose what you don’t need, thus the natural limitations on

human capabilities.

When Uthman’s relatives destroyed their Damascus-based empire out of sheer corruption and nepotism, Islamic scholars and power brokers moved their base of operations to Baghdad under what is known as the Abbasid Empire. After Ali Ibn Abi Talib,  the Islamic spiritual and intellectual tradition survived as a result of a man named Al-Ghazzali, who was a Sunni Persian intellectual during the European Middle Ages and Gothic period.Al-Ghazzali’s analysis of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad was simple, and it can be summed up in one formula: Good Food + Modest Clothing

+ Decent Shelter + Reading + Writing + Beautiful Women + Nice Perfumes + Prayer + Charity = Islam. In a sense, Islam = Simplicity

+ Goodness = Power. In 2011, it became manifest that Tony Blair, Britain’s former prime minister, reads the Holy Qur’an everyday because, in Blair’s own words, the Holy Qur’an was his source   of power and understanding for what goes on in the world. The conduit of Al-Ghazzali’s teachings and analysis in the United States today is Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, an American convert to Islam from California, who is now in charge of an Islamic liberal arts college named Zaytuna College in Northern California. Sheikh Hamza Yusuf has managed to introduce mainstream and traditional Islam not only to the masses, but also to the elites, in the United States and Europe. He has now become a frequent visitor to international liberal organizations such as the World Economic Forum and is a hot ticket speaker at major institutions of higher learning, such as Stanford, Princeton, and Yale. Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and his efforts serve as confirmation for the belief that true Islam will rise from the West. Despite the rift between Islam and the United States over the past fifteen years, the rift is beginning to close as the Western world continues to gain a deeper understanding of Islam, as well as mainstream Islamic traditions. Sheikh Hamza Yusuf ’s main intellectual position is that the descent into global disorder  is not based on material factors, but rather on spiritual factors. In fact, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf argues that the quality of life, in material

terms, has never been greater in human history than it is in this day and age.

The United States and the Western  world will have to close  its rift with the Islamic world in order to overcome the challenges posed by Russia and China to Western cultural, social, and political hegemony. Alfred Thayer Mahan predicted one big thing: it would all come down to the United States and China. And what Islamic intellectuals such as Sheikh Hamza Yusuf have demonstrated is that Islam is apolitical in terms of global governance, as long as a system of equity and fairness is established by Western nations. By some estimates, the most Islamic countries in the world are Scandinavian nations because of their commitment to social justice. What gives Scandinavian nations their Islamic essence is a Scandinavian cultural belief known as “hygge,” which cannot be translated exactly into the English language, but it is a term that roughly translates into “warmth.” Many Islamic scholars, like Jay Crook and Seyyid Hossein Nasr, consider Islamic civilization to be a lake, and that all other civilizations around the world and throughout history were rivers that have deposited into this Islamic lake. After all, the bulwarks of the Islamic world, such as the Shah of Iran and Saudi Arabia, supported U.S. efforts against the atheistic Soviet Union when the Cold War was at its peak. Once the social and political rift is overcome between Islamic countries and Western countries, the compatibility between Islam and the West will become ever more evident. For one, Islam was the first religion and civilization to shed light on the issue of sex and gender relations. Islam returned to women their right to divorce their husbands at a time when the Catholic Church had essentially banned divorce. The issue of sex was put out in the open, for the most part, by two individuals in particular: Muhammad of Mecca during his ministry in Arabia, and Dr. Otto Weininger, an Austrian Jewish philosopher in the 1900s. Some thinkers believe that the reason why Muhammad of Mecca suffered from so many demons during his ministry was because he lost the only love of his life, Khadijah, who was fifteen years

older than him by some estimates. One can argue that America began as a puritan society that denied its sexual preferences (read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”), and the strand of puritanism in our DNA has not ceased to exist as manifested by the election of Trump. Much of the world has long overcome the puritan attitude toward sex, whereas the United States has yet to show much progress. Nehru, for example, loved a British woman, and the British woman loved Nehru. And because it was a failed love between the two of them, Nehru decided to join hands with Jinnah and wreak havoc on the Indian subcontinent. The partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 was thus psychological, not political.

Once the United States resolves some of the more immediate economic concerns, as well as human security concerns, stemming from the lack of stability that currently prevails within the international system, international constructivist  organizations will then be able to collectively study and enrich the reforms and breakthroughs set forth by past and  current  reformists  within  the realm of sex studies and gender studies. Another present-day issue pertaining to sex studies and gender studies is the issue of homosexuality.The legalization of gay marriage in the United States in 2015 was a progressive move that reined in on the ill-advised criminalization of homosexuality. Nationalist-socialist governments like those in Russia and Iran should follow the example of the United States, and, instead of criminalizing homosexuality, these governments should address the issue of repression (both political and social) that has existed for centuries and could actually be the historic cause behind homosexuality. Homosexuality may actually rise in conjunction with political and social repression domestically. It was Freud who linked homosexuality with repression at the peak of European civilization and thought. Even in the United States, homosexuality stole headlines at the peak of the Cold War in the 1980s, and thus, the peak of repression was on national security grounds. It is also important to note that the AIDS epidemic in the

United States coincided with the peak of the Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. in the 1980s. Yet again, the issue of homosexuality has gained prominence in the United States in the repressive national security environment of the post-9/11 era. One should not criminalize the effect (homosexuality), but instead seek to criminalize the cause (political and social repression).

Nevertheless, social divisions exist within every society, and the cultivation of the masses can only occur as a result of development initiatives that begin from the leadership apparatus of society. Although development begins with employment, development concludes and solidifies with education and character development. Henry Kissinger once wrote in his book titled On China that the division within politics is threefold. For one, there is the political class, followed by the bureaucracy, and finally, there are the people. Theoretically, “The Great Game” consists of smaller “games” being played at both the regional and domestic levels of the international system. Change must coincide with the proper and effective communication of a grand strategy that is inclusive of all people, and communication is essentially the conquest of psychological and intellectual obstacles in the path toward communicating what is in the heart. The ancient Greeks described three elements of speech, otherwise known as “rhetoric,” and they are “pathos,” “ethos,” and “logos.”

These three components or elements of rhetoric affect three things: the heart, the mind, and the bodies of individuals.The reason why Donald Trump’s rhetoric had such a profound effect on the entire world body politic is because U.S. policy-making since the demise of the Soviet Union rested on quantitative decision-making, as opposed to qualitative decision-making. The sudden jump from quantitative, in the form of Barack Obama, to qualitative, in the form of Donald Trump, is a shock to the entire body politic of the United States. Barack Obama was cerebral (quantitative), whereas Donald Trump was emotional and radical (qualitative). And apparently, the reason why U.S. policy-making has been quantitative in the

United States for such a long time now is because the quantitative aspect of policy gives clout and power to civilians and the masses within bureaucratic structures of government. The economic elites like Donald Trump, on the other hand, think in qualitative terms. Thus, the economic elites matter, and they showed their force in the 2016 general election through the election of Donald Trump. Qualitative decision-making trumps quantitative decision-making, because the elites work off personality, whereas the masses function off numbers crunching. Numbers, as it appears, only matter in a qualitative sense.

