Some thoughts on Multipolarity
I was born in Slovakia in the early 1990s and was raised by my mom and dad, who are a doctor and train driver, respectively. I played basketball since I was six years old and I went to a religious high school. After graduating, I attended university and received a degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, before pursuing my masters at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) where I currently study.
There are a few factors that motivated me to take to expressing my views on multipolarity, and they are as follows:
* My personal shock relating to the EU’s foreign policy
* The negative propaganda against the Russian Federation
* The US’ lack of understanding pertaining to the modern world
In preparing for this article, I attempted to find some definitions of multipolarity. Wikipedia explains multipolarity as being a “system of four and more centers of power”, whilst The Free Dictionary describes it as “having or conceiving multiple centers of power or influence” a multipolar world; multipolar approach to foreign policy”. Among other definitions that were interesting for me were: “A multipolar system is a system in which power is distributed at least among 3 significant poles concentrating wealth and/or military capabilities and able to block or disrupt major political arrangements threatening their major interests”; “Within a multipolar world, a pole could be defined as an actor which has influence on global outcomes beyond its own borders”; and the last one, which I found to be the most thought-provoking and closest to reality, is that “A pole is an actor capable of producing order or generating disorder”. It all sounds so nice and idealistic, whereby the idea is that more powers create more democracy, which in turn contributes to more control among the centers of power which eventually stabilizes the world. If that is truly so, then why is “the oldest continent” and the cradle of modern democracy and freedom so adamantly against it?
I’ll first begin by discussing the EU, since I’m from there and thus have inside experience as to its workings. The EU presents itself as an advanced supranational union that gives off the front of being open-minded. During the past few years, it opened up a Pandora’s Box by allowing same-sex marriage, ostensibly ‘justified’ by the idea that homosexuals are different but that this must be understood and accepted by everyone. I was shocked when I heard this because it was so astonishingly hypocritical, and I actually felt ashamed that I hold a passport from an EU-member state. If we are forced to ‘understand’ and ‘accept’ homosexuality, why can’t we at least have the option of understanding and accepting other values and approaches to democracy? The EU does not want to accept Russia as a global player and doesn’t want to hear a word about multipolarity, because if it accepted this understanding, then that would be its ultimate defeat. Yes, I agree that the EU brought peace to Europe and unified the continent, but it did not bring anything worthwhile to world politics. In terms of the military sphere, the EU is highly dependent on the US, while its economic dependence is split between Russia and the US. The US recently declared that it would be pivoting to the Pacific, not the Atlantic, thereby showing that the EU has already lost its traditional partner and that not even the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership can reverse this process. Due to the imposition of the anti-Russian sanctions (despite the German public being the loudest voice against these measures), the EU lost its other partner. Basically, by not accepting the realities of 21st-century world politics, the EU has geographically isolated itself. Almost exactly two years ago during my university state exam, I said that the EU stands at a crossroad, where it is forced to choose between following the same old and failed policies or creating new ones and gaining the possibility of becoming a serious regional and global player. Unfortunately, decision makers chose the former path, which has created a doomy scenario where the EU has internally transformed into a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah while externally becoming a supporter to Mideast terrorists and Eastern European Nazis, all the while remaining clueless about its geopolitical imperatives.
