The results that Russia achieved after a year of large-scale occupation were disastrous for him. However, opponents of the Russian Federation cannot be fully satisfied either – the greatest war of the 21st century has exposed many of the problems facing Western democracies. How has our planet changed since February 24, 2022? Focus.
“Eternal Peace”, which has become another interwar era
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, many analysts and philosophers declared the “end of history” – a period in the life of humanity, in which the future is determined by the confrontation of various systems and ways of life. The future of the world seemed to be determined by the liberal agenda, and it was only a matter of time before ideas of individualism and free markets finally spread to every corner of the world. And all this will take place under the security umbrella of the United States, which willingly assumes the role of world police and judge at the same time. It was expected that there would no longer be wars in the classical sense, and only police operations to punish those who violated certain norms of international law.
It should be noted right away that such a system is only in Western Europe, where peace really reigns, and in the Balkans, where ethnic conflicts flare up, a military operation was carried out, which NATO successfully coped with. the police assigned to him.
In the rest of the world the situation has become a little more complicated. Separatist movements flared up in the post-Soviet space and resulted in frozen conflicts. Successful military interventions by the United States and its allies in the Middle East have resulted in the deployment of networks of terrorist groups. After all, they attacked the United States itself on September 11, 2001. This was the first strong blow to the concept of the “end of history”. However, at that time, the idea was popular that only terrorism could be the only form of protest against the decisive processes of the market economy and the spread of personal freedom. Even at the beginning of the 21st century, it seemed incredible that a system would emerge in the world that would challenge this seemingly uncontroversial variant of world development.
The story is not over, it happens every day
But the 2007 financial crisis dealt another blow to the credibility of the free market. The increase in the cost of energy resources has caused history to be rolled back. In a world where resources (control over them are a product of volunteerism) rather than value (a product of human mental activity) play an important role, dictators come to the fore. The de facto failure of the Arab Spring (in countries where revolutions occurred, the faces of power changed, not the systems themselves) turned the “ball into the court” of the autocracies. After all, it was not authoritarian regimes that gradually replaced autocratic regimes – that very sure course of history that should have ended, but the other way around – democratic regimes began to collapse one after another.
The trend has been broken and the vector has changed. The 10s of the 21st century can really be called a triumph of authoritarianism – the re-establishment of authoritarian rule in all Arab countries, where it was overthrown in 2011 (Tunisia, where it all began, lasted until 2022), military coups in Africa and Asia countries, reactions and Georgia ‘s revenge.
The culmination of the collapse of belief in the inevitability of the victory of democracy worldwide was the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, which led to the fall of the democratic government in this country and the very return of power to power. The Americans overthrew it over 20 years ago. The loop is over. History was played again, and after two decades of bloody struggle, Afghanistan returned to the state it had met in the 21st century – under the Taliban rule.
Ukraine did not let history unfold
In fact, Ukraine is perhaps the only country in the world that has significantly eluded this trend. After our state gained its independence, the path it followed on the path of democracy and European integration has not changed. Its endpoint should be a break with the colonial past and the recognition of freedom of initiative, market economy and human rights as the highest values. Our employees confirmed his selection twice, in 2004 and 2014. In the future, this choice did not undergo significant adjustments. Yes, there were delays and lots of challenges, but no major setbacks.
Ukraine has stood at the throes of anyone trying to revert history and divide the world into spheres of influence and voluntary control over resources. For this reason, our state has been condemned to be a field of struggle between different systems, ideologies, and most importantly, the concepts of organization and functioning vision of society.
Two systems, two ideas, two poles
The struggle took place between both points of view. The first, traditionally represented by United States-led democracies, follows the idea that the world is a single global community based on universal human values, namely:
- Creativity and freedom of initiative.
- Material production is based on free equal access to resources, and human (sometimes artificial) intelligence creates the main added value.
- All public associations are on a voluntary basis only and are formed to meet the basic rights and needs of the individual.
On the other hand, autocracies, whose views are represented by China and Russia, see completely different values as universal:
- The main purpose of human life is to devote oneself to a higher idea, to become a reliable cog in the social mechanism.
