Jan 18, 2022
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Geopolitics-2022: Russia will agree with the EU on Ukraine, China and the United States will shake hands

Geopolitics-2022: Russia will agree with the EU on Ukraine, China and the United States will shake hands

Photo: Global Look Press

The past year 2021 brought a lot of new things in terms of the development of international politics and set important accents. And while humanity was in a fever for the second year in a row from the COVID-19 pandemic, state leaders continued to build new global structures, fought old conflicts and provoked new ones.

At the same time, everyone saw that the surrounding reality is changing quite quickly. Moreover, in directions that are not always predictable and obvious at first glance.

However, based on the trends of the past, one way or another, forecasts for the future day can also be derived. “SP” asked to share their vision of how geopolitics will develop in 2022, Andrey Volodin, Chief Researcher at IMEMO RAS.

global idea

2021 has become a time for the formulation of large geopolitical projects. The United States had such a project for a long time, it can be described as Pax America, that is, building a world that shares American values. And also a world that recognizes the superiority of the United States in asserting these values ​​on the planet. Hence the quite logical conclusions about the subordinate role of other states to the will of Washington.

In 2012, the Chinese project of the “New Silk Road” appeared for the first time. In 2018, it acquired a specific content and is now referred to as “building a single universal destiny of mankind.” Beijing claims that it is offering the peoples not to compete with each other, but to develop all-round cooperation.

And in 2021, Europeans have matured to their global project. It was called the “Global Gate”. According to the leaders of the European Union, it is planned to develop infrastructure in poor developing countries and develop humanitarian ties in every possible way. It is planned to allocate €300 billion (about $340 billion) for these purposes in the nearest future.

At the same time, everyone saw that the Russian project of Eurasian integration was frankly stalling. Talks about broad economic integration not only within the EAEU, but also about the expansion of the influence of the SCO have been going on for many years. But the matter does not go further than discussions. Unless, of course, we count the active intervention of the CSTO in the situation in Kazakhstan at the very beginning of the new year. Although the latter circumstance only indicates that far from all is well within the “backbone” of the Eurasian association.

Professor Andrei Volodin:

— The RF project on Eurasian integration is really stalling. But this indicates that the EAEU is looking for its own model of development in the modern world. There was an attempt to join even countries that were not part of the socialist camp, such as Singapore, Iran, India, to cooperation – this is a test of strength. The Eurasian integration project is stalling because no strategy has been worked out. Even the founders of the EAEU cannot yet formulate what the immediate and subsequent goals are.

The triangle “Washington – Moscow – Beijing” is not yet equilateral, since China and the United States are stronger than Russia in economic terms. Moscow’s task is to make the design more balanced. It is obvious that in 2022 Russia will be developing its own political agenda.

The Russian Federation faces several tasks at the same time. This is the upgrading of the economy, reindustrialization, reducing dependence on raw materials, increasing the diversity of domestic products. The balance of power in the world will largely depend on the solution of these problems.

The request for a stabilizing role for Russia is obvious. So the qualitative modernization of the economy is the main geopolitical task.

Confrontation between the USA and China

All years of the US presidency Donald Trump relations between the United States and China deteriorated. Washington has actually declared a trade war in the Middle Kingdom, and also introduced various restrictions on the export of technology and seriously reduced even humanitarian ties. Not surprisingly, the authorities in Beijing were counting on a change in this course after the inauguration Joseph Biden in January 2021.

Was the calculation justified? On the one hand, the bellicose rhetoric on both sides has only intensified. On the other hand, the trade war started by Trump and other, quite specific, restrictions were stopped. As a result, trade between China and the United States has recovered to pandemic levels. In the first ten months of the past year, it amounted to a record $610 billion.

Apparently, Beijing and Washington decided to negotiate after all. Much depends on their compromise in the world today.

– If we talk about conflicts between the US and China, then I would not talk about the deterioration or improvement of relations. China has indeed become a strong power that the strong American President Donald Trump had to reckon with. Under the current head of Biden, the Americans will also adapt to the Chinese position, Andrei Volodin continues.

– As for the United States, the Democratic Party is split and virtually incompetent. All statements on international politics are an attempt to compensate for the weakness of the Biden administration and the change in the system of government. So the US will not be as active in the world. However, the US will take certain steps.

If we talk about China, then there are two points of view. The first one says that China, in principle, is not cognizable, and therefore, in the near future, some kind of renaissance of the country can be expected. The second point of view says that the PRC is increasingly moving away from the ideas Mao Zedong and intends to develop under the leadership Xi Jinping in the spirit of Confucian philosophy. This is not about the economy, but about culture and the system of public administration. That is, China is returning to the path of development before Mao, but on new, more advanced foundations.

At the same time, I think that Xi Jinping is pragmatic. He will not impose his point of view on other states, but will continue to consistently develop cooperation with other countries. Obviously, it will increase its presence in the Asia-Pacific region. This also applies to Latin America. Will strengthen active engagement in Africa.

Do not forget that Trump tried to take American companies out of China. But corporations are interested in the Chinese market. So the close economic cooperation between China and the United States will continue. Intertwining in the economy, in geopolitics will keep from confrontation.

Conflict between Russia and the West

Throughout 2021, the rhetoric between the Russian Federation and the West continued to persist in a regime that began in 2014, immediately after the annexation of Crimea to Russia. Brussels, Washington and London threatened new sanctions, and Moscow replied that it was not afraid. Military exercises of troops – both ours and NATO – were constantly taking place near the Russian borders.

But at the end of the year, the situation began to really heat up. The Ukrainian question, which has been hanging in the air for many years, has become the occasion for very dangerous discussions about whether the Russian army will arrange a full-scale invasion of a neighboring country.

Logically, the question arose that it is generally worth reviewing the entire security system in Europe. The Kremlin announced the unacceptable activity of NATO on the continent and put forward its proposals on how to rectify the situation. In Europe and the USA, as expected, they did not agree with the proposed theses.

In the coming year, everyone is waiting for sensations from a hypothetical meeting Vladimir Putin and Joseph Biden. Preliminary, very heated, negotiations of the parties have not yet led to anything.

– If we talk about the conflicts between Russia and the West, the relationship around Ukraine, then we should not exaggerate the role of the post-Soviet space for Moscow. The policy of the Russian Federation is increasingly shifting to the East, to the zone of the Asia-Pacific region …

Even before 2014, our scientist Tatyana Yudina She said that in Ukraine there is not just a split along the lines of inclination towards Russia or Europe. There is also a political and economic split. After all, the small Lugansk and Donetsk regions previously provided up to 30% of Ukraine’s export earnings. And if turbulence increases, then there will be a process of complete withdrawal of the eastern regions from Ukraine.

Regarding NATO, the future function of this bloc is not very clear to me. One gets the impression that the alliance has to do something just to keep its existence. The goals of the organization’s existence are vague even for Western elites. Therefore, 2022 will be as uncertain as 2021, Andrey Volodin believes.

“SP”: – And what kind of regional conflicts can be expected in 2022?

– On the issue of regional conflicts, many military analysts say that the Middle East and North Africa, including Libya, may flare up again. The difficult situation will remain in Afghanistan, around Ukraine. And the confrontation around the South China Sea will remain so sluggish. But it is important to understand that the United States and the West are unlikely to dare to go directly to war with Russia or China at all. Although their current goals, the West may try to solve through regional conflicts. On the whole, however, the potential for unjustified impulsive actions in regional conflicts has been exhausted.

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