Birth of a New World Order – The Island

by Kumar David

The appalling devastation and human suffering in this war is borne by Ukraine, but profound changes will occur in Russia. The dominant player in the medium term will be China. Long-term changes in the global political economy will be profoundly significant. Do I have approximate notions of the three periods? Well, let me give a thumbs up and say one, five, and 10+ years respectively. War, Putin’s black eye, Ukraine’s fierce resistance, sanctions, refugees and the determination of Western capitalism and public opinion are the topics of conversation. Germany’s glorious democracy will publicly pursue those who support Russia. The March 27 far-right economist carries a rash of hate and unsupported innuendo by evidence against Putin cooked into three pages of venom (“Grey, Greed and Grievance”). No attention is paid by the intellectually disabled and ‘scholarly’ Western media to how the world will change down the road.

Should you call the deeply religious Christian-Orthodox Vladimir Putin (VP) a reincarnation of Vlad the Impaler, who am I to disagree? Paradoxically, however, there will be unforeseen benefits for the Russian economy, people and state. The opprobrium that VP has brought to himself is the least of my worries. What does it have to show to reduce Mariupol to rubble, five million refugees, expose its army as incompetent and its rusty toolbox, a long sanctions list of 4,000 (the harshest ever) and the confiscation of external assets of Russia by the new imperialism? Thousands of civilians killed, maybe ten to twenty thousand soldiers too. OK, it’s true that after this beating Ukraine will never join NATO, but this VP could have achieved it through craftsmanship, diplomacy and threat. Six-gun Putin knows nothing of the finesse of Sun Tzu and Machiavelli. So here is my first retort: ​​the bittersweet truth is that Russia, for its economic survival, has no other recourse than China (unless the sanctions are lifted). This is the first point of my three-pronged hypothesis.

[For a different assessment of Putin’s military objectives visit two URLs supplied at the end of this article #]

My second point is that the rule of blood-sucking oligarchs, much larger than sharing VP yachts, dacha-dwelling cronies, who have bled, robbed and corrupted Russia since America (and MIT) rigged its economic system in the Yeltsin years, is over. The corrupt deals that made the fortune of Roman Abramovich (owner of Chelsea football club) are just one example among many. After buying the Sibneft oil company from the Russian government at a rigged auction in 1995 for $250 million, he sold it back to the government for $13 billion in 2005. (It magically materialized during the negotiations a few days ago; Rasputin of the vice-president?)! The list of bloodsucking oligarchs is long and sickening. The post-Putin era, whether the VP is ousted in a palace coup, weakened or placed under surveillance, will see transformations in the economy, the state and the political system. Economic power relations will be reversed. Will political power be less dictatorial? Too much hope?

Russia has no choice; it has no other recourse than China. This is a life lesson even after the lifting of sanctions. It is true that only 3% of current Chinese exports go to Russia, the US and the EU take about 15% each and the “developing” world 55%. That 3% could rise to 10% as sanctions bite and Russia fights for consumer durables, chips, tech products, luxury brands, Kentucky Fries and Big Macs. As Western investors of all skin tones flee, Chinese equivalents can fill the void. China will be wary, however, of risking secondary sanctions for a small market and for a broke customer who will have to buy on tick initially. What the Chinese will see are natural resources; Russia is the most resource-rich country in the world ($75 trillion), ahead of the United States ($45 trillion) and China ($25 trillion). Its resource rankings are: timber (1; its forest area exceeds that of Brazil), coal (2), gas (2), minerals (2), oil (3), and gold (3). Although in area it is the largest of all countries, arable land is only 7.5% of all land due to the harsh climate, hence the third place behind India (57% of all land is cultivated) and the United States (17% cultivated) in total hectares of cultivated land.

In terms of resources, it’s El Dorado for China’s booming economic engine looking for global investment opportunities. The young, educated workforce and technological sophistication put Russia ahead of Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Most of the multi-billion dollar Sino-European railway runs through Russia. The needs of a broken and broken Russia with a quality workforce and potential resource advantages for an ambitious China go hand in hand. The politico-economic logic and its outcome are, however, many pitfalls apart. But the outlines of what could be viable a year or two after the end of hostilities in Ukraine are visible.

The war in Ukraine broke Thucydides’ trap by entangling Western neo-imperialism and China with unexpected suddenness. He was always there, always threatening, often biting here and there; the banning of Huawei, accusations of intellectual property theft and sanctions against individuals were signs of this. Overthrowing Russia, isolating it from global finance and trade makes it clear that this is China’s future when the trap is fully lifted. Biden says ‘NATO has never been so united’. German Fraus and their little kinder happily prepare to freeze for freedom (really?). The Chinese have so far only been shocked to awakening, but who doesn’t see that the big game is yet to come? which Chinese does not feel in his bones that the defeat of VP is only a dress rehearsal before a politico-economic war against the real target? It’s a last chance to push back a China that has been gaining inexorably for three decades in economic weight and global influence. For neo-imperialism, it is a final, a life or death encounter. But in a deeper sense, it’s not Putin, Biden, Britain’s colorful BoJo clowns or Ukraine’s Yellingsky that matter; they are poor catalysts. “Everyone is a stage and all men and women are just actors”. A realignment of the world became inevitable – the French Revolution, World War I, World War II and the fall of the USSR left so much unfinished mess. Everything I say in this essay, I say it in cold blood without taking sides or here and there, as far as possible.

So my medium-term argument: It is in China’s economic and political interest to make Russia a resource-rich partner in a new world order, even after sanctions are lifted. If you think of a new cold war, you are wrong. At the time of the USSR, this bloc plus China accounted for only 15% of world production. Today, it is more than 30% and growing; more if you include Vietnam, the five landlocked states of Central Asia – Stans, the socialist-leaning governments of South America, and the “left” dictatorships of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. I select countries that will gladly do business with a suspected Sino-Russian alliance. China is already the biggest trading partner of more than 100 countries, but it will be wary and play its cards carefully. Dwarves (not Vietnam), eat peanuts, are tiny markets and mere spoonfuls as economic partners. Russia can of course absorb $200-300 billion of annual Chinese investment in mining, timber and land, infrastructure, technology and military manufacturing, food processing and the service sector.

It was the third, the last global facet of my crystal ball: the long term, two decades beyond the present. You may find me as wacky as Nostradamus, but whatever, if you read this far, you might as well persevere for another paragraph. The alleged Sino-Russian alliance seen here, and others related to it, will be a more porous assemblage to cross-border economic flows and politically more elastic than the defunct Cold War-era Soviet bloc. Political plasticity aside, it will be porous when it comes to trade and investment. I envision private exchanges and investments of dollars and, as the group grows in strength, reject neo-imperialist sanctions on each other. A new world must be built; there is no other way.

Besides those named so far, potential collaborators include Iran (largest gas reserves in the world), India, South Africa, Nigeria, North Korea and perhaps at the margin Saudi Arabia (largest oil reserves) and some Gulf States. India, South Africa, the -Stans, North Korea and of course China abstained in the UN vote condemning Russia at the UN. Left and “left” socialist dictatorships voted with Russia. India is essential to ensure the credibility of this group and the key for this is Beijing. China will have to make border concessions to draw India away from the QUAD and allay its security concerns. This, oh my, is the fly in the ointment. It is said that the Chinese are intelligent, but on territorial issues, the experience is quite the opposite! Nationalists around the world are universal idiots. Oh, for a reincarnated Samuel Johnson.

# Two well-known American publications give a radically different assessment of Putin’s war aims:

The Pentagon drops truth bombs to avoid war with Russia

Lynn A. Saleh