Prepared by the researcher : Dr. Bouchra Benderraji – College of Humanities and Social Sciences University batna 1 / Algeria
Democratic Arab Center
Journal of Afro-Asian Studies : Thirteenth Issue – May 2022
A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin.
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The rift that occurred between the allies of World War II was not caused by the disappearance of the common danger (Nazi) Rather, it is a matter of principles and motives that go back mainly to different ideological references that preceded the war and did not stop during it. Then it became more prominent after the war, dividing the world into two main competing blocs The West, led by the United States of America, and the East, led by the Soviet Union, shared the world the Communist camp led by Russia has been an active pole in international relations for over four decades against the capitalist pole However.
this power and international stature declined since the eighties to disappear with the beginning of the nineties. Leaving the space for the emergence of the features of a new international order based on the domination of the only capitalist pole led by the United States. But with the end of the nineties, Russia returned to the international arena to represent the difficult number It cannot be overlooked in drawing international relations, but another new force appeared Namely, China, which suggests the emergence of a new multipolar world order, and each pole has its own motives and goals. In the light of this conflict, regional and international crises have emerged as one Syria and Ukraine; The world poles had original positions that formed a new cold war.
The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the end of the Cold war and forced out the United States as an international predominant superpower. By the time George Bush took office, thereafter, a new type of world order was propounded, calling for international intervention in international crises. Whereby The United States discontinued intervening on its own and sought help from its allies in conflicts and The United Nations also proceeded in implementing the US’s agendas. The latter had played A leading role in the military interference in several regions in the world, most notably the Middle East during the first and the second gulf war, where the United States dislodged the Iraqi invasion from Kuwait (which was its ally in the Middle east). Similarly, the military intervention is pinpointed when Europe failed to halt the Serb-Bosnia war (1992-1995), which was ended only once the United States implemented the Dayton Accord. It has also marked a step forward against terrorism by launching an international war against Afghanistan in 2001, invading Iraq in 2003 and overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Besides military domination, The United States has clearly maintained economic domination too. Its reliance on institutions and organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the military alliance allowed for the uniting of interests and fate of Western countries and absorbing their disputes, aiming to win Europe.
It is by its special tentacles that the United States has had her furthered its hegemony in many domains; the military, economic, security, intellectual and media fields, to name a few. In fact, it yearned for imposing a policy of globalization where it takes the role of the controller, which does not adhere to any humanitarian or ethical regulations. Nevertheless, a common view is that US domination is temporary because of internal and external factors. However, it is because of China’s notable international rising power, and Russia’s return to the global arena. Both China and Russia reject the Unilateral control. Thereafter, the world is witnessing a new cold war.
To adhere to this idea, this paper will offer arguments to clarify the main incertitude: is the world witnessing the return of a new cold war again? Can these crises be considered being merely internal tensions, or are they moved by global polarities to expand their influence? This study considers the following question:
- What are the motives behind the conflict between the global poles? Is this a new cold war?
- What are the perspectives of these global poles towards international crises?
- How did the interpolated conflict affect the nations of regions of tension?
This study aims at:
- Providing an analytical study based on future predictions about the genesis of additional forces with opposite ideologies about International Relations.
- Highlighting the regression observed in the US domination by providing data regarding the American internal situation.
- Emphasizing on deteriorating the confidential relationship between the United States and The European Union.
The significance of the study is to add to the body of the research surrounding the following areas:
- Global variables in International Relations.
- The expected disintegration of the classic allies and the emergence of new ones.
- The return of the Sino-Russian ally and the establishment of new frameworks to International Relations.
This study is divided into four main parts. The first part provides a glimpse of the reality of international relations in the 21st century. The second part discusses the motives behind the conflict between international poles and the possibility of witnessing a new cold war. The third part highlights the attitudes of the poles towards international crises. The fourth and final part pinpoints the effect of conflict on the people in the areas of the tension.
