Is Zimbabwe Ready For America’s Global Shift On Foreign Policy?
By Tsungai Chipato
30 July, 2015
With both Iran and Cuba entering historic agreements in 2015; it is now official that geopolitics is back and in the forefront of global affairs. President Obama’s administration soon will be remembered for when a shift in global foreign policy for the United States of America began in unison with its domestic policy shift, which is rare in American politics. For a country built on disagreement; this symbiosis is no small task and doesn't happen a lot, often occurring during traumatic events such as wars or great economic depressions .
When Did Everything Change ?
One event during President Obama’s tenure which stands out, would be the African operation he approved involving the rescue mission of American sailors held captive by fishermen turned Somali pirates. Unbeknownst to the average reader who probably remembers the operation by having seen the Hollywood produced Tom Hanks version of events. President Obama early in his administration in that executive order, shot clearly across the bow to all competing nations globally and put them on notice that the worlds sea lanes belonged to the discretion of the United Sates of America.
The Obama administration slowly and methodically throughout the past eight years has worked on having American foreign policy reconfigure itself on maintaining its position of being the only real naval super power in the world. For the uninformed reader understand that, the United States is not bound by physical borders, but by only the trade routes and supply chains defined by the earth’s oceans.
How Does The U.S Maintain Its Dominance?
The manner in which its naval fleet is dotted across the globe clearly highlights where America defines its actual borders. The rise of any nations who may be perceived to threaten or destabilize spheres of operational influence that they have maintained since 1945 will not be taken lightly. For the United States, nations in the form of Russia or China for example; any building or flexing of their naval fleets, whilst also encouraging other countries to consider alternatives to western financial markets far from American control or influence is something American legislators take very seriously.
According to Vice Admiral Thomas Rowden who is the commander of the naval surface forces in the pacific ocean: “persistence, mobility and combat power are the three hallmarks of the US Navy surface force”, speaking recently at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in the United States on ‘Surface Warfare in a Complex World’, he reiterated that, the United States’ main objectives when it came to being a naval power were; sea control, naval presence and power projection.
Admiral Rowden was not coy at mentioning the unmanned aerial vehicles, amphibious assault ships, fixed wing fighter bombers as well as vertical launch systems that his team had considered at America’s disposal, when initiating war games intended for implementing and creating policy for a new way of looking at naval operations in 2015. All this again, was said against the backdrop of an American naval fleet that is now known to have shifted its focus onto South East Asia and China.
What Does The United States Hate?
Globally; oil is traded using the US dollar since it is the reserve currency of the world; this in essence to large extent is based on the fact that the United States militarily controls the worlds sea lanes. This is something China and Russia as well as many upcoming economic BRICS members are well aware off; and with debacles such as the 2008 global crisis started by Americans, many growing nations have started to ask whether there might be an alternative to the American dollar as the default currency of all global trade.
In 2015 with the fall of oil prices, Americans have been pioneering oil extraction by leading in “fracking” and opening up their oil reserves under the Obama administration. They now find themselves in a unique position where they can pivot their foreign policy from having their energy issues lead to flawed ‘regime change policies’ on other nations, spearheaded by American military deployment, to that of using their energy independence in waging a global destabilization campaign for all upcoming super powers such as China.
With American foreign policy restructuring, we the global world are about to see the resurgence and rise of regional powers manipulating their hegemony in regional affairs under the watchful eye of the United States, whose main agenda will be that of trying to thwart the rise of any other global power such as China.
How Does This Affect Zimbabwe?
All this will trickle down to regions like Southern Africa, to countries such as Zimbabwe or South Africa who may find themselves being engaged or influenced through proxies such as the European Union or the United Kingdom, to pursue a foreign policy in line with this western perspective. Nevertheless the Chinese are well aware of this current realignment, which explains why finding and developing alternatives to the Western financial system has slowly become promoted by China, amongst their global partners through policies and ideas such as the AIIB bank, government aid or the silk road agenda.
As President Obama secures agreements with both Cuba and Iran, he still realizes that his time and that of the United States is running out, before China or Russia for example, begin to destabilize and erode the economic borders that the Americans have created and maintained since 1945, which are important to their national security and country’s economic well being.
Americans are about to enter an age of energy independence and have already though slowly, started adjusting their foreign policy outlook accordingly. With the calculation and estimate that their competitors are at least a decade behind them militarily, in being capable of contesting the control of the worlds oceans and trade routes.
The shrinking footprint of American combat troops and the rise of American strategic surgical strike forces globally, shows how the Obama administration’s pivot was not a mistake but a configuration on how America will be portraying itself in the future.
How Should We As Zimbabweans Position Ourselves?
The United States is entering into an age of delegation and supervision, based on controlling all global choke points through oceans and having military bases in nations with geographical value, all in order to stop any other nation becoming an actual super power.
With Iran on the cusp of being allowed back onto the global stage, and as Cuba is currently being ushered back to the world table. Americans are hedging their bets on having a more visible presence after the Castro brothers are gone, all the while searching for a possible regional hegemony to provide a counterweight to Brazil or any other Latin American movement seen as being against American ideology.
Issues such as America having problematic relations with Turkey which is also another nation on the rise, is an example of how the American state department and diplomatic core will soon start to play a larger role in foreign policy. All these actions only highlight the paranoia a super power such as America has, when it perceives Chinese and Russian machinations of having other reserve currencies and financial institutions besides the usual western cohort, as a threat to its national security.
Zimbabwe finds itself on a global chessboard in which the pieces are evolving and gaining more power as America tries to thwart the rise of any other super power from growing, by controlling the world’s geography through proxies if necessary, our time to reestablish a presence is approaching all we have to be is prepared to seize the moment. Welcome to the return of geopolitics.
Tsungai Chipato is a Journalist, and is also currently the Creative director for a grassroots cultural online Zimbabwean organization called Bongogzozo. In order to reach him, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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