Thursday, October 22, 2020

Russia's Approach to the New Global Reality

While the rest of the world focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic and the Trump - Biden election, the isolation of Russia continues unabated and Russia's lead foreign politico has had enough of the West's sabre rattling and accusations and has a rather profound solution to the problem.

 

At a recent meeting held in Moscow on October 13, 2020, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed Russia's approach to the world in a question and answer session following a presentation of the Valdai International Discussion Club analytical report "History To Be Continued: The Utopia of a Diverse World":

 


Let's start by looking at some of Mr. Lavrov's more interesting comments regarding Russia's approach to the new global reality noting that all bolds are mine:


"We should not focus only on the ways in which the world is likely to change in the foreseeable future, but also on whether we will be able to influence this change. Our position with regard to what is going on in the world is basically the same as the formulas used in the report: the “volatility” and “impulsiveness” of international life.   We have been saying for a long time that the world is going through profound transformations, with the global balance of power being reshaped. There is no doubt that the substance of the modern epoch is an objective process of formation of a more democratic, multipolar international order.  It is a difficult and long process. It will probably take an entire epoch.

 

Thus far, we can see that the rise of new centres of economic growth, financial power and political influence and these growth and influence centres’ sincere desire to establish mutually beneficial and equal relations with all others are running into resistance from a group of Western states, which are neither ready for, nor used to sharing their privileged position in the international hierarchy.  This standoff is behind the state of turbulence and uncertainty described in the report.

 

As I said, the clash between the old and the new will take, judging by all appearances, an entire historical epoch. The sign of the current juncture is that the maximally selfish behaviour of certain state leaders is increasingly influencing real events on the international arena.  A case in point is that a well-known, very rich and well-armed country bought up, at an early stage in the pandemic, or administratively redirected to its own havens cargoes with protective gear against COVID 19 intended for others. Of course, there are numerous examples of this sort and we cannot rejoice at the loss of the culture of dialogue and compromise and generally the skill of listening to others. Often there prevails the desire to issue accusations, ultimatums and demands. We believe that today, as never before, it is important to try to return to the sources and basics of diplomacy, to the painstaking, protracted, occasionally thankless, but eventually effective search for points of contact and compromises, and to the coordination of positions. We are ready for this work and are ready to conduct it with all our partners without exception….

 

I believe that what we need now is something different: we must work to ensure that all countries strictly comply with the norms and principles of international law and their obligations under international conventions, and to prevent the erosion of international law or its replacement with the rules-based order promoted by our Western partners, who even avoid using the very phrase “respect for international law.”…

 

The world is becoming increasingly diverse and competitive. It is hard to argue with this. It can no longer be governed from any one centre."

 

While Mr. Lavrov points the accusing finger at the United States, Europe does not come off “scot free””

 

The EU is actively following in the footsteps of the US, increasingly relying on the threat of sanctions. Brussels has created two mechanisms to punish those, who, in its opinion, will use chemical weapons and violate human rights. All of this is outside of the UN Security Council and in no way tallies with the principles of the UN Charter. If this is understood to be a new reality, then, in my view, we must fight it. Good and evil will not disappear anyway. I am convinced that not only the spirit, but also the letter of the UN Charter are absolutely fine for the modern-day world, if we want it to be a little bit more democratic and just.

 

When asked this question about global dominance and how it is changing:

 

…if things are so bad, maybe Russia should, as they say now, self-isolate during the period of these terrible shocks and entirely concentrate on itself, abandoning or minimising any foreign policy ambitions? As they say, do not get angry, but focus. And let others fight their battles for global dominance or whatever prize there is.

 

…here is the key part of his response:

 

“…we must stop considering our Western colleagues, including the EU, as a source of assessment of our behaviour that we need to follow, or measuring ourselves with the same yardstick. They don’t know Russian arshins, they have inches. I think we need to stop looking over our shoulders at them….

 

In the last twenty years, we have always had self-esteem. But those people who are responsible for foreign policy in the West do not understand the need for mutually respectful communication. So we should probably stop communicating with them for a while. Moreover, Ursula von der Leyen declares that geopolitical partnership is not working with the current Russian government. So be it, if that’s the way they want it.


Let's close with one thought.  Many people believe that hate is the opposite to love when, in fact, indifference is actually worse.  In Russia's case, it is clear that they are becoming increasingly indifferent to how the West feels about the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin and the rest of Russia for that matter.  If Russia shuts out the West as a result of the West's actions against it, western leaders will have no one to blame but themselves and their endless sanctions for creating and propagating the New Cold War.