1. A glimpse of the reality of International Relations in the 21st Century
As it enters the 21st century, dramatic shifts in the international order have emerged. Particularly, Russia returns to the Global arena and China arises as an economic force crowding out the United States. This latter is showing a remarkable recession globally, because it has spent significant financial expenses during its involvement in the previously mentioned wars. The United States has the world’s largest and the most technologically advanced economy, in terms of the Global Domestic Product (GPD) volume. Nonetheless, this nation has encountered a financial crisis in 2007 and 2008, which led to severe economic stagnation, losing its control in 2014 to the world’s largest list of the purchasing power for China. Not to mention the European Union that seeks to maintain its prominence as an active pole in International Relations. All these poles are living nowadays a reality of stress and apprehension, more particularly, in the more vital regions of the world such as the Middle East, East Europe and East Asia. This current situation indicates the recurrence of war again because of internal and regional conflicts. (Wajdan Falah Hasan 2015, p.295)
2. The motives behind the conflict between the International Poles
- Differences in political vision on international relations management between the three poles
The United States attempts to maintain a unipolar hegemony controlling the management of the International Relations and becoming the center of decision making. Its main aim is to weaken the other poles to reach its goals and interests for other nations (Hamid Sadoon, 2001, 41) while contradicting the legitimate and international principles and decisions established by the United Nations, that is, the responsibility of protecting the sovereignty and interests of the member countries and non-interference in their internal affairs. On the other hand, other forces such as Russia and China and their allies view that managing International Relations cannot be unipolar. They pursue to find a new international order that is underpinned by international values and collective decisions for important issues.
As discussed, the United States realizes that Russia can restore the international equilibrium through strategic ally with China, hence, it seeks to maintain unipolarity. Especially that they perform a vital role in international politics. Both safety and peace are affected by American-Chinese-Russian relations in the new international order.
- Signs of disruption between the European Union and the United States
The disruption in European-American Relations began a while ago and the sporadic beginning of tension was under President George Bush Jr. Afterwards, Barack Obama rehabilitated the relations between the allies. However, what has been done by Obama was mostly romanticization. Obama, alongside with his vice president Joe Biden, declared that the centerpiece of the American strategy has become Asia and the Pacific Ocean, rather than the Atlantic. Former American Presidents have been complaining about Europeans, particularly, Germans, because they disbursed adequately on their military forces and rely on their allies from NATO, more particularly the United States, as they benefit for free from the Global Trading System that is formed by the USA.
Since World War Two, The US military and nuclear weapons have been the major deterrent for westerns against any aggression waged from Moscow. The American Presence during those years contributed chiefly to containing the domestic aggressions in Europe, as with France and Germany. In such wise, The US force was a sine qua non for the European Integration; America embodied the father-son relationship to Germany.
The potential for future deterioration of relations between the US and Europe is greater than the potential of remediation. It is estimated that two out of three Europeans view America negatively. In addition, there is an entire division between Germans regarding the Priority of relations between China or the US. Germans prefer China over any relation across the Atlantic.
Some of the Poles belonging to the European Union, particularly France and Germany, have shifted their views and are attempting to get Russia economically and politically engaged with the European Union in ways that serve each country. For instance, because of Germany’s geo-political location in the core of Europe, it yearns to make Russia another equally strategic core on the east side of Europe. France is an advocate for building strong ties with Russia due to its regional power. From the French point of view, this power should be moved to a global level in order to achieve an equal power as opposed to the Americans. The development of the relationship between the two parties seems to be promising following these convictions and orientations. We can point out that the relations between two main sectors, namely the energy sector and intraregional trade, constitute the pillars of International economic relations. (Wajdan Falah Hasan 2015, p.188)
- Different conceptions of the Notions of Freedom and Democracy between the major poles
Democracy is the fruit of human civilization and a shared value to all humanity. However, the US, and for quite a long time, neglected the structural flaws in its democratic system and the dismal performance of local practice of democracy, regardless of the way it is describing itself as a “model for democracy”. With this motto “democracy”, The United States often intervenes in other nation’s domestic affairs and wages external wars which lead to regional disruption and humanitarian disasters. The congress is still suffocating from the smog. Freud’s scream “I cannot breathe” is still echoing. The mess created under the motto “exporting democracy” to Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan is still haunting the world. (The State of Democracy in the US, 2018). These facts clearly point to a contradiction in conception and applying the western liberal values, prompting both China and Russia to exploit the situation and create a new model that challenges the western one.
