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Peculiarities of the Development of Geopolitical Processes in the World in the Context of Ukraine's Interests. Myths and Reality

June 27, 2018
<p>Peculiarities of the Development of Geopolitical Processes in the World in the Context of Ukraine's Interests. Myths and Reality</p>

Recently, have appeared new, complex and contradictory tendencies in the development of the geopolitical situation in the world, that require proper analysis from the point of view of Ukraine's interests. Especially as they directly influence the prospects of its development and our capability of counteracting the Russian Federation.

Among such tendencies is the sharpening of the USA's trade-economic confrontation with China and the EU as a result of D. Trump's attempt to strengthen the protection of the American market by increasing customs duties on Chinese and European goods. In response, China and the EU are taking restrictive measures regarding American-made goods, which in fact has provoked a trade war between the world's most powerful economic centers.

At the same time, the EU's domestic problems are getting more complicated due to the growing Euro-skeptic and nationalistic sentiments in most European countries, both on the socio-economic basis and as a result of the influx of refugees and Russia's active information influence. Following Britain's announcement of the withdrawal from the EU and the break-up of separatism in Spanish Catalonia in 2017, the next manifestation of such problems was the coming to power in Italy of the left and right populists (“The Movement of Five Stars” and “The League of the North”) as a result of the parliamentary elections in March 2018, and the political crisis in the Federal Republic of Germany in June 2018 over the EU's migration policy.

…New, complex and contradictory tendencies in the development of the geopolitical situation in the world require proper analysis from the point of view of Ukraine's interests…

It should also be noted that the EU members' attitudes to Russia differ. Thus, Austrian Chancellor S. Kurz, former Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany S. Gabriel, Italian Prime Minister G. Conte and a number of other politicians are for the expediency of phasing out the sanctions against the RF. Some influential business circles of the European Union are also siding with Moscow as they have their own economic interests in Russia. Therefore, these circles (in Germany, Finland, Sweden and in fact in Denmark) are supporting the Russian project “Nord Stream 2”. US President D. Trump also keeps “flirting” with Russia.

Against the background of such processes there is a rise of the People's Republic of China as a powerful world state, which has a developed economy and modern Armed Forces, and is already catching up with the United States by its potential. There are also fundamental changes in China's foreign policy. In fact, in the international arena, it has moved from the position of an observer to creating its own sphere of influence in the world (including through the implementation of the Chinese initiative “The Belt and Road”). This course of Beijing was formally determined at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and is now being implemented in practice.

Due to this, the People's Republic of China is gradually becoming the center of the “third world” and plays an increasingly important role in the whole system of international relations. By the way, there is a systemic structuring of the “third world” in various international formats of world and regional levels. At present, the largest of them are the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (China, Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan). The main direction of their activities is strengthening cooperation between member countries in the political, economic, security and humanitarian spheres.

 

Such events are quite ambiguously perceived by expert circles, including the relatively precarious nature of the conduct of information wars and all sorts of political provocations. The most indicative is the activity of the Russian Federation. The latter keeps stubbornly forming favorable for itself views and moods both, in the international community, and in the Russian and Ukrainian societies.

…Russia keeps stubbornly forming favorable for itself views and moods both, in the international community, and in the Russian and Ukrainian societies…

For example, according to Russian assessments, which are actively imposed on the target audience through mass media and other channels, today there is a complete change in the geopolitical system that emerged after the West's victory in the Cold War and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and the USSR. This is being “confirmed” by the new multi-polar model of the world system that arose as a result of the USA's having lost its monopoly position as the only superstate in the world and the emergence of new centers of power at the global and regional levels, including China, Russia, India and other countries.

It is also emphasized that, in fact, the West, as the only integral civilization with common spiritual values, ideas and goals, “is falling apart”. So soon relations between the United States and Europe will get worse, while contradictions will grow between the European countries themselves, which will not just weaken NATO and the EU, but will disintegrate them. This fate of the West is opposed to prospects for strengthening the “third world” led by China and Russia.

Taking into account such assessments, Russian experts argue that changes in the EU and Europe's attitude to Russia and the restoration of full cooperation with it are inevitable in the near future. Russia considers this a positive feature in the development of further events that will enable it to occupy an equal place among the leading powers of the world, to build its sphere of influence (including resolving the Ukrainian issue and establishing control over the post-Soviet space), as well as to create powerful counterweights to the USA and Europe.

