Paul Schmutz Schaller for The Saker Blog
On the world stage, profound changes are under way. Obviously, China and Russia have lost the confidence that the West will contribute to the solution of the world’s problems in some constructive manner. China and Russia have now accepted their role as the leading forces with the responsibility of holding the world together. The West held this role for centuries, but this time is over. The West has essentially become destructive. The West has lost the power of solving problems and now use her resources mainly for creating problems. In my eyes, this is the central evolution of the last months and it is an epochal change.
China and Russia did not easily decide to go ahead without the West. They have hesitated for a long time. They are quite aware of the burden they will have to bear. Other countries have led the way. In particular, Iran and North Korea have come to the conviction already some time ago that they cannot count on the West. The same is true for Hezbollah, for Syria, for Cuba, or for Venezuela. But apparently, China and Russia did not intend to „blindly“ follow these countries. However, not only the moment has come to take a decision, but China and Russia now also feel strong enough to advance without the West, or, may-be more precisely, despite the West.
The new role for China and Russia includes a lot of functions. They have to defend some kind of international order and law; they have to maintain and even strengthen important international organizations, in particular the UNO; they have to try to contain regional conflicts; they have to propose possible solutions for the world’s problems. Of course, this cannot and will not be done in a dictatorial manner. China and Russia always insist that the decisions must be taken in a much more democratic spirit than that which was – and is – practiced by the West.
It is a fact that the West does more and more undermine any kind of international law and order. Their international politics is destructive.There are countless sanctions against other countries, there are murders, conspiracies, and lies. In recent times, there is no conflict in the world where the West has tried to support a peaceful solution, may-be with the exception of Afghanistan and – at least for some time – of the two Koreas. And during the current pandemic, the West has made no effort in order to propose a common reaction of the world; countries like China, Russia, and Cuba did much more in this direction.
It is not a simple coincidence that China and Russia used the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, the 3 September, in order to clarify their new role. Namely, during this war, Russia and China already bore the principal responsibility for the victory over the fascist aggressors.
In this context, Xin Jinping wrote to Vladimir Putin: „China and Russia both shoulder important responsibilities for the cause of world peace and development. I am ready to work with you to take the 75th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War as an opportunity to lead China and Russia towards deeper comprehensive strategic coordination. Together with the international community, we should firmly protect our victory in World War II and international fairness and justice, actively uphold and practice multilateralism, promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, in a bid to allow future generations to enjoy a world featuring lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.“
Vladimir Putin, on the same occasion (3 September), wrote to Xi Jinping that „it is a common responsibility of Russia and China to safeguard the truth of WWII history“ and called on the two countries to resolutely oppose any attempt to deny the outcomes of the war. Russia is ready “to continue active efforts jointly with its ally China in order to prevent wars and conflicts in the world and ensure global stability and security.”
In his speech at the Valdai Discussion Club (22 October), Putin has very much developed the new role of Russia (and China). This is an absolutely crucial speech, including the questions and answers. In particular, Putin explains that a strong state which has the confidence of the citizens is „a basic condition for Russia’s development“. Putin underlines that „genuine democracy and civil society cannot be ‚imported‘ … only the citizens of a particular country can determine their public interest“.
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Now let us come to the other side, the West. The upcoming US elections will determine the official Western leadership, that is, the Trump team or the Biden team. It is of course an important decision, even if the differences between the two teams are may-be more in style than in the content. Nevertheless, the outcome will have a big influence on the whole West. So, let us try to consider the consequences.
For me, the first question is, which side is less destructive? This question is still quite difficult to answer. The Trump team has more and more developed a destructive foreign politics, in particular against Iran and China. The Biden team on the other hand has concentrated the campaign essentially on the destruction of the Trump team, without mentioning constructive projects. So both sides are basically and intrinsically destructive.
The second question is, citing Putin’s formula, which team may gain more confidence of the citizens? The (numerical) outcome of the elections is by far not the unique measure for this. The particulate and egoistic interests of some powerful and very rich groups have an enormous influence – leaving aside corruption and manipulation of the elections.
All what I hear from the USA hints to my feeling that the Biden team is utmost arrogant and completely detached from the people and, as a consequence, is more subdued to the particulate and egoistic interests of these powerful and very rich groups. This does not mean that the Trump team is close to the citizens, but at least it is tendentiously closer than the other team; therefore, the Trump team is somewhat more autonomous.
Concerning the West, a victory of the Trump team would probably not change much. This would be a small advantage for the world since the West will – partly – remain blocked by internal divisions, and new aggressive wars will be quite difficult. On the other hand, a victory of Biden’s team bears the risk that both leading political parties in the USA will unit in order to plan new wars.
How big is this danger? It should not be underestimated. The power of the Trump team is basically one which comes from direct popular support. If this popular support becomes negligible, then the particulate egoistic groups will try to eliminate the Trump team and all its supporters. Moreover, in the whole West, the „moral“ and „ideological“ imperialism will obtain a big push.
However, these „hopes“ created in the West by the perspective of a Biden’s victory are a pure illusion. There are based on nothing, just on nostalgia. It is plain nonsense to think that the problems of the West were created by the Trump team and its supporters. A Biden’s victory cannot solve the inner problems of the West, and the former strength of the West cannot be regained.
The „moral“ imperialism intends to punish all countries which do not have an, often imported, Western liberal system. But this is impossible. The world has become too diversified. So, the push towards this pathological feeling of superiority of the West will probably be a straw fire. Nevertheless, it can be quite dangerous.
What is my prognosis? We should expect a victory of Biden’s team. As I explained, this is not what I would wish. However, elections have some own laws. Often, the central subject of the election battle is of crucial importance. When the central subject was the social unrest in the US cities, then the Trump team had a clear advantage. But now, the central subject seems to be have shifted to the pandemic. This favors Biden’s team. Of course, I do not think that Biden would have better managed the pandemic. But it was Trump who was the president during the pandemic. Therefore, in some sense, he will be taken responsible for the pandemic, justified or not.
Of course, it is possible that the Trump team wins. It is also possible that after the elections, there will be chaos. But still, I would not count on such a result. More probable is some kind of which hunt against the supporters of the Trump team. This could also affect everybody who is not a declared Trump hater. But this foreseeable extremism, provoked by a Biden’s victory, will again alienate the USA inside the West.
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National elections are not isolated events. They take place in a global context. This global context has to be considered for a correct assessment of the results. These elections are the first US elections in the new epoch, characterized by the new role of China and Russia. The elections will be affected by this fundamental change, in some way or another. It can be supposed that they will give important hints how the world will proceed in the new epoch.