Admittedly, the US attempts that mustered the western forces in a presumptive democracy to convey a radical that China is dictatorial, because it did not make it through the country’s wealth. Both Russia and China commented on the countries that support the US on top of handling their job effectively rather than criticize others cynically. They added « Regarding democracy in Russia and China, it is nothing to worry about. Preferably, some foreign governments should contemplate what is occurring in their nations. Can we really consider it freedom when some contestants are resolved in their home country using rubber bullets and tear gas? this way far from being Freedom. » (RT Arabic 2021)
The Yellow Jackets model in France is the best example. The French Government issued directives to the police to suppress violence in the protests with force. This practice led to grievances against them to an extent that prompted the United Union to start an investigation on the excessive use of force towards protestors. Similarly, protests began in all 50 states of America, after the killing of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020. The police responded to most of them with disproportionate force and aggression, inter alia beating peaceful protestors, mass arrests or using military forces. It is observed that the police used the same techniques across the US that have always been condemned overseas. In a press conference, Donald Trump declared that state governors strongly recommend deploying the National Guard «not only to control the streets, but he also threatened to take whatever steps to protect Washington D.C. by sending thousands of heavily armed troops, enforcing the law to stop rioting. (CNN Arabia, No Date)
- Clash of Interests of Major Poles in various international issues
The conflict between Major Poles in the world differs every once in a while. During the post-World War two era, which had an ideological nature, we notice the conflict deviating after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The United States practices Unitarianism and ensures to be the center of all interactions and hence, no decisions can pass through. In Fact, unless it is a key factor in most world crises and conflicts, The US comes up in the forefront.
At this point, the collision between both unilateral and allied poles is intensified. It is chiefly due to political and safety concerns and the need to secure their critical areas. China, for instance, is attempting to achieve security from American encirclement. Another instance is Russia, who is also attempting to distance itself from NATO. The former has contributed to greater tension worldwide. Lately, conflict in the Middle East has intensified. It is true after the Syrian crisis since 2011 and the Ukrainian crisis in 2013, which blew afresh in 2022, which has resulted in a clash of interests between Russia on one hand and the United States and the European union. It has been compounded by the penalties imposed by both parties on each other. This led to intensified calls which demand a return to the days of the cold war between major poles. China acceded to the conflict reaffirming its support to Russia, in particular, the Syrian crisis facing the United States as well as the current Ukrainian Crisis. (Wajdan Falah Hasan 2015, p. 295-297). Wang Bi, the Chinese Foreign minister, stated that the territorial integrity and sovereignty of countries should be respected, including Ukraine and Moscow’s security concerns must be addressed adequately.
- The emergence of a new alliance between China and Russia Confronting the American Hegemony.
Russian Chinese began to improve in 1989 just before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. With this collapse and the disappearance of ideological difference, the relationship between the two nations surged in a way that has never been witnessed before. Both Nations could resolve all their problems, particularly ones related to the borders. The relations have further merged by holding several conventions between 1994 to 1996.
In 1996, China announced that the understanding and homogenization between the two countries is the ultimate assertion of the growing relations of the several mutual complementarities and co-operations. It should be noted that both often interfere with American policies. The convergence on the necessity of building a multipolar world order is remarkable in the dynamics of the Chinese–Russian dialogues (Ali El-Sayed El-Naqr 2009, p.64-95). In particular, with the returning of Russia to the major powers after Putin’s announcement of his objectives after his accession as president in 2000. Following eight years in South Ossetia in 2008, according to the scholar Norhan E-Shikh, it became apparent that Putin has achieved his goal and Russia has reclaimed its status and its active role in public relations after a state of reversal during the 1980s and 1990s. Russia’s active role is ensured during the Syrian and Ukrainian crisis. This nation’s role shifted to become a leading one after its intervention in Syria, where it led the course of events in Syria and Ukraine. Subsequently, a shift of the world order from unipolar, dominated by the United States to a multipolar one where new rising power namely, Russia and China play a pivotal role parallel to the American Role, is ensured. (Cherifa Klaa 2011, p.301)
Thus, what gives an impression that the world is changing its global composition is the Chinese–Russian allied force. Chiefly after Putin’s visit to China in February 2022, where several agreements, exceeding 15, were made, namely in the energy field. The levels of the energy resources supply from Russia to China are at a record level. In addition to the trading volume between the two nations since launching the “Siberian Force” Gas pipeline, where over 15 billion meters of gas were exported. A new pipeline to China through Magnolia is being built. Not to mention, insofar as trading is concerned, the trading volume between Russia and China has increased one-third higher than last year and reached a record level that is 140 billion dollars. Russia and China continue to operate towards scaling up the trading volume to 200 billion dollars yearly, which is a goal set up by presidents of both nations. A mutual interest exists to establish a financial infrastructure in order to secure the Russian–Chinese Cooperation from pressures on incurred penalties from a third country, as stated by Ochacov, the assistant of the Russian President. (RT Arabic, No Date)
Moreover, China and Russia feel disappointed with western policies towards them. They aspire to be involved in global policy planning on the same footing as the west. In this sense, China found Russia as its military and political partner. The Russian expert calls attention to the fact that the mutual Chinese-Russian emphasis on promoting cooperation has not been a burden in the first place. In addition to coordinating with international organizations, especially the United Union, which has always been a traditional matter to Moscow and China, yet it has significantly intensified in recent times.
