Russia’s invasion of a neighboring country has led to changes in the world order outside of Ukraine, including the formation of new blocs not seen since the Cold War.
The war in Ukraine has exacerbated conflict and confrontation, as well as the current global trend of blocs around Washington and Beijing.
“We have entered a messy and multipolar world where everything is a weapon: energy, data, infrastructure, migration,” said Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy, in December. “Geopolitics is the key word, everything has become geopolitics.”
Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Balkans, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region have become the scene of power struggles between powers such as China, the EU, Russia and Turkey, whether it’s Whether financing infrastructure projects or commercial, military and diplomatic cooperation agreements.
The war in Ukraine made matters worse, weakening Russian control over the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and opening up a new intermediary role for Turkey.
“This chaotic reorganization is real, but probably temporary,” said Pierre Razou, head of French think tank FEMS.
“At the end of the war, Russia and Europe will inevitably be weakened and exhausted, while the two main winners in this situation will be the United States and China,” he added.
China must view the war in light of a long-term strategic goal of becoming the world’s leading power by 2049.
Although Beijing supports Moscow, it avoids moves that could alienate it from the West.
“China is not moving away, but rather strengthening its close relationship with Russia,” said Alice Ekman, an Asia specialist at the EU Institute for Security Studies.
Estonian intelligence, in its annual report released earlier this month, said it was “premature to see Xi Jinping’s restrained support for Putin’s war as a sign of distancing from screw Russia”.
Support doesn’t necessarily mean full alignment, and China doesn’t offer the same level of assistance as Washington to Ukraine, but “you have to look at the facts: economic ties have grown stronger,” Ekman said.
In fact, the result of the war may be the transformation of Moscow into a vassal or a satellite of Beijing.
“Russia is not in a position to negotiate with China, which will take everything it wants from Russia without giving it what it wants. [например, вооружения или критических электронных компонентов]said Agatha Desmarais, economist and sanctions specialist.
However, “ideology can trump economic imbalances, and these relationships shouldn’t be studied only through a rational lens,” Ekman said.
“The Kremlin is betting on diversifying its geopolitical, economic and strategic relations with Turkey, the Middle East, Iran and Africa” to reduce dependence on China, Razu said.
Russia’s huge nuclear arsenal, far larger than China’s, will also prevent Beijing from fully subjugating it.
US President Barack Obama predicted in 2009 that “the relationship between the United States and China will determine the 21st century,” heralding a shift in Washington’s focus from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown that current US President Joe Biden, a former vice president to Obama, will find it difficult to divert his attention from Europe.
“Russia is holding back this American shift in direction towards China. The United States must solve the European question rather quickly,” said Bertrand Tojouz, commander of the French army.
According to Giovanna de Mayo, a researcher at the University of Washington, Biden will have to “strike a balance”.
The expert points to growing calls from US politicians to “resolve the conflict as soon as possible”, as well as the opposition Republican Party’s dissatisfaction with Biden’s arms shipments to Ukraine.
Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.