The reason for the downturn in U.S. power is what Dr. Cornel West called a “love deficit” in the United States. And as the saying goes, when Washington coughs, the entire world catches a cold, and this explains disorder in the international system. To turn the love deficit into a love surplus would enable Ludwig Von Mises’s philosophy of economics to take on life. Von Mises defined economics as enabling the free pursuit of one’s ends in life. To be able to communicate a coherent and inspirational vision or strategy for a country is the recipe for the development and empowerment of a nation and society. It also requires leaders to persuade their constituents. Cicero considered the art of persuasion to have four key elements: memory, arrangement, style, and delivery. The United States has a GDP of over 14 trillion U.S. dollars per year, which   is unmatched by all other countries. But what the United States has lacked over the past couple of decades since the demise of the Soviet Union is a lack of vision or grand strategy. As a first step, the least that the United States could do is offer a 21st century Marshall Plan for Europe that would not only improve the European economy, but it would also reduce radicalism and extremism within European Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Italy and Greece, out of conviction, in a cultural trait known as “philotimo,” which also is a term that is difficult to translate into English, roughly translates into “love of honor.” As a result of philotimo, Italy and Greece continue to absorb as many refuges from Africa and the Middle

East as possible, despite having been crushed by Dutch and German banks during the global financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. All of the extremism in the world stems from economic considerations, not religious factors. Extremism and radicalism has everything to do with livelihood, basic human frustrations, and survival. Policies have to be about more than just survival. Policies also have to advance universal principles derived from natural law so that people have a fair shot at doing what Voltaire famously called “cultivating your garden.”

And while the 2007 and 2008 financial crisis in the United States had an extremely detrimental effect on world economics, the economic downturn had political, social, and cultural effects that were extremely negative and should have been foreseen, given the history of Europe and World War II. During a 2009 lecture in an undergraduate seminar on “Southern Politics” at George Mason University, my professor and former U.S. congressman, Tom Davis, argued that the politics of America is a politics of culture. I would like to add that not only is the politics of America a politics of culture, but it is also a politics of religion, religious perceptions, economics, personality, gender, and truth-seeking. Culture is never static, according to Joseph Nye of Harvard. Furthermore, Professor Davis argued that the future of American politics is with the Democratic Party, for a number of reasons.

The first reason appears to be demographics. Women have the edge in population terms over men, and women have the ability to tilt the balance of power against republicans in favor of democrats. Also, young people are moving left of center, and the combination of women and the youth population form the future of American politics. Women  in America will have to adopt a long-run view  of the serious issues their country faces in order to clear their minds of the less important matters that are peddled by social   and mainstream media. American women will have to act as the vanguard of centrist policies, as opposed to veering to the far right or far left. Daily thoughts and opinions are always in a state of

flux. But standing firm on a centrist platform and practicing to stay firm is something that American women, American youth, and the American people as a whole must accomplish within the next four to eight years if there is any chance for progress and a progressive agenda to overcome cultural and social stagnation.

Also, at a time when detente is necessary with Russia as a tactical decision, Barack Obama set both the centrist domestic and centrist foreign policy platform for the Democratic Party for years to come. Much of what needs to be accomplished domestically within the United States is to empower the United States against threats emanating from abroad. Russia, Iran, China, North Korea, and Pakistan form a virulent anti-American nexus that needs to be addressed for many years to come. But economics is key, and policies must address economic reforms in order to overcome the cultural stagnation that the United States suffered, which in turn led to the election of Donald Trump and the far right. Despite Congressman Davis’s belief that ownership of American politics would be in the hands of the Democratic Party, a major economic, and thus social, downturn that ceased to go away under Barack Obama led to the rise of the American right wing and independents that do not belong to any one party. Today’s American left and right have resorted to race-based politics as a result of economic malaise, which in turn have resulted in social calamities like police brutality and relative decline. The political contextualization of Kant’s “deontology” would probably mean a choice between being on the side of the elite (1 percent), or on the side of the people (the 99 percent). In the early days of the American republic, Jefferson ultimately threw his lot in with the people, and with the power of the people, he beat back Hamilton and the elite. But by defeating Hamilton and the elite, Jefferson corrected an imbalance between elite and popular interests. The issue is not about overthrowing the elites. The issue is about correcting the imbalance between elite interests (the 1 percent) and the interests of the people (the 99 percent), and the conclusion is that the economic elites need to retain the edge over

the people in order to maintain an international capitalist system that provides more benefits than losses if pursued with the intent of both free and fair trade. Although globalization over the past twenty years or so has coincided with growing inequality (according to the various findings of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), globalization does not appear to be the cause of inequality. Rather, it is the resistance to sharing and distributing wealth that has been the cause of inequality, especially when taking Larry Summers’ “secular stagnation” into account. It appears that both the immediate, as well as the long run, solution to growing inequality will be the continued breakdown of social and political barriers that prevent free trade and economic development in various countries. Free and fair trade can then be coupled with social welfare policies that strike a balance between elite and popular interests.

And while the economic and social elites retain the edge over the people, social welfare will have to be provided to the people by the economic and social elites in order for stability in elite interests to prevail and to prevent the increase of radicalization on the part of the masses. Divine will led to the creation of what is known    as “natural law,” and it is natural law that provides the basis for human rights, ranging from basic human security to social rights. The starting point of human rights, when looking at the history of revolution in different places and different times, has always been the call for economic rights, such as food, clothing, and shelter for disadvantaged groups, such as orphans, beggars, and widows. By providing basic economic rights, such as food, clothing, and shelter, there might actually be less need for health care because the overall health of the people will improve when there is less stress. As John McCain once said, addressing health is more important than addressing health care. It might actually pan out in such a way that less stress, as a result of basic human security and economic rights, can enable the American government’s capacity to become the final Western nation to provide a single-payer system for health care. The lack of a single-payer health care system continues to be a stain

on the reputation of the United States around the world. The desire for a single-payer health care system on the part of the American public is why the Republican alternative to Obamacare, which is called “Ryancare” and is named after Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, is extremely unpopular in the United States, and the approval rating for Ryancare in the United States is an abysmal  17 percent, according to an NPR and PBS poll. According to a number of polls during the U.S. presidential campaigns of 2016, Bernie Sanders enjoyed an approximate 20 point lead over Donald Trump, due in large part to the former’s advocacy of a single-payer health care system. In the end, free trade policies should make up somewhat for the profits made by U.S. corporations from health insurance, and should lead to a balanced health care policy between advocates of a single-payer system and the corporate-leaning health care system advocated by the likes of Paul Ryan and Donald Trump. Free trade, as odd as it may sound, is the solution to health care.

When there is less stress amongst the people as a result of sound public policies that address economic security, the system itself will then make it a disincentive for those lawyers and doctors who are in it for money to become either a doctor or lawyer,and then individuals can pursue what it really is that they are pursuing.Valerie M.Hudson, in a scholarly book titled Foreign Policy Decision-Making, argued: “Humans appear to have almost an infinite capacity for wriggling out of macro-level structures and constraints.” But public policies are the enablers for such a capacity. Hudson also noted that every human being works off a specific frame of reference. This frame of reference may not be clear to an observer, nor is it truly apparent at times to the one acting off a particular frame of reference. David A. Welch, in the conclusion of a book titled Painful Choices: A Theory of Foreign Policy Change, notes that in the various cases of political disputes and negotiations he covered, the psychological dynamics that undergird these political issues are potent. It goes back to what Henry Kissinger said in World Order, where Kissinger essentially argues that politics is psychological. The psychological aspect is key

to the mind aspect of personality, and is connected to the heart, which is essentially the seat of the soul, and the ancient Greeks believed that the soul is where the intellect arises. Nasser Ghaemi shed light on the link between madness and genius when he reiterated Italian psychiatrist Cesare Lombroso’s equation: insanity

= genius. As shown by the example of Churchill, a sane insanity is necessary for wartime situations, and the example of Churchill is specific factual information that enforces the findings of Ghaemi. Transformations within the American electorate also appear to    be psychosocial and psychological. In a book titled The Emerging Democratic Majority, John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira predicted the rise of a majority progressive center in a post-industrial America, despite their complete misunderstanding of the religion of Islam. Donald Trump’s  election, however, demonstrates  the  insecurities many economically disadvantaged individuals in the American heartland have about a progressive and centrist America that is post-industrial.