Both Russians and Chinese refuse a Unilateral world, as well as considering traditional international organizations as a basis for world order. Korkodinov adds that Moscow has been repeatedly offered to stand by the west against China, in return for promises and compromises that were quickly eroded. He further follows up on the fact that it has become apparent that Russia no longer believes in these western promises. Instead, it has started a real ally with China upon a delusional status that has been promising the Occidental system with. He concludes that China is under Russia’s military collaborative “umbrella”. While, Chinese military forces are growing and technically developing significantly in a way that threatens the United States and its followers.
(Fahim Al-Sourani 2022)
When The United States is viewing China as a rising force with a regional and global role that threatens its vital interests and its national security, China on the other and is viewing The United States as the Only superpower with divergent interests and that its regional and global interests require an orientation towards a multi-polar world free from an American hegemony in order to balance diverse forces. (Adnan Khalaf Al-Jarani 2021, p.107). Leading us to conclude that the world is in a state of international precursors to be reconstituted. Especially after what Chuck Hagel (Obama’s minister of defense) views about signs of forthcoming change in the international world’s leadership where he stated: “The American Foreign Policy is currently as policy of cleavages… There is a new world order that is being built and constructed in the meantime”.
- The return towards the arms race and its development, particularly China
John Delury, a Professor at Yonsei University, believes that: “a spurring on arms is found in the Indo-Pacific.” Last year, Stockholm’s International Peace Research Institute estimated that both Asia and Oceania spent over a trillion of dollars on their militaries. China’s share accounts for half the amount spent. Its defense expenditure continued to expand in the last 26 years; therefore, the Chinese National Liberation army has become a modern fighting force. Currently, Beijing spends about 252 billion dollars on its defenses yearly, with a 76 percent rise since 2011, allowing it to project its force across the region and directly challenge American supremacy.
It is expected that the American–Chinese relations will witness more tension and friction leading to a military conflict in the shadow of China’s desires to shift to a major power and its everlasting quest for military advancement. The United States is regarding the former as a source of threat for its national security status in the international order. Notably, under the American anxiety over China’s military growing capacities and the fear of its engagement in strategic allies, ones that are opposing its authority. (Adnan Khalaf Al-Jarani 2021, p.109)
- The United States and its resistance to the change policy
Since the end of World War Two, The United States has spared no effort to pursue after maintaining global domination. Instead, it has dedicated its ultimate supremacy to the military economic, technological, scientific and cultural sectors. This has allowed it to intervene in other nation’s home affairs while oppressing, controlling and looting other nations under the banner “freedom, democracy and human rights”. The United States has worked on fueling tensions across the world through waging wars, inciting confrontations and overthrowing governments using armed forces in various regions and countries. The United States was emboldened by using double standards as well as disregarding international laws and legislation. As it has impeded many laws promulgated by international organizations chiefly The Security Council. This is mainly due to its clash of interests with American double standard policy, which led many countries, namely China and Russia, to hunt for international political or economic allies with a mission of countering American domination.
