Controlled instability: the world and Russia in Munich and after

Other author’s opinions

The struggle for status: why is Russia so hard to gain the respect of the West 3 Feb, 16:51

Restart new: how Russia will respond to the call of the trump 22 Nov 2016, 12:58

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The US and Russia has now become the main “suspects” on the global role of “revisionists”, but in fact they are hardly ready with his hands to break the established world order

Completed the annual Munich security conference have demonstrated differences in the assessments of its high-ranking participants of the prospects for world order, the role in it of the West and non-Western powers.

“Postzapadnoy” world

The discussion was mainly among the representatives of the foreign communities of the countries — members of NATO and the European Union. Some of them are deeply concerned about the future of the West and the world order in General. They anticipate the aggravation of old conflicts, the weakening of traditional alliances, strengthening of new threats, even chaos. The organizers of the Munich conference, in his report, described the situation as “geopolitical recession”. Co-author of the report, the President of the conference, former foreign Minister of Germany, Wolfgang Ischinger criticized the calls of the President of the United States Donald trump for EU countries to withdraw from the European Union following the example of Britain and called the continuation of such rhetoric “non-military Declaration of war.”

With the thesis about the collapse of “the West” world order is not dismissed agrees and Moscow. According to the Russian Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov, this order proved inefficient and unstable, and is definitely in the past. At the conference in Munich, Lavrov proposed to build a “postzapadnoy” order on the principles of non-interference in the internal Affairs of States and mutual recognition of the objective nature of “national interests” of each state: the wording of these interests should not be questioned depending on estimates in some countries the political regimes in others.

At the same time, many politicians clearly do not expect the imminent collapse of the current world order and transition “postzapadnoy” world. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg convinced that a strong bond the U.S. and Europe in the security sphere support not only the members of the Alliance but many NATO partners in Eurasia. “The end of the West” refuse to recognize the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed services John McCain and other influential representative of the traditionalist wing of the Republican party Governor of Ohio John Kasich.

The alarm European allies countered Vice-President Mike Pence and the Minister of defense of Jim Mattis, who said about the strength of the transatlantic ligament and the inviolability of NATO. Their assurances, however, do not fully convince the audience. First, the point of view of the first person in the United States remains unclear. Secondly, according to French foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and several other observers, by senior American officials did not contain sufficiently clear signals about Washington’s readiness in all conditions to support European allies. The Minister of defence of Germany Ursula von der Leyen has even expressed fear about the readiness of the President of trump to equalize the importance of the NATO Alliance and cooperation between Washington and Moscow, or even to give priority to the latter.

Crisis “in the minds”?

With all the feelings of crisis that could not arise in the world after seven decades of stable growth with no major wars, not visible profound shifts in the configuration of interests of major world powers and centers of power. USA, EU countries, China and India as a whole are interested in the stable development of the world economy, which is indispensable to the growth of their national economies. In these circumstances, a new wave of protectionism that could give rise to economic policy of the administration trump is likely to be reduced to a pause in further liberalisation of international trade.

Not seen as forces able to challenge this world order. Leaving the EU the UK wants to maintain close economic ties with the European Union and to strengthen them with US, and as a maximum — to lead the process of strengthening the European defence within NATO. “Anti-system” political forces in the EU have not yet gain the popularity necessary to implement its agenda.

Representatives of the regional powers of Asia and Latin America often do not think of the broad categories of “world order”. Their primarily interested in the processes and balance of power in the neighborhood. For example, the Arab Gulf monarchies and Israel are considered the main threat to its security increasing after the “nuclear deal” Iran. These countries are already discussing with the mediation of Washington of the ability of the Alliance to contain Iran and its allies in the region. The stakes in such a confrontation can be high, but in the absence of war (and it managed to avoid for the past several decades) the impact of the conflict is unlikely to be released outside of the region.


In such a situation, the main “suspects” on the global role of “revisionists” are the US and Russia. However, they are hardly ready with his hands to break the established world order. Reversing the foreign policy maneuvers over the past few years, Moscow has taken a more defensive stance in the face of incredible avalanche of accusations of meddling in the internal politics of other countries and conflicts around the world.

In turn, the new American President is gradually dispels fears Ursula von der Leyen. Donald trump seems to no longer seeks to implement a “road map” for the resolution of conflicts with Russia: first, to establish cooperation in the fight against the banned in Russia “Islamic state”, and then to lift the sanctions (what sanctions can be against an ally in the fight against terrorism? ). Trump will be able to “sell” to Congress and his administration only a comprehensive solution involving the simultaneous settlement in the Crimea and the Donbass, Moscow’s refusal of cyber operations, attempts to influence the election wherever it was, etc.

The resistance of the “step restart” is too large, and that the speaker of the house of representatives of the us Congress Paul Ryan declares full compliance with the political and economic program of Donald trump and guarantees the President the support of the house of representatives, but at the same time calls himself a “hawk” and “skeptic” in relation to Russia. According to the American foreign policy community, Russia is deliberately positioning itself as a global opponent of the USA and has achieved in this field such proven results that prove the ability of the new partnership will be extremely difficult.

Trump himself has criticized the “reset” of Russian-American relations under President Obama. The position of the trump can be read as a rejection of Obama’s attempts to extradite Russian advance in the form of cooperation on specific issues and waiver of the requirement to resolve the main contradictions existing at the same time.

Even an unexpectedly strong speech to the American representative to the UN, Nikki Haley left the hope of weakening American sanctions against Russia in case of apparent progress in resolving the conflict in the Donbas. However, a supporter of rapprochement with Moscow, dissatisfied with the performance of Hayley, the national security Advisor, Michael Flynn dismissed by the President. In addition, because of the strong legal ties between the sanctions measures imposed by the US against Russia at different times, to separate the “Crimean” (supposedly mostly “personal”) sanctions from the “Donbass” (supposedly “sectoral”) even if you want to be harder than it seems.

The Union of dissent?

Nevertheless, from the agenda of the administration trump will not easily leave the idea of Russia as “non-mandatory contender”, which can be a truce and join forces in opposition to “Islamic radicalism” and China — the main threats to U.S. security, according to close aides of Donald trump. This idea seems too attractive to be so easy to refute the skeptics and hawks. This is evidenced by examples from the administrations of Clinton, Bush and Obama, each of which was ready to leave behind the legacy of violent conflict, respectively, of the cold war, Kosovo and Georgia — for trying to liberate American foreign policy resources are diverted to the containment of Russia.

Donald Trump will have to decide what is the problem “Islamic radicalism” he intends to solve the first — deterring Iran or suppression of the Islamic state. If the main target is Iran, which may indicate deep ideological support for the administration of the trump of Israel, demonstrated during the recent visit of Prime Minister Netanyahu in Washington, the opportunities for cooperation between the US and Russia refuses to accede to the pressure on Tehran, are narrowed, and the probability of acute crisis in Russian-American relations is increasing. Chances are, even if not too significant, given only the joint efforts to stabilize Syria and Iraq.

The authors ‘ point of view, articles which are published in the section “Opinions” may not coincide with ideas of editorial.

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