The Fruits of Hegemonism*


*Editor’s note: On March 4, 2022, Russia enacted a law that criminalizes public opposition to, or independent news reporting about, the war in Ukraine. The law makes it a crime to call the war a “war” rather than a “special military operation” on social media or in a news article or broadcast. The law is understood to penalize any language that “discredits” Russia’s use of its military in Ukraine, calls for sanctions or protests Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It punishes anyone found to spread “false information” about the invasion with up to 15 years in prison.

The vice rector of Russian Foreign Ministry Diplomatic Academy, Oleg Karpovich, on the reasons for the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the prospects for a settlement.

Another act in the Palestinian-Israeli drama that has broken the lives of many inhabitants of the Middle East became a tragic and inevitable reminder of the flimsy nature of the U.S.-centric world order that is crumbling before our eyes. Because when the Cold War ended, it was Washington that took up the mantle of the arbiter, trying to settle the most complex conflicts and crises from the position of a hegemon. As we can see years later, the heritage of the 1990s, when American leaders, basking in the spotlight, declared a new unipolar reality that reconciled peoples and religions to peace, is now beginning to bear its bitter fruit.

This is happening not just in the Middle East but also in many places on the globe. Several decades after the end of the hot phase of the Balkan wars, the situation in Bosnia and Kosovo remains volatile. Countries such as Haiti and Somalia, at one point the objects of American intervention, are engulfed by perpetual violence. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, where the cynical position of the West — interested in undermining Moscow’s influence rather than in peace — has also prevented a settlement; it has resulted in armed confrontations and the exodus of the Armenians. This list goes on and on.

The so-called Oslo Accords, signed 30 years ago by the leaders of Israel and Palestine — not in the Norwegian capital but in the District of Columbia under the patronage of Bill Clinton — were supposed to create a foundation for a peaceful coexistence between the two countries. But the arrogance of the American government, which always puts domestic political considerations and lobbyist groups’ wishes before the common interests of mankind, led time and again to the same result: the inability to patch the cracks in the relations of the peoples of Israel and Palestine. Instead of an objective intermediary genuinely intending to end the bloodshed, the U.S. turned into quite an unstable and perpetually hesitant actor, changing its priorities and strategic objectives along the way and losing the trust of both parties.

One of the key decisions of Washington that led to the current upheaval was its refusal to recognize the democratic choice of the Palestinian people after the victory of the Hamas movement in the parliamentary elections. Instead of attempting to integrate this organization, which had acquired tremendous credibility among its compatriots, into the negotiation process, the U.S. tried with all its might to isolate Gaza diplomatically, supporting its transformation into a plot of land isolated from the world, existing in hopeless poverty.

It’s not surprising that seeds sown during the era of neoconservative obsession with the idea of the triumph of liberalism in the so-called Greater Middle East have sprouted now when Palestinians — who knew of no life without poverty and violence — were drawn into a violent armed conflict. On the other hand, it was American diplomats who have done everything in their power lately to form an anti-Iranian coalition and build up relations between Israel and the Arab monarchies by silencing and leaving out the Palestinian question. It was hard to imagine that the inhabitants of Gaza would calmly accept the marginalization of their own fate. The adventurism and carelessness of the apologists of the failed “conclusion” turned into yet another bloodshed.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict can and should be settled, but for that to happen, the destructive role of the U.S. in the negotiation process should be minimized. The time has come for new intermediaries, uncompromised by the mistakes of the past, to enter the stage. There are precedents. This year we have already watched how, against all American efforts, China managed to establish a dialogue between Riyadh and Tehran. In the same way and time after time Russia makes considerable contributions toward settling ethnic conflicts in the different countries of the Global South. Perhaps the organization of a more effective diplomacy in the Middle East will become possible, not through the efforts of the discredited West, but through those of the leader states of the global majority.

But such a turn of events requires time. For now, while cities are burning and hundreds of civilians are dying, Russian diplomats can only use all their experience and friendly ties with both parties to persuade them to stop this pointless slaughter and return to the unpleasant, complex but necessary dialogue to save lives. There can be no doubt that their skill, objectivity and adherence to principles will bring about the required result sooner or later.

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About Artem Belov 87 Articles
Artem Belov is a TESOL-certified English teacher and a freelance translator (Russian>English and English>Russian) based in Australia but currently traveling abroad. He is working on a number of projects, including game localization. You can reach him at belov.g.artem@gmail.com

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