Heating up the global system, by Prof. Abubakar Liman

Professor Abubakar Aliyu Liman
Professor Abubakar Aliyu Liman

Once again, this space is forced to x-ray some very disturbing developments on the global scene. Everybody watching happenings in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world must be worried over the direction in which the key players are pushing the world.

Let us begin by attempting to understand the game plans of the masters of the universe. We should definitely become concerned about the potential triggers of global instability. There is no gainsaying the fact that Middle East is strategically important to rest of the world. The region is until now the energy nerve center of the world. The Middle East is of course the gateway to major civilizational currents as well as the epicenter of conflicts of historical proportions. Hence, it has been the theatre of earth-shaking events that are currently unfolding before us.

For reasons best known to the President of United States of America, he has decided to ignore all what Middle East is to the rest of the world through his single-minded determination to rewrite history. Mr. Trump is refusing to acknowledge the competing narratives in the story of the centuries old pestering problems in the region. He also refuses to come to terms with changing realities of the day, and the need to exercise restrain considering the leadership role of the United States in the postwar world. Instead, Mr. Trump has deliberately chosen to be recklessly overzealousness in his bid to execute the very contentious agenda of handing over Jerusalem exclusively to the Zionist state of Israel in contradistinction to the actual position of history. With a single stroke of the pen, he has cancelled a Security Council position in which it reaffirmed the General Assembly’s resolution 181 on the Palestinian question and the status of Jerusalem. By implication, Mr. Trump has erased the rights of Palestinians to have East Jerusalem as the future capital of Palestine in the so-called two states solution that everybody is hankering after. In this American revisionism, Palestinians are no longer the most important stakeholders in the question of Palestine or the status of Jerusalem, but the Zionist State of Israel.

How does this come about? If you really want to know how, all you need to do is to look no further than the negative politics of the Sheikdoms of the Arabian Peninsula. In particular, you should examine the role Saudi Arabian monarchy has been playing in the sad episode of Middle Eastern history. Saudi Arabia is a country that was created almost at the same time with Israel by colonial forces of occupation. The Siamese twins of Saudi Arabia and Israel were created for the expressed purpose of executing imperialist agenda in the region. They were specifically created as a launchpad for the control of Muslim lands and resources as envisioned in Sykes Picot agreement and Balfour Declaration. This happened in the earlier parts of the 20th century. Again, if you want to understand why Saudi Arabia was created by Britain, you should look at its destructive roles in the Middle East and in the rest of the Muslim world. Or are we going to deny the havoc wrought by its inhuman ideology of Wahhabism? That ideology was created from the puritan teachings of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the leading clergy who in turn had drawn his inspiration mainly from the teachings of Sheikh Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah.     

Two other flashpoints that would potentially trigger crisis of global magnitude are Russia and China. Putin’s Russia is regaining its national confidence. The collapse of Soviet Union and the cessation of cold war between Eastern and Western spheres of influence have led to serious crisis of legitimacy and uncertainty in Russia, the former leader of the communist world. It took the special grace of Putin to restore a sense of national pride to Russians, something that was lost in the tumultuous transition period between residual communism and emergent capitalist oligarchy. The emergence of Vladimir Putin has tremendously rejuvenated the different facets of social life of the Russian nation. Resurging Russia is however sending mixed signals and jitters across Western Europe, the home of old-fashioned monopoly capitalism. It appears that Europe and America are still basking in their victory over the hoisting of the flag of unbridled liberal capitalist order in the world when suddenly Russia reemerged from the ashes of its communist past. The West did not anticipate the resurgence and consequent rising profile of Russia in the world after the total collapse of the socialist East. This development is happening at a time when United States has found itself gradually inching towards unilateralism and exceptionalism in its relations with the rest of the world, a worrying development that has become so glaring with the emergence of President Donald Trump.

Thus, both the United States and its NATO allies are not prepared for the resurgent Russia, which is elsewhere checkmating American unipolar ambitions. This is the thrust of the new Russia’s foreign policy engagements on a global scale. The test case for Russian reassertion is obviously Syria. It is in Syria where all the different global players have converged to stake their jokers as they locked horns in the wars of hegemonic control and counterhegemonic resistance. On one side of the divide is United States, major Western European powers, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. On the other side are the combined forces of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, entities that are resisting the hegemonic overreach of United States and its NATO allies, in particular, Britain and France. The axis of resistance as they call themselves are not willing to accept the strategic maneuvers of the United States in the region any longer, especially after the total destruction of Iraq and Libya. Israel their key ally in the region is also reneging on its commitments to peace in the occupied territories, and indeed in its subtle fanning of the embers of ideological conflicts, instability and violence that are gripping the entire Muslim world.    

As the defeat of ISIS terrorists and mercenaries assembled in Syria and Iraq is becoming visibly imminent, the trio of United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia are elsewhere expressing their desperation and fears in terms of their unleashing of more violence and destruction. United States is taking to exceptionalism in its dealings with both its friends and foes. This is in addition to its abandonment or withdrawal from global institutions, structures and the liberal values it has assiduously labored to establish after the Second World War, as in the case of its current withdrawal from the JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran. Israel is on its part becoming more bullish, roguish and violent in its relations with its neighbors, particularly in its activities in the occupied Palestine. As for Saudi Arabia, it is only now that it has become clear to interested observers that its existential mission was mainly to cause dissension and disunity in the Muslim world in the way it goes about promoting its inhuman ideology, and in its reckless geopolitics in the region. And for all intents and purposes it is stirring the hornet’s nest that would ultimately consume the kingdom. Syria and Yemen are typical examples of what the role of Saudi Arabia is in the destabilization of the opponents of imperialism and Zionism in the Middle East, and in other sections of the Muslim world.

China is another bulwark, a spike in the cog of the sole surviving superpower, against the United States. As China rises the United States is however slowly coming to terms with the limitations of its unipolar ambitions, despite Trump’s dangerous approach to the idea of reasserting American global hegemony through military adventures, trade wars and deliberate undermining of United Nations’ institutions and treaties regulating global conflicts. While Russia signals its resistance to United States through its military muscles, China is more inclined to contesting global economic spaces that have been until now occupied and controlled by the West through its mastery of the applications of scientific knowledge and technology. China is proving to be more than a match for western powers going by the way it challenges their economic dominance of the world. China is charting its own independent course through its newfound industrial clout, which can only be protected and sustained through the development of counterhegemonic institutions, such as the new development bank sponsored by the new BRICS bloc. The other potentially explosive issue is in China’s current willingness to dumb the dollar as the main currency of global economic exchanges by ensuring the acceptance of its own Yuan as a means of global exchange, all due to its sheer economic strength.

As it is, America needs to come to terms with the emergent multipolar centers of power that have sprang up due to a combination of different historical factors. We should just pray that reason would eventually prevail in this moment of transition. We certainly need God’s intervention to ensure that all parties in the divide do not continue to do things that are pushing the world into a major cataclysm. The epochal socio-political changes unfolding in the world are everywhere underscored by the refusal of the last remaining superpower to accept the limits of its powers and influence due to the multipolar realities of the day.