From the point of view of modern geopolitics, it is quite difficult to write about the results of 2020. First of all, because of the ambiguity of the events that took place before our eyes in the past year.
On the one hand, we see the aggravation of everything that has been geopolitics for many years.
On the other hand, there are completely new challenges, both in international politics and in relations between countries. Moreover, both of them developed in some almost radical direction.
It was all too much. Unusually cardinal, too intense, without the usual geopolitical alternations of periods of bursts and calm. That old, which had been the basis for many years, suddenly exacerbated, and new tendencies faded. And vice versa, what had arisen quite recently, in recent years, was becoming more complicated and seething, while the past was dim and lost its strength. In general, international relations in 2020 were striking in their multidirectionality.
I understand that it would be right to “play a school teacher” and simply assess the work of ministries and departments dealing with problems of relations between countries. Take and "write in their diary" something like "ex." or "failed." However, it is practically impossible to do this simply because it is now impossible to give an unambiguous school grade for some of the results of their work.
For example, how to assess the results of the military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh? What assessment deserve our actions in Belarus during the arrest of 33 heroes? What is the main criterion here? Evaluate according to the results, by how certain events ended, or by how ministries and departments worked during those events? Or maybe by how these facts influenced modern stories on the further development of relations between countries?
Probably, the only correct assessment of the work of those who are dealing with global issues of geopolitics in Russia should sound like this: ministries and departments work quite skillfully and professionally, which made it possible to maintain and even strengthen the position of the Russian Federation in the world. The role of Russia (as one of the global players in world politics) has not diminished, but increased.
The pandemic has become a catalyst for all processes in world politics
A few words must be said about how the world has changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
No matter how we treat this global problem of humanity, it should be recognized that the emergence of this threat to all humanity has had a huge impact on international relations not only at the regional level, but also globally. The pandemic has significantly changed the political and economic order in the world.
Is the coronavirus one of the reasons for exacerbating political divisions between countries? Definitely yes. And what about the escalation of economic relations between states? Of course, yes. And the complications of the military confrontation between countries? Yes, too.
At the same time, is the coronavirus the reason for improving relations between countries? Again, yes. Has the pandemic become a stimulus for the development of international relations? Again, yes. The development of vaccines against coronavirus, which was initially viewed as a purely commercial project that could bring fabulous profits, today has become a factor that can significantly change the relationship between states.
The belief that capitalism is the only progressive political system, and that the best country in the world is the United States, right after what the Americans demonstrated in the fight against the new disease and the number of deaths that the United States has today, has been destroyed. Communist China and "totalitarian" Russia have performed much better in the fight against this sudden threat.
In general, the pandemic has changed many approaches to cooperation between countries. Remember the recent reports from Argentina about the departure and arrival of a plane from Russia. Even with a discount on the emotionality of the Argentines, it looked grandiose. It was a national event. Russia has provided Argentina with the first batch of vaccine - 300 thousand doses.
Now imagine the attitude of the peoples (namely the peoples, and not just the Argentines) of South America to Russia today. The United States, which, with all its might, has bluntly stated that they wanted to spit on everyone and would not give a vaccine until they vaccinated their own citizens. And Russia, which has openly spoken out about the existing lack of production capacity, but, nevertheless, is already sending the vaccine to other countries.
Gradually, the world comes to the understanding that the modern world order is not a confrontation between political systems, not a confrontation between morality and culture. It is also solidarity and mutual assistance. It is an acceptance of the diversity of cultures and civilizations. Awareness of the existence of various value systems. Recognition of the right to exist for various models of social development and different models of the social structure of society.
Geopolitics of Russia in various regions of the world
Perhaps we should start with what was the main cause of all the upheavals that have occurred in the past year.
It seems to me that such a reason was disappointment in the unipolarity of the world order. First of all, the sobering up of political and economic elites. Finally, an understanding has come that a unipolar structure of the world entails the dictatorship of one state.
A kind of state egoism, when all other countries (regardless of political, economic, cultural and other development) are a priori dependent on the decisions of the president and the government of a single country. When it is to please this one-man leader that political decisions are made, and the economies of countries are oriented in such a way as to create the most favored nation treatment for the firms of this leading power.
When those who dare to contradict the United States become world outcasts, with whom no one has the right to do business. Even if this cooperation is very beneficial. No one is guaranteed against sanctions and isolationism. Think of the US sanctions against its allies. Naturally, the political and economic elite of developed countries do not like this.
Today it is already possible to say with confidence that in most countries the ideas of national sovereignty, equality of countries, independence of domestic policy, balance of interests, etc. are more popular today. Simply put, politicians of many states have now become supporters of the priority of the interests of their own state over the rest.
