Life is not the way it is, one master of wordplay once said. He is right.
The history says that not only the most real, but also the silliest scenarios come true. The logic of the international life at the beginning of the 19th century suggested that there would be no wars. After World War I Germany had to never recover, after World War II the third war had to take place – the nuclear one. The predictions of Andrei Amalrik of the eight decade saying that the end of the Soviet Union is very close even enemies of Moscow considered as a ‘clinical case’ and a reasonable science-fiction writer would refuse to include the scenario of 11 September into their books – phantasies also have some limits. We had a similar situation a month ago – when it turned out that the revolution can happen not somewhere in Africa, but also in the United States, just if the crowd would have wished that. By the way, thirty years ago an American told that there would be no wars and other evils, because… the history will end.
However, it did not end, and you would not do anything here. A lot of geopolitical hypothesis were not borne out, no Asian and Islamic age had come neither the triumphal march of democracy to Vladivostok nor Pekin had never come. Probably things happened that we did not expect; politicians did not create neat theories or the one created seemed worthless. So, I would like to make it sound some kind of wordplay about things we do not want…
I wrote this quote in my notebook: in the world we have a perfect legislation but very bad law enforcement. We established a lot of authorities to main the world order that employ lots of bureaucrats, however there are no patrols on duty and the common emergency phone number is literally common. You call for assistance and all you get is … sympathy.
The world has no real leaders probably for the first time in the last decades and people do not trust in the ones they have. The United States that have been a superstate just recently, that could control the world, seems is able less – it is sinking into the domestic debts, societies degrade in a social way, the international prestige is going down. All hopes are directed to the new president. Unfortunately, sceptics of the new president see a quite ‘naphthalene” team - old not just in the physical but also in thinking sense. The other former ‘great’ states – Japan, United Kingdom, France, etc. are too small to take the role of the global leader. Russia probably wants; however, it is too weak and nobody is going to pass the ‘keys from the safe” to it. China and India still are the manufacturer of goods and services; however, they are not political leaders; Brazil or South Africa have too many domestic problems to take the global ones. Neither G-7 (8???) nor G-20 rule the world anymore…. As the analyst of Foreign Policy Ian Bremmer told, we have G-200 or maybe G-0? Most probably, the last one, since the world countries are not in very good terms. The writers anticipate the future scenario not only as the continuation of pandemic but also disagreements that might cause the global market disappear… then every country for itself. Such self-destruction might be even more terrible than the nuclear conflict.
I will not argue about what the world actually is - dipole, multipole or maybe without any centres of power, however a contractual subject-matter is essential in the World order the greatest countries shall act gentlemanlike, because once they take some common or hooligan steps, we will face danger. The danger will be because we can somehow ‘control’ the small ones, but control of the greatest… is equal to the world war. It is most probable that we will have the world without a leader – the world without the greatest states… Some kind of a hive. By the way, it is more favourable to the small countries, which being dynamic and open, may achieve much more than at the time when political hegemons are ruling. An ant is little; however, the hive is power.
Is the world order now gentlemanlike?
Unfortunately, not. The 21st century is not only the age of a political mess. It is worse. People are overwhelmed by mania to create a blessing of life in a cheap and simple way and the ordinary bad taste lifestyle is prevailing. The great politics is also becoming quite ordinary, based on short-time egoistic calculation and not on some gentlemanlike rules.
The USSR was not a gentlemanlike state since my childhood. Almost all its neighbours have become the victims of geopolitical hooliganism. However, in the age of nuclear confrontation it managed to realise that the ‘tumbler’ of the world survival or self-destruction are in its hands and it managed not to be tempted to destruct everything for the sake of ‘world revolution’ and ‘victory of communism’.
The Soviet Union lost to the Western civilization without any military battles over three decades ago. It lost without other reasons and because even its inhabitants got tired of its hooliganism. People started not to be afraid of it and show more trust in global law enforcement.
What changed now? Now we have more fear that the global law enforcement is too weak and even worse – quite corrupt. This is the new environment for political and particularly geopolitical hooligans.
