France is in a bad way: inflation is out of control, credit rates are soaring, real estate is at a standstill, and, as if to rub our noses in our negligence, our financial rating has just been downgraded to AA- by a major American agency. This downgrade is not anecdotal. It reflects the reality of the deterioration of our public accounts, further increases our dependence on the United States and the threat of a default on our abysmal debt, and deepens our credibility deficit, and therefore our international usefulness. This warning shot can only paralyze even more our residual capacity to push the boundaries, by using a discourse of reason and intelligence in the face of the disaster of the Western attitude in the conflict in Ukraine. I will be told that this is a false problem because we will still have to have the courage.
In the United States, the insanity of the self-enclosure of American neoconservatives in a permanent military escalation against Moscow has precipitated the total destruction of the Ukrainian state and territory and increased the risk of a slippery slope, threatening the whole of Europe. However, the open hatred of Russia, the successful daydream of its annihilation and dismemberment are openly expressed.
Western media, confined in ignorance and arrogance, have become the pathetic echo chambers of a delirious propaganda, and have no credibility. We have returned to the worst hours of McCarthyism or worse, of fascism of thought, of slander and denunciation. This bouquet of indignity stinks, but it is constantly thrown in our faces, certainly in an increasingly ridiculous and desperate way—because the curtain and the masks are falling before recalcitrant reality.
However, American rage and now panic still seek to perpetuate the fantasy of a coming “victory,” the contours of which we have obviously never bothered to define. What does it mean to “win” the war in Ukraine? No Clue. No vision in this area. As for winning the peace, we don’t want it. What a horror! How to make peace with Vladimir Putin?!!! it seems impossible to voluntary hemiplegics stuck in their sandbox rhetoric who only think of humiliating a “systemic enemy” and are doing rain dances (or rather against the rain and the mud that make their last-chance tanks get stuck) to ward off the inevitable. It is thus the headlong rush in the inexpiable hatred of the Russian… until the last Ukrainian.
The dizziness is so great in the face of the abyss that we no longer know what to do but to press the gas pedal of the military and strategic rout and sink into a hateful and hopeless insanity. This hatred is spreading and infusing everywhere in Europe, especially among our vassalized and/or stipendiary “elites,” who are also caught up in this tragic trap that they pretend to ignore. However, the military fiasco has been unequivocal for months already. Even the “Mainstream media” are beginning, by order or via opportune leaks, to let the implacable truth filter through—about the military reality on the ground, about the chain of desertions of the unfortunate young Ukrainians picked up in the streets and thrown by force into the “Russian meat grinder,” about the real losses, about the structural incapacity of the NATO forces to provide Ukraine with the quantity, rhythm and quality to be able to pretend to withhold the shock, and even less to reverse the balance of power against Russia.
Certainly, in the Pentagon as well as among the European staffs, it has been known for months that the die is cast and the bet is lost. Only the Poles and the Baltic states are left to push the issue. But they don’t want to wake up, and they continue to flood Ukraine with weapons (most of them diverted) and heaps of money to ensure the “great counter-offensive”—in summer… or in autumn—with the appearance of a last stand, the anticipated failure of which will serve to demonstrate that “the camp of the Good” has done everything it could, but that Ukraine has not been able to defeat Russia (as if it could!) and that it is necessary “to get rid of Russia”) and that “to save Ukraine and its people” (amply sacrificed for two years) we must finally resolve to negotiate with Moscow. No doubt, not with a president Zelensky charred by his extremism and more and more threatened by his ultra-right entourage with openly fascist overtones. Our moral dereliction is total but here again, we deny it. We support at arm’s length (since 2014), with an unabashed cynicism, a clique at the antipodes of the values we crow about, to foment and lead this superfluous “proxy war.”
Unfortunately, it is still the “Neocons” in the White House, the CIA, the NSA and the State Department who are calling the shots in Washington. And they will not admit that Russia has won and will not collapse, either militarily or economically. On the contrary. Its hypersonic weapons are unrivalled at the moment; it has been able to anticipate and avoid the sanctions trap; its economy has held up; its people still overwhelmingly support the military response to the NATO military threat on its borders. Above all, it now makes common cause with China. Admittedly, this is an alliance that is at least apparently unbalanced. But it is a vital alliance, no matter what. A tactical and strategic convergence of interests.
President Xi is rubbing his hands, setting himself up as a substitute pole of financial and political stability and even offering himself as a peacemaker (Iran-Saudi Arabia rapprochement, 12-point plan, etc.). He gathers his new flock, a disparate herd of strays in need of protection who can no longer stand the American Master and his cowboy practices. A massive gathering. No less than 19 countries are now crowding at the door of the BRICS+, a real “counter-G7.” A gigantic integration process is taking shape from this welcomed and variable geographical core, around the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), OPEC+ and by extension, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). All of this is for the benefit of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the imperative fortification of its Central and West Asian Economic Corridor, but also the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that will link Russia and Iran to India. The financial instruments of this gigantic integration, the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) and the Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange, are already very active.
It is tragic but perfectly clear: we are our own gravediggers. It is our pathological anti-Russianism and our warmongering in Ukraine, to provoke Moscow in the hope of bogging it down and separating it from Europe forever, which have accelerated the great seesaw of the world, the emergence of an all-embracing and reassuring multilateral structure capable of bringing down the hegemony of the dollar, and which threaten Europe with an even more serious financial economic crisis than that of 2008.
