Since a while we can observe an increasing tension between the most important global players and it seems that it will only increase, at least if no one will agree to be the chicken…
It’s hard to believe that the dominant power, USA, can or will allow itself to take a step back as it would be a clear sign and admission to the rest of the world that it has started to losses its influence (which it’s loosing but not admitting to). At the same point the contenders act just like little children do. They try to test the borders set up by parents and find a crack to broaden their sphere of influence. It’s all normal, that is how things work since thousands of years, that’s how it works in families when kids become boys and boys become men. We have also seen this since ages in politics.
I wont tackle this problem from a Polish or European perspective as it’s beyond the scope of the title so after this short intro let’s get back to the main issue. A while ago USA has sent its surveillance airplane on a routine snooping mission. That’s what the big players do all the time. Russia does exactly the same, China, UK, etc. The aircraft was flying above the Black Sea when a Su-27 intercepted it and executed very aggressive maneuvers in the air to discourage the crew from continuing their mission. Lets not dive into the right or wrong and lets not take sides. From US perspective sending those aircraft is reasonable and from Russian perspective trying to discourage them from conducting such missions is also reasonable, especially when the aircraft is flying near the recently taken over Crimea.
Both sides have their rights and reasons but the when a Su-27 flies around 5 feet from your aircraft it’s a clear “chicken game”. Russia has shaken itself from the Boris Yeltsin era marasmus when its Air Force and the whole army got degraded. Now it tries to regain a bit of ground and achieve a better position before the global order will be set again. This is a difficult situation for the US as it would like to do things as it did before and the contender is saying that the rules have changed and that in some areas it wants to play hard ball.
A while later US has sent a Global Hawk to have a look what’s going on in eastern Ukraine. This is a smart move as it allows to have a sneak peak into the battlefield (the war is still on but frozen at this point) from a greater distance but imagine a scenario when Russia will start to question such activities. Will it try to intercept a RQ-4? There is no pilot inside. How will it react to unmanned threats (from their perspective of course)? Will it at some point try to shoot a canon salvo next to a drone or will it try to aggressively maneuver so that the operators sitting somewhere back in the USA decide to brake off?
The same goes for China. There also are intercepts, snooping, there’s the THAAD dilemma in the South Korea which radar theoretically can have a look deep into China, there are Chinese airplane flying here and there, there are Americans doing the same. There is also the second level – the sea.
U.S. Navy would like to sail as it sailed for decades but China has build artificial islands and claims that the US vessels are getting to close. What will happen if the claims will be articulated more aggressively and with force? That’s a tough nut to crack. China has to have a plan for that. At least it seems so. When it build those islands, harbors, runways, radars, military facilities and said loud and clear “this is China” it will have to act as it would be the mainland. If it wouldn’t, than how the government will look in front of it’s own nations eyes? That’s why it can be presumed that they have a carefully crafted plan which they slowly, step by step, pursue. This seems to be very bad for the US as the game plan is set by China and there is no simple solution to take over and play by own rules.
As we see USA is challenged from various directions. That is a serious problem but here comes a bigger one. Everyone is looking what will happen, who and how will react, who will step back, who will push forward. As mentioned earlier we are in the brinks of a new world order and the outcome of those “chicken games” will decide which direction many countries will lean to, which in the end will even more change the world that we are living in.
US as a dominant power is gone. The financial crisis and years of fighting wars here and there have exhausted the nation, the treasury (have a look at the debt clock and the speed with which it is moving up – over 21 trillion and rising fast) and the country as a whole is in a bad shape. Have you ever wondered at which point someone will ask weather the US can pay it’s debts? This is another piece of the puzzle. You can’t just borrow more and more money, make a stockpile of debt and think that no one will wonder about the state of the economy. First Barack Obama and now Donald Trump are not solving this problem and someone will have to do it. The dollar is an important piece of today’s world and the world is closely watching the debt clock, the reforms (once again not poking DT, as BO wasn’t better). The smaller countries that see the problem are faced with a helping hand from China which wants to sit at the table with its currency.
The most important thing is how all of those tensions will be solved and what will be the new world order. Will the US stay as a dominant power but give a bit of space? Will the rest take this space and wont try to get more or will there be some sort of bi-polar or tri-polar world? Lets not cut India out! This would mean quad-polar. What’s with the rest of the main global players? Many questions and little answers. The best one is to stand aside and look and I think that many nations are doing just that. Standing and watching ready to take the best position in the new world. The best position for their own people and to be honest that is how it’s supposed to be.
dr Krzysztof Kuska
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