But what Donald Trump essentially did was that he exploited the insecurities of those who have veered to the radical right, due to insecurities regarding a globalized world with globalized or internationalist elites and a post-industrial progressive center, in order to use his economic clout to undergo a personal process of power conversion, as described by Joseph Nye of Harvard. What Donald Trump is trying to do for himself and for his family is to convert economic clout into political prestige and higher social status, the way the Bush family did along with the Kennedy family a long time ago. Do not be surprised if there is a Trump dynasty in the works.

One particular issue of The Economist in 2016 had an incredibly interesting article about management theory. The article showed that most entities and individuals are now seeking to consolidate, meaning that they are merely seeking to keep what they have, as opposed to laying it all out to grow as individuals and as entities. In effect, consolidation leads to mergers and buy-outs, and, as a result,

there are a growth and fueling of oligarchies (a system in which wealth concentrates more and more in the hands of just a few individuals). The article in The Economist went on to argue that modern management theory is futile due to the various economic activities going on in the world, as well as the obsession with trends, as opposed to quality. It was Andrew Carnegie who said that business is the management of people. What is more important than data sheets, graphs, charts, and numbers is essentially people with unique hearts and minds, and this insight has been missing due to the eagerness of the masses in taking on higher management roles. It is more important to embrace Carnegie’s advice. Carnegie described business as the management of people, and thus, he emphasized the social aspect and the social responsibility that comes with business.

Quite frankly, much of the cutthroat behavior in our world today comes from the failure of reconciling religion with desire. And as a result, businesses are collapsing instead of growing. One article in a July 2017 issue of The New Republic magazine that reviewed Daniel Drezner’s book titled The Ideas Industry showed that a great number of businesses and corporations that were lauded for applying modern-day notions of capitalism, rather than applying classic and quite legitimate notions of capitalism, have actually collapsed and have not grown, despite belief in the contrary. Many people see religion as being a tradeoff for desire, or vice versa, whereas religions such as Islam, along the lines of Buddha’s teachings, actually outlined a middle path that reconciled religion with desire. Human qualities count more than material factors in the long run. After all, humor equals eros, and eros equals paradise. Emerson said the following about the lover: “The lover has no talent, no skill, which passes for quite nothing with his enamored maiden, however little she may possess of related faculty.” Because the ideal man is carefree, according to Sir Bertrand Russell, and because the ideal man is a lover, it follows that the ideal man is a lover who is also carefree. Emerson also said, “Revelation is the disclosure of the

soul.” And to quote Baudelaire, and to steal from Pankaj Mishra, “universal ruin” has become “apparent in the baseness of our hearts.” It would be interesting to explore whether supply creates demand, or if demand creates supply, which could be the “chicken or egg” question central to economics.

The myopic worldview that is now dominant throughout U.S. society can be connected to the influence of social media, but more so, to the influence of the mainstream media. Doris Graber, in a book titled Mass Media & American Politics, found that the mass media in all its various forms have now replaced parents and teachers as the “chief socializers” of the public. While the United States was easily able to handle Russian challenges in the Middle East during the Cold War, the United States is now stymied by Russian challenges to U.S. dominance in places like Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine. In The Future of Power, Joseph Nye of Harvard mentioned that the United States has set the international military framework for what can be called “The Great Game.” But because of the irrelevance of the material factor and the importance of the psychological factor, setting up the military framework alone cannot ensure victory in “The Great Game.” The mainstream media in the United States has essentially rendered the United States deficient in the full spectrum of power, as outlined by E.H. Carr, by negatively affecting the psychological aspect of American power capabilities. And while President Trump initially sought warmer relations with Russia, because of the zero-sum mentality that prevails on the part of major powers, Russia will take advantage of warmer ties to the detriment of the United States in Europe and the Middle East if    a U.S. outreach to Russia is not followed up with the continued improvement of relations and a common strategy. Therefore, while the media is important for free speech in the United States, and their rights to freedom of the press are ensured by the first amendment of the U.S. constitution, the U.S. mainstream media, backed by the military and corporate establishment, must communicate a clear agenda to the public, otherwise social media will allow for opinion

to dominate over facts.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the mainstream media in America continues to propagate a baseless form of Islamophobia, and thus it enforces the notion that mass media shapes public opinion as opposed to reacting to public opinion. The American media’s advancement of Islamophobia, one can argue, has led to the decline of America and the rise of Russia and China. One Afghan- American migrant from Russia told me that America and Russia are mirror images of one another. That seems to be true, given   the identical security tone vis-à-vis Islam of both major powers. Also, if you study George Bernard Shaw’s account of life in the Soviet Union before World War II, you will discover that life in the Soviet Union before World War II was identical to life in the United States before the latter’s relative decline compared to China. Because the United States and the former Soviet Union are so similar, the danger and the fear is that the United States might end up having the same destiny as the former Soviet Union, which is, in essence, collapse and disintegration. In turn, the security tone of both the United States and Russia has led to the erosion of human rights  within  both  countries.  After  Trump’s  election,  the  U.S. Department of Justice reported a 67 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims in America. The only difference in the treatment of Muslims from Obama to Trump is that Islamophobia went from being passive aggressive to blatantly aggressive. Islamophobia, in the long run, will be more detrimental to U.S. foreign policy than anything else. The natural appendage, or the other half, of internal balancing (the fostering and harnessing of  economic, political, and social resources of a nation to deal with external threats) is external balancing (addressing and then subduing external threats to a nation through proactive action and counteraction). Both internal balancing and external balancing are the main points and conclusions of domestic and foreign policy for any successful nation aside from the distribution of power. Islamophobia will hinder the United States’ ability to effectively manage external balancing, if it


But what essentially happened over the past fifteen years in America is that the leadership of the nation and the personalities surrounding America’s leadership allocated the economic, political, and social resources of the nation for self-benefit instead of addressing the most important issues of government, which are internal balancing and external balancing, and the deviation away from internal and external balancing for self-benefit and profit is the textbook definition of corruption. George Washington’s “Proclamation of Neutrality” in 1793 sought to keep the United States from becoming entangled with the balance-of-power alliance systems in Eurasia that were constantly changing and in flux, because keeping out of alliance systems would uphold the principle of non-interference in the affairs of foreign nations.

However, globalization and the preponderance of American influence in international affairs naturally led to entanglements that the United States finds itself in today. The United States, well into the 20th century, learned that global phenomena did not allow it to remain an isolationist nation. The entanglements the United States finds itself in today are not only political, but also social. Trade and commerce is one thing, and it is vital to conduct trade and commerce with different nations. But entanglements are different than transactional relationships, and as a result of entanglements, the United States found itself balancing one alliance system against another in different shapes and forms in the last fifteen years. The game changers in today’s “Great Game” are none other than China and the United States, and what China decided to do was join    the Britain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Pakistan, and the Pashtun Southern Afghanistan alliance in order to expand economically. President Obama began developing deeper ties with the European Union, India, Japan, and even Russia before the events in Ukraine created obstacles to the improvement of U.S.-Russian relations. Given the nature of Eurasian alliance systems based on the principle of balance of power and national interests, the United

States was better off abiding by George Washington’s Proclamation of Neutrality than getting involved. But power is the main currency in international relations, and because the United States surpasses all other nations in terms of hard and soft power, the United States had no choice but to assume the role of enforcer of world order and international balance of power. One of the rules of world order is enforcement. Lack of world order and the enforcement thereof would equate to global disorder. Without the United States, there would be no world order.

