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America’s reach

Georgetown (Kaieteur News): America’s reach to countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean is no secret. Guyanese are no strangers to America’s reach.

By Clement J. Rohee*

Older folk would recall how it manifested itself in the removal of the (Cheddi) Jagan government in 1960’s. Years later, that same reach was extended in defense of Guyana’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty. More recently, it reached out once more to repel an attack on democracy following the March 2020 elections.

Following the end of World War II, and after it had pushed out other colonial powers from what came to be described as its “Backyard,” the prevailing view that emerged was that the US would “hold unquestioned power” in “the new world order” in general, and control over the Western Hemisphere in particular based on “a fundamental pillar of its foreign policy…”

As part of the Western Hemisphere, Guyana has always been considered pivotal geo-politically within the meaning of the Monroe Doctrine. However, with its emergence as an economic powerhouse, Guyana’s international standing buttressed by its leadership on climate, food and energy security, the country’s national and global interests moved meteorically to the top of the global agenda.

Moreover, with its assumption to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member Guyana now has immense responsibilities.

While Guyana was moving “onwards and upwards”, America’s traditional reach was becoming more and more untenable. Countries constituting the Global South, including Guyana, began to move increasingly towards greater coordination and integration, establishing complex and mutually beneficial multilateral and bilateral ties in an effort to grapple with global problems including underdevelopment and poverty.

The challenge to the extant world order characterized by America’s reach was brought to light once again at a G20 foreign ministers meeting held in February 2024 in Brazil. Founded in 1999, the G20 brings together most of the world’s largest economies. Originally an economic forum, it has grown increasingly involved in international politics.

At that meeting, Brazil’s Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira lamented: “The multilateral institutions are not properly equipped to deal with the current challenges, as has been demonstrated by the Security Council where the international community’s deep divisions were on display with an unacceptable paralysis on the ongoing conflicts.”

Vieira went on to declare: “The outlook is bleak for progress on the thorny agenda of conflicts and crises gripping the planet. The explosion of global conflicts shows how international institutions like the United Nations are not working.”

And, as though this was not explicit enough, Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations at the opening of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, lamented the paralysis of the UN Security Council declaring it was “unable to act on the most significant peace and security issues of our time.”

It is in the light of prevailing circumstances globally, Russia, China, and Iran have emerged as the primary geopolitical challengers to the “US-led world order”. While they resent US dominance, nevertheless Russia and China have permanent seats at the UN Security Council. At the same time, they are core members of the IMF, World Bank, and  WTO.

The US and its allies want to maintain the status quo, but Russia, China, and the Global South want movement from a unipolar to a multipolar world order. In other words, to transform and democratize the existing world order.

It is against this backdrop that the US is seeking to grapple with the dramatic changes unfolding in global politics which it views as a strategic threat to its traditional reach.

According to the February 19, 2024 edition of Politico Magazine, Jake Sullivan, the US National Security Adviser, delivered a keynote address to a gathering at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank that serves as a forum for new thinking within the Democratic Party.

According to Politico, Sullivan “challenged long-held beliefs in America’s body politic, he laid out a road map for America’s ideological future. He argued that, “The times were changing, and America had to change with them. A shifting global economy left many working Americans and their communities behind…” Sullivan went on to suggest that: “The main assumptions undergirding America’s foreign and economic policy had been wrong for decades.’’

Ironically, while Sullivan called for correcting the “wrongs” in America’s reach, other Americans were calling for the “maintenance of the status quo; the consolidation of America’s global reach by way of “an assertive and expansionist foreign policy, undergirded by military power.”

Accordingly, they have called for “increased defense spending and an active US military footprint around the globe.” Small wonder how both Democrats and Republicans joined in supporting the US$61 bln. aid package for Ukraine.

In the midst of the competing domestic interests in America, it’s external interests are being challenged by the Global South including the BRICS who are pushing for a change in the “US-led world order.”

Brazil, China, India, Iran, Russia, and South Africa within the meaning of BRICS are now challenging the current “rules-based order” that they believe has become ineffective if not obsolete. Their objective is to establish a new global democratic order that would usher in mutually beneficial international political, economic and monetary relations between countries.

Is this global minefield that Caricom Secretary General Carla Barnett referred to when she reminded Caricom Heads of Government at the Opening Session of their 46th Regular Meeting of Conference stating: “There is a heavy regional and global agenda which demands our undivided attention and active engagement, in spite of the ever-present vagaries of the global landscape”.

*Guyanese politician and former Minister of Foreign Affairs (1992-2001).

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Kaieteur News

Kaieteur News

Kaieteur News is a privately owned daily newspaper published in Guyana
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