By the middle of the second decade of the 21st century it has become clear that the world is moving towards a balance of power that was more typical of the 17th and 18th centuries, with the appropriate geopolitical adjustments. Western influence, with its possibilities and military capabilities, is decreasing, while the East and the South are rising.
The Ukrainian region and city of Odessa, situated on the Black Sea adjacent to Romania and Moldova, was a major focal point during the Euromaidan, the annexation of Crimea, and Russia’s further intervention in Ukraine.
The Turkish Air Force’s attack on a Russian aircraft flying over Syria has jeopardized development prospects for Russia-Turkey cooperation in the gas sector.
How Turkish downing of Russian jet fuels Middle East tensions
In the early 1990s, scholars, journalists, and political observers predicted that the new Central Asian states would descend into chaos and break apart. More than 20 years later, Central Asia’s states seem relatively stable, both at their political centers and outlying territories, including states like Tajikistan that were once embroiled in civil war.
Latin America, the former laboratory for neoliberal experiments, has become in the last 15 years a fascinating territory of alternative policies that pursue a more inclusive and egalitarian society, based on a just wealth distribution and more social rights for vulnerable people.
After the Ukraine crisis and military intervention in Syria, the key principles and ideas underpinning Russian foreign policy are becoming easier to understand.
Generally speaking, there are no grounds in Russian-U.S. relations for reviving the Cold War and going to the brink of mutual assured destruction. In the presence of common threats, geopolitical interests can adversely impact bilateral relations only to a certain extent. But the current tendencies do not give hope for their speedy improvement.
Russia has nothing to gain and nothing to lose in Europe. By contrast, Russia has much to gain and everything to lose in Asia. Asia is dynamic and growing. But to realize its potential Russia must focus on internal development, not external posturing. And the obvious place for it to focus first is the Far East.
A trilateral dialogue between Russia, China, and the United States can become the core of a new security system in the Pacific, with other countries and territories in the region gradually joining in. Multilateral cooperation in the North Pacific is a fundamental objective. It will require a transition from the bloc system and allied relations to a multilateral format.
The mistakes in Russia’s policy in Ukraine did not allow it to make use of its huge “historical advantage” over the West; namely, fraternal bonds with the majority of the Ukrainian population. A situation similar to that in Ukraine may occur in other post-Soviet countries with which Russia is now trying to build integration associations.
The National Security Strategy to 2020 is a key element in managing the development of Russia. The plans to update it are not just a prerequisite for making changes to many other major documents but also a good reason to reconsider the current vision of the country’s present and future and its national interests.
The emergence of the new Atlanticism represents a shift in the meaning of ‘the West’. The traditional pluralism and capaciousness of the concept is now narrowed into a transdemocratic combination of security and normative concerns.
Strategic forecasting is that portion of intelligence that focuses on events that have broad and fundamental effects on the international system.
Power politics is not “back” after having been away on some vacation. It has always been here. What is different today is that power plays are more visible because other countries are pushing back harder.
Society is ready for new national interests to appear that will pave the way for effective and long-term policies “for all.” Now the situation hinges on those who will formulate them correctly.
Mounting economic problems will exacerbate Ukrainians’ ressentiment towards the West as well as mistrust and even hatred towards their own political elites. Russia should make use of Ukrainian society’s disappointment with Ukrainian nationalism and pro-European liberalism.
From the standpoint of peace prospects, the outcome of the end of the Cold War was quite acceptable for Russia. It is an entirely different matter as to how the opportunities for peaceful Russian-Western cooperation that opened up in the early 1990s were used and what has taken us to the crisis of 2014.
I have already written before that having emerged from the Cold War, Europe lost the post-war peace. The continent is on the verge of strategic degradation that may either become a caricature of military-political division into opposing blocs or a time of disquieting uncertainty. The military-political conflict over Ukraine can escalate as well.
It is likely that, when describing the development of international relations in the second decade of the 21st century, future historians will refer to a kind of renaissance of geopolitics.
The historic reconciliation between Russians and Germans that started forty years ago has become a unique phenomenon in international affairs
In 2021 Russian-Chinese Treaty on Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation may be not just extended but transformed into a format that would be close to an alliance. So, Russia’s equidistance from the United States and China in the geopolitical triangle is hardly possible in the foreseeable future.
Germany would not “divorce” the U.S. to embrace Russia. Still, a monogamous relationship between Washington and Berlin could well be transformed to a peculiar menage a trois, in which Moscow could find its role in sharing influence and possibly even domination in East/Central European space.
The Ukraine crisis began as a lingering political contention over a legal document whose essence few understood – an Association Agreement with the EU. Within months it evolved into a regional competition between major players, which catalyzed an internal strife. By the autumn, it has degenerated into a confrontation obviously fraught with global consequences
The west is without direction and losing sight of moral convictions
The recognition of the new reality is practically common for all the leading politicians and expert political analysts. To credit of Russian diplomacy, it should be said that we were the first to notice this transformation of the world and formulated the requirements to the country’s foreign policy arising from it.
Russia will have to deal with the effects of Crimea being part of an independent Ukraine for 23 years. A Crimean political and business elite has emerged with its own values, bonds, and relationships. Russia is not the motherland of an entire generation of Russian-speaking youth, but the motherland of their ancestors.
The values of naive liberalism of the 1990s have been replaced with ideas of realism and statism, and the vacuum in Russia’s foreign policy ideology filled with an idea of gathering the Russian World and giving priority to the protection of traditional Christian values.
International law doesn’t work well in in a world with unipolar tendencies and when its interpretation is dictated from a unipolar center. But the world is simply too big, complex and diverse for that.
The crisis in Ukraine has become a manifestation of conceptual and legal chaos in the international arena.
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.
Contemporary international relations are experiencing a period of turbulence and transition from a unipolar world to a world with multiple centers of power with strengthened role of regionalization. In these circumstances relatively small states try to maximize the resource of geopolitical identity to conduct their foreign policies.
In the old days coal miners took a caged canary down into mines. If the canary suddenly dropped dead, that meant that the deadly gas, carbon monoxide, was slowly seeping into the shaft... An order of magnitude increase in killing rampages in America over the last several decades is like canaries suddenly starting to drop dead all around us. It is an early indicator of much worse troubles to come.
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.