It Is Good If the Unipolar World No Longer Exists: But the Way Forward Is Not the Bipolarism of US vs. Russia/China

Speaking in St. Petersburg yesterday, Putin declared “the end of the unipolar world.”

It is true that the unipolar world no longer exists, and it is also true that the United States behaves as if it were possible to ignore this fact and impose its sovereign will by means of military force or economic sanctions. The unipolar world has been challenged, not by the war in Ukraine but by globalization. This has produced a multitude of poles of economic development and a drastic modification of world hierarchies. Out of these economic changes have also sprung military changes, (just today, China launched its third aircraft carrier) and at the same time, Russia has resumed its posture as a nuclear superpower.

Adding to these elements is the fact that the American reaction to the war in Ukraine has paradoxically caused a break-up of the financial mechanisms with which the U.S. has dominated the world in recent decades. The attempt to cut Russia off with sanctions and exclude it from the international monetary system has had the opposite effect. Precisely because the world is not what it once was, Russia has had an easy time finding alternative channels — especially, but not exclusively, with China — which calls into question the function of exchange currency and international dollar reserves. The U.S. has used the dollar’s dominant role to try to cut Russia off, but the failure of this effort has highlighted the possibility of finding alternative channels to the dollar system. This would be economically and geopolitically immense: the binding together of interests alternative to the U.S. — and not just those of Russia and China.

I believe that the break-up of the unipolar world, in which an emperor commands and the others must obey, should be greeted positively. However, that does not imply that our goal should be global bipolarism. A bipolar world, with Russia and China on one side and the U.S. and Europe (reduced to a mere colony) on the other, would be better than a unipolar world, but would not be a good one. It would be a world in which there was the constant risk of a third world war. A world in which the fight against climate change would vanish, as witnessed in Europe in recent weeks as Russian gas has been neatly replaced with highly polluting coal. It would not be a democratic world because every power would build a consensus with its arbiters based on hate for its enemy, much less a “fair” world from the point of view of equality. Today, there are no wars among civilized nations but we risk a confrontation between barbarians, a war between uncivil societies where the West, which is transforming NATO into an anti-Chinese offensive alliance, is the more aggressive.

I therefore believe that we should acknowledge moving on from the unipolar world and welcome the passage. At the same time, we should work to build a multipolar, plural, cooperative world. To that end, it is clear that we must forcefully reopen the struggle over the fate of Europe.

Today, Europe has committed suicide and the European elite has transformed itself into an American colony. Think about the issue of Russian gas supplies, an affair brought about entirely by European politics, which will heavily weaken German (and Italian) industry, raise inflation in Europe, and cause the devaluation of the euro against the dollar. It will result in social and economic catastrophe for Europe, fully the product of our governments’ slavish stupidity.

Only a rupture of this dependence, only constructing a completely autonomous role for Europe separate from the United States, can open the way to a multipolar world. When we seek to stop the supply of weapons for the war in Ukraine; ask to leave NATO; say that the sanctions against Russia are wrong and suicidal – this is what we are talking about. We aren’t fans of Putin nor bearers of generic anti-American sentiment; instead, we are aware that only a multipolar world can win the challenge for peace, for the war against climate change, for social justice and freedom for individuals and societies. Creating a multipolar world, in which our children can live decent lives, requires an independent Europe, autonomous from the United States.

The author is vice president of the Party of the European Left, a European political party which acts as an association of democratic socialist and communist political parties throughout Europe.

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