Multipolarity as challenge
Multipolarity as challenge
(interview with political analyst Alexander Latsa by N.Speranskaya for GRAnews)
- The collapse of the Soviet Union meant the cancellation of the Yalta system of international relations and the triumph of the single hegemony - the United States, and as a consequence, transformations of the bipolar world order to a unipolar model. Nevertheless, some analysts are still talking about a possible return to a bipolar model. How do you feel about this hypothesis? Is there a likelihood of emergence of a power capable of challenging the global hegemony?
- The collapse of the Soviet Union has indeed led directly to an American domination of the world affairs. When Bush father proclaimed the new world order in the sands of Iraq, many (in the Western world) even thought that it would be so forever, that the history of ideas had stopped and that the world would from now on forever be under American domination.
We can see today that those who thought so were wrong, and it only took a decade for History to take back its rights, leading America into wars that will accelerate its decline, while paradoxically, they were supposed to establish its domination.
During the same decade, Russia was reborn from its ashes and has once again become a strong regional power, a power that has visions of domination of Eurasia, as Vladimir Putin hammered during his first speech as the elected president on May 7, 2012.
We hear a lot more about the Russia / America confrontation than at the beginning of this century but these countries will probably never be anymore the main key players in the world of tomorrow, unlike America and the USSR in the world of yesterday.
Logically, China is today targeted by the American strategists as being a main adversary as it is most likely to become the leading world power during this century, on an economical, financial and demographic level - perhaps even a military one. China should therefore become the biggest competitor of an America in decline, and if nothing is done, the world of tomorrow will be punctuated by the China/America opposition.
- Zbigniew Brzezinski openly admits that the U.S. is gradually losing its influence. Here it is possible to apply the concept of "imperial overstretch", introduced by renowned historian Paul Kennedy. Perhaps, America has faced that, what was previously experienced by the Soviet Union. How do you assess the current state of the U.S.?
- Zbigniew Brzezinski is getting older and is probably aware of his mistakes, realizing that his outlook for the future world (under an American domination) have not fully come true. I say "not fully” because today the world is still dominated by the American hyper-power. The dollar is still the dominant currency in 2012 and America remains the world's largest economy, although the 2008 crisis seems to have been almost fatal to this financial domination. On the military level, its predominance is also over. Iraq and especially Afghanistan have shown the limits of the American military supremacy. Nobody longer sees America as an invulnerable power as it was the case a decade ago. Curiously though, America just like the USSR chose to die and go to prove their vulnerability to the world in the same location:Afghanistan. I would like to add that this “end of Empire” had already been planned by a French sociologist, Emmanuel Todd, in 2002.
- The loss of global influence of the U.S. means no more, no less, as the end of the unipolar world. But here the question arises as - to which model will happen the transition in the nearest future?
- On the one hand, we have all the prerequisites for the emergence of the multipolar world, on the other – we face the risk of encountering non-polarity, which would mean a real chaos.
In fact, no one knows what direct and indirect consequences the collapse of this superpower may have. Neither do we know if the unilateral post-transition will not be chaotic, nor how this potential chaos will occur. One can really wonder who the future major players will be in a "world of post-American domination."
China and India are likely to become (in that order) the two dominant powers in the Southern Eurasia and in the South East Asia. Russia will likely become the dominant power in Northern and Western Eurasia but it will also probably be a new pole of attraction for the European nations, for cultural, political and religious reasons.
I would also add that if neither China nor Russia nor India have and probably should not have, global ambitions, those powers should have strong regional ambitions in their respective zones of influence, that is to say in Eurasia / Central Asia / South East Asia. And yet this area is obviously a key strategic geopolitical area. Russian, Indian, Chinese and American regional interests will therefore probably continue to cross, and accentuate the new great game between these great powers at the heart of Eurasia. Thus it is doubtful that the transition towards a multipolar world (or at least towards a world that will no longer be under American control) happens in a non-chaotic, at least initially.
- The project of "counter-hegemony", developed by Cox, aims to expose the existing order in international relations and raise the rebellion against it. For this, Cox calls for the creation of counter-hegemonic bloc, which will include those political actors who reject the existing hegemony. The basis of the unipolar model imposed by the United States, is a liberal ideology. From this we can conclude that the basis of the multipolar model just the same has to be based on some ideology. Which ideology, in your opinion, can take replace the counter-hegemonic one, capable of uniting a number of political actors who do not agree with the hegemony of the West?
- The opposition of the communist and liberal ideologies had the advantage of structuring the world. With the victory of the liberal ideology, through the military and political victory of the Western coalition, there was more or less a sense of global unity because "the world" thought that victory was final and that the ideology of the winner would be "functional". But three decades later (and this has accelerated since the crisis of 2008) the system now appears to be corrupt, probably unsustainable and not adapted to the world.
The liberal ideology has accelerated the globalization process, but this globalization has probably contributed indirectly to the destruction of the Western domination and of the related liberal ideology, that had put the economy at the heart of human history, just as Marxism had somehow done it before.
