The ultranationalistic threat
By Adama Gaye
“Nationalism is war!”-François Mitterand.
Power drives crazy and violent.
Less than two years ago, from the tribunes of a stadium in Russia, two men peacefully following a football match between their countries: Russian Vladimir Putin, host of the World Cup, and Mohamed Bin Salman, Crown Prince and de-facto leader of the rich Gulf monarchy.
Their laughter told the rest of the world that political football was more important than The physical one on the ground that they took little attention to follow. The image they wanted to send to the rest of the world was that of a strong strategic alliance, as if they enjoyed shaking the jealousy of those, the American leaders in mind, who saw them so happy to be together.
The match ended with a 3-0 victory in favor of the Russians, but it was the diplomatic co-victory that counted in the eyes of both leaders.
The whole world found out that Russian and Saudi were not only united by their co-stewardship of the world oil industry, which they provided price levels through imposing a reduction of production through the cartel of oil exporting countries (opep) in intelligence with countries not members of this forum, especially Russia.
What happened this week between the allies of two years ago celebrating their union from sporting stands, to suddenly throwing themselves at the neck of each other is mind boggling. It has ushered in an economic war the world hasn’t finished measuring the consequences or pay the prices…
Let us first observe that Russia as Saudi Arabia, but also Turkey, India, China, USA, Britain, Brazil are in the hands of reactionary nationalists and their actions are less carried by strategic rationality than impulsive instincts without fear of the effects they have on a heckled global balance.
By refusing to bend oil production under the leadership of OPEC, that is Saudi Arabia, Moscow wanted to punish US shale oil, more expensive mining, and break the energy independence it offers to Washington.
By deciding to increase its daily production to up to 11 million barrels of oil, Ryadh, under the direction of his fickle crown prince, tries to flood the oil market (create a glut! ), to further lower oil prices and income for producing nations to less than $30 per barrel as of next month.
His goal is to punish Russia. As she had done in 1986 in a price war that accelerated the demise of the then Soviet Union, in a joint effort with her then key American ally.
In the current process, this Russian roulette game, in the midst of a world economy negatively affected by the coronavirus epidemic, and the resulting drop in global economic activity, both countries, out of pride, do not seem to measure the gravity of the bullets they shoot on their feet.
Both need a barrel of oil around (or greater than) $70 minimum to close their national budgets.
Due to the internal claims of their respective populations, little fun by these fighting on the background of the oversized egos of their leaders, and who are more anxious to feel a flow of hydrocarbon wealth on their daily lives, there is the risk of seeing a difference between National leadership embodied by these ultra-nationalists and the social realities of their countries.
We’ve already seen the consequences of this nationalism. Russia is in Crimea and its foreign policy is increasingly placed under the orbit of a logic of war: from Syria to Libya, in addition to the economic war against Washington, its warrior zeal is no longer to be shown.
Saudi Arabia is even further launched in an erratic dynamics so far from its national interests. Its 2030 Plan to reduce its dependence on fossil energy and increase its energy mix with more solar, more tourism and technology, has become fragile. The 5 percent listing of its national hydrocarbon company Aramco to finance its large infrastructure needs is being mistreated by the yoyos on the Riyadh-Moscow line. While an intense internal power struggle continues unabated in the Saudis Palaces, no one forgets the killing of Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul or the triple alliance the oil nation has formed with the Emirates and Egypt, not only to impose itself in Yemen, weaken Qatar and above all contain Iran.
Russia and Arabia have proven in recent days that the world is under the threat of a nationalistic push as it was in the early years in the last century.
All of them are fed by individual ambitious to secure a disproportionate power status…
The America first of Donald Trump, China’s Renaissance, Sultan Erdogan, dreaming of a new Ottoman Empire, the violent and sectarian Hinduism of India’s Narendra Modi, the extravagances of Brasil’s Jair Bolsonero, the bounding Boris Johnson are all part of the same indicators of a nationalist leadership that has finished putting our planet on the edge of the precipice.
In these circumstances, who dares to doubt that Joe Biden’s leitmotiv, that of the likely Democratic candidate against Trump next November, in the forthcoming US presidential race, standing as a counterweight to Trump’s claim to make America great again is inspirational.
“Make America more moral”, as called for by Biden, brings freshness to a polluted world.
Change of leaders and direction is necessary to prevent the world from waking up the old demons of conflictuality.
They are on the lookout with the geo of powerful human vectors. Memories of nationalist leaders who have led the world in logic of violence remain in memory. Who dares to forget it?
Next door, the coronavirus is ordinary… especially since, let’s not forget it, in the new modern and secret wars, the manufacture of viruses is part of the new weapons of nationalists.
Ask Iran how Israel demolished some of its nuclear capacity!
**Adama Gaye, chief executive officer of the NewForce Africa, Senegal, wrote this piece on his Facebook page from Cairo, Egypt, March 12, 2020.