China is a nation with political, demographic, military and economic weight. This allows it to adapt an aggressive approach that could reopen the case of the World War. China has always been playing an active role that can extend in the area, starting from the Korean peninsula, passing by Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Pakistan and Iran and reaching over the bay. In view of the foregoing, China does not suppress its political ambitions on an industrial base, a kind that makes you dream of joining the Major industrialized nations. By having a rewarding political dream that reaches the demands of China being a great power with a legitimate right to be a co-lead in global management and planning. (Sahrh Qassim Muhammad Hussein 2013, p.145)
The relations between Beijing and Washington have escalated to a critical stage that can be demonstrated in the ignition of a trade war between the two countries and exchanging taxations on goods and products. The tension is intensified with the Covid-19 outbreak all around the world where Trump described the epidemic to result from a “Chinese virus” while many anticipated that Trump’s defeat will ease the tension. Soon after Joe Biden’s accession, it has become apparent that The United States considers China as its most prominent competitor as it represents a threat to the current world order. Washington described China to be an existential threat to the “free and open” world order led by the United States. This statement reflects Washington’s tendency to depict the current world system to be a coherent liberal system based on rules, standards, organizations and allies reinforcing one another. This system is sponsored by the US and its allies. In this perspective, Russia and China and other countries seek their ways to the core of this system and replace it with one that is more oppressive.
In the light of the previously mentioned conflict, motives and clash of interests between major world powers have increased the tension between the great powers across the globe, which is drifting towards a conflict. As bellicose rhetoric and military provocations between these major poles are in constant growth, there is a remarkable resemblance to the days of the Cold War in the 20th century. This period remains as a period of major signs that imply the emergence of a new world order. One that is certainly different from the one based on unipolarity. A one that the United States will endeavor to resist and will object to any change affecting the free open world.
3. Major Poles attitudes towards international crisis
During the world war, the world has witnessed dangerous international crises that almost vanquished the Soviet Union and the United States by leading them to military confrontations that could affect the global stability (The Korean crisis, The Cuban missile crisis; Berlin Crisis, to name a few) This war was marked by a total ease of crisis management because most of them resulted from the conflict between the East and the West. Both parties could contain it within the framework of the mutual deterrence policy and bilateral negotiations due to the absence of internationally competing forces. In addition to the crippling state that affected the United Nations and, the Nations Security Council due to the considerable demand for the right to object. Hence, a post war world is becoming significantly complex and difficult. It is true with the emergence of distinct crises and conflicts such as the ones related to ethnic and domestic conflicts or the ones resulting from the increasing demand for a democratic change and respecting human rights. (Idris Lakrini 2006)
- The Syrian Crisis 2011
Since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in 2011, the US position was initially marked by hesitation and sufficient unto the pronouncements that demand ceasing aggression and meeting the demands of the protestors. Given the development of the events to reach an armed conflict by suppressing the demonstrators, the US position stood out by the declarations opposed to the Assad Regime, where he issued a strongly worded statement condemning the brutal repressions of demonstrators. The situation has further developed through equipping Syrians with arms, training and sharing intelligence as well as setting a no-fly zone inside Syria protected by an American air cover. The primary aim is overthrowing the regime, which will be a knockout to the growing Irani influence and Lebanese Hezbollah. By intervening in the crisis, The United States seeks to prevent using or transferring the biochemical weapon stock owned by the regime of force hostile to the American interests in the area. Based on the above, the primary objective is reshaping the balance of regional powers.
Washington considers the conflict in Syria to be part of the confrontation with Iran by strengthening the American negotiated positions towards Iran in nuclear talks. The United States shows its truthful interest in preventing the Irani influence, which extends from western Afghanistan to the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, which makes up as a threat to its interests and allies in the area. This latter will have major international ramification, particularly if an Irani-Chinese-Russian ally is generated. (Imad Maazel Mahoud 2009, p. 4-6)
Russia views the crisis from an absolute geostrategic perspective. Since it does not consider the middle east as a place to maximize its interests and national security more than what it sees in its regional context, especially some middle Asian countries. Not to mention Syria, represents one of the vital regions for the Russian perspective. Russia pursued Unity by supporting the Syrian regime directly and it was not confined to using the veto only but it has re-intervened in Assad’s use of nuclear weapons against his people. It has been declared that Syrian biochemical weapons to be put under international supervision will be started to be removed and destroyed. The Syrian crisis has exposed the effectiveness of the Russian side as Russia’s impact in managing events, since other international forces eventually relented to Russia’s supportive view to the political solution and resolving the crisis. Besides its Navy that settles in Tarsus, Syria with the absence of the American forces. Proceeding from the above said, perhaps Russia has a firm orientation towards the Syrian crisis which is considered being a one throe of a new world order. The mid-21st century has witnessed the beginning of a new era for international relations. One that revolves around gradual shifts to a multi-polar system due to the emergence of international poles challenging the American’s global hegemony. (Imad Maazel Mahoud 2009, p. 14-19)
The Chinese position towards the current Syrian crisis was different from the US position. This differing position is far from being a new one. Both nations have always had contradictory political orientations. (Sania Al-Husseini, No Date) China considers the middle east and Syria to be an economically and strategically significant region.
