13.12.2023 Author: Mikhail Gamandiy-Egorov

Complementarity in a multipolar world

a multipolar world

No matter how nostalgic for the unipolar era the forces represented by Western regimes try to divide the supporters and promoters of the modern multipolar world order, everything indicates that these Western initiatives have failed. These tendencies are clearly visible in different regions of the world.

Over the past few years, one of the main goals of the Western establishment has been to introduce, if not discord, then at least dividing lines between the main forces supporting a multipolar world, primarily Russia and China, as well as all those countries of the Global South that are also involved in one way or another in the process of strengthening the modern world order.

A few years ago, in Africa – a number of Western media tools, in particular French ones, sounded the alarm that RF and PRC might go down the path of mutual complementarity on the African continent. And it is obvious why – if at first the West strongly anticipated that Russian and Chinese interests would quickly turn into competition and mutual struggle, to their deep regret this did not happen. On the contrary, within the framework of strategic coordination between Moscow and Beijing, complementarity has been observed in a number of regions of the world, including Africa.

Fundamentally, there is nothing particularly surprising about this. Those sectors in which Chinese interests are traditionally strong when working in the countries of the African continent, including infrastructure projects, are not, at least for now, the strong point of Russian entrepreneurs. And vice versa, those sectors where the RF has strong positions are not always the strength of the PRC representatives.

Obviously, there is a good chance that over time there will be areas where Chinese and Russian companies will compete more actively with each other. But even this is probably not going to have a major impact on the current processes. With the continuation of active coordination in the global arena, the positions of Russia and China in Africa itself will only mutually strengthen.

Today, one thing is clear: no matter how much the elites of the collective West try to replace Beijing from the position of the main trade-economic partner of African states as a separate country, they will not succeed. All appeals to the continent to reduce interaction with the PRC, as well as the West’s anti-China media campaigns, have not only failed, but on the contrary, have only further strengthened the China-Africa strategic partnership.

The same is true for Russia’s relations with Africa, with the only difference being that our country only began to fully return to the continent a few years ago (in the case of China, the active phase of strengthening its presence on the continent began in the early 2000s). At first, the West did not believe in the success of Russia’s return – where the Western establishment is in the habit of dictating the rules of the game. But as soon as Russia showed the first successful cases of partnership with a number of African countries, the West immediately realized the danger posed by the “contagiousness” of successful cooperation and made all kinds of attempts to slow down the process, using all available means and various tools, including political pressure on African states and information campaigns. And it failed here too.

Russia has clearly proved its absolute worth as a reliable partner to a number of African countries – both in defense and security spheres and in a number of other areas, including energy, food, and education. Although much remains to be done. In any case, a very positive tendency is evident. And perhaps most importantly, the Russian-African partnership can now rely on the mass support of the continent’s inhabitants. Thus shattering the myths of the West that Russia will not be able to repeat the successes of the Soviet Union in Africa. But one cannot argue against the facts – it will. And with the current realities, it is possible to surpass it in a number of areas.

Furthermore, in addition to Africa, the issue of complementarity between the main forces of the multipolar world is also clearly visible in the Middle East. Not so long ago, the U.S. and Israel were very close to creating a full-fledged Arab anti-Iranian coalition in the region. Moreover, in many respects, the foundation had already been established. This would, of course, be a major blow to the interests of both Russia and China, given their very close ties with both Iran and the Arab countries of the region. In such a scenario, maintaining the balance of interests would be very problematic.

But even here, the Moscow-Beijing duo has performed brilliantly. Having preserved and strengthened strategic cooperation with Tehran as another key force in promoting a multipolar world order, as well as positive relations with the countries that were active regional rivals of Iran in the recent past. In essence, another successful case has been realized.

The success of Chinese diplomacy in reconciling Iran and Saudi Arabia – came as a real shock to Washington and its vassals in the regimes of the collective West, as well as to Tel Aviv. All years of Western-Israeli efforts over the years were essentially shattered. In addition to this is the strong consolidation of China’s economic position in the region, to the point that a number of countries in the region, long considered allies of Washington and the West in general, are now increasingly involved in the dedollarization process of international economic relations. Add to this the active and successful coordination between Moscow and Riyadh, as well as other OPEC+ members, in the global oil market. The “cherry on top of the cake” is the simultaneous entry of Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates into BRICS.

If a few years ago, the representatives of the collective West had been told that everything would go this way, they would have laughed in their traditional manner. Today, they, and those who are still nostalgic for a unipolar world “order”, are not laughing at all. In the Middle East, in Africa, in Latin America, and in the Global South in general – with few exceptions – Russia and China are perceived as strong and reliable partners. They can be relied upon, both in times of need and in the long term. And this tendency will only continue to grow. This is the essence of strategic complementarity.


Mikhail Gamandiy-Egorov, entrepreneur, political analyst, expert on Africa and the Middle East, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook“.

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