The United States, however, completely lost sight of internal and external balancing due to losing sight of what America’s national interests are after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Zalmay Khalilzad is the only one to blame for this. There were simply too many foreign interests influencing U.S. foreign policy after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The result of foreign influence was that government policies tailored mainly toward one side of the socioeconomic and sociopolitical spectrum, and thus, there was an absence of balance in domestic policies. Eurasian balance-of-power politics and alliance systems are things that the United States has to interfere with, considering that the decisions made by different nations are calculated based on national interests, whereas the United States – as the main enforcer of world order after World War II – made decisions based on social and global factors, and thus, domestic issues were ranked lower in terms of priority for a very long time.

Given that U.S. geopolitical ambitions and efforts at the beginning of the U.S. unipolar moment began in Afghanistan about fifteen years ago, efforts to reboot the U.S. unipolar moment will have to include Afghanistan as the focal point of such efforts. Mr. Trump  announced during his campaign that a U.S. presence  in Afghanistan is necessary in order to oversee Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and capability, an extremely wise and smart observation by a presidential candidate who had very little foreign policy knowledge when he was campaigning. It is possible that Mr. Trump is now

aware that the issue of Pakistan is tangential with the issue of India. What is bound to happen in Afghanistan, however, is a south-to- north movement pushed by China as a result of China’s support for Pakistan and China’s disdain for India. China’s ambitions and objectives in Afghanistan are completely transparent, and they are aimed at securing Afghanistan by any means necessary (including the use of the Taliban  and ISIS) in order to push forward what is known as “The Silk Road” project throughout the Eurasian continent. Any U.S. effort to successfully counter China’s south-to- north movement in Afghanistan will have to include cooperation with Russia. China has offered the United States to take part in  the Silk Road Initiative, but because there are doubts as to the intentions of the Chinese behind this project, the United States  has refused to join the initiative. The Indians have also refused to join China’s Silk Road Initiative. There are obvious and legitimate concerns as to what Chinese intentions are in regards to the Silk Road Initiative. Until now, China’s political economy has been protectionist, exploitative, as well mercantilist, and there is no sign that any of these Chinese tendencies are bound to change. Furthermore, the nationalization of the Chinese economy by the Chinese politburo, as well as Chinese “State Owned Enterprises (SOEs),” has had disastrous effects on foreign investment, and Chinese SOEs have hindered the development of a viable private sector in China. Without a viable private sector in China, there can be no middle class in China. According to Aristotle, the absence of a middle class will cause instability, as well as a gross disparity between rich and poor, and China could implode internally as a result of these socioeconomic factors. An assertive middle class that undermines the monopoly of Chinese SOEs can also transform China into a consumer economy seeking American goods and products. The nationalization of the Chinese economy and the chokehold on the Chinese economy maintained by Chinese SOEs have essentially strangled consumer preferences by forcing Chinese citizens to buy only Chinese products. Currency manipulation,

on the part of the Chinese, also forces Chinese consumers to buy domestically, and it is yet another method used to create barriers to further economic liberalization.

  • objectives and ambitions in Afghanistan, on the other hand, are absolutely unclear, given that U.S. efforts in Afghanistan started with a war against the Taliban and now might end with a peace agreement with the Taliban pushed by China and Pakistan that will not be to the benefit of Western nations in the long run. Russia, China, Pakistan, and Iran never believed that a U.S. presence in Afghanistan would endure, given geography and the essential nature of Afghanistan as being a quagmire for foreign visitors and past occupiers like Britain and the Soviet Union.

Once Mr. Trump realizes the costs and the limits to sustaining a U.S. presence in Afghanistan, the United States will transform into either a moderator or a non-actor within what is known as the “Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).”There is a possibility that the prolonged U.S. presence in Afghanistan was, to an extent, the result of an inability to accept the sunk costs of the Afghanistan effort by the Obama Administration. Nevertheless, accepting sunk costs is the first step in preventing future costs in Afghanistan, and given Mr. Trump’s economics acumen, Mr. Trump will most probably be able to take that first step, and thus “burden-sharing” in Afghanistan will be something that tops the agenda of Western nations for years to come.

In addition to the possible reduction of U.S. commitments under the Trump Administration to both Europe and East Asia, it should not come as a surprise if there is a complete and absolute U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan within four to eight years. What the complete and absolute withdrawal of U.S. resources in Afghanistan also achieves is a reallocation of American resources to vital U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf Region and Latin America, something that will most likely be lobbied for and supported by Mr. Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

As Hans Morgenthau once wrote, politics is an art more than

anything else. Given that music is the annihilation of the soul in order to create a new one, and given that music is art, and given that art is not only politics, but also the molding and shaping of various social forces (according to Mao), it then follows that politics is the annihilation of the soul in order to create a new one. The soul is the intellect, thus the intellect is in the heart, and the heart is the causation of the mind, and the combination of heart and mind is personality, and it is personalities that manage the internal and external balancing of nations. And because the mark of a talented musician and artist is absolute pitch, based on the studies done on Wittgenstein, it follows that the managers of internal and external balancing require absolute pitch. Without absolute pitch and artistic abilities, failures in the internal and external balancing of nations are inevitable. And because power over opinion follows from the proper management of internal and external balancing of a nation, it then follows that power over opinion also results from absolute pitch and artistic abilities. Sir Winston Churchill is probably the best example in modern times of an artistic individual who was able to handle external threats to his nation effectively and successfully.

In an obscure paper titled “Report on Manufactures” submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives on December 5, 1791, Alexander Hamilton began the conclusion of the report with the following line: “Let the situation of the manufacturing countries of Europe be compared in this particular, with that of Countries which only cultivate, and the disparity will be striking.” Later in the paper, he goes on: “In order to a better judgment of the means proper to be resorted to by the United States, it will be of use to advert to those which have been employed with success in other countries.” Aside from possibly suggesting a balance between both manufacturing and agricultural productivity (both of which are almost absent in the United States today), Hamilton went on to suggest a total of five things that would boost the U.S. economy:

  1. Tariffs on foreign manufactured products and agricultural products
  • Subsidies for agricultural production and manufacturing in the U.S.
    • The encouragement of the creation of intellectual property on the part of the U.S. government
    • Regulations on the inspection of U.S. manufactured products
    • Building infrastructure

The downturn in the U.S. economy, thus, was the result of a downturn in agricultural productivity, manufacturing productivity, and infrastructural development since Bill Clinton’s tenure as president. Instead of a balanced and fair distribution among agriculture, manufacturing, intellectual property development, and infrastructural development, Bill Clinton triggered a lopsided focus on intellectual property development at the expense of three other basic elements of economic development that Hamilton identified. Alexander Hamilton not only encouraged and recommended U.S. domestic manufacturing and agricultural productivity through the development of the nation’s infrastructure (internal balancing), he complemented both agricultural and manufacturing production with the founding of a national bank that attracted foreign capital. It    is important to note that recent increases of the interest rate by   the Federal Reserve are yet another sign of what Larry Summers called “secular stagnation.”Today, the Federal Reserve is the world’s central bank, and, given that the world’s economy is now a money- based economy, as opposed to a resource-based, economy, the Federal Reserve controls the world’s economy through the creation and the control of the world’s money supply. Hamilton believed American economic development would see itself through, as long as there was basic human security for American citizens, and thus, four elements of economic development would take place inside of America (security, employment, trade, and infrastructural development).

