The future and the past can meet sometimes—when the present is at an impasse, like it is today. For a quarter of a century now, we have been tirelessly building a new world order, but suddenly time seems to have rolled back, reviving the talk of a new Cold War, an ideological conflict, arms control, and nuclear confrontation.
The claim about an irreversible crisis of the liberal world order is a very convenient position for those who would like to simplify not only the overall picture, but also the challenges to the Russian foreign policy. Russia should learn to see not only problems in globalization, but also new opportunities for itself.
Like any ideology, patriotism comes along with an illusion of being part of “a big common cause.” However, illusion here is not deception, but an objective necessity, something that has to be hidden for society to continue to exist and at the same time adequately conceived at a conscious level.
New disarmament talks are hardly necessary. With the West continuing to dominate the information space, such talks would only be used for inciting greater mistrust and militarizing mentality in Europe. But there is the need for military-to-military dialogue.
The scope of China’s containment is broadening, while the scope of U.S.-China cooperation is gradually narrowing. Of course, it is easy not to see this if one cites high volumes of U.S.-Chinese trade or the great enthusiasm for American popular culture among the Chinese.
For the UN to continue to be truly indispensable, international officials and national governments, members of the academic elite and civil society leaders will have to reach consensus on the way ahead, avoiding over-ambitious plans, but also half-measures portrayed as full-fledged reforms.
Russia should reasonably assess the need for itself to participate in old, mostly European, formats of integration, and to think of new formats that would be more consistent with modern requirements. The principles of Russia’s interaction should be revised in favor of greater pragmatism and protection of national interest.
U.S. foreign policy is entering an era of change—the most significant since the Truman administration. The cause of such changes lies in the discrepancy between the U.S. foreign policy consensus reached at that time and forged in the 1990s, and the current (and, most likely, future) global trends. The departure from the current consensus is inevitable. It is just a matter of time.
Neither crises nor criticism mean that the EU will fall apart. It will maintain its stability even though it will be engaged not even in major repairs but in patching up and papering over the cracks. Brussels will focus on consolidating what has been achieved, which will require pinpoint harmonization in particular spheres.
A hypothetical alliance between Russia and China is based on the assumption that it should serve as a counterweight to the U.S. hegemony. That thinking, however, overlooks the possibility that Moscow and Beijing might build closer relations for dealing with the important challenges they both face.
It seems Washington wants to provoke China into muscle-flexing. If Beijing shows restraint and cold calculation in response, this may have a restrictive, if not sobering, effect on Washington. Russia is interested in preventing the South China Sea from becoming a proving ground for testing the strength of one’s nerves.
Central Asian countries will have to adjust their old stakes, which have failed, and make new ones. They will largely depend on the positions external partners will take. But countries in the region want economic cooperation without a geopolitical “burden.”
Despite its geographical remoteness from conflicts involving radical Islamists, the Russian Far East is not completely isolated from them. Preventing the growth of extremist threats in the Russian Far East and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole requires joint efforts of all states concerned.
In view of the accelerated development of new technologies and potentially low energy prices, the struggle for energy markets will intensify. No matter in what areas energy cooperation may develop in the future, its main task will be attracting investment, technologies and human capital into the Russian fuel/energy sector.
The global energy market continues to be driven by the political economy of oil production and trade. Energy markets have come full circle returning to their fundamentals: oil is there to stay and play an important role in the era of slow melting of the oil surplus.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
The April 16 referendum will focus on power distribution rather than institution building. In other words, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to expand the President’s powers and allow him to rule longer. In their turn, Turks perceived it as an institutional choice to contribute to the development of the state.
If the larger picture defies prediction, the immediate future is scarcely more transparent. In the U.S. case, the known unknowns are numerous. They begin with the question of how much deck furniture Trump is willing to overturn in order to pursue an “America First” strategy.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.