Commentary RESEARCH

Western pressure is forcing the rest of the world to expect a new global order


2023-04-17 01:57

Oleg Yanovsky

Tension and conflict dominate the headlines. Above the milieu, however, a new world picture is being drawn. A multipolar world is crystalizing Eurasia and China embraced its role as a leader of global change.

Countries of the global south are keen participants of China's initiatives, and Russia too, positions itself as a primary partner.

To understand why global landscape is changing – and why there's a lot to look forward to – we will need to look at the push and pull drivers of change, and China's foundational tenets for a New Era, and how its implementation will look.

First, the push factors. Rules are only as good as participants' trust in them. February 2022 saw unprecedented use of sanctions and sovereign asset freezes against Russia.

With a stated goal of crippling the Russian economy, the US and its allies pulled access to international payment systems, then not only froze state and individual assets but also threatened to expropriate them.

Nothing and no one were safe from political pressure. Western brands pulled out of Russia, ordinary ethnic Russians were demonized, and even cultural relics were renamed to scrub out Russian heritage.

Despite maximum pressure applied, the Russian economy is due to grow 0.3 percent this year.

In contrast, inflation is rampant in Europe, Germany is losing industrial capacity, and the prestige of the US economy has fallen as some countries pull out of Treasury bonds.

The so-called "rules-based order" is violating its own principles. It damaged trust in private property, due process, and "innocent before proven guilty."

No matter how the conflict plays out, the trust that guaranteed institutional strength is gone.

In practical term, Indonesia is seeking payment system independence, France is trading in yuan instead of dollar, and Japan is buying Russian oil above the price ceiling. For Russia, the yuan has replaced the dollar as the most traded currency.

Meanwhile, global powers trust China to be a responsible moderator. Working with Russia in BRICS and SCO, China is a guarantor of regional stability.

'New Era'

Russia has supported the "New Era" from day one.

First signing a joint declaration with China on international relations at the start of 2022, over the past year Russia reiterated its support for China's global strategy and China's peace plan for Ukraine.

And world leaders vote with their feet, first by ASEAN leaders who visited Beijing for its Boao Forum, followed by a cascade of European heads of state.

So, what does China offer? Beijing's vision is laid out in a triumvirate of foundational texts – the Global Civilization Initiative, Global Security Initiative and the Global Development Initiative.

In a nutshell, China's plans to outline a world, as President Putin put it, without a "Golden Billion" dictating their will onto the rest, and with no "illusions of exceptionalism" among the great powers.

'Us and them'

A key factor that attracts countries outside the US sphere of influence to the New Era model is that it leaves no space for great power competition forcing the "us and them" bifurcation.

How will these global shifts affect the everyday life? Three factors spring to mind – security, equitable development, and civilizational diversity.

Firstly, the New Era promises us that security challenges will be overcome with compromise, not bloc confrontation.

Secondly, the New Era prioritizes spreading out economic development across the world. There will also be an emphasis on providing vital necessities and not using unilateral trade restrictions that hurt everyday people as a political tool.

This will help solve issues such as mass migration and alleviate the worst of global poverty, while spreading out opportunities across the globe.

And thirdly, a more complex factor relates to values.

The New Era will move away from exporting the liberal order on the points of coalition bayonets, as had happened to the likes of Iraq, towards a world of hetereogeneous values, styles of government, and cultures.

This is especially important for traditional communities concerned with the pressures of globalization on their ways of life.

So, as the West pushes via its expanding blocs and confrontational policies, a New Era crystalizes like a diamond out of coal.

Old institutions have proven their obsolescence and betrayed global trust.

Changes – the likes of which we haven't seen for 100 years – are taking place.

These changes are unavoidable and they are something to look forward to.

The author is a lecturer of political theory at MGIMO, Russia's leading foreign affairs and diplomacy university. The views are his own. Shanghai Daily condensed the article for space and clarity.


2023-04-17 09:58
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