What will the world look like after Putin’s war? (II)
Miguel Ángel Velasco López cmf
MA in Development and Diplomacy. UNITAR
Is it possible to integrate Russia into the new European order?
We may ask ourselves how the European Union, Germany, or Angela Merkel herself have been able to get into this “alley with a difficult exit” called “Friendship with Putin”. Many commentators on international relations have spoken of a continent called Euro-Asia and, in particular, that Russia is part of Europe. It is undoubtedly worth remembering the tremendous effort that Peter the Great or Catherine the Great made to Europeanize Russia; we have to admit that the history of Russia, except in the times of the USSR, has been linked to the rest of the countries of Europe. Therefore, while accepting the famous “Russian soul, part European and part Asian”, discussing the European and Asian percentages within that soul would be necessary.
With the fall of the Iron Curtain, the European Union, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, sought a rapprochement with the countries of Eastern Europe, including Russia. This came about partly for economic gain, partly out of romantic idealism, and partly because of political decisions seeking a regime of freedoms in Russia. That may have been possible with Gorbachev and even with the leaders after him. Still, Russia imagined by Putin is not Russia imagined by Gorbachev, whom, by the way, Putin hates. It has been a massive miscalculation on the part of the EU. The EU, especially Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy, have become entangled in the gas and oil pipelines that heat and energize these countries.
Without Putin, the situation would be different; hopefully, it will be in the not too distant future. Many of the problems in Europe, Asia, and Africa have their roots in the conferences at the end of the First and Second World Wars: Paris 1919 and Yalta-Potsdam 1945. These conferences reorganized the world and were organized by specific men with specific personalities. Unfortunately, the consequences of these conferences have generated serious conflicts in Europe, Asia, and Africa. At this moment, everyone, even political scientists specializing in the Kremlin, is wondering what Putin is trying to do; it seems that his head is not working correctly, looking at the decisions he is making; some, more and more, think that his head has never worked correctly. Therefore, we have to be careful who we elect to government positions. Democratic countries, which can change leaders, have to perfect the electoral system to select the right people and, if necessary, make them finish their mandate when they do not perform well in office.
The new world order
What is the world going to look like after Putin’s war ends? We do not know for sure, but it seems that the United States – European Union alliance will be strengthened. China will be a significant world power interested in maintaining internal balance and good external trade relations. As far as Russia is concerned, we shall see how Russian society will digest the severe consequences of the war, especially regarding the number of young people killed and the payment of the cost of the war. The International Order will necessarily have to be multilateral; fortunately, there is no other possibility. In this international order, the United Nations will continue to play a significant role as a place for dialogue, international legitimization, and concrete actions for peace and equality in the world. Having demonstrated, once again, that it is practically impossible for the Security Council to fulfill its functions, perhaps we should look for organizations such as the G20 (not the G7) to perform a similar substitute function. We will have to wait for the end of Putin’s war in Ukraine to clear this unclear horizon.
What about the rest of the world? We are heirs to a world situation in which Europe has been the center for a long time. We can now talk about the North rather than Europe, but the progress made in multilateralism involving all parts of the world has been set back a few years. COVID-19 and Putin’s war in Ukraine has returned us, if not to Eurocentrism, then to “North-centrism”. We will have to balance the balance little by little because, besides Ukraine and Putin, there are many bleeding situations in the world.
On the Blog, a few articles have appeared about the action being taken by Faith-Based Organizations. In these articles, you can find clear clues about what should be the attitude of Christians, religions, and all those organizations that take as programs of action the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 2030 Agenda.
Miguel Ángel Velasco López cmf
Dresden. World War II