We live in a time of global change. The dominance of European over global affairs is waning. Islamic terroism, racial inequities, world trade, financial markets and military prowess are supporting historic geopolitical shifts.
Islamic terrorism is a direct challenge to European dominance. If you look at the two recent terrorist attacks, the one in Orlando, Florida, and the one in Nice, France, there are making US and European defence useless. When they spent billions on airport security, terrorists attack urban centers.
If they protect those, they will attack somewhere else, making the populace lose faith in their leaders. The United States, Canada, Europe and other European associates are spending trillions on their war on terrorism, which is a protracted war that will weaken their economy.
The social injustice of police brutality in the US has cause a social upheaval. 5 police officers were killed in Dallas, Texas, and 3 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as a result. This indicates that ethnic tension in the US will rise.
When a country wages war it needs to be united. The US lost the Vietnam war because of disunity. How can it win its war on terrorism, a far more challenging war with significant social upheaval? The US is the military might of Europe, through NATO. The US supplies most of its budget and troops.
According to experts, 91 percentage of Walmart products are made in China. The US has a trade deficit with China. The US owes China over 1.2 trillion dollars. They have lost most of their manufacturing base to China, Mexico and the likes. Without a suitable manufacturing base the US cannot close its trade deficit.
In 2001, 55 percent of foreign exchange holding was in US dollars, according to the IMF. In 2013 it’s 33 percent.
However, the universal reserve currency status is also hurting the US. Countries like South Korea, Japan, Singapore and China buy US reserves, lowering their currency relative to the US. This allows them to export more to the US and buy fewer US exports.
Europe is also becoming economically weak. In Spain, Portugal and Italy, the amount of nonperforming loans is now over 540 billion euros ($600 billion). In Italy alone, it exceeds 360 billion euros ($400 billion), and amounts to 18 percent of all bank loans in the county. This will lead to an economic crisis.
Without a strong economic dominance, US and Europe cannot lead the world. They also have rivals BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. In July 2015 BRICS set up a development bank in Shanghai that will eventually rival the IMF. We in the Caribbean have a corresponding banking problem which will test our loyalty to US and Europe, I suspect. China has set up an Chinese international payment system to bypass Western control of their international money transfers and financial system.
The United States has the world’s most powerful military. It will not be able to support its military dominance if its economic dominance is not maintained. It takes a lot of money to make sophisticated weapons. If you are in a war and you can’t manufacture what you need, how long can you last? With a weak manufacturing base, the US, the military might of NATO, will not be able to wage war effectively.
The global hegemonic dance will definitely affect Belize. The question is, will we adapt and prepare, or will we react and be tools of imperial power? It doesn’t matter who is the dominator; they usually benefit more than you. The instability in the world is indicative of change.
We in Belize have significant economic and social problems. The global shift will have to be incorporated in our solutions, or we shall be pawns trying to survive — prosperity will be elusive.
Brian Ellis Plummer