The Battle for Ukraine

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By GERSON ALMEIDA*

In the conflict in Ukraine there will be no resolution of the geopolitical dispute anytime soon

Whatever political settlement is reached after the end of the war between Russia and Ukraine, there will be no stability in the region until the fundamental conflict is resolved: the American empire's scramble to expand its position of power in Eurasia. To achieve this, the US seems to be determined to prevent Russia from consolidating itself as a regional power again.

According to Gao Cheng – researcher at the Asia-Pacific and Global Strategy Institute, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences – “this is a key promise of Putin's third term and materialized in the Eurasian Union, whose objective is to integrate the markets and resources of the countries of the CIS”,[I] and, also, contain the growing economic, commercial and cultural leadership of China, whose strategic project is the “New Silk Road”, a wide network of relationships in the five continents, with fabulous investments in infrastructure. The Eurasian Union and the New Silk Road are projects capable of raising China's presence in the world and Russia's in Eurasia, on a scale large enough to coexist with American unilateralism, consolidated after the end of the Cold War.

The European Union, in turn, despite having grown towards the East, incorporating a dozen countries from the former Russian zone of influence, from the beginning demonstrates that it has been accommodated in a subordinate position to American interests, such is its difficulty in building an independent position . The lack of an autonomous leadership in the European Union confirms the position of then President Charles de Gaulle, who removed France, in 1966, from the integrated NATO command – the body that decides military operations and always under American control –, in the name of sovereignty from the country. A position that was only reversed in 2009, with Sarkozy.

This automatic alignment of the European Union with the US and the accelerated advance of NATO to the East, in addition to being an explicit breach of agreements made when the Soviet Union was dissolved, cannot be justified as being in the defensive interest of peoples threatened by the “imperial desire Russian". On the contrary, this advance began in the midst of the immense crisis experienced by Russia, whose economy suffered a retraction of around 40% in the 1990s, a period in which Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic joined NATO.

Since then, NATO has not stopped advancing towards Russian borders, under the strict leadership of the USA, showing a reorientation of the military alliance formed against communism (non-existent since 1991), now turned directly against Russia and indirectly against China.

What is the reason, then, that makes the growth of NATO's military power and the encirclement of Russia naturalized as necessary to contain the imperial pretensions … of the Russian leadership and to defend the high values ​​of the freedom and autonomy of the peoples?

With regard to the central relevance of Eurasia for the powers with ambitions of protagonism in the world, the book by Peter Frankopan – The Heart of the World – a universal history from the Silk Road: East meets West (Planet) – is largely revealing of how much the dominant version of general history is a “mantra of the political, cultural and moral triumph of the West”. The professor of global history at the University of Oxford refutes the widely accepted version, which he classifies as a “lazy history of civilization”, which always talks about the importance of the Mediterranean as the cradle of civilization, “when it seemed so obvious that it was not there that civilization had indeed been forged.”

Throughout the book, he presents a sufficiently robust argument about historical development to demonstrate that “for millennia, the region between East and West, linking Europe to the Pacific Ocean, was the one that constituted the axis around which the world revolved. globe” and that this region, Eurasia, is the true “crossroads of civilization”. For no other reason, it was there where “the world's great religions came to life, where Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism pushed their way through, the melting pot where linguistic groups competed” and where “great empires rose and collapsed” , where the effects of clashes between cultures and rivals were felt thousands of kilometers away”.

This is exactly what is happening right now, when the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is dragging the world into an escalation that is difficult to return, in which the use of nuclear weapons is back in the scenario of possibilities, evoking the dark period of the Soviet missile crisis in Cuba (1962), when the USA did not hesitate to prevent the installation of such lethal weapons near its borders.

Faced with a conflict in the “heart of the world”, the first thing that resurfaces with virulence is the traditional opposition between East and West, causing the entire discursive architecture of globalization and the world to collapse as a common human vessel. Discourse that for decades has served to delegitimize policies aimed at national interests and used to remove any type of regulation to the free movement and accumulation of capital.

The consensus formed against the Russian leadership, without any regard to the context and its reasons, can largely be explained by the ideological strength of this “lazy” version of history, as defined by Frankopan.

Under normal conditions, Russia's dissatisfaction with the siege of its borders and the installation of missiles 700 kilometers from Moscow would be understood as legitimate and the object of diplomatic agreements that guarantee the security of all countries, but what is really at issue is the dispute for the heart of the world, something that will not be easily resolved by either side and the arguments that demonize Putin and make Volodymyr Zelensky a hero, seem to be an updated version of the “chemical weapons” used as an argument to justify the occupation of Iraq.

Whatever the outcome of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, there will be no resolution of the geopolitical dispute any time soon, as the unilateral world order is no longer able to cope with the political and economic realities of the world and this war is part of the long-running dispute over the dominance of the heart of the world, which this time victimized the Ukrainian people and has already victimized so many other peoples. The existence of a multipolar world could bring more security to the world, but this transition will be traumatic, especially due to the absence of leaders who place humanity's interests above economic ones. There's still time for this.

Gerson Almeida holds a master's degree in sociology from UFRGS.

 

Note


[I] Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Georgia and Azerbaidjan.

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