Globalization of the Willing as the Principle of the New Era? First Ever Valdai Club Session at Raisina Dialogue
New Delhi, India
List of speakers

On January 9, the Valdai Club held an expert discussion, titled “The Arrival of Global Politics: Diversity of Strategic Cultures and Its Impact on International Affairs” as part of the Raisina Dialogue international conference in New Delhi. It was the first experience of the Club’s partnership with the Observer Research Foundation, the conference organizer.

Last year the Valdai Club released a report, titled “The Rise of Rimland: The New Political Geography and Strategic Culture”, where it analyzed the effects of the rise of China and India on the future world order. The basic idea was that the new world order will be inevitably created under the influence of many players whose strategic cultures differ significantly. The problem is what will result from the different worldviews. The Raisina Dialogue discussion develops the points of this report.

Participants in the discussion included General Yevgeny Buzhinsky, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Moscow-based PIR Center think tank, Cameron Munter, CEO and President of the East-West Institute (USA), Yang Yanyi, former Head of Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union, Indrani Bagchi, The Times of India’s diplomatic editor, Anton Tsvetov, Expert at the Center for Strategic Research. The discussion was moderated by Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club.

At the moderator’s request, Cameron Munter covered the trends of American politics, which influence the global developments. The current situation is not Trump’s invention. He did introduce his very peculiar style, but all the prerequisites appeared before – take, for example, the George Bush presidency in 2001-2009. America, like the rest of the world, is undergoing a process of transformation; there is no political consensus in the United States. All the most high-profile decisions of Trump in the field of international security – from quitting climate agreements and the Iranian nuclear program to the troops withdrawal from Syria and abandoning the INF Treaty, have cause heated debates in the military-political and diplomatic communities, with many people opposing them. In this case, none of the abovementioned contradicts the previous trends in American politics. Return to the status quo ante after Trump will definitely not happen at all. What is happening today is not some arbitrariness of an individual or a group of people, but emergence of a new system, and the world has not yet got accustomed to it.

Yevgeny Buzhinsky touched the topic of nuclear weapons. The nuclear arms control was the core of not only strategic stability, but also of the entire world order of the second half of the twentieth century. It stood on the three pillars of agreements – the ABM, INF and START treaties. Since 2001, these pillars have been undermined, and there is every chance that in 2021, when the New START treaty expires, everything will be finished.

Some other system must replace the old one, and the danger of uncontrolled developments in this area is too great. The great achievement of the arms control model was transparency and verification procedures. In the future, the system cannot be bilateral, it should include other nuclear powers, at least China and India.

Russia-US: Prospects for Strategic Arms Control
Without START-3 it will be much easier for Russia to develop and put into service both the new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles, and nuclear-powered cruise missiles, as well as other new types of strategic weapons.

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© Sputnik/Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
Ambassador Yang Yanyi urged to abandon the mutual assured destruction (MAD) principle in favour of the principle of mutual assured prosperity (MAP). She stressed that the post-WWII world order brought fantastic progress to most countries, both developed and developing ones. Therefore, we must not lose this. The PRC and the USA have just celebrated the fortieth anniversary of diplomatic relations, and the lesson from this period is absolutely unequivocal – the benefit is only in cooperation, confrontation brings only losses. According to the ambassador, there are things where Beijing will not make any compromises – this is sovereignty and territorial integrity, where bargaining is inappropriate. As for trade and economy, China is ready for maximum flexibility in the search for mutual solutions.

Indrani Bagchi frankly admitted that India has mixed feelings about the departure of the former world order. On the one hand, the disappearance of the rules does not strengthen global security. On the other hand, the former order did not quite suit India, being discriminative towards it. For example, the NPT is an unfair treaty: India did not get into the nuclear club by coincidence, and it took 40 years for actual breakthrough, although it had such a right from the very beginning. So India, frankly speaking, has no particular reason to grieve over the possible disappearance of the NPT.

The same applies to regional systems. The regional and world orders that have existed until recently infringed the geopolitical interests of India, displacing it from the spheres of strategic importance: from the Strait of Hormuz to the western part of the Pacific Ocean. Now, thanks to the growing initiative of the Indo-Pacific region, India is returning to where it should be by right. It does not matter that it comes back not on its own, but through a system of partnerships. New Delhi is sure about this, although many in China and Russia do not like that.

Anton Tsvetov said that numerous regional initiatives today – from the Indo-Pacific project to the Belt and Road initiative, from the MERCOSUR to the Eurasian Economic Union, are in fact not only regional developments, but they all have a global dimension, because they involve global powers. This is the new structure of globalization, which can be called, paraphrasing Donald Rumsfeld’s old saying, “globalization of the willing”. The way that countries are united by short- or long-term interests is the principle of the next era. One can expect increase of interest in the concept the Non-Aligned Movement, whose basic idea that countries do not want to bind themselves with strict obligations in the framework of alliances seems very relevant.

According to Fyodor Lukyanov, the Valdai Club’s participation in the Raisina Dialogue-2019 is only the beginning of cooperation. The Valdai Club and the Observer Research Foundation intend to continue partnership.