Americawasabalancebetween Alexander HamiltonandThomas Jefferson before it gradually evolved into a balance between Hobbes and Locke. In a letter written to President George Washington from

Monticello on September 9, 1792, Jefferson’s message was simple and clear: The American people must be extremely cautious and wary of Great Britain and Spain at all times (external balancing), because the British and the Spaniards constantly  hold  designs and intrigues aimed at undermining American power from both America’s north and south. The polarization of the world’s political spectrum that took place after the 2008 world financial crisis muted the nuances of opinion that were once traditional in the United States. Once the nuances of opinion are muted, people are left vulnerable and are sandwiched by a clash of opinions between opposite ends of the spectrum that have very little regard for detail, despite the fact that “the devil is in the detail.” The possibility of cultivating and bringing together various opinions for a consensus and compromise then diminishes.

The future will have to uncover and promote nuances that bring varying opinions together and close the polarization that has dictated international politics for at least the last eight years. During times of political and social disorder, societies often forget that the prosperity and success of societies, and the American system, in particular, has been based solely on a compromise between two nuanced, complex, and different opinions. In America’s case, the foundational compromise was one between Jefferson and Hamilton. Success in 2017 and beyond will depend, in large part, on the revival of the Jeffersonian-Hamiltonian compromise within America so that there is credibility attached to America’s promotion of diversity and pluralism abroad. Obviously, the world has become fragmented, and, as a result, each fragment of the world has sought to become unipolar and impose its will on the other fragments. People seem to have become lazy toward the synchronization of various viewpoints that would cultivate a lasting peace and a common strategy. The synchronization of various fragments of the world will require the United States to find partners in the endeavor. But the United States is in a unique position as a world superpower, and thus, the first step for the United States will be to determine an objective,

and to figure out how to accomplish the objective. Given that the objective of what is known as “The Great Game” is already clear, it is now necessary to turn as many anti-Western nations into pro-Western nations as possible. In a divided world, only China benefits, while everyone else suffers the consequences of division and social strife. And in order to extend U.S. sovereignty beyond borders and to form the “society of states,” or the international government that philosophers, such as Sir Bertrand Russell and Hedley Bull, have called for in the past, one must determine the starting point for such efforts, and the starting point is nothing other than identifying the most crucial pivot points on the world map. Zbigniew Brzezinski, in the 1990s, saw the world as having ten pivot points when he wrote The Grand Chessboard, whereas now one can argue that there are only four, and thus, the spark  that the world needs for progress is easier to achieve than before. Today’s pivot points are none other than Syria, Ukraine, Pakistan, and North Korea. By addressing these four pivot points through diplomatic means, the world’s major powers (Russia, China, and the United States) would essentially cement the institutions and the processes that would serve as the basis for an international government, and then ultimately deal with the issue of Iran.

At the moment, there is no other power that has the potential to reach peer power status with the United States, aside from China. Indeed, there are differences between the United States and China that can be resolved. But for the most part, the United States and China are experiencing almost the same phenomena internally, as well as externally, and as a result, they are bound to clash, according to University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer. The one thing that bonded the United States and China together during   the Cold War was both countries’ wariness and concerns about patterns of Russian aggression. The biggest blunder of the Obama Administration was to not address the Chinese ascendance earlier, and it is a blunder that President Trump must avoid. Mr. Trump’s role within the American political machinery is essentially to

strengthen the American economy, given that strong economics lead to a strong military, according to Paul Kennedy. Nevertheless, it is important for Mr. Trump to shift between both offensive and defensive postures during his presidency, and to be aware as to when and how the shifting should take place.

Then there is the issue of how to deal with Russia, given the rise of China. There is a possibility that Mr. Trump’s current friendliness toward Russia is a tactic in fending off Russia at a time of internal balancing for the United States, and that is something any reasonable person would promote. But friendliness toward Russia, according to Kissinger’s Cold War Doctrine, needs to be complemented with friendliness toward China; otherwise, detente with Russia will not achieve the goal of strengthening the United States. (Read Kissinger’s  World  Order,  as  well  as  the  history of Nixon’s simultaneous detente with both Russia and China.) Despite the demise of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, at the heart of international politics and relations in this day and age is the continued “Great Game” between Moscow (historically the champion of radical ideology and communism) and Washington (the champion of religious freedom, cultural freedom, and capitalist economics in modern times), with Beijing acting as the balancer, game changer, and the wild card. The winner of today’s “Great Game” will be the one who forges the friendliest ties with the Muslim world and the resource-rich countries of the Third World. The management, performance, and execution of U.S. Cold War doctrine, as developed by Kissinger and Brzezinski, is a delicate dance that contains both rules, as well as the demand for artfulness that can only be achieved through what Kissinger called “a spiritual connection” with Eurasia. America must discover and groom individuals that have a spiritual connection with Eurasia; otherwise, the United States’ international standing will falter.

Given that the foundation of American liberty and society is based on John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianism, as manifested by Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, strategy then becomes a

matter of four elements: the nature of the strategy itself, the objectives that one seeks to accomplish through the execution of a strategy, identifying and coping with the challenges that emerge as the strategy unfolds, and the opportunities that arise in accomplishing the objectives through the course of executing a strategy. With that said, it becomes a matter of curiosity as to whether Donald Trump’s soft rhetoric and sentiment toward Russia is the strategy to some bigger objective that no one can see at the moment, or whether detente (the warming of relations) with Russia is the objective. There are some, if not many, individuals who argue or insinuate that Mr. Trump seeks detente as the objective of his policy toward Russia, rather than a strategy.They used his appointment of Michael Flynn, as well as Donald Trump Jr.’s statements about how Russia forms “a disproportionate amount” of Trump assets, as evidence to argue that Russia and Trump are bedfellows, and thus, detente with Russia is Trump’s main foreign policy objective.

Others cite detente with Russia as a means of weakening Russia’s position geopolitically, especially in places like the Middle East, given the success the Obama Administration had with somewhat balancing the playing field in Syria between opposition forces and Assad after the Obama Administration talked Russia into removing chemical weapons out of Assad’s control in 2013. But given that Russia has had continued success in gradually pulling Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Turkey, Gulf Arab states, and China through oil and gas deals out of America’s grip and forming a de facto “Eastern bloc” that does not align with the United States’ global interests, it is hard to conclude that detente as a strategy or an objective will actually help the United States in regaining an upper hand over Russia in international affairs. Detente might actually enable Russia to extract concessions from the United States and thus, weaken America’s position, as opposed to strengthen it. It is critical that detente with Russia, if pursued by the Trump Administration, be played slowly and softly, as opposed to wholeheartedly, given that the history of detente with Russia demonstrates that the Russians took advantage

of U.S.-led detente during the Carter and Nixon Administrations by launching an invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and fueling the communist Tudeh Party before the fall of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in that same year. Given the consensus building within the Eastern world over Syria that Russia seeks to cement in conferences like Astana, it appears as though Russia is already taking advantage of Mr. Trump’s Russia stance.