- The highest form of organization of society is the state, which embodies one’s desire to be part of something big, to feel belonging to society.
- Material production is secondary to human activity and its purpose is solely to ensure its physical survival. It should be controlled by the state, like any other essential resource.
Both sides of the conflict hoped that a major war would lead to the eventual victory of one and the blatant collapse of the other. On the one hand, the failure of the several times larger Russian army really shows the insignificance of ideas about the effectiveness of state repression and the centralized system of resource distribution, but on the other hand, it is the highest opinion of Ukrainian society. It has held and continues to hold. After all, what can encourage people to recklessly sacrifice themselves other than devotion to other people?
In fact, everything is more complex and diverse.
In fact, during the war year, the intermediate result was the strengthening of both camps (Russia weakened, but other autocracies are now rallying around China, just as democracies have been around the United States). Pierre Razu, head of the French research center FMES, is sure of this. war will certainly reshape the world, at least in the short term. Also, an important consequence of the war was the allocation of the partitioning of the world – many countries are trying to switch between the droplets and they succeed. European Foreign Policy Commissioner Josep Borrell said in December 2022: “We have entered a disorderly multipolar world where energy, data, infrastructure and migration have become weapons.”
It turned out that the most important consequence of the collapse of the bipolar world in 1991 was not globalization within the framework of a victorious system, but the division of the geopolitical map of the world into several smaller camps, each of which claimed to be separate. civilizations. Thus, the United States and its like-minded people immediately took over the obvious dominance. However, they were destined to savor the laurels of the winners for only a few decades. In the spotlight of their victories, they did not notice how several different groups of countries emerged in the backyards of Western civilization, each defending its own values, slightly different from the generally accepted values.
While the main views are towards China, Russia and its allies – DPRK, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, India and the entire Arab world are not far from them for dominance that Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting. They created a new “Global South” concept. Its color is present in the development of Southeast Asian and Latin American countries. Separately, the “Asian Tigers” claim their special values.
For now, all these trends were invisible to the naked eye. It was much easier to divide the world along the lines of democracy/autocracy. In fact, these two models can be subjected to countless variations, creating new forms of government and, most importantly, models of behavior. After all, can’t it be said that the regimes in North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and South Sudan are the same? And by the way, they’re all authoritarian. The same goes for democratic Brazil, Norway, India and Japan in general.
Here it is important to note that, on the one hand, the method of building state power does not have to be decisive for the formation of a way of life, and on the other (this is especially true in relation to authoritarian regimes), a lot depends on certain conditions. The prehistory of individuals and the establishment of the regime.
As long as the world was at peace, all these differences were not so obvious. Economist and sanctions expert Agatha Desmarais believes that the trend of world fragmentation appeared even before the war, but since 2020 humanity has suffered a double shock – first an epidemic, then a war, and this accelerated centrifugal processes. Everyone had to choose how to react. And here everyone made their decision:
- The global West – NATO – clearly crystallized, to which several European countries and Asian tigers were added.
- The Global South sought to achieve maximum benefit for itself.
- South America reacted only diplomatically to the overseas conflict and generally remained neutral.
- The so-called Global East – countries in China’s sphere of influence, especially the countries of Central and Southeast Asia, and some African countries. The “Black Continent” has never been purely subjective, dividing into the sphere of influence of the United States and China. Professor Emerita Paul Dibb, head of the Center for Strategic and Defense Studies at the Australian National University, draws attention to the rivalry between the two hegemons for influence over these countries.
All this is critical for Ukraine, but not always for countries on the other side of the world. However, if the global world was finally torn into pieces crystallized by war, everything would change dramatically. After all, the military, unions, and most importantly value-based integration associations will all end up on the same principle. More free trade and movement of people will only be possible within these alliances. And then the changes in the world will become noticeable even to ordinary people.
Alfred Hart is an accomplished journalist known for his expert analysis and commentary on global affairs. He currently works as a writer at 24 news breaker, where he provides readers with in-depth coverage of the most pressing issues affecting the world today. With a keen insight and a deep understanding of international politics and economics, Alfred’s writing is a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the world we live in.