The history of the Syrian-Chinese relations go back to hundreds of years when Syria constituted the trade route that linked China with Arabia, historically also known as the Silk Route. Since the founding of the Chinese Republic in the mid-20th century, China has always taken Syria seriously and considered it to be the weakest point for the western influence in the middle east as well as the first line of defense for China’s interests in middle Asia and Caucasus. It also considers it to be the transit country for Iraqi Oil in 1934 to 1982 and the Saudi oil in 1973 to 1982.
In 2002, the objectives of the Syrian foreign policy met the China’s endeavors to increase its economic activity across the globe in addition to the middle east after Assad’s strategy that seeks to transform Syria to a Gas transmission base and a free trade area that links the east to the west through the five seas (the Mediterranean, the red sea, the black sea, the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf). While China believed that Assad’s strategy is a way to revive the Silk Route, the United States and the western countries were resistant to the idea.
The American Foreign affairs Minister, Brooks, believes that China aims to replace the United States through enhancing its activity in Syria. It should be recalled that Washington is disturbed by China’s policies in various regions in the world. Especially that Beijing is hindering the US efforts in resolving the international crisis. Many countries and dictatorial governments were curbed by defeating international resolutions in the Security Council. Karam Shaar, an academic expert, states that “China used veto 10 times out of 16 times for Syria throughout its history.” Moreover, The United States considers the seriousness of the Chinese role in the international economy. This has caused a conflict between Washington and Beijing, which appeared to be in full swing under President Donald Trump. (Al- Hurra July, 2021)
Henceforward, the Syrian Crisis has demonstrated that the American–Russian–Chinese Relationship has been extremely complicated. From one hand, this could be noticed in their unique positions towards Syria due to their distinct interests in the middle east and other regions across the world. The Syrian crisis starting as an internal issue, then becoming a regional conflict, then an international one affects the alteration of features of a new world order.
- The Ukrainian Crisis 2008–2022
History repeats itself, yet not at the same time or same geographical space or same characters. This is apparent in the Ukrainian Crisis that is very similar to the Cuban crisis and Missile Crisis in 1962. The crisis reminds us of the era of the Cold War, where Washington knew Putin’s Foreign policy contravene with its interests. Ukraine is a cosmopolitan country with different ethnicities, races, religions and languages. The country is divided into two sides; the eastern side, whose people speak Russian and consider Russia as their home country; and a western side whose people speak Ukrainian and are willing to join Europe. The United States took advantage of their willingness, so it sought to expand NATO by adding more members to it. Many eastern Europe nations such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined NATO without mentioning those who requested to join as. Russia felt concerned and their fears increased by considering America reaching their borders as a threat, especially after advocating for accepting Georgia and Ukraine.
The United States has established military bases and deployed missiles and defense systems on land and sea to prevent any ballistic missile from reaching US land or any of its allies. Many of the biggest American military bases are located in Eastern Europe, with over six bases in Poland. In 2016, The United States announced the establishment of a base in Romania at a cost of 800 billion dollars. Its primary objective is strengthening its American missile shield and working side by side with the NATO forces. In these two countries close to the Russian borders, The United States has deployed two of its most famous and most powerful systems. (Al Jazeera, No Date). This strategy followed by the United States and attempts to achieve many objectives:
- On one hand, the United States is working on fragmenting Russia and encouraging countries in the Caucasus for independence. On the other hand, it ensures the American military presence in Central Asia.
- Seeking to thwart any Russian–European convergence which has failed. Russia strengthened its relations with European countries as well as China and Iran to restore gradually its role in the international arena. Because of the Europa’s need for gas, France and Germany both sought to redefine the trust between Russia and the European Union. Germany will make Russia its strategic depth in the East.
