Political scientist and observer of MIA “Rossiya Segodniya” Rostislav Ishchenko believes that the liberal model of the world order is dying and that the crisis provoked by the United States has been going on for 20 years.
Rostislav, many talk about the global crisis that mankind is plunging into. What do you think caused this phenomenon – objective economic factors or the coronavirus pandemic?
“I have repeatedly written that a systemic crisis has been raging in the world since 2000. Therefore, I cannot hold the view that the coronavirus pandemic that arose in 2020 caused it. Maybe it catalysed a little the processes that were taking place, but the crisis that is happening in the American economy did not start today, it essentially stopped developing 20 years ago.
Already back then, American economists said that the US was on the verge of a great depression. The only mechanism they could use was quantitative easing, i.e., attempts to pump new money into the already over-pumped economy.
Without solving the deep problems, they tried to extinguish the fire with gasoline. Therefore, the crisis has existed for a long time. At the same time, the pandemic started in February 2020, the first bells in China rang in November 2019, but they were ignored. And the fact that the global economy has entered into a crisis was said in 2019.
And it was said that this is another crisis, now there will be small losses, then there will be a recovery, small growth. The manipulation of statistics, which has been done a lot in the West in recent decades, does not signify growth.
Because if you include stock market sales in GDP, you pump GDP with air, it’s virtual money. In reality, specific material assets are not sat under them.
Any issuer can print as much money as they want, but if real goods are not sat under them, this money becomes garbage. And we saw the legend that the United States could print as much money as it wanted crumble. Because the world is finite, and once the system created by the United States reached the borders of the world, it had nowhere else to grow, and this caused a systemic crisis.
Then all the mechanisms that provided growth started to collapse, they started to work like drugs that become a poison. Therefore, the coronavirus epidemic will end, but the crisis will not.”
You mentioned a great depression, which was one of the causes of World War II. Can history repeat itself, and will world players try to solve their problems through an armed conflict?
“We can discuss whether we will arrive at a third or fifth world war, because world wars are considered differently. Some consider the third one to be the cold war, the fourth to be the hybrid one, and the fifth to be a hot one.
A whole set of reasons led to the Second World War: contradictions between the United States and European countries, contradictions within Europe, and so on. Another thing is that World War II helped the US overcome the Great Depression, this is true.
But the fact is that after World War II, with the emergence of huge nuclear stockpiles in a number of states, the military way to solve the problem has become ineffective. Because in that case, you don’t solve the problem by sending humanity and yourself into the stone age.
Therefore, most states always try to solve the problem by political means, and military means are used on the periphery. I.e., we are now dealing with an informational diplomatic war in which military actions serve as a peripheral support event, when combat is carried out not to solve strategic tasks, but to obtain informational pretexts for hybrid war.
Naturally, no one seeks to unleash World War 3 because it will be too destructive. But in politics, mechanisms for the independent uncontrolled development of the situation often start to work.
This is like if you disengage a car’s brakes, put it into gear, and push it down a hill. There are processes that seem controlled to politicians, but then they enter an uncontrolled phase.
So the danger that war can be unleashed against politicians’ intentions really exists. Because in a rigid standoff, when nobody can concede, and all new and new radical methods are used, there can come a moment when military operations become inevitable. It will no longer be possible to stop this flywheel.
American films may show two presidents calling each other and stopping missiles flying, but this doesn’t happen in real life.”
Well, if Trump and Xi Jinping can abandon launching their missiles, then we can hope for a favourable outcome for humanity…
“Unless it can be stopped with a net if it is done at time … No one will intercept the missiles because you have the opportunity to make a decision only once. Perhaps you will have a system that will allow to eliminate flying missiles. But where is the guarantee that your opponent won’t do the same? While there will not be time to change your mind.”
How would you evaluate the international system that is supposed to monitor global security, i.e., the UN, WHO?
“A system remains a system only as long as everyone is ready to comply with the rules of this system. If the rules cease to be implemented, then formally the system may exist, like in the example of the Ukrainian state, but de facto the system doesn’t exist.
This can be said about today’s system of international relations, de facto it has long been destroyed, because the US stopped paying attention to binding decisions of international organisations long ago. Once upon a time, we had one enfant terrible – Israel, which spat on the resolutions of the UN Security Council concerning the withdrawal of troops from the occupied territories, but no one remembers this anymore.
I.e., it’s not possible to talk about the system, we can say that the old one is over, but there isn’t a new one yet. To a large extent, the right of the strong prevails.”
Has the final breakdown of the liberal model of the world order already happened or is it still to come?
“The final breakdown of the liberal model, like the communist, fascist, and anarchist ones, will never happen, because the conception of these ideologies are in the public consciousness.
There will always be groups of people who will hold some views. And they will always seek to impose these views on society, come to power, and so on.
Another thing is that liberal ideas become unpopular, but 20 years ago they were super-popular and communist ones were unpopular. And earlier liberal ideas were inferior in popularity in relation to communist ones.
And I am using as an example the confrontation of only two ideological centers, but there are many more.
Therefore, we can now note the crisis of the liberal ideology. They created the idea of a global eternal system that would be served by liberal ideology. But here it turned out that the system is not eternal, and liberals faced the same thing that the communists faced 20-30 years ago, when it turned out that a beautiful new world would not be built.
That’s the crisis of liberal ideology. It does not meet the needs of today. But this does not mean that in 20-40 years it will not be in demand in a new form.”
Can China offer humanity a global ideological project based on its own millennial philosophical traditions?
“No one can and should offer anything to humanity. The proposal always lies on the table in the form of appropriate stabilisation. There is Chinese civilisation, Russian civilisation, there is the civilisation of the modern West. If 100 years ago you were forced to live within the civilisation in which you were born, now it is as easy to change civilisations as it is states.
Offers are on the table, and you can always choose the one that suits you. The same principle has always worked for the Chinese: a barbarian who behaves like a Khan is a Khan, and a Khan who behaves like a barbarian is a barbarian.
But Chinese civilisation did not go far beyond Southeast Asia. Even huge China has been trying to conquer small Vietnam for 2,000 years in order to ensure control over maritime trade routes, but nothing is working, although the potential is not comparable. Although they have similar civilisations.
Therefore, it is difficult to assume that some civilisation will become so attractive that the whole world will fall into its arms.”
Perhaps it is a thankless task to make any forecasts about the future world order?
“It can be said that the past global world order, with American hegemony, built on the military-political and economic lectures of the West, is gone. Nobody knows what the new one will be like, yet the old one has not completely collapsed.
For a long time Russia, China, and the European Union tried to gently land the United States so that the collapse of its economy would not splatter everyone. But it’s too late. It seems that a soft landing is no longer possible for the US.
Everyone understands that the American state is in crisis, and it no longer has a good way out. So we don’t know if the results of the collapse of the old world will lead us to a beautiful new world or to the stone age.”
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