The new cold war and its effects on our region
Current developments on the international scene reflect an escalating Cold War situation. It has long-term strategic dimensions, as well as intense manifestations and direct repercussions represented in the “special military operation” against Ukraine.
The operation is based on a political process that seeks to tear the country apart, change its political system and stop its Western orientation, unless Kiev succumbs to the demands of Russian national security and abandons its hopes, which, according to Moscow, include plans to besiege it. , weaken it and threaten its security and stability, opening the doors of NATO and the European Union and achieving Western political and military expansion into all of Eurasia.
The direct effects of the operation on Ukraine, the destruction of its cities, the migration of tens of thousands of its inhabitants and the human losses it suffered, paralyzed the country and hampered its productive capacities in terms of industry, commerce, agriculture, tourism and others. Moreover, transactions in these sectors, which link Ukraine to many states and societies, including the Middle East and the Arab world, and the resulting economic and financial losses, require urgent efforts and alternatives that may not be easy to find.
We should also not forget the hundreds, if not thousands, of students and business owners (especially in industries and small and medium-sized enterprises), who filled Ukrainian universities, forums and marketplaces and the transfer process to other destinations… This in addition to the effects of the sanctions against Russia on the course of trade and investment in the developing world, including most of the Arab world.
Let us now turn to the examination of another no less important dimension. It is about the escalation of an all-encompassing strategic confrontation between the entire West and Russia, reminiscent of the pre-war era, when European politicians tried to ease tensions by making concessions to the perpetrator troubles, according to their own interests.
Maybe Putin was intentionally pushing for it. His list of demands is long. The Russian government summed it up in a memorandum asking for a number of pledges and commitments related to NATO, Russian security and reviving the agreements that were forged in the 1990s to organize security relations. after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. War. Washington’s rejection of these demands has heightened Moscow’s concern.
It seems that the United States – and the West around it – is not about to repeat the appeasement policies pursued by British Prime Minister Chamberlain, before the outbreak of World War II.
It is well known, of course, that many commitments were made in the aforementioned agreements, which the West itself violated with regard to the inclusion of Russia’s European neighbors in NATO and the annexation most of them to the European Union.
Indeed, the three Baltic republics: Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, which have become members of NATO and the European Union, are not only close or neighbors to Russia, but some of them are intertwined with Russian lands (Moscow is “silent” about this, just as the West is “silent” about the annexation of Crimea).
This indicates that the Ukrainian file is not only linked from the Russian point of view to its adherence to Western alliances, but also to its interests and its geopolitical, security, cultural, ethnic and religious dimensions.
Many political analysts, well versed in Russian-American and Russian-European affairs, believe that America does not pay much attention to Russian national considerations. Rather, she sees Russia as “nothing but Nigeria covered in snow, and so if things have been pushed into Russia’s head, then they have to be woken up, or the opportunity has come to wake them up.” as one analyst put it.
This is a major miscalculation that will lead to international complications with significant negative impact. Russia is a major nuclear state whose interests go beyond its immediate neighborhood and should not be underestimated. Some of the analysts say what is happening now is “a conspiracy hatched by the West to entrap and punish Putin, and isolate the Russia he leads with a view to its overthrow.”
While Russian logic, which many see as merit (note that more than 50 countries abstained or opposed the recent General Assembly resolution on Ukraine), considers that Russian security is in fact threatened by Atlantic expansion, the American logic is based on the fact that Russia is certainly a great country, but it is of the second degree, and does not have the right to propose, nor to request, security arrangements of a global strategic nature, which restrict the movement of western countries.
As for the Russian missile test in Cuba in 1962, less than 90 miles from the US border and which Russia believes America should remember to understand current Russian concerns, the US response recalls the statement of the late Colonel Gaddafi: “Who are you to tell us what to do or not? »
Based on the above, Russia’s presence in the Middle East (its actual presence in Syria and Libya, and its political relations with a number of Gulf Arab states, Turkey, Iran and Israel) will subject to examination.
In fact, the United States and the Western alliance have coexisted with the Russian presence and its policy in the Middle East, and have sometimes seen it as beneficial for the West, especially with the coordination that has taken place with the United States and Israel in Syria, the confrontation of international terrorist groups and under the American arrangements for Pivot to Asia.
Is it time for the Western alliance to show coldness towards the Russian presence and role in the Middle East? Doesn’t this require additional Western coordination with Turkey? And perhaps an Israeli role in this regional framework?
Does this require accelerating the conclusion of certain agreements with Iran? I say this by excluding the possibility of reaching an agreement with an Arab party at this strategic level, except perhaps pressures – not agreements – aimed at eclipsing any relationship of Arab-Russian cooperation.
Then, we must expect an evolution of the Russian situation in the Mediterranean which directly affects its naval and air bases in Syria, as well as its presence in Libya.
It also opens the door to an assessment of what might happen to the Russian presence in the West African Sahel and Sahara region, which is directly adjacent to the Maghreb countries.
It’s only part of what to expect, but it’s not straightforward, given Putin’s determination and abilities that could confuse or undermine Western plans.
Finally, I would like to focus on the following points:
The first concerns the biggest loser of evolution so far: the United Nations, the international system and the principles of international law which have been and are openly contested on all sides.
The current turmoil in the role of the Security Council and the failure to maintain international peace and security (both superpowers are permanent members of the Security Council, enjoy veto power and are accused – or mutually accused – of violating the international order, and threaten international peace and security). So what will be the fate of small states, including ours? And how will they solve their problems and deal with threats to their sovereignty and independence?
Second, if the United Nations and the current international system in general are the primary losers in the course of events in Ukraine, then the West is the other loser.
Indeed, if the international system that the West put in place under the leadership of the United States in 1945 collapses, the influence of the Western powers risks falling with it, or weakening in the face of resistance that see that this system involves biases, harmful sanctions and double standards, in addition to a failure to establish a new consensus that would be based on international pluralism and globalization, which are now in sharp decline.
However, this does not detract from the fact that the West – so far and in the short and perhaps the medium term – has achieved apparent gains, namely the return to unity, the affirmation of the leadership of the United States and the abandonment of the policies of reluctance and agitation that have made America and the West lose a great deal of credibility and respect.
The third loss is the return of bold racist rhetoric; rather, the madness revealed by Western media and political pronouncements, about the preference of the blue-eyed white refugee over any other refugee from developing countries. It is possible to expect other similar policies that will harm the interests of the developing world.
The fourth loss is embodied in the resurgence of the expression: “You are either with us or against us”, which recalls the words of John Foster Dulles, the former American Secretary of State, who said that neutrality was “immoral”. .”
So, is the neutrality and abstention from voting by some countries in favor of the resolution submitted by Western countries to the General Assembly, a reason to punish them as well?