Americans could not bear the burden of world leadership. Today it is already obvious to everyone. The global leader was not ready to control regional leaders and geopolitical processes around the world. Hence the increased pressure on their vassals in Europe and other parts of the world. Hence the flirtation with India. Americans at all venues talk about some rules of international life, but at the same time they easily change any rules when it comes to their own country.
At the same time, the Americans stubbornly ignore Russia. And China. They create a kind of information vacuum around the successes of these countries. To some extent, this tactic is still valid. Visually, the image of Russia (as a barbaric and undeveloped economic totalitarian country) is preserved. However, numerous breakthroughs, as happened in Syria, as is happening today with the coronavirus vaccine, successfully destroy this myth.
Geopolitically, we are winning against the United States today. Without pretending to be world leadership, we gradually instilled in the world the idea that there are not only Americans in global politics. It should be admitted that the fact that the RF and the PRC are now forced allies plays a huge role in this. The fact that Washington does not recognize the strength of Beijing is pushing the Chinese to develop relations with us. And, in fact, the US vassals today have to reckon with this (RF and PRC) alliance.
Even the fact that in international relations the United States is actively promoting the idea of confrontation between two countries, Russia and China, suggests that the Americans reckon with our countries. "Double containment" is the recognition of the multipolarity of the modern world.
I cannot confidently say today that the world order is crumbling completely.
But the fact that we have been recognized as the leaders of world politics inspires some confidence in the correctness of our course. Moreover, the fact that other leading states of the world, in particular the EU states, also recognize this leadership, suggests that the process of the formation of a polycentric world cannot be stopped.
The United States is losing its leadership position.
People's Republic of China
I often come across materials that the main event of recent times should be considered the aggravation of relations between the United States and China. Indeed, if earlier we saw a completely adequate division of labor between these countries (the Americans - technology and components, the Chinese - assembly), which ultimately resulted in a trade, economic and technological competition, today we can already talk about a military-strategic confrontation.
But for some reason, few people talk about the origins of this confrontation. It seems to me that the reason lies not so much in the rapid development of the PRC's economy as in the very concept of the coexistence of states, which is being pursued by Beijing. China deliberately abandons the paradigm of global or even regional supremacy. The leaders of this state proceed from the fact that there can be no hierarchical structures in global politics.
The similarity of approaches to the world order helps us a lot in working with the Chinese. When solving any issues, both sides take into account the interests of both states. And this despite the fact that both we and the Chinese are quite tough negotiators.
On the whole, relations with the PRC are quite stable and friendly. Both Russia and China today are completely independent, independent states capable of resisting the globalism imposed by the United States.
Paradoxical as it may seem, it is impossible today to talk about an independent European policy. During the years of vassal subordination of the United States, Europe has lost the ability to conduct an independent policy. The reason for this, although it looks ridiculous, is the existence of the EU itself. The equality that reigns in this association in addressing global issues prevents even European heavyweights from pursuing an independent foreign policy.
The main problem in relations with Europe in 2020 was the unpredictability of decisions. Today, no one can predict what the Europeans will do in the future. Even when agreements seem to have already been signed and ratified. The reason for this unpredictability lies in the policy of the sovereign of Europe. The current US president is also chaotic in international affairs.
It seems to me that the main problem in relations with the European Union is the existence of the NATO bloc. The alliance today is the problem of strategic stability in Europe. The Americans are well aware that it is dangerous to oppose Russia directly. But "light another world fire" in Europe, and then simply declare themselves neutral, quite in their style.
The rejection of the INF Treaty, the rejection of START III fits perfectly into such a scenario. Indeed, it is these treaties that largely ensure, above all, the security of Europe. Even the abandonment of the Open Skies Treaty can be called another brick in the destabilization of Europe.
Attempts by Germany and France to pursue an independent foreign policy today look rather awkward. Therefore, there is no need to talk about any serious actions in Europe before the change of the US president.
At the same time, we must not forget the EU either. The European Union is torn apart by internal problems. Political elites strive to preserve, as they call it,
"Middle way of development".
The system that exists now. But, look what is happening in European capitals today. Nationalism, even Nazism, is flourishing. Young people are hit by right or left populism. In general, Euroscepticism prevails in society there.
So, in the near future, the process of if not disintegration, then the transformation of the EU is quite possible.
Russia and regional conflicts
We are accustomed to the fact that our troops are helping the Syrian people to expel terrorists from their land. If at the beginning of the operation in Syria, the media was full of reports of battles, attacks on columns, suicide bombers, today interest in this topic has largely been lost. Oddly enough it sounds, but this is the best indicator of the work of the Russian Aerospace Forces and MTR.
