First published 20 April 2020 on VeteransToday
Asif Haroon Raja
The Cold War era
During the Cold War, the two antagonists – USA and former Soviet Union – in their bid to safeguard the vital western and eastern hemispheres and to increase respective spheres of influence within the crush zone residing in the 3rd world, made use of 12-memer NATO and 23-member Warsaw Pact countries.
Likewise, USSR also employed its Red Army and KGB to make inroads in Eastern Europe and the developing world. Emphasis of the two rivals was on building land and air military power and in controlling the sea lanes and choke points to dominate the oceans.
Consequent to the ten-year war in Afghanistan, which the USSR lost and had to pullout in February 1989, it couldn’t survive for long and collapsed under the weight of burgeoning economic problems and dwarfed into Russian Federation in 1991. The demise of USSR dismantled bi-polarism and ended the super power rivalry.
Post-Cold War Era
It was hoped that the end of Cold War will make the unipolar world peaceful. However, the US which became the sole super power replaced its threat perception from communism to Islam, and termed it as the biggest threat to its international order based on pro-rich capitalist system. Socialism preached by China was viewed as a lesser threat. Drunk with power, the US started bragging about its military might, its economic power and invincibility. It never missed any opportunity to steal the resources of others, or to wage wars, or to stoke conflicts in different parts of the world in its obsession to dominate the world. It expanded the membership of NATO to 28 after integrating Eastern Europe into Western Europe and also named it as a Ready Deployment Force for employment in any part of the world.
The megalomaniac US in its bid to retain its status as the sole super power established WTO and outsourced manufacturing, IT and other lucrative economic ventures to China, India and Mexico to earn maximum profits. While the outsourcing scheme was advertised to better the lives of the ordinary Americans, the hidden objective was to enrich the top 100 corporate companies, bulk of which are located in California. IMF and World Bank were used as manipulative tools to keep the developing world under debt and dependent.
In the last 30 years, while the wealth of corporates such as pharmaceuticals, defence industry, banks, media, IT, film industry and others was multiplied, little heed was paid to alleviate the living standards of the downtrodden. The war merchants stoked 13 wars and spent $ 14.2 trillion to keep the defence industries run profitably. Over 30 countries became the victims of US aggressive policies of sanctions, blockades, restrictions and intervention. The US annual defence budget shot up to $ 750 billion in 2019, and the US leaders operated under the concept of ‘might is right’ and above the law. Real power rested in the hands of the corporate oligarchs and their appointed political managers administrating the state. Profiteering and maximizing profits became the rules of business of the corporates.
While the opulent became enormously wealthy and controlled over 50% of the global wealth, the government of USA became debt ridden and today it tops the list of debtors, with maximum debt owed to its chief rival China. People of USA are the most taxed and most exploited by the dirty rich. Over 50% of US population has been pauperized due to heavy taxation, price hike, joblessness and racism. The US imperialism is the anti-thesis of social solidarity, and gluttonous capitalist system is not attuned to meet the basic human needs. Capitalism is solely interested in accumulating profits and in economic growth and least cares for flesh and blood and that too of the poor. Capitalism is pushing the world to another Great Depression of 1930s.
After concocting 9/11, War on Terror was launched by the US and its allies to control the world resources, change the boundaries of Middle East, neo-colonise the Muslim world, and to maintain its unchallenged supremacy over the globe by turning the world into a global village. International media and hybrid war were used extensively to brainwash the elite groups in each country. Ethnicity, sectarianism, instability and lawlessness were fomented through proxies and covert operations, religious divides accentuated and tensions between state institutions stoked with a view to create chaotic conditions and to melt down economies of the targeted countries. Defiant rulers were bumped off and replaced with puppets. A malicious campaign was launched by the US and Western media to demonize Islam and the image of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
While the Muslim world as a whole is a house divided, economies of the targeted Muslim countries have been sufficiently bled in the prolonged war on terror. Several countries have been destroyed. The Muslim world particularly the oil rich Arab States have been sufficiently tamed and virtually made into colonies. Tiff between KSA and Qatar has been sharpened and so is the ideological war between KSA and Iran. Turkey has been pushed into Syrian inferno, while KSA-UAE shoved into the furnace of Yemen war. The US approved military regime in Egypt is fighting the Muslim Brotherhood. Today all the 57 Muslim countries are practicing secularism and none is following the principles of Quran and Sunnah in letter and spirit and unity among them is missing. Barring Turkish and Iranian leadership, no other Muslim leader can dare challenge the anti-Muslim policies of USA.
