The world has become involved in a global fight
Hardly anyone is able to accurately predict the features of the future in which we will find ourselves in a very short time – perhaps only by historical standards. But it is necessary to try to do this, since the only unique weapon that people have is the mind. An attempt will also be made during the 19th annual meeting of the Valdai Club entitled “The World After Hegemony: Justice and Security for All”, which will be held October 24-27 in Moscow.
At one time, the great thinker Teilhard de Chardin noted that the understanding of history is limited, since, as a rule, it is possible to study the events that have already taken place. Everything that precedes them is lubricated. Teilhard de Chardin compares this to the study of painting. As a rule, viewers see the finished work. They cannot see the underpainting that the artist did before painting over it the finished version of the painting.
Today we can personally observe the historical process of changing the world, the emergence of a new image of it. The past and ongoing events force us to look for an answer to the main question – how can we make sure that in the very near future humanity still manages to create a world that is just and safe for everyone. As much as possible, of course. It is obvious that the search for this solution will not be easy and, alas, will take time. However, there is hope that it will still be possible to find a rational and realistic answer.
In the past few years, many thinking people, including, by the way, experts from the Valdai Club, have warned that the world order that existed until recently is collapsing, that the risks of this “shedding” are very high, and so much so that they threaten the very existence of people. The world elites, primarily the elites of the Western countries, convinced of their hegemony, many noted, turned out to be extremely short-sighted and in many respects selfish. They refused and, judging by recent events, continue to refuse to recognize the power of the ongoing completely tectonic changes.
And at the same time, it seems that we are actually witnessing the process of not only the collapse of the old world order, but also the emergence of a new one. The hierarchy headed by the United States and the countries of Western Europe is disappearing. It is already possible to discern the contours of a new, polycentric structure of the world. It is clear that the process of achieving at least a relatively stable state on a global scale will not be easy. The world is divided along many lines, there are many conflicts, and their number is not decreasing yet. Moreover, new contradictions may arise. In any case, it is as if old, half-forgotten disputes are awakening. As a result, we found ourselves inside a multidimensional matrix in which clashes between countries, value systems, social and economic divisions, national and ethnic disputes, and much more intertwined.
The variety of conflicts of different types and typologies not only means the inevitable difficulties of creating a new sustainable world order, but also indicates that the former one, which is now disappearing, was not at all stable and fair. It turns out that very many very much did not like it.
In general, in my opinion, the main reason for the current deplorable state is that in recent years the interdependence in the world has grown and become more complicated, and the forms of accessible regulation of this global world connectedness have turned out to be inadequate to it. Whatever sphere of life we take, everywhere we will see this problem.
A rather vivid illustration was the pandemic, in general, an existential challenge to all of humanity. And the world system could not present a worthy answer. It was not possible, for example, to create any unified sanitary rules for all countries, it was not possible to ensure equal access of the inhabitants of the Earth to vaccines and means of protection. Moreover, it did not even work out to achieve their final mutual recognition, not to mention real joint work on vaccines.
But not only the pandemic has shown the weakness of international cooperation and supranational institutions.
The same problems, I repeat, is relevant to many other areas. Thus, the financial and economic system turned out to be extremely dependent on the decisions of a very limited number of people, and those concentrated primarily in the United States and Western Europe. The state of affairs is no less complex and contradictory in the field of communication. It turned out that the world’s main communication platforms are not neutral; they, like the circulation of money and goods, are largely under the control of administrators from the United States and Western countries.
The fact that food is not quite right on Earth has been known for a long time, but to some extent it was the conflict in Ukraine that revealed how badly everything is arranged, how fundamentally unfair things are.
In general, I repeat, no matter what area of activity we take, there is a lack of cooperation everywhere, the desire of the elites of Western countries to maintain their superiority and domination, the absence of effective and relatively fair methods of regulating various interdependencies.
Under these conditions, and long before recent events, many countries, especially large ones, China and India, for example – but not only them – have set a course for the possibility of ensuring their existence, mainly relying on their own resources: their own payment systems, their own communication systems, their own specialists, own technological base. It is clear that complete autarky is impossible, but the maximum approach to it seems important to the leaders of many countries.
In this context, one has to look for the contours of a new world. It is clear that it is very difficult to predict it, almost impossible. The conflicts already mentioned, by virtue of their diversity and intertwining, pose risks of incredibly dangerous and catastrophic scenarios. But this is no reason not to try to discuss the future, this is not a reason not to meet those who understand their intellectual duty in finding solutions to problems. Moreover, in these difficult times, only the most frank, direct and rational discussions can make sense.
The current annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club is called “The World After Hegemony: Justice and Security for All”, and many issues will be discussed at it, including those that I mentioned above.
Of course, one should not overestimate the role of intellectuals, scientists, analysts in the ability to resolve world contradictions. However, today we have a unique opportunity to try to predict possible development scenarios, to see the likely features of the future, and in general to do what is possible and must be done. And try to imagine the landscape after the battle.
Andrei Bystritsky, Izvestia newspaper
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