How Washington is losing its control of the world over Ukraine

By: Rachel Marsden

PARIS — CIA Director William Burns hightailed it to Saudi Arabia last week, reportedly frustrated, according to the Wall Street Journal, that peace was on the verge of breaking out — the kind that could end the Global War on Terrorism in the Middle East, which has been the pretext for US military intervention for decades, but also unite Washington’s allies with its foes. And it only has itself to blame.

Of utmost concern to the spy chief is an agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia to re-establish diplomatic ties. Even worse: China is the broker. Not only does this mean that efforts to isolate Iran from its neighbors and from the global economy will now be undermined, but Washington will also lose the ability to count on Saudi-backed jihadists to do its bidding against Iranian-aligned interests in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Lebanon, and Libya. It also raises the specter of a global economic de-dollarization, with both Iran and Saudi Arabia now ramping up their use of the Chinese yuan in bilateral trade.

A Russian-mediated rapprochement has also just taken place between Saudi Arabia and Syria. Until now, it was unthinkable considering the fact that in the past decade, the CIA and Pentagon have spent billions of US taxpayer cash in support of Saudi-aligned jihadists to oust Syrian President Bachar al-Assad.

Another sign that Washington was losing control over the Middle East to its own detriment came when OPEC+ the world’s oil producing countries — led by Russia and Saudi Arabia — decided to suddenly cut output (thereby raising prices) at a time when Washington and Europe have done everything to deprive Russia of revenues amid the conflict in Ukraine.

“Our message to [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman] should be: ‘If you want to side with Putin, then ask Putin to defend you. And good luck with that,’” said Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ).

He’s missing the point. The whole idea of rapprochement is that they won’t have to defend themselves from each other.

It’s not hard to imagine that these countries would be fed up with fighting with each other, egged on by Western interests, to the detriment of their own economic development. Or that the conflict in Ukraine has demonstrated the need for these nations to diversify their economic interests away from Washington and in favor of a more balanced approach to avoid the impact of US and Western sanctions like those already imposed on Moscow, Iran, and China.

The problem with sanctioning so much of the world is the risk of it ultimately culminating in self-isolation.

The world is tired of endless conflict, with Washington arguably being the biggest beneficiary. Even its closest allies are hurting as a result of following an agenda of endless global drama.

Europe — and in particular France and Germany — have been begging Washington for some relief on pricey US gas imports in the wake of being egged on, by President Joe Biden himself during a visit one year ago, to cut themselves off from cheap Russian gas in support of the Washington-led Western agenda. Then came another slap in the face to European industry from Biden’s protectionist Inflation Reduction Act. So it’s no wonder that French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez have all recently made pilgrimages to China to talk trade. Or that France and China have also just announced their first LNG trade in Chinese yuan.

For Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), all this economic diversity is a threat. “Brazil cut a trade deal with China. They’re going to, from now on, do trade in their own currencies, get right around the dollar. They’re creating a secondary economy in the world totally independent of the United States,” Rubio told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “We won’t have to talk about sanctions in five years, because there will be so many countries transacting in currencies other than the dollar that we won’t have the ability to sanction.”

Rubio’s description of global trade not controlled by the US as a “secondary economy” — rather than just an “alternative economy” — speaks volumes. But what exactly did he expect? Inoculation against US sanctions is the whole idea of de-dollarization. Maybe if lawmakers like Rubio hadn’t wielded sanctions as a weapon against even the friendliest global competitors, then it wouldn’t have blown back in their faces. It’s hard to find any sanctions that Rubio hasn’t supported —including those targeting Europe’s energy lifeline, the Nord Stream pipeline network (before it was mysteriously blown up in an act of sabotage recently attributed to a nation-state by Swedish investigators).

The conflict in Ukraine has sent much of the world scrambling to reduce its exposure to Washington’s self-centered whims in their own sovereign interests. Don’t blame China and Russia, who are only capitalizing on years worth of unforced errors.