We are dealing with a rather unique example of a struggle in which the forces of the opponents are approximately comparable, although the superiority of the West is significant. We absolutely do not know how the countries of the World Majority would behave in conditions where the USA and Europe launched an offensive against a weaker adversary: for example, against Iran or another country of a comparable scale. Therefore, we cannot say to what extent the self-confidence of those countries that do not obey US orders now, would manifest itself in a different situation, writes Valdai Club Programme Director Timofei Bordachev.
You can argue as much as you like about what the new international order will look like, but one thing is already clear enough — it will not be like any of the previous ones. History generally does not tend to repeat itself, and this always means that appeals to historical analogies reflect an intellectual misunderstanding of what is happening. So now, any attempt to find a firm basis in the past for comparison with the processes and phenomena of international life that we are observing at the present time inevitably encounters convincing arguments as to why this or that analogy is not appropriate. Even in the past such analogies were difficult, as the main issue was the change in the power potential of a relatively small group of states. Moreover, it is impossible to make them now — in a completely different international context. It is very likely, however, that attention to the context can help us better understand the outlines of the order that will emerge in a few years, if not decades.
The most important discovery of the first year of the military-political confrontation between Russia and the West is that international politics is given its context by a significant group of states that do not seek to stand under the banner of one of the warring parties. Moreover, they are actively pursuing their own foreign policy agenda, which is not completely comfortable either for Russia or for its opponents. Another thing is that since Moscow is not the initiator of tension in relations with the United States and its allies, it also does not pursue an attacking policy; the restrained behaviour of most countries throughout the world becomes a factor that significantly influences the development of the situation, precisely in favour of Russian interests. At the same time, with the exception of a handful of nations, there can be no talk of direct support for Russia among more than half of the countries in the world. As one of the leading Chinese international experts rightly noted in an interview, Russia is going through a conflict with the entire West “practically alone.”
However, no matter how the behaviour of the so-called world majority corresponds to Russian or Western expectations, the very fact of its participation in international affairs has become quite obvious, just like the lack of intention of many countries to stand under the banner of the United States, China or Russia in the future confrontation between the great powers. However, this does not negate the need to strive to understand the motives and driving factors of such a significant and influential group of states as a structural feature of modern international politics.