In January of 2018 U.S. military doctrine officially pivoted from the war on terror to a focus on ‘great power competition’. This meant that rather than toppling non-compliant regimes in the Middle East, the U.S. would now be channeling its energy towards a war with Russia and China.
The motive for this shift was obvious to anyone who had been observing geopolitical developments over the past decade. Russia, China and a growing axis of resistant nations were on the ascendant, challenging U.S. foreign policy on multiple fronts, while simultaneously undermining the foundations of Washington’s financial hegemony.
While Trump’s trade war with China was predicated on intellectual property theft and restricted access to Chinese markets, the real motive for this provocation was to counter China’s economic ambitions in Eurasia, to punish them for moving forward with the Petroyuan (a direct challenge to the Petrodollar) and to prevent them from surpassing the U.S. technologically and militarily. This strategy would ultimately backfire as China and Russia deepened cooperation on multiple fronts.
The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 ushered in an era of uncontested U.S. dominance. Washington used this position to flaunt international law with impunity, invading Afghanistan, Iraq, then Libya, and conducting covert operations around the globe. This trend was brought to a grinding halt when Russia began to flex its muscle on the global stage.
The push by the United States and its allies to topple Bashar Assad in Syria failed due to Russian intervention. With the installation of the S-300 missile systems in 2018, Moscow had established a virtual no fly zone over the region. Washington’s diminished position was glaringly obvious as the Syrian peace talks in Astana proceeded without U.S. representatives.
In Ukraine, the toppling of Viktor Yanukovych by U.S. backed neo-nazi groups in 2014 backfired when Crimea held a referendum and over 96% of the public voted to join the Russian Federation. Rather than the Sevastopol military base falling into NATO hands, Russia strengthened its position.
The U.S. attempted to punish Russia by imposing a series of draconian sanctions, however this did not have the intended effect. Instead of bowing to this pressure Russia radically reformed its economy to reduce dependence on oil sales and increase domestic production. By 2018 Russia had emerged as a global leader in agricultural exports.