In the same boat with the hegemon
Where to keep the course if there is a hole? The XIX Annual Meeting of the Valdai Club, which began in Moscow on October 24, is designed to help answer this question.
On the first day of the forum, three sessions were held, as well as a meeting of experts with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. All events were held behind closed doors, with the exception of the presentation of the Club's annual report, which was broadcast online. This year, the theme of the Valdai report is "A world without superpowers."
It is difficult to imagine a world order without defects, as well as a meeting of the Valdai club without another report. The main thing is that the defects of the world device do not become fatal, and the report would fall to the place. It must be assumed that the authors of the text presented at the club meeting were worried about these circumstances and tasks, the correspondent of The Moscow Post reports.
How to manage a shared boat?
According to the authors, the world without superpowers will need a system of self-regulation, but are international players able to create such a system? It was this question that was at the center of the discussion of the experts who participated in the presentation of the report.
"A World Without America" could be a more accurate headline. The former German gymnast, and now a diplomat, says that Europe should build security "not with Russia, but from it." By analogy, the world would be easier to build "from the United States" or "without America." But everything is much more complicated, the boat is all alone.
Weakening of the United States is inevitable, it is a matter of time, according to China, and ready to wait. Perhaps in other parts of the world they will prefer to peacefully adapt to a decrepit and split America. But is Washington and the American elites ready to wait? It looks like not. And today, this fact is a problem for Russia, like many other countries. A "dangerous superpower" with its capital on the Potomac does not calculate its own actions beyond its borders, let alone their consequences for the whole world.
On the contrary, he considers them the only correct ones. Until the realization that everyone's fate is in common, it is yet to grow, going through shocks. Today, the world is going through one of these conflicts, which can be the most difficult in the last 80 years. Apart from the casualties and losses brought by the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. There, in the end, they found a way out, not everywhere final, but allowing to stop hostilities. It is clear that the current conflict in Ukraine will also be completed sooner or later. And it would have already been completed had it not been for US intervention. Or maybe there would be no conflict, if not interference from overseas.
Discussions about the fate of the world
The authors of the report note that Western foreign policy has become media, diplomacy has degenerated into mutual trolling. With the filing of the leading media of the "golden billion" countries, international security issues became a "silver rain," pouring jets of fame on commentators, professors and other talking heads.
They represent different countries, individual schools and camps. Schools often disagree when determining what "North" or "South" is, where "legs" are located, and where "head." Sometimes, differ in the definition of "white" and "black." These discrepancies are well known in Russia, they have to be taken into account and taken into account, proving their case. In the "Western Glasnost camps" order reigns, there the dissenters are ordered to enter.
Against this background in the West, the TV broadcasts of the performances of the former comedian, who could envy Jack Nicholson himself, who was remembered as a chilling villain, became a craze in the West. The popularity of the Joker performed by Volodymyr Zelensky suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic is not the worst thing that can happen to people, but universal vaccination is unlikely to help here.
One simple and bitter conclusion can be drawn from this: different people speak the same topic, but in different languages and translation does not help, neither written nor synchronous! It is not possible to agree on terms. And in this we diverge from the West just as we once diverged from Macron's ancestors, Berbock or Scholz, in real, not just war of words. This side of the confrontation in terms can be smoothed out by the forum participants.
The Role of the Valdai Sages
But the debate continues, despite differences in the tragically mismatched ideas about values and interests to which the section is devoted in the report. Sometimes they try to overcome discrepancies with the help of international meetings like the UN Security Council or the OSCE, sometimes through dialogues on the "side tracks." Where enthusiasts place homemade "red flags" that signal dangers. The Valdai Club is one of these paths, Sergei Lavrov and Vladimir Putin are there.
The report "World without superpowers" stated that "the Valdai Club warned of the accelerating processes of complete showering of the global political and economic system, international order".... True, the "system" "poured" until 2004, when the Valdai Club was not yet. For example, when the ceilings fell in the building of the PRC Embassy in Belgrade, or, Kosovo's independence was recognized. In 2003, America launched a war in Iraq, and the DPRK withdrew from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Finally, the authors of the report should have been close to the topic of security of the Northern capital of Russia, to which NATO's forces and toxic atmosphere "approached" in 2004. Soon two decades, as Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were accepted into the North Atlantic Alliance. That is, the system even then continued to "crumble," creating the prerequisites for the appearance of the Valdai Club. But ideas about the safety of dangerous cracks were not yet visible.
Change-over, but not reset
These cracks appeared much later. In 2009 the first report of the Valdai club "Change-over, but not reset was published. The interests of Russia in the relations with the USA". This work was the reply to the report of the American political scientists "To rethink policy of the USA for Russia". Then the Russian-American section of club still worked.
In the report of 2009 the attention was focused on Barack Obama's proposals on reduction of strategic offensive weapons, the regional conflicts, the prospects of economic cooperation with the USA, on formation of a system of multilateral nuclear control, position regions of the American missile defense in Central Europe and other questions.
The editor-in-chief of the report Sergei Karaganov as two main goals of work called attempt "to make the Russian political elite think systemically that it is necessary for her from the relations with the USA" and also "to begin open and subject dialogue with the American expert community" to normalize communications with America after their unknown deterioration lasting quarter of the century.
