A World in Flames

As Henry Kissinger and the highly influential scholar Kenneth Waltz rightly emphasized, a bipolar international system like that of the Cold War is basically stable, while a multipolar system is inherently unstable. Indeed, the balance of world power has shifted from the unipolar “moment” that began at the end of the Cold War, when the U.S. was the only preeminent world power. Following the end of the Cold War, the U.S. was the only power with preeminence in all dimensions of power: military, economic, technological, ideological and cultural. That unipolar “moment” is over.

With the rise of China, the resurgence of Russia and the growth of India, we are now in a multipolar world. And in this unstable world, we have a war in Europe that does not end and a war by Israel against Hamas terrorists that threatens to spread. There has been an incident with injuries in the South China Sea, in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, between a Chinese military vessel and an Australian frigate. There is tension over the future of Taiwan in the middle of a presidential election. Civil wars have recently flared up in Myanmar, Sudan and Mali; and there have been multiple military coups in the Sahel.

In the multipolar system of the 1930s, the geopolitical revisionism of Germany, Japan and Italy created the conditions for World War II.

Today, the aggressive geopolitical revisionism of Russia in Europe; China in Asia; and Iran in the Middle East, together with the irresponsible warmongering of Kim Jong Un’s hereditary communist satrapy, are creating an increasingly dangerous world. Moreover, these four powers have entered into an informal alliance against the West.

Faced with this scenario, Western democracies have reacted by strengthening NATO and U.S. alliances in general. Pacifist Germany and Japan of the second postwar period have begun a major rearmament process, while the U.S. has also increased its military spending. Finland and Sweden, two traditionally neutral nations, are joining NATO. In the Indo-Pacific, the QUAD, made up of the U.S., Japan, Australia and India; the AUKUS military cooperation between the U.S., Australia and the U.K.; and the ANZUS alliance, which includes New Zealand, are all being strengthened. The triple alliance between the U.S., Japan and South Korea has also been enhanced.

Given this explosive scenario, which also has very negative effects on the world economy, it is difficult to believe in negotiated solutions. But perhaps we should try.

In Ukraine, within the framework of the relative thaw between the U.S. and China, an intelligent diplomacy with a sense of history could find a solution through organization — by the U.N. and with relevant international observation — of free and transparent “referenda” in the Donbas and Crimea, and thus clearly identify those territories in which the majority of the population would prefer to join Russia.

In exchange for the subsequent rectification of the border, Russia should accept Ukraine’s accession to NATO and the EU; this obviously would be the only valid guarantee for Ukraine against a possible new Russian invasion. In the Gaza crisis, after the necessary elimination of Hamas, the two-state solution should be reconsidered.

Let us remember that the U.N. divided the region into two states in 1947. The Jews accepted the partition; however, the Arab countries not only refused to accept it, but attacked Israel with their armies. In 1967 and 1973, the Arab countries again attacked Israel, which, in defending itself, expanded the territory controlled by its army.

There will be no solution without the guarantee of security for Israel and also a “national home” — a term from the Balfour Declaration — also for the Palestinians.

About this publication

About Patricia Simoni 182 Articles
I began contributing to Watching America in 2009 and continue to enjoy working with its dedicated translators and editors. Latin America, where I lived and worked for over four years, is of special interest to me. Presently a retiree, I live in Morgantown, West Virginia, where I enjoy the beauty of this rural state and traditional Appalachian fiddling with friends. Working toward the mission of WA, to help those in the U.S. see ourselves as others see us, gives me a sense of purpose.

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