By Greg Pence
The change in history has been triggered by the Ukraine war, in the heart of Europe and it has given rise to a new order that is going to affect the international arena for decades. In other words, with Washington and Moscow, as the world’s greatest military powers, going head-to-head against one another, new world order is inevitably upon us which will drastically change the nature of international relations.
This trend has existed since before the First and Second World Wars and has created various types of international order in the forms of Pax Persica, Pax Romana, the European Concert, and the Bipolar Order after the Second World War and the subsequent Cold War. Now, nearly a century after the establishment of the order that followed the First and Second World Wars, it seems that the United States and Europe, in opposition to Russia in Ukraine, are seeking to lay the foundation for new world order.
Russia sought to take the initiative in international relations through a pre-emptive war under the pretext of Ukraine joining NATO and achieving its global interests by breaking the barrier of sanctions. Now that the war is in its second month and the Kremlin has seemingly failed to achieve the expected victories, the conflict is reeling in the United States and Europe in the political, economic, and security dimensions.
What is clear so far is that the Ukraine crisis cannot be compared to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and the subsequent agreements that opened a new chapter in US-Soviet relations. In 1962, an agreement was reached between the two superpowers which divided the world into East and West camps now something else is happening as the United States and its allies are putting more and more direct pressure on Russia.
Politically, the United States is facing the fact that the Russians and Chinses have fundamentally changed since the Cold War. Russia has dominated Europe for years through unprecedented energy leverage, and China has become a huge economic superpower holding the pulse of the global economy. The Biden administration is trying to make the best of Ukraine’s war by bringing Moscow under pressure and furthering its international isolation. The United States is even planning for the aftermath of the fall of Kyiv and the possible transfer of the Ukrainian capital to the western city of Lviv near the Polish border, and with the full support of Ukrainian defenders, seeks to increase Russia’s military and economic spending to bring Putin to its knees.
Miscalculations in the planning and executing stages have thwarted the Russian military from fully invading Ukraine. The United States is seeking this golden opportunity to separate Moscow and Beijing via the pressure of war and economic sanctions. Biden’s strong support of Ukraine is communicating this message with China that, as in the Cold War, new blocs and spheres of influence can be defined.
In the Ukraine crisis, the United States is seeking to divide the world into two blocs. One bloc is Western Europe and NATO which is under full control of the US and is supposed to reduce its dependence on Russian energy supplies and turn to US-controlled energy companies.
As the situation in Ukraine worsens and Moscow threatens to use nuclear weapons, Europe perceives the Russian threat as intended by the United States and stands by the United States in such a way that today NATO’s brain death, in Macron’s terms, has turned into an epiphany for Europe. The United States needed to portray the Russian threat objectively to Western European countries. Now, as the United States sees it, Russia is a long-term strategic threat that requires a planned confrontation.
The other bloc includes countries with energy resources. Until just a few weeks ago, few could have imagined that the United States and Venezuela as well as Europe and Qatar enter into serious negotiations on the purchase of oil and gas. Thus, the United States’ determination to sanction Russia’s oil sales and cut off its access to all sales revenues is indicative of the Biden administration and Congress’s collaboration in devising a comprehensive and multifaceted plan to counter Russia.
The unwavering support of European countries for Ukraine through sending anti-tank weapons and rocket launchers is another sign that, unlike the last two decades, Europe has increasingly more tendency for a US-led Western world. As a result, the more Russia advances in Ukraine, the deeper it will be stuck in the quagmire of this war. In other words, Europe and the United States have formed an alliance that is unprecedented after the Second World War at the international level, prefer the war in Ukraine to continue as long as possible so that they can build an international consensus and impose extensive sanctions against Russia. Sanctions imposed against Russian oil can also be a major threat to China.
At Russia’s domestic level, payment companies like Visa, Mastercard, and Apple Pay have also suspended all operations in Russia in a bid to instigate social discontent and create serious challenges to Putin’s government. In fact, there is nothing worse than social discontent for a country at war with a foreign adversary. This problem can spread rapidly across Russia, weaken the military’s morale, and lead to serious internal unrest that could pose a serious threat.
Of course, Russia hopes that the United States and Europe accept the fact that in the long run, they cannot isolate Russia to the extent that its very existence is endangered and completely exclude Moscow from the world political and financial system. Also, Europe must take the threat of nuclear attacks seriously as the first victims of any nuclear conflict are European countries.
In any case, in the Ukraine war, Russia has been portrayed as a dangerous monster, and the Europeans, who have been suffering from a lack of unity and dissensus in the face of a potential Russian threat for years, now have lined up against Moscow and increased its defense budget to be ready for a more serious confrontation with Russia. Under such circumstances, the United States could engage Russia as a close friend of China with Europe and address its own concern in recent years which is a practical confrontation with China.
*Greg Pence is an international studies graduate of University of San Francisco.