 

Everything seems to be really “playing into the hands” of Russia. However, let us look at the situation more closely, taking into consideration the leading powers' real actions and the real power landscape in the international arena. To a large extent, this power landscape differs from the “surrealistic” picture created by Moscow in the world information space.

…The real power landscape in the international arena differs from the “surrealistic” picture created by Moscow in the world information space…

Yes, we can agree with the Kremlin's statement that a multi-polar world has arisen with new centers of power. At the same time, the United States is still the most powerful and authoritative state, which, by its economic and military capabilities, is above all other countries of the world, and has been currently pursuing rigidly pragmatic economic and American-centered politics under the presidency of D. Trump. Suffice it to say that the USA retains a dominant role in global world processes and is able to realize its strategic interests in the future.

At this, neither the PRC, Russia or India, nor any other center of power, is even trying to become a real counterweight to the United States, let alone is capable of becoming one. Such a counterweight cannot be created by an association of the “third world” countries, including the BRICS and the SCO, which in fact are just “hobby clubs”, but not real military-political or economic unions with common goals and interests. But then, each of the BRICS and SCO countries, including Russia, is interested not in confrontation but in the development of cooperation with the United States. In fact, Europe is interested in the same.

Taking into consideration the above-mentioned circumstances, today's aggravation of trade and economic problems in relations between the United States and China and Europe is exclusively situational and in no way affects their strategic partnership. For example, the latest compromise between the United States and China regarding their interests in the Asia-Pacific region has made it possible to make real progress in the nuclear disarmament of North Korea.

Similarly, the United States and Europe are strengthening European and Euro-Atlantic security as the threats from Russia grow. Thus, the ongoing implementation of the decisions of the Welsh (September 2014) and Warsaw (July 2016) NATO summits is continuing, which envisages the return of the Alliance to fulfilling the tasks of repulsing possible aggression from the East. As part of the implementation of such plans, the United States fulfills its obligations to finance appropriate measures and relocate US troops to Europe. In particular, in 2018, 4.8 billion US dollars were allocated from the US military budget to curb Russia in Europe (in 2017 — 3.4 billion US dollars).

That is, NATO, led by the USA, maintains its unity and continues to act as a global force capable of guaranteeing the security of its member states. In this regard, some European politicians' allegations about the USA's decreased attention to the security problems of Europe and the need to create their own European army are exclusively populist, aimed at increasing their own ratings against the background of problems in the US-European relations. According to the official position of the EU, its actions to strengthen the security component are aimed only at increasing the capacity of crisis response and in no way mean creation of alternative to NATO military structures.

…The USA and Europe's attitude to Russia remains the same incommutable in the context of a tight policy to curb the Putin regime's neo-imperial ambitions…

The USA and Europe's attitude to Russia remains the same incommutable in the context of a tight policy to curb the Putin regime's neo-imperial ambitions. Thus, against the background of D. Trump's populist “flirting” with Moscow, the United States has consistently increased sanctions against the Russian Federation. In particular, immediately after the G7 summit in Canada (June 8–9, 2018), where D. Trump proposed to return Russia to the G7, the United States imposed sanctions on Russian companies, including Digital Security, Divetechnoservices and the “Kvant” Scientific Research Institute, which are suspected of having ties with FSB of Russia, and having had to do with cyber attacks against American computer networks.

Besides, on June 11, 2018, a group of American Senators introduced a bipartisan resolution to the US Senate, accusing of Moscow in violating religious freedom in the annexed Crimea and the occupied territories of the Donbas. As the previous documents of this kind, it provides for increasing restrictions on Russia.

Also on June 18, 2018, the US Department of State confirmed Washington's official position on the Ukrainian status of the Crimea and debunked media reports on the statement by D. Trump at the G7 summit, who allegedly recognized the Crimean Peninsula's belonging to Russia. At the same time, were confirmed the USA's intentions to maintain sanctions against Russia until it returns the Crimea to Ukraine.

