Sunday, June 24, 2018

US battle for dominance and Bangladesh

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Even when Washington and Moscow were engaged into cold war, diplomatically, politically and militarily, the global economy already was based on US dollar.

It means Lenin's ruble (Soviet currency) could never establish even the status of an internationally accepted currency. United Kingdom even though has a much older history of global dominance (as the British imperialists turned many of the countries in Asia, Africa and Europe as its colonies), Britain currency, bearing the portrait of the English monarchs, had also been considered as a globally accepted and exchanged second International currency.

The United States, a country discovered by Christopher Columbus, much later than the English dominance in the world, most definitely was not considered as a rival -- not to speak of a superpower either by the British or any of its fellow imperialists such as France etc in the Europe.

Let us not forget, Soviet Union, in size, was the largest country in the world spanning its territorial area from Europe to Asia. With such a huge area and plenty of natural and mineral resources, Soviet Union could not emerge as an economic superpower. As ruble was not accepted as an international currency, Moscow was continuing business, more precisely buying and selling goods from and to its friendly nations against barter -- not cash.

The global acceptance of American dollar had keynote behind the United States' emergence as the mightiest nation in the world. The control of global politics had long back gone into the absolute command of Washington. In today's world, any nation facing an economic sanction imposed by the United States finds it much harsher and tougher than a sanction imposed by the United Nations.

Economic sanction imposed by any other individual nation, without a ditto from the United States actually becomes merely paper tiger. That is the reality, anyone agrees or not.

President Donald Trump has started imposing punitive taxes on products imported from China. Such measures may temporarily deprive the Americans from buying cheaper products and consumer items imported from China, but in long run, it will severely affect the Chinese economy. It is not unlikely that President Trump may look for alternative sources to supply cheaper goods to the American consumers, but the process may take some time.

President Trump and his administration are fully aware of the fact as to how China has been gradually establishing political dominance in Australia, Canada and many of the African nations initially by exporting cheaper commodities and ultimately and gradually taking control of the politico-economic system in those nations. By selling cheaper commodities, Beijing already has established its economic dominance in most of the African nations.

China has been extending all out support to those autocratic regimes in Africa and Asia for the sake of keeping the United States and the European Union away from infiltrating into Beijing's sole dominance. In Myanmar, for example, China is extending moral and even immoral support to the military - backed regime with the aspiration of keeping Myanmar under China's exclusive dominance.

Through the Maoist extremism, China has been consistently trying to establish its dominance in Nepal. Sri Lanka and the Maldives already are silently slipping onto Beijing's grip. Same thing may happen in the case of the Philippines, while countries like Cambodia and Vietnam already are within China's dominance. Only in the case of Bangladesh, China is yet to establish full dominance because of India's influence.

Here again, one thing is common, which might have made Beijing greatly relieved. Both China and India are totally unwilling in allowing the United States in establishing any visible influence or dominance in Bangladesh. While for decades, China and Russia jointly had protected North Korea from any American dominance - in case of Bangladesh, the same method is jointly applied by the Sino-India nexus.

While it is most inevitable that Kim Jong-un and the socialist autocracy is about to fall in the North Korea- China and Russia, with the active collaboration of India may now put greater emphasis both on Bangladesh and Myanmar in avoiding humiliating political defeat (as they already are going to witness in North Korea); and let Bangladesh and Myanmar slip into the grips of Washington's dominance.

American policymakers fully understand, unless they can minimize Indian influence in Bangladesh, it won't be possible for Washington to establish dominance in this part of the world. With this understanding, the United States will apply multiple diplomatic tactics.

The row between India and China over South China Sea is just one issue. This will increase differences between India and China. The second issue would be the rise of radical Hindutva and repression on non-Hindus in India. There would be sudden warmth in US-Pakistan relations, re-emergence of Khalistan movement and of course, 'eruption' of the sleeping volcanoes in the north-eastern part of India.

President Donald Trump may also put pressure on Pakistan and India in letting the people of India and Pakistan occupied Kashmir hold the referendum of self-determination. It gives meaning that an independent Kashmir might emerge from the captivities of Pakistan and India.

Catalan-type independence movements may also begin under American backing in Baluchistan, Tibet, Punjab, north-eastern States of India and even Poshchim Bangla (West Bengal). Bangladesh already has started spreading its Bengali nationalism in the West Bengal.

The establishment of Bangladesh center in the Shantiniketan compound is just a beginning. Of course, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina does not have any anti-Indian agenda in her mind. But, as she has Stalinist like Hasanul Haq Inu and Rashed Khan Menon in her cabinet, she also has some diehard pro-American (and of course anti-Stalinist) within her inner circle. She even has a few trusted and tested friends and allies of Pakistan (of course in disguise) right inside her house of policymakers.

Almost immediately after the Trump-Kim historic summit in Singapore, top policymakers in the Trump administration would most certainly turn their attention towards Bangladesh. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly has been given a strong message regarding Bangladesh affairs.

And a free, fair and participatory general election in Bangladesh is also urgently sought by world leaders. Narendra Modi has also been reminded of punitive economic measures, if he wants to play 'foul' in the region. It is also in Modi's concern that Indian voters may elect a secularist Rahul Gandhi as their next Prime Minister.

The writer is a political and defense analyst based in Bangladesh. Email: writemah71@gmail.com. Views expressed in the article are the writer's own
and do not necessarily reflect that
of the newspaper

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