The system of world governance and international relations in general, which according to recent forecasts are liable to plunge into unpredictability, very quickly reach this condition. Like everything else in the global community, this trend is quite artificial.
It was easy to achieve this: it was enough to remove the main means of international communication – diplomacy – and replace it with anything from attempts to impose diktats to ideological propaganda disguised as “public diplomacy”. . Communication between states seems to exist, but it does not really connect them, as it is aimed at pleasing national and international public opinion rather than pursuing the end result in the traditional form of compromise and agreement.
Therefore, when analyzing the origins of the current international crisis, especially a crisis in relations between the West and Russia, we must admit that there is a crisis in diplomacy. It was not an immediate crisis, but a crisis that gradually brought the world to the present situation, the roots of which must be sought in the Cold War and its geopolitical and ideological imperatives.
The Cold War, through its inherent ideological confrontation, severely distorted the newly created United Nations system, based on the principle of unanimity among the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Over time this has had several manifestations, either through a Western “voting machine” at the UN General Assembly at the start, or by the dictates of the majority of the European Union at the start. OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) and in the European Council.
But the effect has always been and remains the same: the Westphalian principles hard won by Europe are undermined following the sad experience of the wars of religion, including the Thirty Years, which brought out religious disagreements ( now called between states.
At the same time, classical diplomacy, recalled even from the American side during the era of the “reset” policy between Russia and the United States, continued to function during the Cold War, albeit in a reduced. This was the logic behind creating the foundations of the post-war world with the disasters of war still alive in the memory of elites and peoples. The role of diplomacy was essential for the balance of the bipolar world and for strategic stability.
The most glaring example of this pragmatic imperative was the policy of de-escalation, with its arms control agreements and other achievements, including the revitalization of European politics. During this period, the institutional development of the international system is accomplished, with the central role of the UN, in which the United States and its allies appreciate its privileged status no less than the USSR and then the PRC.
A wide range of universal instruments have been adopted, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Covenants on Human Rights, as well as other documents in the fields of non-proliferation of weapons of destruction. massive, outer space, the statute of Antarctica and maritime law.
The situation changed dramatically with the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The combination of these events has led the West to pursue a policy in the spirit of the “end of history”. And if Francis Fukuyama admitted the error of his concept, the Western elites continued to implement the policy of the “unipolar moment”, disconnected from reality and doomed to lead to a painful disappointment, the results of which continue to be. collected by the international community to date. .
During the Cold War era, diplomacy was a necessity, albeit distorted by the discipline of politico-military blocs and ideological rivalry. Over the past 30 years, we have seen activities by Western countries aimed at undermining the foundations of the post-war world order, privatizing it and therefore destroying it. When the UN Security Council did not authorize the use of force against Iraq, President George W. Bush declared that the “one superpower” could not be constrained by the limits of international law!
Despite the deplorable results of what one might call the “geopolitical loneliness” of the United States, this syndrome has captured the imagination of elites in other Western countries. If, in relation to the war in Iraq, France and Germany (which at the time occupied the position of non-permanent member of the UN Security Council) acted in concert with Russia as dissidents, we can now see the unanimity of Western countries in the defense of such a “rules-based order”.
The meaning of this concept is unknown, but it is clear that it rests on the idea that the post-war world order, with its institutions and universal mechanisms, no longer exists. You can see in the behavior and “body language” of Western countries that it is their claim to the right to authorize the actions of their geopolitical rivals, i.e. a qualitatively new source of legitimacy in international affairs. .
It is difficult to understand how such arbitrariness can coexist with international law. It was once called empire and dictatorship. However, this new “order” is ideologically based on the thesis of the “battle between democracy and authoritarianism”, which would be the essence of our time – just as the Soviet leaders sought the ideological key of the time in the formula for peace coexistence. However, unlike the West, Moscow attributed at least a fundamental role to diplomacy, as it has always been practiced.
Today, when they try to draw parallels with the Cold War, they ignore this fundamental difference from the current situation, which is more likely to have unforeseeable consequences for international peace and security. The refusal of diplomacy, that is to say the refusal of dialogue under invented ideological pretexts, seems certain when it does not lead to war. But the war is being waged – a hybrid war, with the pressure of sanctions, hostile propaganda and all kinds of baseless accusations.
In the past, any of these elements, not to mention personal insults to rulers, was enough to declare war. This banal hostility confuses weary Western elites, creates the illusion of the possibility of an informal radical overhaul of the world according to their interests and psychological comfort of infallibility, something like the Soviet motto: “Comrades, you are on the right track.” way! It is difficult to look for more convincing evidence of the intellectual crisis of Western elites than these repeated mottos as magical spells.
The ideas of the more realistic part of the expert community point towards a return to diplomacy.
Thus, in their recent rather voluminous article published in the famous magazine Foreign Affairs, the no less renowned experts Richard Haass and Charles Cupchan urge Washington to prepare for the arrival of a “multipolar and ideologically heterodox world” (which, in fact, , has already arrived).
They propose the idea of creating an informal forum of the great powers – a global contact group (which would include China, the EU, India, Russia, the USA and Japan with their 70% of world GDP) – , like the Concert of Europe, created at the initiative of Russia at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.
The very idea of evoking the historical experience of the creation of an inclusive collective security system, as well as the attempt to develop a great pragmatic strategy of American foreign policy, even presented as a tool for maintaining American leadership, does not elicit a certain empathy.
The only problem is that not everyone will want to join the so-called “world governance council”, the creation of which will somehow poison the general atmosphere of world politics by causing mistrust. It is more practical not to shake the foundations, but to act within the established system which has not yet exhausted its resources.
The lessons of World War II as well as the Cold War remain relevant. It is the aim of the Moscow initiative to organize a meeting of the leaders of the five countries – permanent members of the UN Security Council – an invitation that has not been refused by any of these states.
The adjustments in US foreign policy promoted by Joseph Biden’s government are expected to extend to relations with Russia. And the European partners of the United States, nostalgic for the American leadership during the Donald Trump era, will support this trend in world politics and will not create obstacles.
The rest, time takes care of it.