World at a Crossroads

A century of interest to the historian, 
For the same reason it is sorrowful for anyone living in it.

Nikolai Glazkov

Our time is very interesting, but unfortunately, it is also very sorrowful. The keyword to describe the contemporary situation is autarky, the ability of a country to live relying on its own resources.

And the key question is to what extent the contemporary world is able to create a world order that has guarantees of security and constructive interaction. The recent developments have demonstrated that conflicts tend to aggravate – especially if we’re not serious about solving them.

All in all, the world is at a crossroads. And the road that will be chosen will determine whether humanity will be able to develop in more or less stable way.

Ukraine happened to be the battlefield between Russia and what can be called the collective West. The crux of the conflict is the principles of international security. 

To some extent, Vladimir Putin’s Munich speech can be seen as its starting point. In it, he predicted the upheavals that would follow if the security system did not become truly inclusive, covering all countries.

It hardly makes any sense to recall all those things that have been done ever since. We can say with certainty that a lot of mistakes have been made. The world elite, and first of all, the western elites, demonstrated a superficial attitude to the security issue, underestimating the fragility of the modern world.

And still, let me repeat, what counts most is what our world will be like, where it is headed, what its main supporting structures will be. 

Regulation is the most intriguing part here. In recent years, mutual dependence of countries has been growing, while international regulation has largely remained intact.

The current conflict demonstrates that international regulation is disproportionately weak compared to mutual dependence in the world. Primarily because the regulating capabilities, for example, in the sphere of economics and finance, are concentrated in the hands of a handful of countries, their governments. Which enables them to cause tremendous damage to opponents.

If this is true, we have two ways out. The first one is to overcome differences diplomatically, to build just and inclusive regulation in all spheres, including defence. The second is that one part of the world or even one country comes to control this regulation.

We can see that the so-called collective West is quite decisively taking on the role of the global regulator. It is tantamount to a global challenge.

It means that the other countries of the world should decide how they can ensure an efficient and equal participation in the global regulation. How to achieve that?

Most probably, this will be done using the following instruments:
  • Increasing self-reliance in the economic and defence spheres
  • Creating various regional and trans-regional unions
  • Changing the international financial-economic system

Strange as it may seem, but the world today needs a system of efficient international organizations. Reckless use of sanctions, especially by the United States and the Western European countries, has led to global asymmetry and weakening of the UN role even though this organization is supposed to prevent world conflicts or at least help resolve them with the least dramatic aftermath possible.

The problem of international security is no less important. I suspect that many countries are already thinking of having weapons of mass destruction as a guarantee. Therefore, a world divided into parts, each of them aspiring to be able to cause irreparable damage to others, is a very likely scenario.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about the danger of what could be called a world civil war. It’s either it has already begun or we are on its threshold. A struggle for global hierarchy is underway. It is unfolding in all spheres: military, economy, finance, information. No one is going to stop short of victory in any of these spheres or in the overall situation. Victory can be seen in various ways, though.

The closest historical analogy of today’s situation is the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century Europe. A lot of participants, alliances of various degrees of stability, weak ability to make decisive moves for the sake of peace. It took years and huge casualties to achieve what could have been negotiated without a war.

Finally, the recent developments have shown that we need a certain set of neutral platforms. For example, in the communication, media sphere. Alas, almost all social networks (Facebook, Twitter) have turned into a kind of information weapon. Financial and payment platforms also turned out to be not neutral. Like many others. As a result, people who are not guilty of what is happening suffer. In fact, only the Red Cross has remained neutral, trying to help all parties.