In France, of course, people are acting as if nothing has happened. We are “surprised” by the downgrading of our financial rating, while all the indicators have been glaring red on both sides of the Atlantic for months already, and the first banking shocks in the United States as well as in Germany and Switzerland were hastily suppressed. Can we avoid a major and systemic crisis by treating it with contempt? This seems doubtful. In any case, the 2024 presidential election in Washington is looking bad for the Democratic camp. Donald Trump may well win again, despite the wall of cases and accusations against him. He has a thick hide. And then, Bill Clinton’s famous 1992 advisor James Carville’s verdict will kick in again: “It’s the economy, stupid!” Americans are not so much concerned about the “unprovoked” aggression of Ukraine or the victory of democracy in the world as they are about their wallets and the increasing fragility of their dollar, whose dominance is eroding at a rapid rate. In its anti-Russian curse, Washington indeed committed a cardinal error by freezing, in a totally arbitrary way, once again, the $300 billion of Russian assets in the spring of 2022. A bad decision. Many nations understood right away that it could be their turn tomorrow. This demonstration of power was the last straw in an already full burden of resentment and fury at Washington’s leonine methods of sanctions and the legal extraterritoriality of “American rules.” This is far more than Russia, Iran or unfortunate Syria, whose ordeal is never ending.
No one can stand this “Rules based World Order” any longer. Everyone has understood that only America decrees these famous “rules” and modifies them according to its own interests. The principles contained in the imperfect United Nations Charter are much more protective. The dollar is no longer what it once was, a guarantee of stability. It now embodies uncertainty and pure domination. Yet international trade cannot do without security and stability. The freezing of Russian assets has given the signal for a chain of defiance in many countries, which have understood that they must now protect themselves from Washington’s dictates and therefore look to the new Sino-Russian pole. Not to align themselves, but to balance their dependencies according to subjects or sectors. This is the era of “poly-alignment”—that is, the end of Cold War-style alignment and the return to grace of non-alignment—of which France should know how to be the leader.
The figures are indisputable: the dollar’s share of global reserves has fallen from 73% in 2001 to 55% in 2021 and—47% in 2022. The acceleration over the last 20 years has been considerable. Without an urgent correction, which presupposes a drastic change of foot on the part of the United States in its behavior towards the rest of the world, the fall is likely to continue. 70% of trade between Russia and China is now conducted in Yuan or Rubles. Russia and India trade in rupees, the CIPS (Chinese interbank system which is an alternative to SWIFT) is working at full speed. Total Energies and its Chinese counterpart CNOOC have just signed a gas agreement—in Yuan! Not for love of China. Because it is a question of survival for the company, because pragmatism is better for business than dogmatism, and because ideology is bringing down the Western economy.
The world is multipolar and we can no longer pretend to ignore it. The IMF recognizes that the five BRICS alone contribute 32.1% of world growth, compared to 29.9% for the G7 countries. And there are still 19 candidates waiting to join BRICS. The close cooperation between Moscow and Riyadh is also a bad omen for America. It allows Russia to balance its strategic cooperation with Iran, and strengthens the hand of Vladimir Putin and that of MBS in their battle against Washington on oil prices. The BRICS have on their side all the commodities and natural resources of the world and are now openly challenging the only domination left to the G7 countries—that of finance.
Behind all these facts, there is a “subtext,” a reality that we should grasp before the boomerang hits our European economies too hard and China, beyond its effort to escape, thanks to the BIS, from the American domination of the seas and maritime transport routes to Europe, comes to nurture a more offensive dream of power. This reality is that the current revolution in world geopolitics corresponds to a necessary rebalancing of relations between states. There will be clashes, crises and conflicts in the coming years, but we are in a phase of restoration after the decline of the American hegemon, which has become unsustainable and no longer corresponds to the reality of the geopolitical and geo-economic field of forces.
Our planet needs appeasement, stability, respect, the re-establishment of a form of formal equality and in any case of real equity between its members, large or small. People will say that I am angelic. I think that this is the primary motivation of countries and entire regions of the globe that want to develop and refuse this zero-sum game that America thought it could impose ad vitam aeternam. This is true for the powers of the Middle East (Iran, Syria, Libya), which must emerge from the doldrums, for Africa, which sees vast opportunities in this opening of the game, and for Latin America, which is in the process of relegating the Monroe Doctrine to oblivion. Finally, this is true for Asia itself, which is showing signs of fear and circumspection in the face of the new Chinese target of American bellicosity, provoked by martial declarations (Taiwan). Only the EU seems to live in a bubble—which no longer protects it. It does not seem to see that everything has changed, that it is located on the Eurasian continent which is a land of opportunities towards which it must project itself with vigilance but without fear.
Europe’s future does not lie in a radical break with Russia or an alignment with Beijing. It is not even more in a consented vassalization to Washington, which after Ukraine, already has the ambition to throw NATO (which really has nothing left of a regional defensive alliance) into the waters of the China Sea. What for? To feed the American military-industrial complex? To further the destabilization and fragmentation of the world? How do these objectives serve our national, economic and security interests? Europe must, as I have been saying for years, finally emerge from its strategic infancy and learn to walk with its head held high. Without crutches or leashes.
The American neoconservatives have put not only America but also Europe in great danger. It is high time to put an end to this madness and to hasten the conclusion of a ceasefire in Ukraine and a lasting rebuilding of security in Europe. The Ukrainian people, the security of the whole of Europe, the Western economy and our peoples deserve it. It is in everyone’s interest. What are we waiting for?
Caroline Galactéros is the creator and director of the think tank GéoPragma, which is dedicated to realistic geopolitics. She has a PhD in political science and is seminar head at the Ecole de guerre. She also holds the rank of colonel in the operational reserves of the French army. This article comes to us through the kind courtesy of GéoPragma.