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World War III.2 - War for Multipolarity

World War III.2 All of the deficiencies in global governance are epitomized in the unfolding of the conflict in Ukraine. Multipolarity is a code word for more equitable power sharing in the world. Although global power, especially economic, has been dispersing in recent years, mainly towards the East, it is still not adequately reflected in decision-making on global issues. The UN Security Council, the World Bank and the IMF still reflect the world of 1945 in many ways.

In February 2022 a new picture of the evolving China-Russia relationship -- defined by a growing ideological affinity to rewrite the global order and a shared opposition to the United States on the global stage -- began to come into focus. Putin's willingness to openly challenge the United States held great appeal for Beijing as it continued to rise on the global stage.

The Russian-Chinese Joint Declaration on a Multipolar World and the Establishment of a New International Order, was adopted in Moscow on 23 April 1997 during the State visit of the President of the Chinese People's Republic to the Russian Federation. "Differences and disputes between countries must be settled by peaceful means, without resorting to the use or threat of force."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said 27 December 2022 that Washington's attempts to preserve its complete ideological hegemony, stop the course of history, and suppress the formation of multipolar world order will fail. "Everything that we are currently seeing in Europe... everything that we are seeing on other continents, where U.S. messengers are demanding every state to adopt an anti-Russian position, join sanctions, and stop communication with Russian representatives, all this is a reflection of that very attempt to establish the end of history," Lavrov was quoted by TASS news agency as saying. However, the course of history cannot be stopped, and Washington's attempt to suppress the formation of a multipolar world and establish irrevocable dominance will most certainly fail, he said.

Moscow is striving to create a multipolar world rather than one that is centered around the US, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. In an interview with Rossiya-1 TV channel on 26 February 2023, he argued that Washington was trying to mold the world exclusively to fit its own agenda. Putin suggested that America’s “satellite states” are also well aware of these “egoistic” intentions. However, for the time being, they have chosen to turn a blind eye to this due to “various reasons connected first and foremost with huge dependence in the economic sphere and defense,” the Russian leader said.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, stated "we are not alone in this endeavor," stressing that Western countries with their satellites make up only 15% of the world's population. "There are many more of us, and we are much stronger. The calm power of our great country and the authority of its partners is the key to preserving the future for our entire World," the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation concluded.

The one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was marked by another U.N. General Assembly resolution that overwhelmingly condemned Moscow. But in Southeast Asia, there were signs that Moscow retained some influence and support, particularly in Vietnam and Myanmar, the latter of which had faced its own international isolation two years after a coup d’etat that brought a military junta into power. Junta chief Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing celebrated the regime’s relationship with Russia, saying at a Feb. 16 forum that Myanmar will continue to cooperate with Russia as a friend and ally.

Initially, it would have been hard to imagine South Africa – which has adopted a publicly “neutral” stance on the war in Ukraine – opting to host an event with Russia while the latter invaded its neighbor. Of the 35 countries that abstained from voting in a crucial United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution last March condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 17 were African. With no end to the war in sight, it seems many African nations are holding their neutral position. Russia has historical ties with the continent dating back to the Soviet Union, which supported many pro-independence movements in Africa at a time of Western political dominance.

Of the 24 countries that desperately need food aid that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) have identified as hunger hotspots, 16 are in Africa, due to global supply constraints, the war in Ukraine, COVID-19 and climate change.

Russia's new foreign policy concept focused on terminating the West's monopoly in international affairs, the country's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on 15 February 2023. International affairs should be determined not by the West's "selfish interests," but on "a fair, universal basis of a balance of interests as required by the UN Charter," Lavrov said at Russia's State Duma. "The United States and its allies are obsessed with a maniacal desire to revive the neo-colonial, unipolar world order to interfere with the objective process of the formation and rise of new world centers," he said. Washington and its allies are waging "an all-out hybrid war against Russia that has been prepared for many years" in order to defeat Russia on the battlefield, destroy its economy, cordon off the country and turn it into an "outcast," Lavrov added.

According to critics, the West, led by the US, still dominates international political and financial institutions. It seeks to impose its values and norms on others and uses human rights and democracy as tools to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. It has not given up attempts to bring about regime change in other countries to further its geopolitical agenda. It is currently strengthening or building military alliances and partnerships to maintain its global leadership. It tries to shape narratives at the international level in its favor through the global information networks it controls. The power that the US exerts on all transactions in US dollars, along with the status of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency, arms Washington with a unique weapon for financial domination including its use of sanctions as an instrument to bend countries to its strategic goals.