Détente with Russia, while serving as a means of fending off Russian aggression in the Western Hemisphere during a time of internal balancing for the United States, may lead to American losses in places like the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. If the United States is willing to incur managed losses in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe in the short term in order to undergo internal balancing and then push back against Russian advances in the long-run, then detente becomes a strategy in strengthening America’s position in the world vis-à-vis Russia. But if Mr. Trump decides to relinquish the Eastern World to Russia and is willing to live with a divided world in which Russia rules the East and America tentatively manages the Western World, then detente for the United States, tragically, becomes the objective. It would be better if the United States were involved in Eurasia through Russia than being opposed to Russia and having to withdraw from space that China would fill.

Being involved in Eurasia through Russia, as well as a collection of smaller nations, will have to begin on an economic platform that should slowly evolve into a development plan that seeks to ensure basic human rights. Fareed Zakaria once reported on CNN that Finland is beginning to work on a basic income scheme on    a sample group, and if the scheme works, Finland will extend the scheme and program to its entire population. Basic income is one way of closing the gap and the disparity between the wealthy and the disadvantaged in the United States and in other countries, and Finland is one country whose system was hit hard by the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 that stemmed from U.S. negligence in the management of its financial system, which is connected to virtually

all other countries. One particular article in Foreign Policy in 2012 argued that the main beneficiaries of the 2007 to 2008 global financial meltdown were the Netherlands, Germany, and  China. In the case of the Netherlands and Germany, many of the toxic financial products that the United States sold and offered were bought and then sold to countries throughout Europe by Dutch and German banks. Because the Netherlands and Germany were able to effectively capitalize off the global financial crisis, Southern European countries, like Italy and Greece, became even more economically dependent on Northern European countries, like France, the Netherlands, and Germany. In the case of China, a plethora of cash prompted the Chinese to offer loans with very low interest rates, and this practice of offering loans below the market interest rate by the Chinese is what forced financial institutions   in the United States to become desperate and thus, compete with Chinese banks by engaging in shady practices that ended up backfiring.

Aside from the Netherlands, Germany, and China, everyone else seems to have suffered from the global financial meltdown of 2007 and 2008. And what the global financial crisis did for Germany was that it provided the German economy with a fiscal cushion, which, as of the year 2016, has translated into an approximately

$300 billion-dollar trade surplus compared to countries, according to a July 2017 issue of The Economist. On the other hand, Iceland virtually collapsed as a country, and Finland’s people lost pensions, and, as a result, many Finns became dependent on government handouts, and this Finnish tragedy prompted social welfare schemes, such as basic guaranteed income. What social responsibility and accountability dictates is that governments and corporations come up with programs like basic income so that disadvantaged groups and individuals are ensured basic economic rights, such as food, clothing, and shelter, as dictated by the United Nations Charter and the UN Declaration of Human Rights. As a signatory of the UN Charter, the United States is obligated under international law

to comply with the dictates of the UN Charter, which begins with ensuring basic economic rights for its citizens so that the political and social rights of individuals and groups are not undermined   by their governments. If one takes a philosophical and religious perspective to governance, one would arrive at the conclusion that the sole duty of government is to preserve the basic rights that God has granted freely to mankind through the creation of what is known as “natural law.” Furthermore, treaties like the UN Charter are law in the U.S. system, and international law is the equivalent of the U.S. Constitution and its derivatives. The enforcement of these laws enables the success of a broad-based political agenda that Kissinger outlined in a book titled World  Order, and the agenda  is called “The Promised Land of Politics.” This Promised Land of Politics contains five major features:

  1. The end of the Cold War with Russia
    1. Re-definition of the Atlantic Alliance
    1. Partnership with China
    1. Middle East Peace
    1. Beginning of Russia’s reintegration into the international order

Kissinger also notes that accomplishing political objectives will require abandoning “old diplomacy,” based on strategies for hegemony, and adopting “new diplomacy,” based on principles. Given that the international order collectively derives its principles from the UN Charter and in turn from natural law, the United States must first start with ensuring basic income and basic economic rights, as outlined by the UN Charter for its own citizens, before  it can embark on a journey toward Kissinger’s Promised Land of Politics. An American strategy that includes the integration of Russia into the international order will further enable the United States to address both direct and indirect confrontations with China in the future. China’s ambassador to the United States, in a recent speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC, warned of Chinese-backed proxy

wars against the United States throughout the world if the United States does not concede to Chinese demands such as Taiwan and the management of the South China Sea. The geopolitical game around the globe is such that China is locked in proxy wars all throughout the globe.

Resolving crises in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq with the help of a major international partner like Russia, and at the same time withdrawing from Afghanistan, allows America to build on what President Obama started, which is a focus on America’s own neighborhood, as well as China. The Monroe Doctrine has already delineated the entire Western Hemisphere, as America’s own neighborhood and security zone, and given Cuba’s recent flirtation with Russia to perform a repeat of what is known as “The Cuban Missile Crisis,” a consistent and coherent national security strategy on the part of the United States is vital. There is little doubt that    a Trump Administration will build on what President Obama started in ensuring U.S. security within the Western Hemisphere, especially with recent developments in near-abroad countries like Cuba, Colombia, Brazil, and Venezuela.

History will be a beneficial tool in understanding the various debates and policy prescriptions that influenced U.S. foreign policy in the past and could well in fact influence the shaping of

U.S. foreign policy in the future. At the peak of a major national disaster, which is infamously known in American history as “The Vietnam War,” the political scientist Hans Morgenthau published a book titled A New Foreign Policy For The United States, and    it was published in 1969. At about the same time Morgenthau’s book was published, U.S. President Richard Nixon implemented   a withdrawal plan from Vietnam that came to its conclusion in 1975 with a full U.S. withdrawal. The United States was unable to prevent the nationalist takeover of Vietnam, despite years and years of effort.

Morgenthau may have sensed the inevitability of the U.S. failure in Vietnam, which, in turn, prompted him to publish the

book titled A New Foreign Policy For The United States. In the book, Morgenthau urges U.S. policymakers to take into account “five major issues and seven guiding principles.” The first issue Morgenthau identified is the breakdown of supra-nationalism within the alliance structure between the United States and Europe. Morgenthau saw that supra-nationalism had been replaced by nationalism, and he believed it was important for the United States to mitigate nationalist tendencies in Europe, as well as other nations.

The second issue is that of communism, Russia, and the inroads that Russia made in the Third World. The only choice the United States had that would lead to success, according to Morgenthau, was competition with Russia in the Third World. While the competition between the United States and Russia continues in  the Third World even to this day, stiffer competition in the Third World against the United States comes from China.

The third issue, however, somewhat contradicts the second issue in the sense that Morgenthau implores U.S. policymakers to distinguish between what is essential and what is desirable, and to go even further by making a distinction between what is desirable and what is possible. The goals and the objectives of the United States are tempered, and at times hampered, by capabilities or the lack thereof, according to Morgenthau.

The fourth issue is that of nuclear power and the need to prevent both nuclear arms races, as well as nuclear proliferation. Aside from deterrence, Morgenthau argued that nuclear weapons have no other use and should be eliminated to the extent that is possible.

The fifth and final issue of major importance is the determination of priorities in U.S. foreign policy. Given the costs that the United States incurred as a result of Afghanistan and Iraq and the need   to recover from those costs, all priorities subsequent to these two Middle Eastern conflicts must be curtailed, arranged, and modified by both essentiality and possibility.

