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Guy Borisov: As “second pole” emerges on the globe, civilizations unite

The world is going through drastic changes. And this, perhaps, leads to a new watershed in history.

Yet not so long ago, the key political trend was the West-Russia confrontation over Crimea and Donbass, mutual sanctions, restrictions amid growing propaganda war. Experts were sure that a new Cold War is inevitable. Now, everything has changed drastically, and no one in the West compares Russia with the Ebola virus any longer. President of Russia Vladimir Putin believes that the relations of Russia and its Western partners are no that strain now. The latest G20 Summit in Antalya confirmed the Russian president’s assessments.

U.S. President Barack Obama called Russia a “constructive partner” in the efforts to put an end to the Syrian crisis. In addition, Obama said at the APEC Summit that Washington would “welcome cooperation with Moscow on an intensified military campaign” and “an agreement on a political resolution in Syria would help pave the way for additional military cooperation.” The Russian president talked about that very cooperation without which it is impossible to fight terrorism.

The world is combining efforts. Vladimir Putin charged Russian military in Syria to interact with the French naval group and military air forces reaching Syria “as with allies.” Russian Aerospace Force targets the headquarters and fortifications of ISIL terrorists with bombs with handwritten inscriptions “That’s for us!” and “That’s for Paris!”

President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker offers Putin to establish cooperation between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union, on condition that the parties to the conflict in the southeast of Ukraine observe the Minsk Agreements. Translated from the diplomatic language, this means: “Let’s forget about Crimea, stop, and I will forgive you for all you did.” Apparently, it is not Juncker’s personal point of view. It is the common approach of the EU heavyweights – Berlin, Paris, Rome, which began openly neglecting the opinion of Kiev, Warsaw, and some other East-European and Baltic members of the EU in this issue.

Russia, of course, recalls that it “has never refused good relations with partners in both the West and the East” reiterating that the threat of terror can be addressed thoroughly and effectively through the combined efforts only. It is good that the “Western partners” have finally arrived at this necessary truth.

Actually, it is a “reset” of relations, say the experts who were predicting long-term “freezing” of the U.S.-Russia relationships yet not so long ago. Meantime, Putin’s aide Dmitry Peskov recommends “avoiding hasty conclusions.” Well, the current situation may change. That is why it is necessary to focus on the fundamental essence of this process.

Yet in 1989, Francis Fukuyama, American political scientists and philosopher, rocked the world with his «End of History» Theory. After the collapse of the Soviet system of values, he argued that the worldwide spread of liberal democracies and free market capitalism of the West and its lifestyle might signal the end point of humanity's sociocultural evolution and become the final form of human government. Fukuyama did not hide that he drew on philosophy of German philosopher Hegel – the father of dialectic was a nationalistic apologist for the Prussian State calling it the top of the social and political development. Later, Marx and Engels easily proved that the mistake, surprising for dialectic, was a result of Hegel’s idealism, and offered their own view of the history – in the concept of dialectic materialism. Following Hegel’s philosophy, Fukuyama arrived at a conclusion that some processes were still possible, but the era of ideological conflicts, global revolutions and wars was over.  He thought the start of the unipolar world means the end of history.

Strange as it may seem, many Russian experts actually agreed with Fukuyama’s approaches, as they sharply criticized the unipolar world, not thinking if its existence is possible, in principle.  They talked about how defective the unipolar world is and how essential the multi-polar one is. Otherwise, they said, America’s hegemony on the earth will never end, with all the consequences it entails. The counterbalance and alternative to it was seen (and that idea is still popular) on Russia’s revival and military and political strategic union with China. 

Certainly, Russia should overcome the consequences of the Soviet Union’s collapse and find its own level in the world. This is what Russia is doing now.  It is doubtful, however, that multipolar world is possible in conditions, when inherently single ideology - capitalism - reigns over the world.  In such world, the leader is who has more money, more precisely, who prints money.

The states will always be competing openly or secretly, tricking each other in the fight for sales markets, resources and others: it is a normal competition in a single ideological space.  The “second pole” may emerge only in case of fundamental ideological differences. It is not for nothing that America and Russia have never been enemies except for the Soviet period.  Quite the contrary, they have always acted together in all the turning points in the history.  They were allies in the wars in both the 19th and 20th centuries. Let’s remember the fundamental discrepancies of Russia and Britain that have continued for decades (if not centuries). This did not hold them from uniting against fatal danger – the aggressive “cannibalistic” ideology of Nazism.   

Yet the West considered the communist ideology as a fatal danger to the capitalist world. But for the need to unite against Nazism, the confrontation that started in 1917 could result in very serious planetary collisions. It is quite natural that after the WWII, once allies, the Soviet Union and America have against turned into irreconcilable rivals.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev addressed Western ambassadors at a reception at the Polish Embassy in Moscow in November 1956 and said: “We will bury you.” Maybe it was a turn of phrase by the emotional Soviet leader, but the West took Khrushchev’s words very seriously. After that incident, the sides speeded up the arms race. Heaven knows how many times the mankind occurred on the verge of a nuclear disaster after that. At least, besides the notorious Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, there were many incidents and mistakes (not all are known by present) able to destroy the world.

Actually, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world became unipolar. Today, a second pole has emerged in terms of the international terrorism, not in terms of the state. The notorious “Islamic State” is not a state; it is an ideology, a horrific cannibalistic ideology openly claiming domination in the world. This makes it inadmissible to other peoples and governments. Unfortunately, that ideology has many supporters. The fight against it will be long, hard, and probably, combined. Otherwise, they will gradually destroy all. As another builder of unipolar world – Genghis Khan – said there will be no towns or villages, grass will cover their ruins, and only strong Mongol horses will be grazing everywhere.

Therefore, the ongoing “de-escalation” should not surprise anyone.  There is no alternative to it now (and everyone understands this). The discrepancies have not faded away, indeed, there will continue and may even grow, but now survival of the civilization, not rivalry of Big Powers is on the forefront. The history mocked Fukuyama who predicted its gradual end.  It is not going to end, it is rich in fight.  We have nothing to do but console ourselves with a thought that progress always wins barbarism, even when it achieves certain successes, even despite the fact that we not always agree with that progress.

Guy Borisov, political analyst at EADaily

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