Geopolitical Consequences of the Ukraine War: A new Multipolar World Order emerging

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1899 - Color lithograph by J.S. Pughe - Library of Congress - https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2012647332/ , Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsca-28534 Print shows Uncle Sam holding a "Trade Treaty with China", standing on a "Map of China" in the midst of foreign rulers labeled "Germany, Italy, England, Austria, Russia [and] France"; depicted are William II, Umberto I, John Bull, Franz Joseph I sharpening scissors at a grinding stone in the background, Uncle Sam, Nicholas II, and Emile Loubet, each with large scissors, intent on cutting up the map. Uncle Sam says: "Gentlemen, you may cut up this map as much as you like; but remember that I'm here to stay, and that you can't divide me up into spheres of influence!" Library of Congress statement : No known restrictions on publication

Elisabeth Hellenbroich

In the recent weeks new developments have occurred, which signal that the loudly proclaimed “Rules based Order” in response to the Russian- Ukraine war will not have a lasting future.  Despite the thundering propaganda coming from those in the “West” -U.S. , EU and some of its allies in Asia- who defend a “Rules based Order” (instead of what was called “Law Based Order” after the horrors of the Second World War),what is emerging is a “multipolar world order”, centered around  Russia, China, India and the countries from the “Global South” -Africa, Latin America, Mideast, and Asia. This configuration of power is directed against the “unilaterally” imposed sanctions by the US and EU, but it also stands for an increasing tendency of  dollarized trade relations and the demand by nations, that development should be based  on the nations’ sovereignty. More and more nations begin to trade in national currencies, while at the same time more nations from the Global South propose to engage in a peace mission so as to bring about peace in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Exemplary for the widening gap between a “unilaterally” imposed rules based order and a new “multilateral order” was the recent UN Security Council session under the regular chairmanship of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the month of April 23 in New York.

It was striking to see was that aside some the Western UN diplomats, including the UN ambassador from the US, England, France, Switzerland, Japan, Malta and Albania- who all held speeches condemning Russia- the majority of the speakers attacked what they and their peoples perceive as a “unilateral world order,” which tries to impose its “rules based order” and sanctions on the rest of the world. What they instead demanded is a “Multilateral World Order” that defends the “Common Good of mankind, peace as an indivisible Good and security among all nations”, while at the same time “International Financial Institutions” should be reformed and the UN Charter serving as principle guideline for nations. They also strongly demanded that the United Nations Security Council in light of the devastating war be “reformed.” Typical were statements for example from the UAE representative who stated that we should „return to multilateral mechanism, which include the reform of international financial institutions as well as the protection of the Global Common Good.” Similarly statements from African representatives, such as he deputy foreign minister from Ghana who underlined the importance of the Non- Aligned Movement, were demanding “a fair and equitable world order,” and very much complained about the “rising geopolitical competition.”

There was also the UN representative  from Brazil who, while  emphasizing the role of the G20, qualified sanctions as a “ knee- jerk reaction“, stating that unilateral coercive measures  will have a different effect on third nations. „Brazil rejects the hegemonic old world order,” he said, by adding that „to impose the view of a few on many is imperialistic and divisive; that all peaceful means should be used to end the conflicts (including Ukraine) and not to give up on diplomacy. Brazil believes in a multilateral order and will engage to fight for a renewed multilateralism.“ The representative from China emphasized that the UN should not just serve a few countries, but that the “multipolar world becomes a reality.” The developing countries in Africa in particular deserve to play a greater role in the UN. „Unilateral sanctions must be rejected and they are there to maintain the US hegemony with no legal basis“, like “a raving monster,” causing a lot of damage to the international relations.  “We call on the countries to stop unilateral sanctions.“  Similarly interesting was the speech by the Cuban first deputy  foreign minister who stressed that while the inequalities are worsening, there are attempts to  impose a „unilateral order.“  „We reaffirm the strength of multilateralism. We must promote the culture of peace. We need to reform the UN Security Council. The World does not need sanctions.” The speaker from Iran spoke about „unilateral coercive measures” which run counter to the principles of “international law.” Also the UN representative from Egypt complained that there was a „monopolization“ by some countries concerning the development of Africa. “What is needed is a peaceful coexistence on the basis of equality.” He also demanded a reform of the „global financial institutions like the IMF and Bretton Woods. „We must reexamine the collective security system correcting the historical injustices towards Africa and find a financial solution to the financial problems.“

“Trade de-dollarized,” strategic observers commenting

In an almost one-hour long statement from German Mideast expert and book author Michael Lüders two weeks ago, some interesting observations were made in a You Tube video. According to Lüders “we are currently witnessing the beginning of the loss of power of the US, NATO and Western countries in general.”   New centers of power are emerging in the wake of the Ukraine conflict, he observed. “We are only at the beginning of something at a regional and international level, which clearly shows the loss of power of the US and EU. “New outlines of a decentralized world order are becoming visible. The world order is in the process of changing and the idea that fixed rules of the game are predetermined is faltering. The core of the geopolitical conflict: The world power USA has passed its zenith in terms of power politics. They are in confrontation with Russia and China. Attempts are being made to reorder the world and to use adversaries to prolong the decline…

Yet new power-political alliances have come to the fore in respect to the Ukraine war.  According to Lüders, one of the biggest turning points in the Ukraine conflict was that the U.S. and EU froze Russian foreign assets in the dimension of $334 billion. The intention was to take money from Russia to finance the war in Ukraine and at the same time to bring about regime change in Russia. “The freezing of Russian foreign assets was bad, because not all countries think in the pro-Western sense and trade relations are about to be more and more de-dollarized.” Hence trade between Russia and China is no longer done on the dollar basis. States from the Global South, BRICS states are also resorting to this means and are beginning to no longer trade among themselves in dollars, so as not to become dependent on the dollar as world reserve currency. This in turn will have an effect on the capacity of the US toc continue it’s “unlimited debt” generation and the capability to continue spending $ 830$ billion a year on armaments. Indicative is also the shift occurring in  Gulf countries and the Mideast where in the seventies the US started to force the oil producing countries to settle oil business in Petrodollars that allowed the US for borrowing world- wide (i.e. weaponizing the Dollar.)

