The search for cracks in the anti-Russian coalition of Western states is futile. Washington securely holds the initiative and literally twists the arms of states that risk raising their voice in favour of peace rather than war, writes Valdai Club Programme Director Andrey Sushentsov.
When considering the main trends of the current international crisis, it becomes obvious that the initiative to the greatest extent belongs to the United States. The goal of the United States is to prevent the world from becoming polycentric and consolidate its hegemony for the rest of the 21st century. To achieve this goal, Washington is trying to provoke Russia and China; to force them to take drastic steps that will alienate their allies. As a result of the violation of relations between Russia and China and their respective allies, the United States is counting on the release of significant material resources that can be used to strengthen its own influence.
The second task of the United States is to limit the economic growth of its own allies and force them to submit to the allied discipline. The US intends to eliminate impulses for strategic autonomy both within the European Union and among its partners and allies in Asia. Washington hopes that, as a result, it will strengthen its role as a key and indispensable participant in the multilateral military partnerships that US allies are part of.
Working separately with each country, the US seeks to involve its partners in East Asia in conflicts in Europe, and vice versa. This explains the exotic-looking negotiations on the supply of South Korean tanks to Poland. Although there is no direct connection between the Ukrainian crisis and the situation around Taiwan, the US is making every effort to create it artificially.
The allies in the anti-Russian coalition play different roles. The most radical group in Europe includes Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. They offer themselves as an instrument of American policy, they see their task in getting the United States involved as much as possible in the affairs of Europe. The “European radicals” seek to use this involvement as a lever in their own struggle with the Western European states, which they criticise for their “appeasement” of Russia.
Standing apart is the second vassal of American global politics, Britain, which functions as a kind of right hand of the United States. With this status, London often allows itself to be ahead of Washington, thus giving its senior partner the opportunity to act as a more moderate international player.
The group of cautious states includes France, Italy, Germany, etc., which do not have political initiative and strive to create conditions in which the most radical consequences of the crisis would be reversed.
A separate group consists of opportunist countries. In Europe, these include Hungary and Turkey. They are looking for a way to protect their own interests, including through bargaining with the United States in order to achieve the most satisfactory development of events on the continent for themselves. In the actions of the opportunist countries, the outlines of a future polycentric world are quite visible. The opportunist countries occupy a special place in the anti-Russian coalition: they are united by the search for peace, and they are interested in polycentrism, since it is these conditions that will allow them to maintain freedom of manoeuvre in their foreign policy and ensure their economic security, mainly with regards to importing Russian energy, mineral resources and food. The behaviour of these countries reflects that of the Gulf states, the countries of Africa, Latin America, and others.
Over time, both South Korea and the countries of Western Europe may be inclined towards opportunistic behaviour. They feel cramped in the new cold war, which narrows their room for manoeuvre and forces them to take more radical positions. Everyone is aware that the current crisis will not have an immediate end, so they assume that the crisis will continue as they plan their activity for the coming years. At the same time, they are aware that this crisis indirectly hurts their own interests, reducing both their political importance and their economic opportunities, affecting the stability of production chains, logistics, economic security and the strategic situation on the continent. Under such conditions, over time, these countries will become more attentive to Russia’s interests, which will make it possible to conduct a more energetic and productive dialogue with them.
However, for the time being, the search for cracks in the anti-Russian coalition of Western states is futile. Washington securely holds the initiative and literally twists the arms of states that risk raising their voice in favour of peace rather than war. In this matter, the United States has a group of influential allies among the radical countries of Eastern Europe, who present themselves as a security frontier, which, by all means, must be strengthened to fight Russia.