Despite some European politicians' populist statements, the EU's position towards Russia remains impregnable. June 18, 2018, the Council of the European Union decided to extend for a year the sanctions against the Russian Federation over the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and the city of Sevastopol. In addition, they also promised to extend the second package of sanctions against Russia for provoking a conflict in the Donbas and non-fulfillment of the Minsk Agreements. According to head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine H. Mingarelli, “Russia will be paying a high price for the Crimea and Donbas until it changes its policy”.

By the way, not all is well with Russia's implementation of its plans to strengthen its positions in the European gas market. While some European countries support the Russian “Nord Stream 2” project, the leadership of the European Union actually blocks it. For example, in March 2018, the Council of the EU adopted a package of rules that extend common EU gas rules to import pipelines. First of all, it concerns the “Third Energy Package” of the EU, which prohibits the same company from performing gas production, transmission and sale. Such a decision automatically imposes EU sanctions on all participants in the Russian gas project.

Along with this, extremely painful for Russia was the launch (June 12, 2018) of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) from Azerbaijan to Greece via Turkey. TANAP is part of the European Southern Energy Corridor, which provides for the creation of a new direction for transporting gas from the Caspian and Central Asia regions to Europe bypassing the Russian Federation.

…China is solely interested in gaining access to Russian resources and in no way intends to support Russia's geopolitical ambitions…

The launch of TANAP has effectively undermined Russia's plans for the implementation of the “Turkish Stream” project, which aimed to transport Russian gas to Southern Europe bypassing Ukraine. In view of this, Gazprom has already begun to dismantle the pipeline and compressor stations built in the North Caucasus within the framework of the “Turkish Stream” project.

Under such circumstances, China remains Russia's only support, although it cannot be considered a reliable partner for it. As experts have repeatedly pointed out, China is solely interested in gaining access to Russian resources, to the market and to the most productive sectors of the economy (first of all, energy) and in no way intends to support Russia's geopolitical ambitions. Beijing even frankly ignores Russian interests when they contradict its interests. An example of this is the active trade and economic cooperation between China and Ukraine, which compensates for our country's economic losses as a result of breaking ties with Russia, or the termination of China's cooperation with Russian companies subject to Western sanctions, or the actual exclusion of Moscow from the process of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

 

Against this background, the United States, the EU and NATO continue to consistently support Ukraine, which completely refutes Moscow's allegations about the West's “Ukraine fatigue”.

…The United States, the EU and NATO continue to consistently support Ukraine, which completely refutes Moscow's allegations about the West's “Ukraine fatigue”…

In particular, on June 13, 2018, the US House Committee on Appropriations proposed to the US Congress to increase in the fiscal budget of 2019 the aid to Ukraine through the programs of the US Department of State and the Pentagon. They proposed to allocate 250 million US dollars for Ukraine in the security sphere (including for the purchase of lethal weapons of a defensive nature). This is 50 million US dollars more than the approved budget allocation for fiscal year 2018. At the same time, the aid to Ukraine under the US Department of State and related agencies is estimated at 441 million US dollars, which is 20 million US dollars more than in 2018.

In its turn, on June 13, 2018, the European Parliament decided to provide Ukraine with 1 billion Euros of macro-financial assistance, which will allow Kyiv to partially cover external financing needs in 2018–2019. The implementation of other programs to support Ukraine in its counteracting Russia is also ongoing.

 

…The support of Ukraine by the United States, NATO and the EU is not an absolute guarantee of its security. Ukraine may become and already is becoming a hostage to the interests of more powerful states and various external forces…

However, it is too early to relax. The support of Ukraine by the United States, NATO and the EU is not an absolute guarantee of its security. The world is becoming more and more complex and cruel, including in relation to our state facing new challenges and threats, both from Russia and in some way from the West, as well as domestic and international corruption, organized crime, terrorism, cyber attacks, etc. At this, Ukraine may become and already is becoming a hostage to the interests of more powerful states and various external forces.

In such a situation, it is necessary to move from consumer sentiment and hopes for foreign assistance to concrete actions to build a strong and independent state with a powerful economy and power structures capable of protecting Ukraine from external and internal threats. This cannot be achieved without the consolidation of the Ukrainian authorities and the population around the above-mentioned ideas, without putting on the back burner mercantile personal interests, discord and strife. This issue is becoming especially relevant in the pre-election period in Ukraine, which Russia and a number of other countries and political forces are already trying to use in their favour, including for destibalization of the situation in Ukraine and its final disintegration.

 

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