While the US struggles to deal with COVID-19 and violent protests at home, China, Russia, Iran and Turkey have taken potshots at Washington and are celebrating the ‘collapse of the US’, according to an OpEd in Jerusalem Post.
The United States has enjoyed the position of the global superpower ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its satellite states in 1989. Since then, countries such as Iran, Russia, China and Turkey have on lurking in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment to strike i.e. when the US is at its weakest.
To coordinate efforts against the US, these countries have state media that is well funded, such as RT, TRT, Iran’s Tasnim & Fars News and numerous Chinese media outlets. The policy of these nations is to slowly undermine the US and wait for moments of US weakness to push their agendas.
This moment seemed to arrive after as protests ripped through the US last week after the killing of George Floyd. The first to celebrate the chaos unfolding in the US was Iran, as its media pushed stories that highlighted the “collapse,” while quoting Russian sources portraying that the US is flailing about as its world order comes crashing down. Iran’s former president also comments about the declining US “order.”
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s President, was next to follow as he sought to capitalize on the recent riots in the US, claiming that America is part of an “unjust order” in the world.
The leadership in Turkey and Iran view their goal as undermining the US through a more religious lens linked with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Muslim Brotherhood that influences Tehran and Ankara respectively, writes Seth Frantzman for the Jerusalem Post.
According to Frantzman, Ankara is a nominal US ally but has drifted away from Washington and inked deals with Russia to acquire the S-400 missile system. Additionally, it seeks to partition Syria with Russia and Iran.
Ankara and Tehran share a close relationship as they coordinate in efforts against Israel, support Hamas and work together against other US partners, such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt.
Moscow, Washington’s enemy from the cold war days, might have dwindled in its size, economic and military might since its collapse but it has not stopped being a thorn in the side of the US.
After the turmoil in the United States escalated, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the US was now having to deal with its police misconduct and said the US compared unfavourably with Russia.
“Thank God things that happen in America do not happen in [Russia],” he said, according to Russia’s TASS media.
Aleksey Pushkov, a senator in Russia’s parliament and an expert on foreign policy, took to Twitter to comment on how the US is crumbling. He used the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey as examples of American decline.
Pushkov also pointed out that the US was crumbling due to COVID-19 and the inability of the US to help Europe or its allies at the peak of the pandemic. He said America has been on a “hysterical” tirade against China and now faces an internal schism and racial rebellion.
Iran was pleased with Pushkov’s words, writing an article about them at Tasnim as if to affirm the Iranian regime’s own view. Meanwhile, Iran’s IRGC said it was stronger than ever and that it was resisting the “pharaonic, dictatorial, terrorist United States.’’
Taking advantage of COVID and domestic turmoil
Franztman argues that Russia, China, Iran and Turkey are all taking advantage of the US being in a vulnerable position and using it to forward their interests. Ankara has flooded Libya with weapons and Syrian mercenaries during the crisis.
China has pushed up against India in Ladakh. Iran is flexing its muscles at home and sending tankers to Venezuela. Russia has sent warplanes to Libya and Syria.
All these countries want to also leverage the economic crisis of the COVID-19 to their advantage. Turkey is designing a new fighter jet that Russia’s media heralds as a possible replacement for the F-16.
Russia is pushing its defence systems, and Turkey wants to work with Tehran, Malaysia and Pakistan to improve economic relations and expand its role in the Mediterranean.
The ‘decline’ of the US has its allies worried and rushing to counter-balance. Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, the UAE and France as seeking to counter Turkey’s growing role in the Mediterranean.
Globally, American allies are concerned that the chaos in the US, where the army is now being deployed, could represent a decline of US ability to concentrate abroad. That will mean all those that have been waiting for the US to reduce its footprint will be running to fill the vacuum.
China is making headway in the South China Sea and India, Iran and Russia are turning towards Afghanistan with Moscow and Ankara eyeing Libya. From eastern Libya to Afghanistan to Asia and Africa, everywhere the US may appear weak, the adversaries are preparing.
The big four – China, Russia, Turkey and Iran – are poised to exploit and emerge stronger.