17.06.2023 Author: Veniamin Popov

The end of the unipolar world

The end of the unipolar world

The global world order is on the verge of a radical transformation.

The Western powers 30 years ago saw in the collapse of the Soviet Union, which resulted from its internal weaknesses and mistakes, an unprecedented opportunity to dominate the world by way of deterring possible competitors by any means.

Perhaps one of the most important features of the current times is this truth dawning on the countries of the so-called Global South: they understand that the instruments of this deterrence have been “demonization, isolation, interference, political sabotage, development of provocations and crises, sanctions, flagrant violations of international law, including overt military invasions.”

These words were recently spoken by the President of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki.

This US strategy, which was designed to confirm and strengthen Washington’s hegemony, has failed and is rejected by the absolute majority of the world’s population. This notion was clearly expressed by the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram on May 30 of this year.

US President Joe Biden’s ideas of dividing all countries into democratic and authoritarian camps are increasingly showing their artificiality and incapacity. The most striking recent example has been the decisive victory of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey’s presidential elections this May. All this despite the American media noting “the dreadful state of the Turkish economy as well as February’s earthquakes, which took an estimated 50,000 lives and caused tens of thousands of injuries,” which should have led to Erdoğan’s “crushing defeat.” In this regard the observer of the New York Times Bret Stephens arrives, with surprise, at the conclusion, that “there are things people care about more than their paychecks.”

More and more developing countries are openly rebelling against the dictates of the West. Take, for example, Tunisia, a small Mediterranean country facing considerable economic difficulties. In October 2022, an agreement in principle was reached with the International Monetary Fund on an almost two-billion dollar aid package. Negotiations with the IMF have stalled for several months due to demands to restructure government agencies and abolish subsidies for essential goods. President of Tunisia Kais Saied, in order to avoid a “foreign dictate,” proposed taxing the richest citizens, i.e. taking excess money from wealthy people and distributing it to the poor.

The solidarity mechanism of developing countries is starting to work more actively: the African Export-Import Bank has allocated a loan of half a billion dollars to Tunisia.

Washington exerted enormous pressure on the Arab states, demanding that they not allow the return of Syria to the League of Arab States. Nevertheless, the normalization of relations with Damascus is steadily gaining traction.

The Arab states, like other countries of the Arab South, understand that they should defend their security and their interests themselves without regard to Washington – hence the reconciliation of Iran and Saudi Arabia and the beginning of discussions on security systems in the Gulf without the United States.

The most obvious example of a more independent role of the states of the Global South is their refusal to join the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the West. It is noteworthy that not a single Muslim-majority country, despite Washington’s pressure, has agreed to support the restrictive measures of the Western powers against Moscow. Since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Russia’s trade with China, India, Brazil, Iran and many other developing countries has grown noticeably.

The recent meeting of OPEC+ once again demonstrated that the pressure of the West does not bring the expected results: they failed to put Russia and Saudi Arabia at odds. Moreover, it was decided to maintain the level of oil production until the end of 2024.

In a survey conducted in 2022 by the Arab Research Center in Doha, 78% of respondents in 14 Arab countries said that the United States is the biggest source of threats and instability in the region.

At the same time, the majority calls the USA “a hypocritical imperial power that pays only lip service to human rights and democracy.”

The Egyptian press reported that as part of the movement towards a multipolar world, a number of non-aligned states decided to create their own association, the Transactional-25 (T25): they decided to remain neutral in relation to Ukraine and not enter into an alliance with either the United States, China, or Russia, and they emphasize that they give priority to their own national interests and worries.

The most prominent members of the T25 are Brazil, India, Indonesia, Turkey, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

The non-aligned countries have limited confidence in the institutions of the post-1945 US-led international order, such as the IMF. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is promoting his “peace club” to end the war in Ukraine, to show the growing importance of non-aligned countries. India also wants to use its G20 presidency this year to promote the agenda of the Global South.

However, perhaps the best new trends in the modern world order are manifested in the desire of many developing countries to join BRICS or to agree with this association on joint actions. At the same time, the most attractive idea is the de-dollarization of the modern world, i.e. the transition to international trade settlements in national currencies. The idea of creating a new joint currency is being discussed more and more actively among the members of BRICS.

Almost every day now brings new evidence of a more independent policy of developing countries. Recently, the 42nd ASEAN Summit, held in Indonesia, emphasized the region’s intention not to become a mediator in settling tensions between the US and China: the summit’s decision to resist Washington’s pressure aimed at containing China in the Indo-Pacific region means that ASEAN will not be a pawn in US geopolitics.

Sober-minded voices are also beginning to sound more energetically in Western Europe: the head of the French National Rally, Marine Le Pen, said that Crimea certainly belongs to Russia, and the Swiss Parliament voted against sending weapons to the Kiev regime.

There is no doubt that in the near future we will all witness new positive changes in the balance of power on the world stage: there is no doubt that Russia’s successes in its special military operation in Ukraine will accelerate this process.


Veniamin Popov, Director of the Center for the Partnership of Civilizations at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Candidate of Historical Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.

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