It is remarkable that in two years before the political elite already "thought". And not only Russian. Especially, after Vladimir Putin's performance at a conference in Munich in 2007. And significant dialogue with Americans was impossible, despite proposals of the Valdai authors "as equals to participate in definition of the European order in the sphere of safety".
Ukraine and Georgia in the context of NATO were mentioned by the way, it was talked of "Big deal" which essence was thought within "respect of the vital interests" each other. It was talked of "unions", including the general economic and universal space of Russia and the European Union, of "restraint" of the USA on space of the CIS, of support of efforts of the USA and NATO in Afghanistan and other ideas.
It was other world in which the USA and the West seemed, mainly, as partners, despite the conflict in South Ossetia which accelerated disintegration of Georgia. Many then hoped for the best in the relations with the West, the value of the Munich speech of 2007 just should be estimated. All new annual reports were prepared.
Life in the showered world
And almost revolutionary nature of events of 2022 – crisis in Ukraine, or "the Ukrainian question" as he was called by authors of the last annual publication was farther. It "not the just regional conflict" and not a dispute for the place in the international hierarchy, the speech about whether this hierarchy will remain. Russia as it is noted in the report, became the first major power which, being guided by own ideas of safety and justice, decided to refuse the benefits of "the global world". We will specify – the western part of this world which is controlled by the USA.
In the report "The world without superstates" follows digression to history the economic review. From freezing of the Russian gold and currency reserves and the championship of Russia as subject of the western sanctions the bridge to failures in economic basis of the global device which became the most obvious manifestation of crisis "sverkhderzhaviya" is under construction.
And then, very controversial statement follows: "Notorious multipolarity in itself guarantees only one – lack of effective hierarchical management".
Perhaps, it belongs to the point of view of the USA on the happening changes, but afterwards one more passage. Not a conclusion on the basis of the facts, not just statement of the facts: "The USA acted as the guarantor of a certain set of rules, let they suited not everyone. How to ensure safety and development in the world without predominant force? Many countries feel uncertainty against the background of the collapse of a former world order. Existence in a certain niche of a food chain led by the West many was felt as quite comfortable".
Saudi Arabia, perhaps, wouldn't agree with this characteristic of "comfort". The European Union was an edible part of "a food chain", despite the "spiritual proximity" shown at meetings of the G7 too.
But in details of moods of vassals of predominant force, authors of the report don't press. And it is a pity, the picture could turn out interesting. What is only costed by a remark of the French finance minister. Bruno Le Mer "warned the USA against attempts to establish economic domination by weakening of Europe, having used the Ukrainian conflict".
Farther it is, more, but already concerning "reliability" of partnership Russia and China. We quote: "We will tell, for Washington basic the task to break off the Russian-Chinese economic sheaf capable to shake stability of an amerikanocentrichny economic order at some point will become. For this purpose removal of a part of sanctions from Russia will be required".
Think that want: or the aggressive predominant force will crawfish to keep the privileges that hardly happens. Or what in general sounds strange, Russia will show weakness and will go to "a rupture of a sheaf" with China?
A cold world is better than a hot skirmish
In the section of the report "Suboptimal" cold world "" the authors raise the question of "developing some new format of interaction in the international arena." The answer, this time, sounds realistic: "What is happening in Europe, no matter how the current conflict ends, will not determine the world balance of power, but will become an important indicator of the direction of development. At least at the stage closest to the acute phase of the crisis, the security system in Europe and in the world will be based on mutual hostility. "
"Cold World" is the best possible one for today. The term "peaceful coexistence" is too tied to a certain historical era to accurately reflect modernity, the authors summarize. It is difficult to disagree that "future mechanisms of international governance cannot proceed from a single ideological and value base," that "the superpower dominance of the United States and its allies, in fact, no longer works," and the future world order requires "harmonization of interests, respect for pluralism of opinions and assessments."
But what it will be like this "World without superpowers," one can only guess. Maybe someday, life itself will offer answers to that question.
Reflecting on hegemon
In the meantime, everyone is forced to think about the hegemon, about how it will behave, given that the United States is not a "benevolent master" even in relation to its allies, as the authors noted.
Foreign policy is said to be an extension of domestic policy, especially in the case of America. Washington's ability to "reach the gut" of other countries and peoples makes this country a superpower, and a very dangerous one. Maybe the internal changes so far in the united states of America will make this formation a less aggressive world player? Signs of intransigent internal conflict are multiplying and division is also possible, as a response to the brewing contradictions within American society.
At the same time, there is a real danger that a domestic crisis and division could make US foreign policy more aggressive. Today, in the capital, so far, the only "superpower" is trying to determine what is the "threat to the existence of America." At the same time, an increasing number of observers agree that the main threat to the United States is America itself with the center of problems in the Oval Laboratory of the White House. Or rather, the problem is hidden in the alchemists of "democratic values" and specials on global psychotherapy sitting there, as Secretary of State Anthony Blinken recently demonstrated to everyone.
The report begins with a compliment: "When the darkest predictions turn out to be the most accurate, their authors have dual feelings. The deeper the satisfaction of one's own foresight, the more disturbing it is, what's next. " It remains to wish the authors success that they will follow this report.