At the end of the book, Morgenthau identifies seven essential

principles that must guide U.S. foreign policy at all times. The first and foremost of the principles is the security of U.S. territories  and institutions, which obviously needs to be ensured through a military framework, which in turn can only be sustained through  a healthy economy. The second principle is maintaining the “health and attractiveness” of American society, which, according to Morgenthau, is the only way to win an ideological war against competitors like China, who offer a different model of development to the Third World. The third principle is effective diplomacy and strong conventional forces in order to prevent what  he  called “the suicidal absurdity of nuclear war.” The fourth principle follows from the third, in the sense that diplomacy must lead       to accommodation and compromise with other nations, and the only way to reach accommodation and compromise is through  the “ideological decontamination” of U.S. foreign policy. Instead of taking “ideological coloration” into consideration, the United States, according to Morgenthau, should be asking only one question in the process of forming its policies: Do the policies serve the security interests of the United States? The fifth principle is the merging of domestic and foreign policy through “creating a society at home, which can, again, serve as a model for other nations to emulate.” The sixth principle is that all policies have to minimize the possibility of nuclear war. And finally, the seventh principle is the use of the United Nations in advancing multilateral diplomacy between nations, which in turn will minimize hostilities between nations.

Morgenthau’s book, although written during the Vietnam War, contains substance that applies to today’s global political situation. For one, the competition the United States faces from Russia and ChinaintheThird Worldcontinues,eventothisday.Afghanistan and Iraq have taxed American society with costs that far outweigh those stemming from Vietnam. The United States is now approximately

20 trillion dollars in debt. Brexit in 2016 inflamed nationalist tendencies in Europe at a time when supra-nationalism is needed

to address global issues and the threat posed from a rising China. Barack Obama amassed U.S. troops along the Polish border with Baltic States in Eastern Europe before leaving office in an effort to counter what the United States has identified as Russian aggression. Samantha Power, upon leaving her post as U.S. Ambassador to the

U.N. a few days before Trump’s inauguration, warned the world of Russian aggression in the coming future. Donald Trump is now the President of the United States, and he will undoubtedly assess both the issues and the principles of U.S. foreign policy in a matter that is different than his predecessors. However, it would also be wise to take into account what Sir Winston Churchill wrote toward the end of World War II. Churchill wrote: “The only hope for the world is the agreement of the Great Powers. If they quarrel, our children are undone.” The past, although it is the past, is as present as ever before. As William Faulkner said: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” And even if the United States does not get all major powers on board with a common strategy, Bismarck’s “Rule of Five” dictates that in a group of five, one will need a total of three to tilt the balance of power against the opposing two. With Britain in disarray and the European Union in political and fiscal chaos, the United States will ultimately look for major power stability through improved relations with Russia and China.

Today’s  equivalent  of  Hans  Morgenthau  is  Richard  Haass, who is currently the president of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and was the director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department under George W. Bush. Haass, in a new book titled   A World in Disarray, outlined the six main dimensions of world order: economics, diplomatic efforts, strategy, politics, legal structures, and enforcement. Haass also explained the three-point criteria for world order, which includes a “widely shared definition” of international rules and principles, “the existence of a broadly process for setting, adjusting, and applying” the rules and principles dictating international norms, and finally, “a balance of power.” But what Haass suggested in the first chapter of his book was most

profound. Haass stated as a main point that world order has more to do with internal peace within powerful countries than with the military or economic means which they employ in order to maintain world order. Policymakers and politicians would be wise to heed the points Richard Haass makes in his latest book. In addition to Haass, Professor G. John Ikenberry – one of the world’s foremost experts in multilateralism and U.S. foreign policy – recently wrote an article in the May/June 2017 edition of Foreign Affairs, and he outlined the five basic beliefs upon which the U.S.-led international order is predicated: internationalism (U.S. leadership around the world, as opposed to isolationism), open trade, multilateral rules and institutions, multiculturalism and an “open character” for American society, and democracy around the world. Professor Ikenberry also noted that the challenge in the Trump era will be to uphold these basic beliefs and values and to refrain from the “soulless capitalism” (a phrase coined by Barack Obama) that has taken grip of the world in recent times.

The historian E.H. Carr suggested a starting point for the salvation of future generations. In a book titled Conditions of Peace, Carr’s main message was that there would need to be an international “planning authority” that pools together the world’s military and economic resources for the moral purpose of raising standards of living throughout the world. America, given that it was the world’s sole superpower after World War II, sought to establish security and economic development throughout the world through the creation of NATO and the advancement of what is known as “The Marshall Plan,” not just in Europe, but also in the Third World. Odd Arne Westad identified “freedom” and “security” as the driving forces of

U.S. foreign policy. The five major developments in international affairs since the end of World War II, according to David Painter and Melvin Leffler, have been great power rivalries, changes in the technology of warfare, transnational ideological conflict, reform and reconstruction of the world capitalist system, and movements of national liberation. The effects of these developments, according

to David Painter and Melvin Leffler, have been tension between the United States and Russia, arms races between adversaries, polarizing domestic and international politics, and the splitting of the world into military and political blocs. And one may argue that the intent behind the splitting of the world into blocs by countries like Russia, Iran, and China was to challenge U.S. global reach. Maintaining U.S. global reach will ultimately depend on a wise and complex strategy that gradually picks apart the various “Gordian knots” that have strained relations among the United States, Russia, and China for many decades. “If there is a will, there is a way.”





he conclusion, the secret, as well as the paradox of world order is that there is no such thing as world order, nor has it ever existed. The fact that a global

world order does not exist is what may have prompted Kenneth Waltz to characterize the international system as “anarchic” in his famous levels of analysis, despite the creation of the Westphalian order, the creation of the state system, and the creation of the U.S.-led international liberal order after World War  II. Yet  there  is a need to establish world order, and the establishment of world order through using the full spectrum of material and psychological resources at one’s disposal is the difference between war and peace. Because the current state system has failed to provide world order and has only led to the creation of nuclear weapons and more vicious means of annihilating one another, Morgenthau proposed that there is an urgent need for the creation of a “supranational community of individuals” that exercises authority over states. This supranational community of individuals, in this day and age, will have to decide whether nefarious states, like Iran and North Korea, should continue to exist or cease to exist. Nevertheless, the reality, as Kissinger describes it, is that the nature of international relations is one of multiplicity and the need for restraint, which in turn requires every superpower to eventually address either the issue of their legitimacy or to address the issue of the international balance of power structure, and thus the distribution of power between the variety of states within the international community.

Furthermore, the starting point of global disarray at this moment in time is the lack of internal unity, as well as instability, within the United States as a result of wars, social ills, and financial crises that had destabilizing effects throughout the U.S.-led international world order. But given that world order is necessary for peace and international security, and that the United States is the manager

of world order as a result of its preeminence in both hard and    soft power, the world will reflect whatever situation exists within the United States. Thus, the United States will have to design a common strategy with a common objective at a time when the United States is undergoing relative decline in the face of a rising China that seeks to compete with the United States on a global stage. Nor can there be two kings in one kingdom, and thus, the United States will have to use whatever means are at its disposal to mitigate the world’s multipolar situation such that the United States retains its preeminence in international affairs. Despite U.S. relative decline in the face of a rising China, Barack Obama never doubted America’s exceptional position in the world, and he was a steadfast believer in what is known as “American exceptionalism.” By adjusting the strategy in dealing with U.S. relative decline, American exceptionalism can once again be vindicated.