The US had started the war on terror to achieve hidden objectives, but after spending over $ 7 trillion, it not only failed to achieve its objectives, it has no clue how to end the war and exit honorably. In the last global recession in 2008, the US suffered a loss of $ 19.2 trillion and the Americans lost 34 million jobs. The US faced series of natural calamities in the shape of hurricanes, blizzards, and floods causing heavy human and material losses. Major objectives couldn’t be achieved due to resistance put up by Taliban in Afghanistan, fight back by opposing groups in Middle East, defiance of Iran and Syria, failure of coup in Turkey, failing to denuclearize Pakistan, to contain China’s economic growth and resurgence of Russia, and also failing to create Greater Israel. Afghanistan has slipped out of the hands of US and India; Syria under Bashar has regained balance; war between Iran and Saudi Arabia couldn’t be stoked; Iraq is getting out of loop of USA; Pakistan couldn’t be weaned away from China and CPEC couldn’t be scuttled. India has proven to be a weak bulwark against China and has lost its clout to become the policeman of Indo-Pacific region. Uni-polarism has given way to multi-polarism.
Pakistan is the lone Muslim country which has battle-inoculated robust armed forces, potent nuclear and missile capabilities and is closely aligned with China and Turkey. Iran laced with effective missile power and capable of destroying Israel is anti-US and Israel. Pakistan, Iran and Turkey are a cause of disquiet for the imperialist powers and giving them sleepless nights.
Net Effect. Civil wars, interventions, international conflicts and proxy wars have claimed millions of lives across Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Middle East has been a centre of conflicts since 2003. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia are in perpetual turmoil and are still suffering. And so is Iran due to harsh US sanctions re-imposed in 2018. Pakistan which was forced to join the US imposed war on terror has suffered heavily both in terms of human casualties and financial losses. Economies of all the war torn and conflict ridden countries are in dire strait. Several flashpoints coupled with growing US-China hostility are threatening the peace of the world. USA’s deep involvement in military adventures enabled China and Russia to emerge as formidable powers and to expand their influence all over the globe. While China is an ascending power, USA is a descending power.
Corona Virus and its effects
Amidst the darkened clouds of uncertainty and disorder in various parts of the world, corona virus came as a bolt from the blue which has further slumped the economies and growth capabilities of the developing and under developed worlds. The global economy and stock exchange have also been badly bruised due to suspension of air, sea, rail and road transportation and the supply chains. Curb on trade and business has closed the factories, mills, industries, shopping centres, hoteling and tourism. Peace of mind of the people and their daily routine has been severely impacted.
Countries like Cuba, Venezuela and Iran under harsh US sanctions are doubly affected and so are the countries like Pakistan already going through economic crisis. Since China’s model of lockdown of epicenter of the novel corona in Wuhan in particular and Hubei Province in general succeeded in containing the virus and restoring normalcy, everyone has opted for shutdown.
While the rich countries will be able to withstand and absorb the shocks of Covid-19 and lockdown and recover, it will become exceedingly difficult for the economically weak and cash strapped countries to regain balance.
Little change in attitudes
Covid-19 having become a global concern requiring collective efforts, it was expected that the imperialist powers that have been waging or stoking wars and conflicts in pursuit of their mercantile interests would sober up in the wake of this calamity and bring about a radical change in their militaristic policies. It was hoped that 158, 881 deaths and 2.3 million infected cases till April 18 globally would put fear of Allah in their hearts and make them humane. Unfortunately no apparent change has come in their demeanor and warmongering. The conflict zones like Idlib in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan are still hot and human blood is flowing. USA has not withdrawn its troops from conflict zones. Israel hasn’t loosened its iron grip over Palestinians, and fascist India has not lessened its atrocities against the Muslim Kashmiris locked down in IOK since 5 August 2019, and against Indian Muslims. India remains glued to its fascism and agenda of Hindutva. Inhuman sanctions against Iran and Venezuela have not been lifted. Efforts of USA to change the regime in Venezuela is going on.
Today, the sole super power which has been boasting of its power and resources finds itself vulnerable and utterly helpless in the face of threat of Covid-19 and its invincibility has come to a naught. 20 million are jobless in USA. Washington is clueless how to deal with Covid-19 and save the Americans from this deadly disease. USA is on the receiving end and has so far made no viable plan how to roll back the disease. Unable to meet the domestic demand of masks, it had to import one million masks from China. New York which is the worst affected state is short of 90,000 hospital beds and tens of thousands of ventilators. The Americans have not forgotten the horrors of Spanish flu in 1918.
Conversely, China which never showed off its strength or unnecessarily flexed muscles, it had shed off military adventurism in 1979 and quietly embarked upon internal refurbishment programs such as broadening its industrial base, boosting agriculture and economy, acquiring technical skills, improving technology and healthcare and expanding its exports by offering cheaper products. In next 20 years, it started reaping benefits and now it has become the second largest economy of the world and is well poised to outpace USA. It has captured world markets and has earned respect because of its friendly and fair dealings. It is the only country in the world which has rolled back the corona virus threat and the whole world including USA is looking up to China for assistance. With the disruption of global supply chains, which has frozen China’s exports, China has converted the corona calamity into an opportunity and has opened global medical supply chains.
