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Lead From Behind: How Unipolarity Is Adapting To Multipolarity

Flickr/ Prince of the Blue Moon


COLUMNISTS
11:19 29.01.2015(updated 12:40 01.02.2015)Get short URL
Andrew Korybko
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The US is constructing a global system of bilateral and multilateral alliances to


assist it in more efficiently projecting power throughout the 21st century. As the
world moves towards multipolarity, the US is prepared to exploit this trend to its
geopolitical advantage.

Instead of going it alone as Bush was prone to do, the US is now finding ways to get others
to do its dirty work by convincing its partners that they have a shared interest in doing so.
During the 2011 War on Libya, France and the UK took the helm while the US, as it was
described, Led From Behind. A New York Times editorial at the time defined this as discreet
US military assistance with [others] doing the trumpeting. Four years later, this concept has
grown out of its Libyan test tube and gone global, with the US setting up similar alliance systems
all throughout the world in order to indirectly project its will in key regions. As the cynical
saying goes, Why do for yourself what others can do for you?

Friends Across The World


Lets take a look at the US Lead From Behind (LFB) partners, beginning from the Western
Hemisphere and moving eastward:

Latin America:

The US works closely with the Pacific Alliance, a neo-liberal economic trading group composed
of close allies Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Peru, and Chile. Their shared goal is
to counter the leftist economic vision emanating from Venezuela and to dismantle its geopolitical
resistance network of Nicaragua, Cuba, Ecuador, and Bolivia. The end result is to surround and
contain Brazil in case it ever decides to seriously counter the US influence.
Europe:

Germany, the economic engine of the EU, is the primary LFB state for inter-European affairs,
but the US has also designated sub-LFB partners for three strategic regions:

* The Baltics: Sweden is all but an official NATO member, and other than militarizing based
on a phantom Russian submarine threat, its goal is to jointly bring neutral Finland, with its long
and exposed border with Russia, formally into the alliance and provoke a new crisis in East-West
relations.

* Eastern Europe: Poland has always harbored ambitions of restoring its former Polish-
Lithuanian Commonwealth over modern-day Belarus and Ukraine, and it partnered with the US
in destabilizing Ukraine and fortifying Kievs forces in order to expand its coveted sphere
of influence.

* Balkan/Mideast Crossroads: NATO-member Turkey was supposed to hold the fort for the US
at this critical geopolitical juncture, but after Washington started toying with the tool of Kurdish
nationalism as a means of pressuring Ankara, it rapidly redirected some of its loyalty to the
multipolar world.

Africa:

In general, France is the US military designator for the continent, seeing as how it has a few
thousand troops scattered across close to a dozen countries there, but as with Europe, the US also
has a few sub-LFB partners in Africa:

* West/Central Africa: The ECOWAS regional integrational organization has lately been flexing
its military muscle (however long it took to deploy) in Mali, while the Chadian military from the
continents central reaches has projected power there, in Cameroon, and the Central African
Republic. Although Nigeria is part of ECOWAS, the US doesnt trust it to be a loyal unipolar
proxy, and accordingly seeks to strengthen the states around it (and turn a blind eye to Boko
Haram) as a buffering influence.
* East Africa: Uganda and Rwanda had previously teamed up under US guidance to occupy most
of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and plunder the countrys vast mineral
resources. After having experienced a following out over the past decade, Uganda now holds the
upper hand, and it followed US suggestions in sending its troops to the Central African
Republic, South Sudan, and Somalia, while continuing to administer much of the DRC.

Persian Gulf:

Saudi Arabia is the obvious LFB designate here, and through the GCC, it controls a lesser
constellation of proxies that have all been armed to the teeth by American and Western arms
shipments directed against Iran.

South Asia:

The US has yet to formally crown any state as its LFB partner, but if Obamas recent India trip
proves to be any indication, then it certainly has set its sights on India for this important role. The
question is, will India bite the bait and risk confrontation with China?

Southeast Asia:

Things are a bit trickier in this region, but the US would like for Vietnam and the Philippines
to join together in a political-military alliance to counter Chinas claims in the South China Sea.
Vietnam, a land power, would serve as the complement to the Philippines, which could
essentially become an unsinkable aircraft carrier. The US is also encouraging deeper Indian-
Japanese cooperation in this region, specifically on the naval front, as a form of Chinese
containment. Further south, Indonesias enormous economy could become a Chinese-Western
hybrid, thereby forming a partial bulwark against a fully China-influenced region.
East Asia:

Japan is the lynchpin of the US East Asian strategy, but its trying to integrate South Korea
(traditionally pragmatic and economically close to China) into a larger pro-US security
framework. The first step has already been taken, since all three states are now sharing
intelligence against North Korea, thus creating strategic mechanisms that can quickly be
redirected against China sometime in the future.

Deception Via Diplomacy


The US has lately made attempts to flip certain multipolar states and bring them into its fold,
offering them deals and diplomacy in order to get their guard down (much as it did to Libya
before the 2011 war against it). The two current examples are Cuba and Iran, with the former
having dangerously taken the carrot while the latter seems to properly understand the
stick that silently comes with it. The US intentions in such highly publicized peaceful
outreaches must surely be questioned, since its immediate rejection of North Koreas offer to halt
its nuclear program in exchange for the cessation of joint US-South Korean military drills shows
that it is only serious about one-sided deals in its favor. When it comes down to it, if the US
cant indirectly control a state by LFB proxy or trick it into lowering its strategic defenses, then
deception gives way to destruction, as those in Syria and Eastern Ukraine unfortunately know all
too well.