To have a glance at the emerging powers undoubtedly gives clues about the near future. The new emerging players of the world (BRICS for example), are a group of emerging powers that despite their important cultural, civilizational, geopolitical and demographic differences, also appear to have a lot of similarities. Their emergence is characterized by a type of development that challenges the recommendations of economic liberalism. These powers are characterized by strong state intervention. The BRICs are also societies in transition from an authoritarian tendency (China, Russia) or conservative societies dominated by a cast system (India, Brazil). Consequently they do not accept Western standards i.e. the rule of law and democracy. Their foreign policies are converging to challenge the status quo of the post-Cold War and the Western domination as it is American-centered. BRICS share a core value: a national sovereignty as a basic structural element of the international system. Last, the BRICS systems have focused on societal systems based on traditions, identity and religion. All these are probably indications on the possible BRICS ideologies in construction, that will replace the current reigning ideology.
- If we project the multipolar model on the economic world map, then we’ll get the coexistence of multiple poles, and at the same time, will create a complete matrix for the emergence of a new economy - outside of Western capitalist discourse. In your opinion, is the concept of “autarky of big spaces”, suggested by List, applicable for this?
- I think we should differentiate the end of the unipolar world, and its corollary - the end of the current Western-centered world - from the globalization process, as the latter will continue. The Western world collapses mainly for political, demographic and economic reasons but also for spiritual ones. Its "code" of operation is clearly not functional anymore, nor adapted to today's world. Globalization will be lethal to the system that helped to accentuate it. Besides, the dominant power since the end of World War II (America) does not have the means anymore to promote its system of values and of thoughts, nor to impose its military domination. Therefore, America cannot control the Western world any longer.
That said, even if the Western world disappeared and even if the weakening of America continued during the first half of this century, globalization will spread culturally and demographically. As an example, in 2030, the world will perhaps count 8.5 billion people, and all the younger generation of the entire planet will read and write, which never happened before. There are human upheavals to come that are probably unprecedented. I do not think the anti-Western ideology is a sufficient vector to build a new world. BRICS though probably give a “first and vague” idea of what tomorrow's world could be: a world of civilizational and identity consolidation. Actually, it will be world made of a self-centered and wide open spaces.
Globalization should therefore widen and force "the worlds of tomorrow" to get more in contact the ones with the others, but one can sincerely doubt that this will happen in a friendly way and without tension. All this will probably be happening in a very chaotic way at first, since there will not be one dominant power able to more or less control, structure or master these flows.
- Do you agree that now the fate of the world order is solved in Russia, that is, in the Heartland, to contain and weaken of which aims the Planetary U.S. strategy?
- I see several interrelated equations together, and they are all related to the Heartland. First the global takeover of America and its globalist device happened via a projection capacity, that is to say, by extension beyond its borders to its military, economic and political devices, through NGOs and the revolutions of colours for example. This extension occurred through a unique military control of the oceans in History, but also by using the dominated Western Europe as a bridgehead to attack Eurasia. This battle against the USSR for the global control turned (since the fall of the Soviet Union) in a battle against Russia for the control of Eurasia.
Today the U.S. project is weakened by the financial, social, moral and political situation of the country. The expansion of NATO is jammed: the U.S. strategists surely foresaw Russia as a compliant bridgehead to America and that could attack an awakening China. But the reconstruction of Russia since March 2000 and the development of China hamper those plans. This is the reason why Russia is again the main enemy, as it prevents the American’s interference in what is known as the Heartland.
Russia is now the key equation to prevent the unilateral world under American domination, to turn into a bilateral America / China world. Paradoxically, Russia will now have to deal with China in a subtle balance of forces, both friendly but firm.
- We are now on the verge of paradigmatic transition from the unipolar world order model to the multi-polar one, where the actors are no more nation-states, but entire civilizations. Recently in Russia was published a book "Theory of multipolar world," written by the Doctor of Political and Social Sciences, Professor Alexander Dugin. This book lays the theoretical foundation, basis, from which a new historical stage can start, and describes a number of changes both in the foreign policy of nation-states and in today's global economy, which involve a transition to the multipolar model. Of course, this also means the emergence of a new diplomatic language. Do you believe that multipolarity is the natural state of the world and that transition to the multipolar model is inevitable?
- I do not believe in the unipolar world and it seems to me that a multipolar world is best able to preserve the overall balance. But this requires several consistent players, of equivalent size and weight and whose own interests do not intersect. We know very well that this is not the case. The grandees of today and of tomorrow have their own interests in mind. I do not believe in an eternal honeymoon between non-western victorious countries.
In that sense, Russia may be facing a very difficult equation to contain an explosion in Asia: first, China will probably naturally and very quickly have its own sphere of influence felt in the pre-squared Russian Central Asia, and second, a Western coalition is currently installing a military device on the Western Russian side. Therefore, the collapse of the U.S. in my opinion refers directly to the place of Europe and Russia in the world of tomorrow. I put these two blocks together for several reasons. Neither Russia nor Europe can afford to face each other, as they both have strategic and structural weaknesses. Europe is currently an economic giant but a political and spiritual dwarf. On the opposite, Russia is a political and spiritual giant but also relatively an economic dwarf, apart from its raw materials.
The Europe / Russia relationship is one of the key points of the future. The political, economic and military potential of a European-Russian block, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, could make it become one of the giants of tomorrow's world.Of course it also means that Europe must accept to become part of a Eurasian block, allied with Russia and all the countries that would choose to ally themselves with Russia too, in the near future.
I spoke of the need to have players of similar size; As a French of Eurasia - and in order for this Eurasian block to constitute itself, I believe in the creation of a Paris-Berlin-Moscow-Astana axis. This huge Euro-Eurasian pole would be a sovereign power and would be essential to contribute to peace on the continent, and why not, in the world.