The ongoing military conflict in Ukraine is a watershed event of immense historical significance. It marks a break from the past and the beginning of a new geopolitical reality, one that will encompass progress in international relations towards greater economic development, justice, and peace.
The military conflict in Ukraine is not about a narrow conflict between Ukraine and Russia. It is but the outward sign of a bigger confrontation between, on the one hand, the U.S.-led Western order and, on the other, nations like Russia, China, and others who refuse to accept a subordinate role. Our interview with Bruce Gagnon this week elucidates the bigger geopolitical picture and what is at stake.
A sure sign of the bigger dimensions is the way the U.S., NATO, and European allies have rapidly deployed a total hybrid war on Russia, in an attempt to destroy the latter’s economy. The Western claims about “defending democracy, sovereignty, and international law” are contemptible and fraudulent. By funneling weapons to a repressive, corrupt regime whose military is infested with Nazi regiments?
No, the U.S. and its Western allies are using the conflict – one which Russia assiduously tried to avoid by making reasonable appeals for security treaties with NATO – as an opportunity to crush Russia. And it’s not simply about crushing Russia. It’s about crushing any challenge to the Western order. That inevitably involves confrontation with China and others who seek to defy the “Washington Consensus”.
The draconian censorship of Russia’s international media outlets and the blockade on Russia’s economy indicates a full-court campaign of hostility from Western powers that were ready to go. Russia’s intervention in Ukraine on February 24 – based on plausible principles of self-defense – provided the launchpad for pent-up Western hostility. But this hostility is not merely towards Russia. It is aimed at confronting the emergence of a multipolar world order that is beyond the control of U.S.-led dominance. That dominance – or hegemony – is based on U.S. control of the global financial system as well as on brute American military power, assisted by its NATO adjuncts.
Russia’s immediate concerns about Ukraine were based on the increasing threat that this western neighboring country posed from its treacherous involvement with NATO and the unacceptable assaults the Kiev regime was inflicting on the Russian-speaking population in the Donbass region over the past nearly eight years. But by defending those national concerns, the military intervention in Ukraine has also challenged the entire system of the U.S.-dominated Western order.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov remarked on this end-of-era development. He told Russian media this week: “Our special military operation aims to put an end to the unfettered expansions and unfettered course towards total domination of the U.S. and other Western states under it on the international arena.”
It is worth reflecting on his reasoning of why the duplicity and hypocrisy of Western powers had become intolerable, and why such unipolar arrogance was, and is, destroying the international order.
Lavrov commented with irony: “It is possible to recognize the independence of Kosovo without a referendum, but it is impossible to recognize the independence of Crimea, declared after a referendum, observed by hundreds of objective foreign representatives. The U.S. imagined a threat to their national security thousands of kilometers away in Iraq, but, when they bombed it and found no threat there, they didn’t even apologize. And when neo-Nazis and ultra-radicals are being grown right on our borders, tens of biological laboratories are being created under the Pentagon’s supervision, carrying out some experiments that aim first and foremost to develop biological weapons – the discovered documents leave no room for doubt – then we are not allowed to react to this threat, right at our borders, not beyond the ocean.”
What Russia has done by its military operation in Ukraine on its own independently assessed terms is to signal that the presumed dominance of the United States and its Western allies is over.
The post-Soviet era of the last 30 years is over. Russia is no longer interested in integrating with a Western-centric global order, as Fyodor Lukyanov writes this week in an article for Russia in Global Affairs. Russia is now choosing “another road”.
That road means fully embracing a multipolar world as heralded by Eurasian economic integration, and strategic partnership with China, India, and others. Russia’s vast natural resources, primarily in the sphere of energy, will be directed towards Eurasian development and in doing so find ample reward. It is the Western economies that need Russia more than it needs them, as noted this week by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The transition to a new global order will take time and will involve temporary dislocations. It will take time to build the necessary infrastructure of gas and oil pipelines for example. But the overall trajectory is viable and sound, and it is already well underway.
The profound historical importance of the global tectonic shifts is evident from the views of Russian economist Sergey Glazyev, as featured in this erudite interview with Pepe Escobar. Glazyev has been working for years in an official capacity on the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). He details the evolution and implementation of a new financial global order that supersedes the U.S. dollar-based system. The new order is being developed by Russia, China, and others with the explicit purpose of becoming independent from the dominance of U.S. and Western debt and currency imperialism.
What is happening in Ukraine is truly era-ending and epoch-making. War and suffering are abominable. But the Western-dominated system left Russia with no choice but to use physical force in order to defend its vital interests. Now that the rupture has happened, there is a sense that the Rubicon has been crossed. There’s no going back. The Western response has been self-defeating. Its hybrid war against Russia has catalyzed the demise of U.S. and Western global dominance. Their politicized abuse of the dollar system has fatally damaged that system and presaged the hastening of a better, more globally democratic alternative.
Arguably, the timescale of this global process goes back further than the three post-Soviet decades or the post-Gold Standard era that ended in 1971 when the U.S. killed that off for the sake of dollar supremacy. It goes back even beyond the eight decades since World War Two. We are looking at the past 500 years of Western Europe and its colonial powers, latterly fronted by the United States’ hegemony and its criminal warmongering wanderlust.
There’s no guarantee of the outcome. But suffice to say that the old U.S.-led order has to go, and it will go precisely because it is no longer sustainable as far as the rest of humanity is concerned.
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