The Western civilization wanted and have become very predictive. It developed an excellent legal system. Just because it feels very right. Unfortunately, because of its sense of justice, it becomes very unsmart and the hooligan just needs that. The world order is being destroyed by using military forces, geopolitical commitments and treaties are being violated and the violators – a green troll without a national or state and even military dependence, ‘rebels’ – without a formal dependence, to tell the truth, a hooligan who poses a real threat to neighbour countries and all regional political balance.
Who will turn out to be stronger here – law without law enforcement or a military hooliganism? Why do we lose the hooligans?
We think that it is easier to re-educate than punish. The Western civilization drafted several social and political reintegration programs of Russia and similar. Rather than directly naming the criminals, neutralizing them and even punishing them, we got a lot of studies and considerations about who could tempt the President of Russia to take hooligan actions, how much the environment, illnesses, professional experience and hard childhood are to blame here. Now we have more than one doctoral thesis defended that analysed what Vladimir Putin needed to get back to ‘the path of rightlessness’. The flow of explanations and thus justifications has not worn out yet.
To punish? Yes. Sanctions as such is a good political measure when it is used consistently and coherently. The historical experience shows that even those, who are explaining that they are not afraid of sanctions or they are not effective and tries to avoid sanctions. Sanctions against countries like Russia (or Belarus) are effective because of its unstable economy and centralization. I will remind that Russia manages to win the physical wars, however it always loses the economic ones. A positive thing is that the European Union and its ideological friends are less ashamed to announce sanctions and make them stricter and less repent of how much these sanctions will affect ‘innocent’ people of Russia. We already do not have to remind that four-fifth of Russians support Vladimir Putin and the remaining one-fifth support sanctions, I have no doubt about that. By the way, some years ago Russia announced sanctions against me – I got a letter, explaining that I will be punished–- I will not be able to go to Russia. I have similar sanctions from a couple other similar countries. I must admit that I am not sad about that. On the contrary, I am supported by my colleagues. Why should I go to Russia? … I suspect that the Russian officials against whom Brussels imposed sanctions, are also not so disappointed – there is no need for some …ov to go to …burg. When Ronald Reagan imposed sanctions, the situation was different… even the state fell apart. Then it was a real protection of human rights.
This is a piece of bad news. A piece of good news is that the abovementioned strategy is not operating. Even if Russia had a plan to split Europeans, the plan obviously failed (or succeeded just very little). The same as during the Cold War when a sense appears that common values such as democracy, market economy and human rights must be protected and those, who are terrorised by hooligans should be protected, too. The idea of Russia, as a barbarian at the gates of Europe that was the political tool of the West after World War II, remains in the arsenal of emotional politics and strategy of Europe even nowadays. However, just soft technologies are not enough here, thus we must remember that the defence of Europe cannot remain just a table tennis in NATO headquarters – it should be real. Europeans are not so illiberal for defence as they used to blame themselves for. Thus, it is quite clear that preparation is taking place not for capitulation but for defence. NATO with its clear contribution might be a reliable defence, just the organization must be prepared for that, go back to a stricter interpretation of article 5 by refusing some other currently useless missions.
A new Cold War? Of course, it’s evil, however a smaller evil than a conventional or hybrid war. Finally, it can be the cold shower to the hooligan.
What about him, Vladimir Putin?
Vladimir Putin is not angry at theoreticians, who see Russia as a totally fallen apart Soviet Union. Such Russia is the best to him, and its population should simply gain strength from such Russia. Vladimir Putin’s Soviet hymn with empire double-headed eagle and Slavic three-colour flag is just a mixture of Soviet and even older Russian symbols and ideologies. This is a heraldic hooliganism, which, by the way, has been already tested in the course of history, however it was not long-lasting.
We should note that not economic and social problems or their solution ways brought Vladimir Putin to the power, but the war or to be exact – military hooliganism in the North Caucasus. The war that used to strengthen the spirit of Russia for the last centuries. By the way, not only of Russia. Military matters, square-bashings, uniforms, and the sense of order brought and strengthened Adolf Hitler, Otto von Bismack, Francisco Franco, Augusto Pinochet and other positive and negative heroes. Russia has never pretended that it has no enemies. NATO in a politically correct way pretended it has no enemies. This is an actual demotivation. The Baltic States are being blamed that they do not know who the enemy is.
There is no need to communicate with Russia. In many cases it is better not to talk, not to talk too much, because the hooligan always likes to talk. In its own jargon.