Russia had been subject to a series of sanctions by the West without UN approval. Third countries are pressured to adhere to them under pain of secondary sanctions by the US. Losing access to the US financial markets is a risk that countries want to avoid. With multiple Russian banks arbitrarily excluded from the SWIFT payments system, bank transfer arrangements with Russia have been disrupted, affecting trade exchanges. Russian foreign exchange reserve holdings abroad have been illegally confiscated. Not only has the West broken oil and gas ties with Russia, other countries have been pressed to do so. A price cap on Russian oil has been imposed in a bid to limit Russian earnings from oil sales. The declared goal of these measures is to cause Russia’s economic collapse. The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has been blown up to end Germany’s reliance on Russian gas. The property of private Russian individuals has been confiscated without due process of law, which casts doubt on the sanctity of private property in Western countries. Russian media has been banned in violation of Europe’s commitment to freedom of speech as a fundamental value, and Western media has long been propagating narratives demonizing Russia and its President.

The transatlantic alliance has been fortified, NATO expansion is taking place, Germany are Japan are rearming, US alliances in Asia are being reinforced, a new AUKUS alliance has been created and the Quad is being deepened as a platform. At the heart of this are the perceived threats from Russia in the wake of the Ukraine conflict, and from China emerging as a rival power economically, politically and militarily as well. Essentially, reinvigorating alliances is meant to constrain the emergence of multipolarity by limiting the growth of independent poles of power and their impact.

Russia, sensing its loss of power after the collapse of the Soviet Union and seeking to build a non-Western front against US unilateralism began a push for a multipolar world. It was prompted by US’s promotion of color revolutions, regime changes, and even the break-up of countries to serve geopolitical ends, ostensibly in the name of democracy and human rights. The Russia-India-China (RIC) dialogue platform, a concept initiated by former Russian foreign minister Evgeny Primakov back in 1998, was the first step in this direction. The RIC evolved into BRIC with the addition of Brazil and BRICS with the entry of South Africa. This gave a multi-continental base to the concept of multipolarity. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) led by Russia and China is another forum to promote multipolarity.

Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder of CODEPINK: Women for Peace discussed how the US is responding to the shifting global political order and an emerging multipolar world, why countries like China are much more well-positioned to encourage peace in Ukraine as the US and NATO intensify their role in the conflict there, how this shift threatens US dominance over Europe and how European countries may break from US foreign policy goals, and what this shift means for the movement against war and empire in the US.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addressed to the participants in the 11th St Petersburg International Legal Forum , May 12, 2023: "As you know, the United States and its Western satellites pretend that they can rule the destinies of humankind, and in doing so have placed their bets on building a unipolar world order. The Western minority decided to replace the UN-centric international legal architecture, which emerged in the aftermath of World War II, by some kind of a rules-based order. These so-called rules cannot be legally binding since Washington and its allies have concocted them within their narrow group of countries, and interpret them as they please. But then, they seek to impose these rules on the international community as something everyone must abide by. They try to punish those who voice their dissent by using all kinds of illegitimate instruments, from power politics to libel and defamation in the information space. "It is obvious that the rules-based order the West has been promoting has a clear neo-colonial bias. It consists of dividing the world into the chosen ones who are viewed as exceptional, on the one side, and all the others who are supposed to cater to the interests of the golden billion.... the Western elites have taken on board the worst colonial-era traditions in their effort to split up the world into what they call democracies and authoritarian regimes." Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis argued that a clash between East and West would define the post-Cold War future as a form of cultural and religious identity conflict. As they spread their empires throughout Africa, Latin America, the Indian subcontinent, Asia, and elsewhere. Westerners also sought to expand their ideology and value systems. It is because of this that “Westernization” and “globalization” have effectively meant the same thing, as the empires of old were the ones that brought the world together through the economic and trading system they created. But starting in the 20th century, many of the countries which were colonized by the West started to resist their oppressors, and movements for independence and liberation surged. China gained the ability to challenge the West’s vision for the world on a scale never seen before, and even surpassing that of the former Soviet Union.

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