10.12.2016 Author: Veniamin Popov

Curious Developments are Taking Place in the West

4231231231Today one would hardly find a journal that wouldn’t report in pretty alarming tones the crisis in Europe and the West as a whole. In fact, the concept of the “West” appeared after the First and Second World Wars, and meant the Euro-Atlantic partnership, in which the United States was supposed to defend its allies.

As a matter of fact, cracks on the facade of the European Union were visible a long while ago. We were being told that it’s just a quarrel in a noble family or minor disagreements among friends, but it wasn’t true. Meanwhile, the crack continued to expand, as the number of conflicting issues grew, resulting in a veritable face-off on such matters as social benefits, one’s relations with the US and Russia, and, of course, the migrant crisis.

Bet when it was announced that Donald Trump that was dreaded by the absolute majority of European politicians is the next president-elect, it was like a thunder striking an old oak to split it in two.

The anxiety level kept mounting, as the results of the Italian referendum on constitutional reforms were announced, which, according to The Times is an even of the same nature as Brexit and the Trump phenomenon, since Italians were voting against the establishment, against Brussels. Simultaneously with the start of the election campaign in France, French politicians cannot help but feel uncomfortable. We cannot ignore the fact that France, Italy, and the Netherlands are the avid supporters of Brexit. Marine Le Pen, for example, has openly announced her intention to hold a referendum on France’s EU membership should she get an upper hand in the presidential election.

Former German Minister of Foreign Affairs of Joschka Fischer believes that Trump’s victory is essentially the beginning of the end of the West as we know it today. According to this politician, the important thing is that Trump hasn’t just won an individual competition with Clinton, but also the struggle against the establishment of the Republican Party. It is only logical to assume that the successful and assertive billionaire will adhere to his winning strategy. For example, the agency “Bloomberg”, while analyzing Trump’s sharp criticisms of senseless American wars in the Middle East, suggests that the new administration is most likely to abandon its interventionist policy in the region.

Today it is obvious that we have a divided America, and a divided Europe, whose leaders highly critical of Trump’s plans. The general trend here is that there must be more focus on domestic issues. And yet, most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that many developing countries, and today they are represent the rising civilizations, are going to get it back on the US and most Western European countries, that oppressed them for so long.

The war of words between Washington and Beijing is only getting tougher by the day. And most regional players are not going to lag behind, as we can see in the Philippines, whose president has subjected the US foreign policy to sharp criticism. Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has also made a lot of rather unpleasant remarks about his western allies.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in one of his recent statements confirmed that should the US Congress adopt a decision to renew sanctions against his country for another 10 years, Washington will meet a tough reaction, since this step will serve as a proof that the US is an enemy of Iran.

Pretty much the same moods can be found among Latin American and African politicians.

In the emerging new international situation where the balance of power is changing not in favor of the West, so sober-minded politicians who have a strategic vision and are able to look one step ahead are beginning to realize that short-sighted positions of yesterday’s ruling elites could cost the West dearly, forcing it lose both the influence and the economic preferences it enjoyed.

Today, an increasing number of media sources across the globe say that states should establish good relations with Putin’s Russia to be able to effectively fight Islamist terrorism, and it is not a matter of free will anymore, it’s the harsh necessity. Such a position has also been voiced by one of the leaders of the French center-right forces and the sitting mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppé: “We made a lot of mistakes in our relations with Russia and allowed NATO to encircle it. From now on, we are bound to reassure Russia, in order to build a joint pan-European security project. “

Recently, the Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland said that Russia is a very important member of the Council of Europe and, therefore, cooperation with it is essential.

One can only regret there’s still a lot of politicians who are thinking in the Cold War terms and, therefore, unable to understand that the era of Western domination is over. Yet, common sense will one day prevail.

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.”


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