The United States perceives peace, security, and stability as a given that happens on its own. According to Washington, no significant efforts are required to maintain it, and when there is a need, the United States itself initiates a military conflict. This is a big difference between the US and Russia: Russia understands that in order to save the world from catastrophe, the major powers must reach a consensus and maintain order in their regions, writes Valdai Club Programme Director Andrey Sushentsov.
The Valdai Club report “Maturity Certificate, or the Order That Never Was” is a new chapter of the analytical series that my colleagues and I prepare each year prepare for the annual meetings. A big role in strengthening the influence of the report’s arguments is played by the fact that we, perhaps earlier than others, began to write about the fact that the world order has begun to crumble. This is happening, on the one hand, as a result of the US attempt to impose its dominance on everyone, and on the other hand, due to the formation in the world of a significant number of strategically autonomous active centres of power that do not agree with Washington.
Our argument about the crumbling of the world order was voiced for the first time in the 2018 report. We wrote about how the West’s pressure on the rest of the world is one of the last attempts to maintain its dominance, which is coming to an end. For 500 years, the West has been a key and influential centre of power and political initiative. Key conflicts took place in the West, and key innovations and political ideas arose in Western countries. Today, the centre of global economic gravity is inevitably shifting to the East.
The fact that the West will become another region of the world on a par with others, an important and significant one, but not a global leader or hegemon, is the most important characteristic feature of the emerging order. The world is becoming uniformly dense, complex and influential. However, this process will take some time and will not happen overnight.
Instead of correctly understanding of the nature of changes and offering itself as a reasonable and seasoned moderator or as a centre of political expertise to reconcile the warring interests of different countries, the West acts as an active centre for disorganizing processes in different regions of the world. Through its actions, it escalates conflict, disorganises regional systems and thereby brings forward the most unfavourable scenario for itself. Properly, the Western actions are pushing Russia to join forces with other influential centres of power in the world, and a process that could take several decades is taking place in a matter of months.
In addition, social, economic and demographic trends make the flow of power to the East an objective process that cannot be stopped. Military power and the possession of material resources and economic potential are again, as throughout world history, beginning to play a leading role. Some time ago, countries around the world, influenced by the Western narrative that “the world is flat” and the “end of history” has come, began to believe that the service economy, global interconnectedness, and shared values are the most significant resource in the new international environment. Some of the countries actually took the path of reducing their material resources and influence on international relations.
The current world developments have shown that this was a mistake. Countries whose share of services exceeds 70 percent of GDP have come to feel extremely uncomfortable in the current international environment. However, countries where material resources and their extraction, industrial production, agricultural production, and trade in resources account for a large proportion of GDP feel more comfortable. They realize that the situation on world markets depends on them, and, of course, the global centre of political, military and other gravity moves towards them. Therefore, we see that power, including military power, is still a very important currency in the international system. The United States has not deviated far from this conclusion, despite proposing that everyone must consider the world stable and safe; as it itself remains the world’s main militarist with the largest military budget.
Americans view multipolarity as an unstable situation with a large number of risks and threats. At the same time, they accuse countries that believe multipolarity is the most optimal configuration of the international system of not being ready to take responsibility for stability in their regions, and that only the United States is forced to take on this role.
From the Russian point of view, this understanding is erroneous. American actions, as the last 30 years has illustrated, lead to increased tension and the accumulation of contradictions that explode into military crises.
As these big trends toward the formation of multipolarity are implemented, the United States will understand that there is no need to exaggerate the area of its responsibility for international affairs, and it will quite harmoniously feel like one of the leading states, but no longer a hegemon. In the near future, this goal cannot be called relevant, since the West is implementing a strategy of defeating Russia. Our relationship is a confrontational one, a very intense rivalry, in which the West uses all measures against Russia. Of course, given the current conditions, we do not plan to build anything jointly.
However, after the West understands what the balance of power in Europe looks like, a sobering will occur, which should lead to new political forces taking power in the West who realize that attempts at dominance are a dead end. If this comes to fruition, it will be possible to return to an equal dialogue on how we can cooperate to ensure global stability and security.