Vladivostok recently hosted the Eurasian Economic Forum where it was addressed by Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. Vladivostok itself is an important centre of development in the Russian Far East and therefore appropriate as the host of the conference whose theme centred on the “path to a multipolar world.” The conference was attended by representatives from 68 different nations, itself-a pointed reminder to the western world that Russia is far from isolated in the world community. Rather, along with China, it is the centre of a wholly new developing world and one that is less dependent on the role of the Western powers than at any time in history.
Putin gave a speech to the conference that was notable for marking out the New World order that is been developed. What he referred to as the “obsolete unipolar world” was in the process of being replaced by what he called “a new world order”. This new world order was “based on the fundamental principle of justice and equality as well as the recognition of the rights of each state and people to their own sovereign path to development.” Putin went on to address what he called the “powerful political and economic centres” that were taking shape “right here in the Asia – Pacific region, acting as a driving force” in what he described as “this irreversible process.”
Putin’s speech maybe interpreted as a serious message to the collective West on behalf of what may fairly be described as the global majority of the world. There are a number of points in the speech that are worth noting. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the speech was virtually ignored by the Western media whose only references to Russia at present seem to consist of a constant misrepresentation of the circumstances leading up to the present war in Ukraine. Among the major points features in the speech were the following:
Russia as a sovereign state will defend its interests. This may be interpreted in a number of ways. It alludes to the unprecedented attack upon the Russian economy ostensibly justified by Russia’s actions in Ukraine. It is notable that no similar attack has ever been mounted on the United States despite its appalling record of at least 70 attacks on countries since the end of World War II alone. The double standards applied here are breathtaking.
- Western sanctions are threatening the world. One of the most interesting features of these sanctions is that they have blown back on the sanction makers. It is Europe which is facing the greatest challenge to its economic viability. This will have detrimental consequences for the whole of the developed world.
- The entire world of international relations has changed. This is perhaps best personified by the western concepts of the “rules based international order”, manifestly an American invention in an attempt to maintain its primacy over the vast bulk of the world’s nations.
- Russia has been unjustly accused of interfering in the export of grain products from Ukraine. In fact, not only are grain exports unaffected by Russian defensive manoeuvres, the bulk of Ukrainian grain is not going to the developing world but is being exported elsewhere into Europe.
- The attempt by the West to dictate the price Russia receives for its energy exports is simply bizarre. It is a clear attempt to limit Russia’s export earnings and as such is part of the economic warfare being waged on Russia. No country, much less the United States has the power to dictate the world price paid for energy exports. This attempt, a thinly disguised attack on Russia’s foreign earnings, will fail.
- The days of the United States dollar as the vehicle for payment around the world are numbered. The use of the Russian rouble and the Chinese yuan are progressively becoming more important.
There is a fundamental shift going on in the location of the world balance of power. The role of the Asia – Pacific region has significantly increased and that will continue.
This meeting of the Eurasian Economic Forum precedes by only two weeks the next conference of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Samarkand, the second city of Uzbekistan.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is another organisation which receives very little attention from the Western media, yet its development is of international significance. One such development is increasingly strong relationship between the SCO and ASEAN (the Association of South East Nations).
The SCO is currently enjoying a major degree of interest, with no less than 11 nations currently wishing to join. This will more than double its size. Three nations, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar have officially applied to join the SCO. Of the other prospective members, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria and Turkey are the largest. With its increased membership, the SCO will become the major Asian trading bloc. It is also forming a network of partnership organisations which will further increase its influence.
What all this represents is a major reorientation away from the European dominated world. The world’s centre of gravity is clearly moving East. It means that countries like Australia, located at the southern end of Asia and with Asia representing the vast bulk of its international trade will have to decide in the foreseeable future whether they continue with their American centred foreign policy, or whether they recognise geographical imperatives and make the transition politically to the new world order that will dominate the planet for the foreseeable future.
Thus far, the signs are not encouraging that this geographical imperative has been recognised. Decisions cannot be much longer delayed.
James O’Neill, an Australian-based former Barrister at Law, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.