While France, with its Gaullist nature, is known with its caution from the American policies in Europe and the world; it has always advocated for establishing strong relations with Russia, as it is considered being a regional force and could become an International One. All with the aim of restricting the American Hegemony and achieving a strategic balance in Europe (Abd al-Wahab Ibn Khalaf 2014, p.92-97). Chang Lu, a scholar in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has written that the current Ukrainian crisis is not, in its essence, a Ukrainian–Russian issue and yet an American–European one. Through this incitement, the United States aims at killing two rabbits in one; to stifle Russia and achieve stability in NATO. The European members in NATO in the present time are increasingly separating from the United States, since it has damaged the European interests, namely Germany and France.
The United States needs to make use of the Ukrainian Crisis to create a crack between Russia and Europe and promote NATO and its control over this organization. As a result, the European Countries will be required to promote its ally in the framework of the European ally that is politically and militarily distant from the American Hegemony. The United States feels troubled concerning the fact that major countries such as France and Germany do not comply with it. This might lead to the European–American relations going off track. Hence, the United States is striving to corrupt the project of Nord Stream 2, the gas pipelines, and prevent Germany from forming any kind of economic partnership. (Haitham M’hazem 2022) With the United States continuing to provoke Russia, along with the Ukrainian Internal crisis in 2013 and matters worsening from the removal of President Nokovich, Russia felt disturbed towards its strategic position. The Strategic interests between Russia and Ukraine lie in the Crimean and Russia’s important coast and its vital and military interests where there is the Russian black sea fleet which allows Russia to access the warm waters that is considered a linking point to the Mediterranean. As a result, this enables its interests in the Mediterranean era, especially in Syria. (RT Arabic, No Date)
Russia did not hold for the Diplomatic and political choices, instead it has immediately intervened militarily in the Crimean Peninsula where most of their people welcomed it and while exploiting the developing internal situations in Ukraine in addition to social reasons. Besides the Crimean people, there exist the inhabitants of east and south Ukraine who are originally Russian and have been viciously attacked by the western people. The public opinion has been raised against them and been harassed by using hostile slogans in the Ukrainian invocation which led to raising slogans in Russian against them. The Russian language has been eliminated in the local sectors inhabited by Russian citizens after Russian became the official language of 13 provinces out of 27 in Ukraine. Therefore, Russia worked on intervention to protect the people belonging to them. Russian President Putin asserted that “people cannot be changed with money, nor with narrow interests, commercial contracts or bank transfers. This is absolutely unacceptable.” (Iman Ashraf Ahmed Mohamed Shalaby 2016)
Following the Russian military intervention, the United States and the European Union threatened to use more sanctions on Russia for joining the Crimean Peninsula. NATO spread its military bases close to the Russian borders to do mutual operations in the Black Sea with the Involvement of the European forces. The defense ministers of the members created a new force named « the freedom head » with rapid intervention on the Russian borders to be ready to respond in case of escalation. All of Germany, France, Italy, Britain and Poland agreed on contributing to this new force, which includes a land regiment of five thousand soldiers. This regiment receives signals and operations from air forces, the navy and special forces. (Mohamed Sadek Al-Hamrani 2018, p.353)
Because of the clash of interests and geo-political authority on the Russian arena and the Ukraine in particular, the crisis is regarded to be flaming hot which brings back the climate similar to the Cold War between the western pole from one side and Russia from the other side. This is where we can observe Angela Markel’s attempts to reach a compromise to reduce tensions between the two poles. On one hand, there is an American mainstream that calls for arming Ukraine in contemplation to raise the cost of Russia and convince it to accept a peaceful settlement. On the other hand, there is another mainstream view that views arming Ukraine affects the military equation on earth in the interest of Russia and its allies. The most significant views that adhere to them may be summarized:
- Ukraine’s fate is more important to Moscow than it is for the United States, so Putin and Russia are more willing to pay a bigger price to achieve their goals than the West would.
- The situation in Ukraine cannot be taken as a response to Russia. Any economic or military threats would not push Russia to retreat since, according to Putin, Russia will pay more for Ukraine. (Abu Rachid Oussama 2014, p.7-13)
It is indeed what happened when Russia militarily invaded Ukraine on February 24th 2022 while being prepared to pay any price to protect the Russian national security from Western threats who are mired with finding the way to resolve the crisis. The latter is reluctant when it comes to confronting Russia, fearing a Third World War outbreak especially after Putin’s threats towards any attempt from the European countries to help militarily Ukraine. In terms of any act of aggression towards Russian land, Russia is committed to respond robustly. This would lead the Ukrainian crisis to step into a new phase in the International Crisis. How is it going to end? only the upcoming days will tell. However, what can be taken from entanglement of the international relations is that the American hegemony policy and the unipolar system are gradually subsiding while allowing a new multipolar order to be activated where the strategies of the relationships in the 21st century will change.