Today in the United States one can already hear statements that it is time to oust the Russians from Syria. What is the time to force President Assad to relinquish power. Democrats have returned to power in the United States, therefore, Washington will try to return the United States to the era of Barack Obama. But it was during Obama's time that a serious confrontation was observed between the military of the Russian Federation and the United States.
The past year has seriously strengthened our positions in Syria. So today we have the opportunity not only to confront the enemy, but also to destroy the terrorists ourselves. The Americans, Turks, and terrorists alike know this. This means that our diplomats have a lot of work to do. But in general, Russia came to Syria for a long time. And now it will be difficult for our geopolitical opponents.
The resolution of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh was no less difficult. Moreover, the difficulty of the moment consisted, first of all, in the fact that both states participating in this conflict are in the zone of our interests. Moreover, we have an agreement on mutual military assistance, the CSTO, with one of these states. At the same time, in accordance with international laws and the decision of the UN Security Council, the other side acted legally.
As a result of the work of Russian diplomats, intelligence officers, military personnel and employees of other ministries and departments, it was possible to stop the war and bring the opposing sides to the negotiating table. Turkey's attempt to expand its own zone of influence in the region has been successfully localized. Moreover, as a result of the negotiations, Russia got the opportunity to create a permanent military base in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The protracted conflict in Ukraine is no less difficult. Russia is often accused of not recognizing the republic. Many times in the media direct accusations were heard that it was we who were to blame for the victims that Donbass bears. How easy it would be to resolve this issue by simply recognizing the new republics with their subsequent entry into Russia. According to the same scheme that was applied in the Crimea.
Those who are really interested in Donbass since the beginning of the civil war, who are familiar with the views of the militia commanders on this problem in 2014-2015, perfectly understand what I am writing about. Not all commanders supported the idea of joining the Russian Federation. In the same way, the population of Donbass was divided quite radically on this issue. And even now, after six years of war, there is no consensus on this issue. Someone speaks about 70% or 50%, or even about the real 40% of the supporters of this idea.
Another unresolved issue is the issue of the ownership of the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which are under the control of Ukraine. From time to time I hear from some political scientists the expression
"Ukrainian-occupied areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions",
but their voices quickly subside under the flow of tales of the horrors of war. So what to do about it? Isn't Donbass there now?
The recognition of the LDNR within the existing borders actually means a rejection of other regions of Donbass, a rejection of the Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine, a rejection of support for Russians in Ukraine. And if we consider the issue from a geopolitical point of view, then the rejection of Ukraine as a state. The surrounding space does not end with the tip of your own nose.
What is happening today in Donbass is a very reasonable and well-thought-out policy. Distribution of passports to those who wish, humanitarian aid, containment of Ukrainian hawks by a direct statement of military assistance to the LPNR in the event of an aggravation of the conflict - this is what the people of Donbass need today. The people must decide their own destiny. It is stupid to pass off the statements of the pro-Russian part of the population as the opinion of the whole people and, if the Crimean scenario comes true, threatens Russia with major troubles.
A little about the prospects
I did not specifically touch upon those regions where it is still calm. The format of the article does not allow looking at everything. But it is still possible to identify some problems.
Today we should pay attention, first of all, to our closest neighbors, the former Soviet republics and the former countries of the socialist camp. The tendencies that I spoke about above, referring to European countries, are already visible there. The spread of political views, the activities of our opponents in the information sphere, the lack of professionalism of politicians and other factors create the basis for coups.
Moreover, coups can be organized there not only forceful and bloody, but also quiet, seemingly democratic. We saw an example of such an unsuccessful coup in the past year in Belarus. A little earlier, such a coup was carried out in Armenia. This is happening in Moldova right now. Fermentation began in some Asian states.
But in general, I repeat, the results of the work of our Foreign Ministry, our Defense Ministry, our special services and other ministries and departments to strengthen Russia's position in the world, I think, will satisfy everyone. Yes, we are not that strong economically. Yes, we are surrounded by a ring of, to put it mildly, unfriendly states. Yes, NATO is on our borders. But all these are the consequences of the destruction of the USSR and the then policy of betraying national interests at the highest level.
Russia came out of the shadows. And already no one doubts its greatness. No one doubts that it is a global player in world politics and that no serious issue can be solved without Russia.
The professionalism of those involved in geopolitics in Russia is indisputable. Probably there is no person in the world who does not know such names as Putin, Lavrov, Shoigu.
In conclusion, I would like to congratulate everyone who is working to make our country respected in the world, to be appreciated and accepted at the highest level in every corner of the world, so that Russia is a mighty power in every sense, Happy New Year 2021!
May the next year be a continuation of your victories and add the same achievements in the future.