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After the Unipolar World Order

"It’s a funny thing, but in the chaos that humanity is returning to, Russia’s potential influence is increasing."

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The author is a famous Russian economist and a left-leaning politician and prominent media personality.


Where to from here?

The aggressive, selfish dominance of the US that provokes the indignation of the world is coming to an end: the economic crisis deprived the last "Lord of the World" of force and new technologies, making direct control over the world unnecessary and unprofitable.

It’s not an accident that both presidential nominees in their own way are giving up American Messiahship: Clinton is the continuation of the strategy of intimidating the world’s funds to run to the US, financing its expenses; Trump will occupy himself with America first of all, paying attention to the world only to solve domestic problems.

As a result,  US influence will continue to decrease, but there will be no stable order to replace it. Its confrontation with China will not create a bipolar system, despite natural historical analogies, mainly because of different ways of thinking and, thus, of acting. US expansion is financial and technical, while Chinese expansion is demographic; on the other hand, for the US, expansion has long been a way of  existence, for China it is a way of solving its problems.

The idea of global competitiveness between the US and China has dominated the world for a long time, under the restraining influence of "second tier" powers: the European Union, Japan and, probably, Russia and India. However, the US and China, unlike the US and the USSR, build their policies on different levels that decrease the potential of confrontation. Besides, they are not ready to develop opposing systems that require significant resources.

That’s why the coming epoch is reminiscent not of the postwar confrontation between the US and the USSR, but of the interwar period of the "war of all against all" – a time of absolute chaos and uncertainty, lacking distinct alliances and even coordinate systems, not to mention shared rules. 

There was a diplomacy back then, but it had nothing to do with observance of international law (as now), or any stable alliances. Even interests changed, and insufficient attention, flexibility and energy in organizing various kinds of collusion, even if paradoxically improbable, meant death.  

Either a real threat of attacks by England and France on the Soviet Union during the Finnish war, or the betrayal of Czechoslovakia by the Western allies, or the unhindered English evacuation of Dunkirk, or the flight of Hess, or many other episodes, some of which remain a mystery, show that at that time, situations had uncertain, multiple meanings.   

This happened in Europe, the center of policy back then, but we now know that an extremely tense, unpredictable process also took place in Africa, the Middle East, South-Eastern Asia, India, Latin America.  

Today we are returning to those times – chaos and a ruthless "war of all against all", where determination and understanding of long-term processes wins. The Soviet Union emerged the winner due to these two key factors. Now modern Russia is only beginning to acquire them. And the fact that determination outperforms understanding appears to be a source of anxiety rather than of joy.

The specific character of the modern "‘multipolar world" is developed global business: due to simplified communication, the role of supranational structures is much greater than in prewar times. Besides, back then, supranational financial structures were opposed by the Communist International, providing if not parity, at least movement in that direction. Now global business, continually enhanced since then, has nothing to restrain it, and its destructiveness is increased by irresponsibility, generating much greater danger.

Meanwhile, there is an unobservable phenomenon: unlike the largest corporations, their owners, global investment funds are hidden in the shadows, partially manifesting once in awhile, as at the beginning of the Ukraine crisis.

A situation aggravated by weakening states, which are turning into split-level forces: global and regional, but poorly observable as separate private interests. (A striking example of the unity of various local interests is the election as mayor of London on the first ballot of a heterosexual, socialist Muslim who supported Great Britain’s membership in the European Union.)

In the new world, the power of participants exceeds their ability to recognize reality, and their irresponsibility is reminiscent of the Middle Ages. This generates anxiety, and will require colossal self-discipline, energy and determination, not only from states, but from populations in the foreseeable future.

It’s a funny thing, but in the chaos that humanity is returning to, Russia’s potential influence is increasing. With all our flaws (and in spite of the proverb, we live according to the principle that "every bird fouls its own nest"), Russia has not just returned to history, but is growing strong - nervously, inconsistently and uncertainly so far, but in a half-remembered historical space.

The West, without lessening the "cold war" unleashed to destroy us, but seeing a lack of prospects, again began trying to get straight the mechanisms not of cooperation, but of interaction. With the insignificant squeak of cancelling the sanctions, the changing meaning of rhetoric, its ridiculous invitation to the "Group of Eight", knowing the futility of recommencing a dialogue with NATO, these events confirm the logic of accepting Russia’s importance.   

As usual Brzezinski, the Pole from Kharkov, Carter's National Security Advisor, who wanted to create nuclear weapons capable of killing only Russians, outdid everyone. Besides a clinical case of Russophobia, this restless old soul is famous for his subtle ability to know which side of the bread to spread the butter: his statement that the key forces of the future will be not only the US and China, but also Russia, is priceless.  

An enemie's flattery increases our chances, but in order to use them we must be smarter and more responsible than they, moving to this position, without which global leadership is impossible. Normal life has yet to begin.

The main thing is not to be late.


This post first appeared on Russia Insider

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