The introduction of this book included a quote from Henry Kissinger, and it will end with a brief discussion of Kissinger, given that he was, in fact, the one individual credited with giving the United States a foreign policy direction at a time when the United States was undergoing what was known as the “Vietnam Syndrome,” and coincidentally, the United States had lost virtually all sense of direction in international affairs.Kissinger was apparently reluctant to join government under the Nixon Administration, but ultimately decided to do so in order to advance what can be called Kissinger’s “personal agenda.” In an article written for the May/ June 2017 edition of The National Interest, Barry Gewen explains that Kissinger’s personal agenda contained four major elements. First of all, Kissinger sought to prevent a nuclear war from breaking out between the U.S. and the Russians. Secondly, Kissinger sought to establish a balance of power between the Western  world, led  by the United States, and the Eastern world, dominated by the Russians. Thirdly, Kissinger gave priority to national interests and thought it was important that any foreign policy calculus should take into account the national interest of both the United States,

as well as those of other nations. And fourth, Kissinger sought the development of international institutions that would eventually develop into a network of international governance. Kissinger’s interest in international institutions shows that while national interests trump international law, elite and internationalist interests often trump and shape national interests. Aside from being credited for providing direction and purpose to U.S. foreign policy, Kissinger is also credited for having helped the United States avert a war with the Soviet Union that would have led to mutual annihilation. By helping the United States to avert nuclear war with the Soviet Union, Kissinger enabled both the Eastern bloc led by the Russians and the Western bloc led by the United States to develop into what each was bound to become. In the case of the U.S., Kissinger’s personal agenda enabled the U.S. to become the superpower that it is today, while the same agenda forced the U.S.S.R. to acknowledge its internal defects that were ultimately unfixable and were the cause for its structural collapse. In a deeper sense, Kissinger’s engagement with the U.S.S.R. led to the latter’s collapse. The re-implementation of Kissinger’s personal agenda, with certain amendments, in today’s international political context might lead to the structural collapse of China, if implemented artfully and correctly. And a structural collapse of China will logically lead to a collapse of the North Korean regime, which some argue poses the biggest existential threat to the United States and a number of U.S. allies such, as Japan and South Korea.

Because of increasing Chinese competition against the United States, the choice between “retrenchment” and “intervention” for the United States, on a global stage, is obvious and must be in favor of the latter. Furthermore, the choice between retrenchment and intervention is a choice between either reacting to China’s rise when it is too late and thus, resorting to a destructive war, or proactively reacting to China through a productive and constructive development plan that spans the globe. A moderate containment plan against China that has international development as its

hallmark feature will be the way to avoid the historic “Thucydides’ Trap,” in which a declining U.S. goes to war with a rising China and triggers the catastrophic use of a triad of weapons that are nuclear, conventional, and cyber in nature. In order to sustain world order, the United States will have to bring order and stability within itself, first and foremost, through internal unity and the resolution of domestic disputes. Furthermore, power plus principles equals legitimacy in international affairs, and the combination of both power and principles has sustained America’s superpower status up until this point. But the credibility of the United States internationally lies in its sustenance of principles that form the bedrock of its identity, and, since World War II, the United States has become identical with the maintenance of world order for    the sake of both U.S. national security, as well as global peace and stability. In a nutshell, the main goal of international politics and relations will ultimately be to avoid the infamous “Thucydides’ Trap” that may lead a declining United States into a catastrophic war with a rising China. And to attain this goal, the method will  be interaction between the United States and Russia, in addition  to the United States interacting with an array of smaller nations.  If the United States fails to constructively interact with as many smaller nations as possible, the result will ultimately be a net loss for the United States in favor of China. From a fiscal standpoint, China has grown to the extent that it has now unveiled a nine trillion-dollar bond market to foreign investors in July 2017. This is just one symbol of China’s rise and growing competition with the United States. E.H. Carr, in Nationalism and After, explained that in a world of interdependence, interconnection, and great power politics, smaller nations cannot claim independence, nor can they claim self-determination in the face of larger and greater powers. If the United States, through inaction or otherwise, does not seek to influence smaller nations, the Chinese will seize the opportunity to do so.What is at stake is the global power status of the United States, and coincidentally, the reality is such that only global powers, like

the United States, can keep regional powers, like Russia, Iran, and China, from becoming regional or even global hegemons. While there is room for a balance of power within the international system, the failure to address attempts of other nations, like Russia, Iran, or China, to become regional or even global hegemonic powers would be detrimental to a great number of nations around the world.

As the Austrian Jewish philosopher Otto Weininger once wrote, criminality and insanity occurs when people lose touch with natural principles, or natural law. As subjective at it may seem, Albert Einstein implied in his writings that the goal is collective security for the common good so that the world can finally become a place of permanent rest, relaxation, and peace for all people. Today’s complex social, economic, and political  global  context  requires a common strategy and common objective that, in the short- to medium-term, addresses the issue of terrorism, which is a symptom of a cause that can correctly be classified as anti-Western sentiment stemming from the Eurasian drug trade. The long-term objective, obviously, is addressing the rise of China.

The issue of U.S. relative decline and the rise of China is, essentially, an issue of U.S. political decay. And given that U.S. political decay undermines international security, and with security being the necessary factor for economic progress, it follows that the absence of economic progress in the United States leads to political and social decline globally. For the United States, internal decay and decline means the breakdown of a world that it must manage. The revitalization of American society and reassertion of American influence around the world are the only means by which the Western world can negate both E.H. Carr’s prophecy that “only the West is in decline,” as well as effectively address the rise of a China that seeks to capitalize off global disorder. At this critical juncture of world history, the United States can either throw in the towel and then let decline turn into collapse, or the American people can muster up some willpower as a whole by first engaging in a process of national reconciliation aimed at forgiving one another for having

a lack of strategic guidance, and then realizing that America is very much close to the finish line. As Heraclitus said, even if your country treated you badly, treat your country the way you would treat your mother. The main issue, as Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney would put it, is to save the world from itself. In full consideration of U.S. interests, the United States must first crush Afghan corruption by engaging with China, and then the United States can do whatever it wants in conjunction with China.



  1. Kant, “To Eternal Peace”, (1795)
  2. Fukuyama, Political Order and Political Decay, (2014), Pg. 534.
  3. “Zeid warns of total collapse in Yemen, calls for urgent protection of civilians” < aspx>
  4. Kissinger, World Order, (2014), Pg. 366.
  5. Derick W. Brinkerhoff, Ed. Governance in Post-Conflict Societies: Rebuilding Fragile States. (London and New York: Routledge, 2007), 5.
  6. Suhrke, Pg. 5-6
  7. Ibid
  8. Suhrke, Pg. 6
  9. Suhrke, Pg. 8
  10. Nicole Ball,  “Democratic  Governance  and  the  Security  Sector  in Conflict-affected Countries,” in Governance in Post-Conflict Societies: Rebuilding Fragile States, edited by Derick W. Brinkerhoff (London and New York: Routledge, 2007), 86.
  11. Derick W. Brinkerhoff, Ed. Governance in Post-Conflict Societies: Rebuilding Fragile States. (London and New York: Routledge, 2007), Page 5.
  12. E.H. Carr, What is History? (New York: Random House, Inc., 1961), 29.
  13. E.H. Carr, Nationalism and After (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1945), 61.
  14. Bob Woodward, Bush at War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002), 31.
  15. James Dobbins, After the Taliban: Nation-Building in Afghanistan (Washington, D.C., Potomac Books, Inc., 2008), 96.
  16. Brinkerhoff, Governance in Post-Conflict Societies, 2.