The biggest opponent standing against multipolarity in global politics is the US, the superpower that presents itself as the winner of the Cold War and the nation whose ‘God-given’ obligation is to spread freedom and democracy the world over. I can’t decide whether it is run by geniuses or idiots, and I’ll explain my confusion. Ever since 2001, the US started pursuing the policy of democracy promotion, which actually served as a cover for justifying its military involvement in resource-rich states, starting from Afghanistan and continuing through to Iraq, Libya, and now Ukraine. It could be that US decision makers envision that their country’s power is significantly decreasing and that a new system of world politics is emerging. They would then obviously understand that American unipolarity would have no place in such a framework, hence why they may be trying to create as many allies as possible within the new system before it’s completely constructed. Or, it could just be that the US’ decision makers are absolute fools which simply point at the map and play “Monopoly for politicians”. I think that the truth lies somewhere between both claims. In my opinion, they noticed that fundamental global shifts were occurring but they never gave them much attention and instead opted to continue playing their own game. The situation, however, is still getting worse and worse, and I believe that it has resulted in the status quo that we have today. First, the US’ ‘steam engine’ crashed in Libya before it did so once more in Syria, with the most significant off-the-rails moment occurring in Ukraine. In my opinion, the latter conflict proves that the ‘steam engine’ is now dangerously running at full speed. So what caused the global superpower to become the state that 2/3 of the world has come to hate and mock in only 14 years? First of all, it was the US’ policy of continual interference. Wherever there is a problem or a military conflict, one is certain to find some level of American involvement in either the combat or support spheres (i.e. financing one side or supplying them with weapons and training). Most of the destabilizing parties that the US financed and equipped have now turned into terrorist groups that require global attention. Going back to the topic, another reason that the US has become reviled has to do with its diplomatic staff, at least in terms of those who publicly present themselves. One of the most ridiculous examples is Jen Psaki, one of the State Department’s spokespeople. One of my favorite examples was when she said that “In the event of a Belarusian invasion of Ukraine, the 6th US Fleet will immediately be deployed to the shores of Belarus.” Another masterpiece of America’s diplomatic corps is Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN. I won’t quote her here, but when compared to how the Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Vitaly Churkin, expresses the views of his country and how he reacts and composes his sentences, it can immediately be understood why the US does not have any leading role in the construction of the new, multipolar world order.
Now, a few words about anti-Russian propaganda and why the West feels endangered by the Russian Federation. Russia was not in the best condition after the dissolution of the USSR, and furthermore, the economic crisis in 1998 slowed down its recovery progress. Ever since 2000, however, Russia has made significant steps forward, and not just internally, but also in terms of its foreign policy. It restrained itself from any hasty military involvements abroad and always seemed to ponder the best course of action, intervening in Georgia, for example, only when its national interests were threatened. Moreover, Russia never behaves as though its opinion is the only proper one, always giving time to listen to others’ viewpoints in an attempt to try to understand them and enter into negotiations. This approach to foreign policy has secured Russia an exclusive position in the creation of the new system of world politics in the 21st century. In my opinion, the recent anti-Russian sanctions and the situation in Ukraine only boosted this process and strengthened the position of the country. This is why the negative propaganda against it is so popular and climactic nowadays, because the Western powers fear that Russia will one day usurp their position. They also are afraid of the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin does not have always state what Russia’s values are in each and every situation. He doesn’t have to make simple gestures that are against nature in order to prove that he accepts other forms of thinking or approaches to various problems. These things are what make Russia the real center of the multipolar world.
So what does multipolarity mean for me? It means that other ideas and perspectives will be accepted. They do not necessarily have to be implemented, but at least other ways of thinking won’t be pushed into the corner, censured, and be the source of wars. For me, the centers of power could/should be Russia, China, Brazil, Mexico (in a long-term perspective), South Africa, and a country from the Mideast, perhaps Iran. I don’t believe that the US has a moral right to be part of the new world order, and although the EU could play a significant role, it unfortunately chooses not to. For me, multipolarity is a source of opportunities that are able to construct better standards of living. The spread of mutual acceptance and cooperation in a multipolar world, in my view, will lead to more sustainable development as well. Also, decision makers and institutions in this future world order will be stronger than the current US-led ones (IMF, UN Security Council, etc.). So far, Russia is the only country I’ve lived in among those which I previously listed as possible centers of the multipolar world. Whenever I return from the EU and land in one of Moscow’s airports, I always tell myself that I’m finally free! I cannot explain this feeling in words, but it now that it comes from the freedom that I feel here in Russia, which is based on my observations of how Russia acts towards the outside world. It always acts with respect and understanding, even if its counterpart does not reciprocate. My mom always told me to behave in a respectful way with those whom I interact with, and I’m really proud that I can live in a free country that does so, despite what the media’s negative propaganda about it may lead one to think. Russia truly respects both itself and other countries, which makes it a strong cornerstone in constructing a modern and effective multipolar world.