The Year it All Changed
It won’t be an exaggeration to say that in 2016 the balance of powers in the world has changed radically, just take a look at the so-called Brexit, Donald Trump’s presidential victory, the fact that François Fillon and Marine Le Pen are the main contenders in the French presidential election, president elections in Bulgaria and Moldova, and the latest failure of a major Italian. Those are the things that indicate that the things will change drastically in the international politics, as these trends are gaining momentum rapidly.
The aspirations of Western ruling elites to seize virtually all resources in the world that appeared after the collapse of the Soviet Union have made them a big disservice. In the absence of any sort of counterweight, those elites assumed there’s no reason to share their wealth with the middle class and the poor, which resulted in the ever growing dissatisfaction among the population of Western states.
Back in 1990s a well-known American scholar Samuel Huntington coined a term to describe those new elites – Davos men. Those are the men who are in control of virtually all the international institutions, a number of governments and their economies. Those men are not really concerned with such matters as national security and national boundaries, since they perceive those as an obstacle to the expansion of their own influence. To protect their global operations and maximize profits they are encouraging migration, since migrants decrease labor costs significantly.
The EU officials have also been trying to limit the amount of sovereignty individual states could enjoy, leaving them with purely administrative duties to perform, which resulted in a belief that European elites have become completely divorced from reality. The short-sighted policies of European leaders have led to the failure of multiculturalism concept, since as new waves of refugees arrive to Europe, they increased the influence that Islamist radicals are enjoying over this continent.
The Deutsche Welle notes that ISIS is making a bet on the further polarization between the Muslim newcomers and the non-Muslim indigenous population in order to get as many recruits in its ranks as it can accommodate, which will result in the destabilization of the situation in Europe and the expansion of the caliphate’s influence.
Islamophobia as a whole is playing into the hands of terrorists, since ISIS wants the Muslims to believe that its territories is more of a home to them than Europe, since those Muslims who genuinely want to get integrated into the European society are facing increased hostility and discrimination, which will provoke even more hatred in their hearts.
As it’s been noted by a prominent Russian geopolitical analyst Daria Aslamova, this is particularly evident in Belgium – a small country with a rich unwieldy bureaucracy and relaxed police officers – an attractive environment for international crime. Young Belgians are constantly being told that European Muslims can’t stop playing the blame game, since they are convinced that they have been underfed, undereducated and undersupported. Social insecurity results in local young Muslims facing jail, and when they get released they represent perfect recruits for Islamist radicals.
As a result of short-sighted policy of the West we’ve witnessed the second military invasion of Iraq committed under false pretenses, the destruction of Libya, and the desperate attempts of certain Western powers to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad with the help of Islamist terrorists. All this created an atmosphere of constant chaos and fear in the Middle East. As a matter of fact, Russia’s operation in Syria has inflicted a grave blow to the international terrorist network, saving France, Belgium, Turkey and other Washington’s allies from a massive number of bloody terrorist attacks.
Even the new president-elect Donald Trump has acknowledged that the Obama administration has spent 6 trillion dollars in a bid to overthrow unwanted regimes in different parts of the world, creating a terrible mess afterward.
Today, there’s a number of preconditions for the successful resolution of a number of conflicts through negotiations. Many today still remember the wisdom of the USSR Foreign Minister Gromyko, who would announce one day: “It’s better to have ten years of negotiations, than one day of war.” This sensible approach now lies in the basis of the policies pursued by Russia.
Since Aleppo has been liberated, there is a real opportunity to organize in peace talks between the Syrian government and the so-called moderate opposition in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. This has been clearly demonstrated by the tripartite meeting in Moscow – which featured Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Iran and Turkey. This format will be a real step towards the actual settlement. There’s a long list of diplomatic envoys in Russia now, all demanding Moscow’s assistance in peaceful negotiations. Among them one can spot representatives of Libya and Yemen, the two states that have been suffering from bitter conflicts for years.
It is obvious that only the joint efforts of all stakeholders can result in the resolution of the most difficult conflicts in the Middle East. I personally believe that it is important that Russian-American cooperation must be restarted. Further still, it should be expanded to encompass China and the European Union.
Veniamin Popov, Director of the Center for Partnership of Civilizations at MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations) of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
The article, "The Year it All Changed", was syndicated from and first appeared at: http://journal-neo.org/2016/12/28/the-year-it-all-changed/.
You may find more great articles by Guest Post on http://journal-neo.org/.