The West is in a deep existential crisis. Globalisation is falling apart, and resource collapse for the world’s leading economies is becoming clearer.
The American-style world, where the dollar is the main product produced by the US for export, has faced the exhaustion of the development model and has accumulated enormous debts, the total volume of which has already reached 320% of global GDP. The most prominent philosopher and sociologist of modern times Zygmunt Bauman prophesied back in 2017: “The Western man’s dream of a ‘better life’ ended his heavenly marriage with the future. And in the process of divorce the dream was also turned into a commodity, launched into consumer markets, and vilely robbed, depriving it of any ethical significance.”
For the Western citizen, tomorrow is no longer a dream world, but rather a world of uncertainty, a world of growing anxiety, conflict, and injustice. There is a sharp weakening of the attractiveness of US policy and Western civilisation as a whole.
The pandemic has clearly demonstrated the ephemeral values that have been presented to the world for decades as a bulwark of Western civilisation, as a model of development for all mankind. During the month of the pandemic, “united Europe” disintegrated into isolated countries, each of which was left alone with itself to fight the coronavirus infection.
The same is said by the famous popular Italian political scientist, analyst, and President of the Vision & Global Trends International Institute for Global Analyses Tiberio Graziani: “I am extremely concerned and disappointed by the poor solidarity shown by the European Union, as well as its delay in planning assistance to member countries such as Italy and Spain… The current pandemic has exposed the fragility of states, at least Western ones, and their subordination to the owners of large supranational digital infrastructures and corporations…”
The bulwark of democracy and the hegemon of world politics USA has simply collapsed into the abyss of COVID-19, unable to contain it or effectively confront it. And this is not a situational, but a systemic crisis of the American state. As early as 10 years ago, shrewd and conscientious American military analysts wrote: “It [national security strategy – ed] does not answer a fundamental question that more and more Americans are asking. Where is the United States going in the world? Our collapsing roads and bridges reflect collapsing self-confidence. Our crumbling roads and bridges reflect a crumbling self-confidence. Our education reformers often seem to despair that we can ever educate new generations effectively for the 21st century economy. Our health care system lags increasingly behind that of other developed nations….”
This is an excerpt from the fundamental work “A National Strategic Narrative”, published in 2011 under the signature “Mr. Y”. This work largely determined the ideology of the concept of Trump, who today is trying to save the United States from the “bursting bubbles” of the financial and socio-economic system that he inherited from the Democrats. His combat, however, is rather unsuccessful, which only increases the probability of implementing a scenario of finding external enemies responsible for the current troubles of Americans.
Enemies have already been actually named – first of all China, then Russia and a number of rogue countries. And this makes a new cold war inevitable, and the geopolitical risks will only increase.
On the basis of the statements made by American politicians and the reports of think tanks, it becomes clear that the US will try to build a new post-viral world order, and in fact, a new globalisation in the confrontation with China and Russia, using time-tested principles and strategies of the 20th century Cold War. The ideology will emphasise the “demonisation” of China, Russia, and other countries that will refuse to voluntarily integrate into the new world order.
Tensions are increasing, only partly camouflaged by a global operation called “Coronavirus”. The situation in some respects resembles the “War Alarm of 1927”, when the risks of a new war and the level of threat to the very existence of the USSR started to increase dramatically. Recall that on May 27th, 1927, the English Conservative government announced the severance of diplomatic and trade relations with the USSR. The likelihood of entering a war with the entire “capitalist environment” increased to a critical point. It was then that the political leadership of the Soviet Union decided to shut down the NEP and move to forced industrialisation and modernisation of the economy, the armed forces, and domestic science, launching programs with five-year plans.
The similarities are more than obvious.
The West still considers Russia to be an enemy. In early 2019, the American strategic research center RAND Corporation published a report that is exceptional in terms of its cynicism and frankness: “Russia’s Hostile Measures in Europe. Understanding the Threat”.
Russia is blamed for its very existence, its culture, economy, trade, ties with compatriots, and moral and religious values. The report states that the United States (army and government) should prepare for a wide range of conflicts with Russia. According to RAND Corporation’s analysts, by 2023 a new form of war – virtual social war – will be conceptualised as a mechanism to undermine the sovereignty and destruction of states without resorting to military action. The methods of this war are highly sophisticated. These include political sanctions and covert operations aimed at establishing active fifth columns inside the target country, including the ability to tap into the resources of the diaspora or ethnically connected communities. And the use of more sophisticated cyber attacks, including, for example, targeted killings of opposition opinion leaders with drones or personalised medical and biological weapons. Artificial intelligence technologies are actively used in the humanitarian sphere.
This is how American analysts see hybrid wars in the near future. And this future is coming. Recall the murder of the Iranian (!) military commander Soleimani in Iraq (!) by an American (!) combat drone – an actual information and viral agenda that “turns the world inside out”!
Recall that there are 65 American secret bio-laboratories in the space of the former USSR – right along our borders – 15 of which are in Ukraine, 12 in Armenia, 15 in Georgia, 4 in Kazakhstan, 4 in Tajikistan – they are everywhere! What are they developing there, what are they preparing for, why didn’t the laboratories have a place in their native USA?!
This is more than disturbing, and it is stupid to ignore these challenges.
So, hope for the best, and prepare for the worst – sanctions will not be lifted; the pressure put on Russia will increase; the fifth column, sponsored from outside, will strengthen; new spheres of confrontation will arise: economic space, information environment, cyberspace, artificial intelligence, space, ecology, as well as the Arctic, Antarctica, Africa, and other zones of struggle for the depleted resources of the planet.
Such challenges must be met by new industrialisation and the accelerated development of domestic science and technology, similar to the era of the first five-year plans, without which the USSR would have stood no chance of winning the war.
The emerging challenges and dangers of a new global competition call for a strong economy in Russia based on its own modern technologies. So far, the presence of nuclear weapons has kept the world’s powers away from military conflict, but does not rule out an acute confrontation in all other areas.
President Putin, in January 2020, even before the Coronacrisis, invited the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to work on the foundations for the future of the world order. Only countries with comparable potential can negotiate new rules of the game, and no one will negotiate with the weak. There are many pitfalls and risks in the way of such agreements – coronavirus is only the most obvious of them.
The unipolar world is a thing of the past. The new spatial and political configuration of the economically- and military-significant part of the world will be based on the global balance of power, and by launching a negotiation process concerning the future world order, it is necessary to constantly increase the weight of Russia in this balance.
(Member of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy) Andrey Ilnitsky (Advisor to the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation)
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