The decline of the US as world power will in the long run have an effect. New trade routes are emerging, according to Lüders. The Russians are investing more than $100 billion to divert oil flows to China, etc. Russian oil now goes massively to India, which buys huge quantities of oil, refines it and sells or exports it again very expensively to Europe and the USA.  The whole thing shows that a new world order is emerging, which increasingly includes Russia, China and the Global South. Lüders added that China is also emerging as a major player in the diplomatic front; for example mediating successfully between Saud Arabia and Iran, while at the same time Syria is returning to the Arab League.

“Putin’s war on liberal economics” – Alastair Crooke

In the context of a strategic Webinar April 28th  (Global conference on Multipolarity), former British diplomat, MI6 official and founder and director of the “Conflict Forum”, Alastair Crooke, gave an interesting speech which corresponds to the above mentioned observations of the German Mideast expert:

“While the structural shift to a multipolar world is now well understood in geopolitical terms,” Crooke stated, “what has been overlooked is that President Putin has been fighting a financial war – a war on liberal economic theory, and a diplomatic war, in order  to win support of the non- West and from key strategic allies, such as China and India.“ While Putin is committed to restore patriotism and reconnect Russian culture to its Orthodox Christian roots, his fight to restore sovereignty implies, according to Crooke, a shift of the Russian economic structure away from the grip of the Anglo- neoliberal model to a model that provides for a greater national self- sufficiency. „If a multipolar order is to be built based on self- sufficient sovereignty, others should exit the neo-liberal economic system too (if they can). Hence the need for a major diplomatic initiative by Russia and China to build a strategic depth of new economics,” he stated. The key question according to Crooke, is how to break the “you are with us or against us” hegemonic grip. How to facilitate mutual complementarities that can move a group of states towards a virtuous cycle of self- generating sovereignty – albeit one that is reinforced by transport corridors. He mentioned China having for example built an extensive African network of high speed trains for inter-African trade. The Sino- Russian project therefore is a challenge the financial and economic premises on which the rules based order rests- and help evolve an alternative.

In order to illustrate the US hegemony mantra “you are either with us or against us” Crooke referred to a speech by US Finance Secretary Yellen who, when talking about US – China relationship, implied that China had largely prospered on the back of the Anglo -free working market order; yet now is pivoting towards a “state driven posture”: one that in Yellen’s words is “confrontational towards the US and its allies”. “The U.S. wants to co-operate with China, but wholly and exclusively‚ on its own terms,“ (!), she said. “We will continue to make critical investments at home- while engaging with the world to advance our vision for an open, fair and rules based global economic order“; and „China must play by today‘s international rules.”

According to Crooke Yellen’s speech displays a complete “failure” to acknowledge the Sino- Russia „revolution”, which is not confined to the political, but extends to the economic sphere too. Hence the importance of Putin and Xi to shape an exit from the grip of the financialized, neo- liberal paradigm, i. e. “real economy, based on resources versus an economy based on massive financialization and  derivative financial products which suck the oxygen from the real economy.”

Crooke’s very interesting analysis should be looked at together with a preceding interview which he gave to the YouTube Channel “Judging Freedom“ (March 30) where he got interviewed by former US judge, Andrew Napolitano. Napolitano regularly features dissenting voices from the US strategic and intelligence community. Speaking about the Russia /China cooperation Crooke was asked about the statement by Chinese President Xi Jinping who at the end of his meetings with President Putin (20-22. March) had stated “A change will come which has not taken place since 100 years and we will push together this change ahead.“ According to Crooke nobody in the US in Washington has understood the “dimension of change” occurring, for example in the Mideast.  “What we see coming into being is a new „Security Architecture“ as result of the Chinese mediation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which solves many questions including the nuclear question of Iran, he stated.  He reported that in a certain sense Iran gave security guarantees for the future of Saudi Arabia. There was also the meeting of Syrian President Assad in Moscow (March 15.) who this month came to the United Arab Emirates to participate in the meeting of the Arab League.  Things are rapidly developing. According to Crooke what now becomes clear is that the Iranians and the Saudis will cooperate to end the war in Yemen. “There is some kind of a new thinking in the Mideast and in the whole world. It is directed against the old „narrative of hegemony”, according to which „you are either with us or against us.“ Crooke further referred to a statement made by the Indian Foreign Minister who recently stated „How long will it last until Europe and USA understand that their problems are not the problems of the world and that we are not for one side or the other, but we chose our own side. We follow our own values.“

Why the U.S. don’t want a ceasefire and block peace negotiations

Crooke was asked in the interview about the Xi / Putin meeting in Moscow, where Xi in the presence of Putin had proposed a cease- fire for Ukraine. Yet, as Crooke stated, the US National Security advisor Admiral Kirby answered: „We would be concerned if the result of such a meeting is the call for ceasefire. For the moment ceasefire sounds good. But in reality it only confirms the success of Russia on the ground and doesn’t mention the Russian occupation.” Kirby then was asked by a journalist whether that meant that the US in principle is against ceasefire, or because it was proposed by China. To which Kirby replied: „I said it very clearly, it’s all about the principle of ceasefire which in reality would only ratify Russian gains.“

 

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