The new world order that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union is breaking down
Although the bipolar Cold-War-style mentality is still quite widespread among the rulers of Russian society, it is not a fundamental feature of their global viewpoint. Rather, Russia’s sense of being insulted and disappointed after it failed to join the “premier league” is behind this mindset.
If the international community fails to establish acceptable and understandable rules of international behavior in the context of “revolutionary challenges,” the world may slip into a new round of global confrontation, which will be caused not by systemic contradictions but by vain disregard for real common threats.
Today Russia is confronted by the West which is largely demoralized by its own blunders and no longer a source of moral supremacy and appeal for most people in the world. Sided with Moscow is the rising “non-West” that comprises the majority of countries and most dynamic economies.
"As masters of judo teach, it is better to not rely on one’s own strength but to instead use your opponent’s strength against him"
The former, transitional model of relations in post-Cold War Europe no longer exists. No new model is in place either, and everyone is hoping to engineer a stopgap by giving a facelift to the situation from the latter half of the 20th century
Moscow appeared to be unprepared for polycentrism as it has not yet grasped its basic rule, which was well known to Russian chancellors of the 19th century: one should make compromises on individual issues in order to have closer relations with other centers of power than they have among themselves.
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
Turning points in history are rarely recognized as such by contemporaries. Even while following the news and sensing that something has gone wrong, people go about their lives in the usual way.
This year has brought the chilliest phase in relations between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War.
President Barack Obama is under attack – from so-called liberal hawks, more or less to the left of center, as well as from active interventionists on the right – for being a weak president, leading a war-weary (even world-weary) America in retreat.
Armenia, opting for self-restraint of its own accord, minimized its risks and losses. As to whether the Armenian-style Finlandization can be an example for other former Soviet republics would depend not only on their own choice.
The new post-Crimean risk for Russia’s political system is not so much in putting political participation on freeze as in forcing this participation, which might push the country onto the road to ideology-driven authoritarianism.
Until spring 2014, discussions about the new Russian national identity, including the Russian world concept, had little to do with Russia’s foreign policy and national security agenda. The revolution in Ukraine made it one of the issues critical for the survival of the Russian nation and statehood.
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.
It was not international diplomacy that has steered the situation over Ukraine into the condition of nearly systemic confrontation. The current state of affairs should be blamed squarely on the absence of diplomacy for nearly a quarter of a century.
A group of U.S. neo-conservatives have been increasingly active in their efforts to rebuild the world to their design. Yet they have clearly misunderstood the vector of the transformations underway, and, which is still worse, have displayed historical ignorance.
Russia has given up hope for joining the West in the foreseeable future. But it has not yet made a choice in favor of anti-West, let alone, anti-Europeanism.
It is already becoming habitual: yet another turn in world politics – and a fondly prepared portfolio of materials has to be shelved, and new ones made in an emergency mode. Witnessing epoch-making events is fascinating, but it takes a lot of nerve…
While nobody wants to go back to the Cold War, those of us who are old enough to remember it know that while tensions between Moscow and Washington ran high, they never exploded into outright conflict.
RD Exclusive: Robert Legvold, Professor Emeritus of Columbia University, analyzes the impact of a new Cold War between Russia and the West.
The rupture in relations between Russia and the West is discussed as if Crimea’s accession, Ukraine’s future and sanctions are the core problem.
The intention is for the Geneva transaction to be a prototype of how to resolve similar disagreements, as no one doubts that their number will grow.
The immense gulf in mutual distrust and suspicion that has characterized relations between Russia and the U.S. in recent years has been laid bare by the degree of misunderstanding “experts” from each side have shown in their attitudes toward the other during the Ukrainian crisis. Why do we appear to know each other less well than during the Cold War?
Everything will now depend on future developments and on Russia’s strategy. In my opinion, the Kremlin should plan its strategy very thoroughly and with due regard for the strategic nature of the ongoing confrontation.
The dawn of a unipolar world means that countries will have to settle arguments through talks again.
Attempts to solve the Middle Eastern “cube” have continued for decades. Sometimes it seemed that just one final move was needed to achieve the desired harmony of colors and proportions, but no. Yet it is hard to expect a result when several people manipulate the cube simultaneously.
If Cold War II hasn't already started, it is somewhere around the corner.
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.