Cardi B and Nicki Minaj are feuding. Stormy Daniels has described Donald Trump’s penis for us. A big storm in North Carolina demanded 24/7 coverage, even if reporters had to fake it.
The Shanghai International Port Group is expected to take management of a new private seaport at Haifa, Israel in 2021, bringing a Chinese presence to one of the region’s strategic harbors. The move has been met with fierce resistance from Israeli longshoremen, and according to a new report, it could also have implications for the U.S. Navy’s operations in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Shaul Horev dropped a bombshell, but hardly anyone noticed. Horev, an Israel Defense Forces reservist brigadier general who has served, among other posts, as the navy chief of staff and chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, is currently director of the Research Center for Maritime Policy and Strategy at the University of Haifa. At the end of August, the center held a conference, to which participants from the United States were invited, to examine security issues relating to Israel and the Mediterranean region.
In an interview with the religious-Zionist media outlet Arutz Sheva, Prof. Horev noted that one topic that came up at the event was Chinese investments in Mediterranean ports, and in Israel in particular. Pointing out that a Chinese company will soon start operating Haifa Port, he said that Israel needs to create a mechanism that will examine Chinese investments to ensure that they do not put Israel’s security interests at risk.
“When China acquires ports,” Horev said, “it does so under the guise of maintaining a trade route from the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal to Europe, such as the port of Piraeus in Greece. Does an economic horizon like this have a security impact? We are not weighing that possibility sufficiently. One of the senior American figures at the conference raised the question of whether the U.S. Sixth Fleet can see Haifa as a home port. In light of the Chinese takeover, the question is no longer on the agenda.”
Historian Alfred McCoy will tell you exactly what’s going on — and it does not bode well for the American Imperium:
“China has been conducting a very skillful geopolitical strategy, so-called ‘One belt, One road’ or ‘Silk Road’ strategy and what China has been doing since about 2007 is they’ve spent a trillion dollars and they’re going to spend another trillion dollars in laying down a massive infrastructure of rails and gas and oil pipelines that will integrate the entire Eurasian landmass. Look, Europe and Asia, which we think of as — we’re learning in geography in elementary school that they’re two separate continents — they’re not. They were only separated by the vast distances, the steps in the desert that seem to divide them. Well China’s laid down, through a trillion dollars investment, a series of pipelines that are bringing energy from Central Asia across thousands of miles into China, from Siberia into China.
“They’ve also built seven bases in the South China Sea and they’re taking control over these — spent over $200 million in transforming a fishing village on the Arabian Sea named Gwadar, in Pakistan, into a major modern port. They’ve also got port facilities in Africa. And through these port facilities they’re cutting those circles of steel that the United States laid down to kind of link and hold those two axial ends of Eurasia. So we are slowly, because of China’s investment, its development, some of our mismanagement of our relationships and long-term trends, those axial ends of Eurasia they’re crumbling. Our power, our control over that critical continent is weakening, and China’s control is slowly inexorably increasing and that is going to be a major geopolitical shift. One that is going to weaken the United States and strengthen China.”
That’s from a podcast interview with The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill. I highly recommend it.
I even more strongly recommend McCoy’s book In The Shadows of the American Century, where he marks the sunset date of American Empire at 2030. McCoy isn’t postulating an apocalyptic collapse, but rather a diminution, an eclipse as China’s economy surpasses America’s and our ability to shape and manage international relations and events declines. A decline in relative raw military power, collapsing educational standards and a concomitant loss of the technological edge that has formed the basis for both economic and military power since World War II mean the post-war “American Century” is ending.
“Either with a bang or a whimper,” McCoy says. “But by 2030, it’s pretty much over for our global dominion.”
Given that McCoy is a strong critic of American Empire, who has had some fascinating run-ins with the national security state since the 1970s, you might think he’d welcome the sunset. Not so.
“There are many problems with the U.S. exercise of its power but we have stood for human rights, the world has had 70 years of relative peace and lots of medium size wars but nothing like World War I and World War II. There has been an increase in global development, the growth of a global economy, with many inequities, but nonetheless, transnationally, a new middle class is appearing around the globe. We’ve stood for labor rights and environmental protection. Our successor powers, China and Russia, are authoritarian regimes. Russia’s autocratic, China’s a former communist regime. They stand for none of these liberal principles.
“So you’ll have the realpolitik exercise of power, all the downsides with none of the upsides, with none of the positive development. I mean we’ve stood for women’s rights, for gay rights, for human progress, for democracy. You know we’ve been flawed in efficacy, but we’ve stood for those principles and we have advanced them. So we have been, on the scale of empires, comparatively benign and beneficent. And I don’t think the succeeding powers are going to be that way.”
In 2030, my daughter will be just entering her 30s. She’s smart, well-educated and she’s got a level-headed and resilient temperament. All I can do is hope that we’ve helped her to develop the mindset and the skillset to navigate a world very different from the one into which she was born.
Me? I’ll be 65. My ambition is an Airstream in the desert with Marilyn, where I can watch the sunset with a rifle and a kettlebell to hand, a guitar in my lap, and a good book with which to while away the long night.