4. Implications of the conflict on the regions of tension
10 years of war and destruction and successive conflicts in Syria leading to more complex crises reflected in the misery of the Syrian people, where it has affected many sectors of life. Poverty is widespread in Syria. According to the report published by the United Nations’ Development Program, the rate of poverty was at 12 percent in 2007. However, with the outbreak of the crisis, a new report was released by the central office of statistics in collaboration with the World Food Program. The report announces that 84 percent of Syrian citizens suffer from food insecurity. The tragic depiction of Syrian society, along with numbers and statistics disclose the depth of the catastrophe. Around 7 billion Syrian people have become homeless inside the country. Most of them live in campsites and shelters in harsh conditions. Not to mention around 5 billion who were displaced outside the country. According to the statistics of the United Nations, the Conflict in Syria since its outbreak in 2011 has resulted in over 387000 dead.
It is the horrendous economic collapse that made the situation worse. This raises the specter of famine in many disaster areas across Syria to a degree where it has become a Syrian citizen’s daily wish is getting a piece of bread let alone the astronomical rise in prices, unemployment and the collapse of the Syrian Pound. This has led to the drain of the infrastructure and economy as well as most public sectors such as education, health and housing. (Shirzad Al Yazidi 2021)
Although the Ukrainian Crisis is just getting started, its first glimpse portrays an extreme social crisis that is quite similar to the Syrian one. From the very outset, and for three weeks, a humanitarian crisis has emerged, along with an unprecedented displacement and international fears from future implications. This is how the effects of the crisis of the Ukrainian fugitives in Europe are developing. After estimation of billions displacing from their country, with fears of the emergence of a refugee’s crisis that has never been in Europe for Centuries, the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees has estimated the number of fugitives from Ukraine, since the initial Russian military operation on February 14th, at two billion people, a number that is expected to reach 4 billion if the crisis lasts much longer.
The European Union believes that this number will increase to 7 billion refugees, when 18 billion Ukrainians will be affected by the Russian–Ukrainian War (Wael Al-Ghoul 2022). Not to mention the fact that Ukrainian citizens have lost their homes which were destroyed along with all areas of life such as schools and hospitals and infrastructure. As far as the war is concerned, the nation’s tragedies are all the same. All these are the creation of Major forces towards mapping the new world system. One where some forces reject undergoing the control of the Unipolarity and insist on establishing new relations based on different principles and values. That remains our view of the new features of international relations in the 21st century, which are still in labor.
Throughout what has been discussed in this paper, we can conclude:
- The world is moving towards reshaping due to oppositions of interests and perspective, along with the desire to redefine the International Relations
- Emerging the crack in American-European Relations because of the United States’ change of view as it shows interest in Asia and the Pacific while the European Union seeks to build balanced relations with Russia characterized by mutual interests.
- The existence of Double standards between the West and Russia and China that is reflected in the principles and the values that underpin the International System, particularly, democracy, freedom of expression and Human rights
- Recurrence of the Cold war between the West and Russia and China most times especially the ones that are related to the National security of both regions.
- Russia and China seek to build a new international ally with other rising poles. More particularly after Russia proving its power and individuality in managing the Syrian crisis. Additionally, Iran has become a regional force after the retreat of the United States from Iraq.
- The race to militarization is returning, especially for China, North Korea and Iran. A matter that is viewed by the United States as a threat to its interests in Asia and the middle east.
- The views and positions of major powers towards the Syrian crisis are different. The United States showed hesitation, contrary to Russia and China who showed consistency and support for the system in Syria.
- The Ukrainian Crisis represents the major challenge to International Relations. Either the West remains neutral towards the crisis or breaks down when Russia is prepared to pay the price to protect its national security.
- The computability of the Russian and Chinese perspectives in a variety of international cases, both politically and economically. This suggests that their ally is quite solid and might force the Western Pole to accept the facts and acknowledge that the Hegemony era of Unipolarity is over.
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