There have been a number of conspiracy theories making rounds that hint at the COVID-19 as a biological weapon, deliberately developed and disseminated. This theory looks plausible with countries working on developing biological and chemical weapons programs of their own. The theories range from the US accusing China of spreading it, to the Chinese accusing the US of deliberate spread in Wuhan, as well as it being a plot by UK, US and Israel. Iran has also accused the US of foul play saying the virus is genetically designed for Iranians. Some Western sources have claimed that Wuhan Virology Institute is linked to Beijing’s covert bioweapon program. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian claimed in a tweet that US military brought COVID-19 during Military World Games that took place in Wuhan in October 2019.
At the moment both China and the US seem to be embroiled in a war of narratives regarding the virus. US president Donald Trump insists on calling it the “Wuhan Virus” or “Chinese Virus.” It would be very difficult to determine whether there is any truth in the conspiracy theories going around or not. However, one thing is certain that if a pathogen can be developed that can be disseminated and controlled at will, it would be the ultimate weapon.
It is in the backdrop of sinister designs of Zionists and imperialist powers that so many doubts and fears are being expressed the world over about the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 and the willful fear psychosis being fanned by the media. Two and two are being put together and missing links of the chain are being traced to discover the big game. For the conspirators wanting to monopolize the world, sinking the economies of China and Russia, the two strategic partners, has become a compulsion.
With every passing day, new revelations are surfacing which are causing fear. Social media is coming out with stories that the secret planners belonging to Illuminati are feverishly planning to control the world, depopulate the world, and mind control the left over population through a new vaccine in which micro Nano chip will be planted. Idea is to introduce cashless digital currency, establish an international government and rule the world. Recently, ex PM of UK Gordon Brown floated the idea of international government.
While the whole world is in a spin due to Covid-19 and are sparing no effort to eliminate it, Israel is calm and behaving coolly. The Illuminati hierarchy of 13 richest families including Bill Gates is saying that, ‘Everything is Under Control’. They are busy installing 5G in all parts of the world which will provide fastest internet speed but will also act as a secret monitoring gadget in each house to monitor and report the activities of each individual. Anti-Dajali forces have started uprooting and burning the 5G poles installed in several European countries. Their plea is that Covid-19 has spread faster in countries where this facility has been installed and countries without this facility are safe from virus.
The cat seem to have jumped out of the bag after Bill Gates stated recently that “public gatherings will not come back at all until every human being in the world is vaccinated”. This statement when seen in context with Israel’s claim of inventing the vaccine to treat corona virus, but imposing a condition that only those countries recognizing Israel will be supplied this vaccine, thickens the plot.
Bio-weapon as future choice weapon
Although the US and former Soviet Union as well as some European countries abandoned their bio-weapons programs in 1960s and 1970s and signed Bio & Toxin Convention (BWTC) in 1972, research on BWTC was not prohibited for defensive research work such as inventions of vaccines for virus and antibiotics. This leeway has allowed advanced countries to secretly develop technologies to create infectious viruses and use them as bio-weapons as was the case in the past. These clandestine programs are cheap to produce and easy to hide. Sarin bio-gas was used by Iraq against the Iraqi Kurds and Iran; by Bashar Army or Israel in Syrian war, and by India in J&K and in Neelum Valley in AJK. It is said that among the over 800 US military bases deployed all over the globe, many are engaged in secret bio and medical research works. So is the case with Russia, China, UK, Israel and India, all engaged in arms race in conventional, nuclear and space realms! Given the growing competition and antagonism between global powers, and ambitions of the imperialist powers, possibility of Covid-19 having been used as a bio-weapon cannot be altogether ruled out.
Gazing into the future, development of cheaper bio-weapons could take precedence over expensive state-of-the-art weapon systems, nukes and missiles, and could be used in any future offensive or defensive strategic calculus. Hence, the possibility of induction of bio-weapons in future wars and conflicts by the merchants of death cannot be discounted.
The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, former Defence Attaché’ and Dean of Corps of Military Attaches’ in Cairo, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Center, Member CWC PESS and of Think Tank, and Member Council TJP. [email protected]
Brig. General Asif Haroon Raja a Member Board of Advisors Opinion Maker is Staff College and Armed Forces WarCoursequalified holds MSc war studies degree; a second generation officer, he fought the epic battle of Hilli in northwest East Bengal during 1971 war, in which Maj M. Akram received Nishan-e-Haider posthumously.
He served as Directing Staff Command & Staff College, Defence Attaché Egypt, and Sudan and Dean of Corps of Military Attaches in Cairo. He commanded the heaviest brigade in Kashmir. He is lingual and speaks English, Pashto and Punjabi fluently.
He is author of books titled ‘Battle of Hilli’, ‘1948, 1965 & 1971 Kashmir Battles and Freedom Struggle’, ‘Muhammad bin Qasim to Gen Musharraf’, Roots of 1971 Tragedy’; has written a number of motivational pamphlets. Draft of his next book ‘Tangled Knot of Kashmir’ is ready.
He is a defense analyst and columnist and writes articles on security, defense and political matters for numerous international/national publications.