The Western world, headed by the U.S., is no longer able to successfully address the current global challenges. It is quite clear that the U.S. strive for global hegemony has already caused resistance led by China.
This kind of confrontation will differ much from that between coalition groups once led by the Soviet Union and the U.S, it will be more about policies and economy as well as national mindset of each country involved.
The upcoming crisis may be defined as the crisis of civilization, which offers a brand new take on the future of mankind in general. Globalization processes are already taking place, and the question is only which way we choose to follow. There are two of them:
1) We allow the existing world model (the US at the top, accompanied by its allies) to remain unchanged. In this case, the rest of the countries will keep on serving the interests of the strongest ones, making the 'center-periphery' conflict even deeper and causing further inequality.
2) The world`s leading countries achieve a compromise on global development, relying on common interests and goals and the division of labor principles.
Meanwhile, it is difficult to predict which way will be chosen. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the upcoming crisis leaves the West very few opportunities to follow the first scenario without using force.
We see how eager the western experts are trying to find a way out of this 'political zugzwang' in a game played by the US and its allies. Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Polish American political scientist, offers his plan of a new world order. The plan, in which Russia is mentioned very often, was unveiled during the Global Policy Forum in Yaroslavl (the report is headlined ''Our Common Geopolitical Challenge''), and also on October 14 in Normandy, where Brzezinski received the 2011 Jury du Prix Tocqueville Prize. Speeches made by Brzezinski there may turn as precursor to a new US policy towards Russia which will replace the 'reset' policy as it seems to have exhausted its potential already.
What kind of Russia does Brzezinski want to see?
– Russia without Putin
– Russia as a confederation, not a federation
– Russia as a periphery country providing the West with energy resources.
Russia has long been considered as a donor country for more successful ones. Today, Brzezinski says, it is clear that Russia`s role is no longer about controlling ‘a part of the world’. It is concerned about overcoming the inner stagnation and population decline amid the rising East and still rich, though weaker, West. Brzezinski believes that it is important to promote Russia’s ‘geopolitical reforming’ and its further integration into the western organizations. “This can’t happen under Putin, although some preconditions for democratic evolution in Russia are already there…” Russia is called to become a part of the new transatlantic architecture at the cost of independent geopolitical role; in other words, it is offered to renounce its history which has formed the Russian nation and statehood as they are.
It would be unwise not to pay attention to the fact that Brzezinski served as US National Security Advisor in 1977-1981 and was a consultant to Barack Obama during his election campaign. The US ruling circles still heed to what Brzezinski has to say. Russia also should not forget what Brzezinski once said: “in the 21st century the US will be developing at the cost of Russia and against Russia”. This appears to be especially important since there are some circles inside Russia which welcome the idea for some reason. It must be stressed, however, that the Eurasian Union project suggested by Vladimir Putin offers a different approach to the future of Russia. The Eurasian Project seemed to have taken the West by surprise. Now that first negative remarks have been made, the western elite is preparing to give an official response to Putin`s project. Brzezinski`s speech during the 2011 Jury du Prix Tocqueville Prize was one of the first responses.
We all may think differently about Brzezinski and his theories. But one thing is beyond doubt: he belongs to those political circles which do not simply shape geostrategic concepts but turn them into real political trends.
It seems that it was not by chance that the ‘reset’ in relations with Russia, announced by Barack Obama a couple of years ago, has failed. “Europe has no political will, Russia does have it but lacks economic opportunities. The Chinese do not want fame quickly, they are cautious and patient. In the next 10-25 years the US will either remain a key country affecting the global stability or will become a source of numerous problems to already chaotic global policy”, Brzezinski said. In other words, the ‘reset’ was a fake game from the very start.
Nevertheless, we should keep on trying to bring our ideas through to the US. In 1995, Vladimir Maksimov, an emigre writer, said in an interview with Continent magazine: ‘If you are determined enough to ask them not to tell us what to do, they will respect you and will heed to what you have to say. But once you have given way, do not expect them to have mercy on you…”
In view of this, the best thing Russia could do now is work out its own project of the new global architecture, which would be equally attractive to all countries, irrespective of their economic status. Otherwise, having its nuclear arsenals cut, Russia will be no longer interesting to anybody. Such project could rely on the notions of justice and harmony, although these two notions are not yet widely spread in Russia itself.
To offer an adequate response to the U.S. policy, Russia must become aware that it is not a partner for Washington but a target, and chances for any changes here are very small. As far as the international policy is concerned, the US always serves only its interests and does everything it wants to achieve its goals. So, Russia is facing two prior tasks: 1. To strengthen its sovereignty. 2. To use deterrent strategy against the U.S. That is why Russia is better not cut its nuclear arsenals but enhance its defence potential to avoid a possibility of getting caught into a new global military conflict in future…
The second task also requires strength Russia is currently lacking. It means that a third pole responsible for shaping the international policy is needed to make the world more stable. More attention should be paid to the East! Only cooperation with Asia and the Muslim world will help Russia stop the US from destroying all on its way. Which country may become this ‘third pole’? Obviously, these are either China, or India, or Iran. By the way, such ideas were first announced in Russia in the early 20th century.
In 1861 Lieutenant-Captain Pyotr Golovin wrote: “As far as freindly ties with the US are concerned, I should say that they will show sympathy to us as long as they do not own us anything; they will never sacrifice their interests for beliefs”.
A perfect quote to wrap up my story.
The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.