The United States has made important achievements in foreign policy, the likes of which have not been seen since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It has redefined its interests in terms of national security and seeks to impose a new world order in which the countries of the European Union and the Atlantic Alliance become active players.
- All of them have assumed that the threats to Western hegemony come from China and Russia.
- Their partners and allies agreed to increase military spending to 2% or more of GDP, where the German rearmament, of sad memory for the French and other European countries, stands out.
- Almost all NATO countries align against Russian aggression, extending NATO to Sweden and Finland.
- The influence of the Asia Pacific military command is increased by involving Australia, the United Kingdom, and Washington in the AUKUS, which will add nuclear submarines to Canberra.
- The rearmament of Japan, the only country to have suffered the horrors of two atomic bombs and which seriously worries China and Koreans because of its colonial past, together with the increase in US military cooperation with the Philippines, plus the 30,000 troops deployed since 1953 in South Korea.
This major shift by Western countries responds to the logic of power and realism in international politics, already described by theorists in the 20th century. The strongest imposes conditions and guarantees the security of the weakest, who accept its hegemony. The United States convinced the EU that they could constitute a third pole of influence due to their economic, scientific and cultural wealth, but that, without cannons, they are useless. Another great victory is that both Republican and Democratic parties fully share this agenda and perceptions regarding curbing the global influence sought by China. Part of the credit for this new foreign policy goes to former President Donald Trump, who never tired of repeating to his partners that they were spending too little on defense and made no secret of his policy of making China the target of his criticism.
The 100th anniversary of the birth of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger serves as a reminder that he has pointed out that the cycles of the international order (based on the balance of power) have been shrinking. The peace brought about by the defeat of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna lasted 100 years. With the end of the Great War in 1918, Europe experienced the consequences of Versailles and an international disorder that led to the Second World War and the establishment of an order based on the vision of the victors and under two military blocs until the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
Then we entered a unipolar world that seemed to have a long life until suddenly China appeared. China grew under the wings of the United States, which has trained thousands of PhDs who entered its technological centers and transferred knowledge, deputizing, in a shorter time than projected by analysts, large geopolitical spaces. China uses a skillful combination of soft (the new Silk Road) and hard power (with the strengthening of its military capacity), as demonstrated by remembering that Taiwan is part of “One China.” And… what does the West's strategy intend to do with Russia, a country of 17.1 million square kilometres, 145 million inhabitants and nuclear power? Yugoslavize it?
This eventual new order has its counterpart not only in China and Russia but also in countries such as India, Brazil, South Africa, and Turkey. Turkey has been waiting to be admitted to the EU for almost 25 years. The new threats, such as climate change, deforestation, poverty, hunger, malnutrition, population growth, migration and others, occur in vast areas of the planet where China has sown influence for decades, without staging coups d'état and without installing military bases. Today we see a reaction and change in the United States and its European partners to get closer and curb the influence of China, which has become the first trading partner for countless countries.
Finally, some facts are intersecting: the upcoming elections in the United States, the war in Ukraine, the tensions in the Balkans, the deployment of tactical nuclear bombs in Belarus, the weakening of some government alliances in Europe and the global growth of the right wing. At some point in the U.S. presidential debate, the issue of whether it is worth continuing to fund the war in Ukraine will cross the table. Realism in international politics, where the Americans have great masters and also many isolationists, could lead some of the candidates to propose pragmatic decisions to bring the Russians and Ukrainians to the negotiating table, with the endorsement of NATO and China.