Happy New Year! Wishing the world peace and prosperity with a courage based on belief in our common humanity and ability to overcome anything through cooperation and solidarity.
The New START treaty, global peace and security, the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccination, economic recovery, and climate defense, are among the many challenges facing humankind. They all emphasize the urgent need for international cooperation as the only remedy, the only solution.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin sent New Year greetings to US President-elect Joe Biden and other world leaders calling for greater international cooperation. The message is more pertinent than ever and should be heeded.
The devastating worldwide impact over the past year from the coronavirus pandemic on human health and economic conditions is perhaps the most stark illustration of the need for international cooperation and solidarity. We are all in this crisis together and we must get out of it together. As the world develops vaccines to overcome the disease, there must be a systematic process and spirit of cooperation between all nations to ensure effective control of the pandemic. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was correct to admonish any politicization of vaccines which will only thwart the necessary eradication of the disease. To that end too, it is deplorable in this context for the United States to impose sanctions on other nations which is hampering their access to vaccines. Indeed, it is execrable that any nation should be applying sanctions at this critical juncture. The European Union’s economic restrictions levied on Russia, Syria and Venezuela, among others, are another reprehensible example. Such measures flagrantly violate the principle of cooperation and solidarity, and ultimately are self-defeating. This year must see the end of unilateral sanctions, which should be properly defined as a crime against humanity.
The New START treaty limiting nuclear weapons held by the United States and Russia is another glaring example of the need for cooperation. The decade-old treaty is due to expire in a few weeks because the outgoing Trump administration refused to renew it in spite of earnest appeals to do so from Russia. If New START is abandoned then it will be a huge retrograde step undermining global security and peace. A new arms race looms. President-elect Biden has indicated he is in favor of extending the treaty. When he is inaugurated on January 20, Biden must make it a top priority.
But here is the catch. Biden and many others in his incoming administration, as well as the wider US political class, are obsessed with anti-Russian ideology. This animosity has dominated American politics and media for the past four year. It is an anachronistic throwback to the Cold War. The most recent expression is the hysterical and unfounded claims of Russian cyberattacks on US governments and corporations. Indeed, far from seeking cooperation and a reset in bilateral relations, Biden is vowing retaliation against Russia when he takes office. This is lunacy. One can imagine the arrogant, and ignorant, disdain the new president showed when he received Putin’s New Year letter.
Nonetheless, the world has undergone a seminal change for the better. The United States no longer has the unipolar dominance it could claim after the Soviet Union collapsed nearly 30 years. A multipolar world is emerging in which Washington no longer has a global monopoly or veto on developments.
The signing last week by the European Union and China of a major trade and investment pact is a clear signal of this new multipolar world.
Practical necessity of partnership and progress prevailed over an ideology of confrontation. The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment is a landmark step towards further integration of nations and economies. It also has wider benefit for the entire Eurasian continent, from Russia’s far-east to the western arc of Europe. It was also highly notable how the United States objected to the EU concluding this accord with China, which was seven years in the making.
The needs and means of today’s global economy make Cold War-style zero-sum mentality a relic of the past. It is untenable and unviable. It is dangerous and destructive. It is a fetter on global progress.
Lamentably, the United States and its ruling class is the single-biggest repository of this regressive ideology. The nature of US capitalist power is predicated on imperialist hegemony. Confrontation is the currency of its ambitions. Cooperation is anathema.
We only have to look at the present array of international tensions. Virtually all of them have the United States as the common denominator. Whether it is tensions with Russia over NATO expansionism and relentless Russophobia regurgitated on a daily basis in US media, or tensions with China over the South China Sea and Taiwan, or tensions with Iran from US military threats in the Persian Gulf. The list of American aggression goes on. War is the ultimate and ineluctable result of the ideology that dominates the American regime. But even without a catastrophic outcome of war, the manifestation of confrontational ideology is seen in a plethora of pernicious problems, from poverty, insecurity, to frustrated cooperation between nations and the many harms that entails for human development and health.
We have reached a point in history where confrontation and conflict are no longer justifiable in any form. They are seen nakedly as the criminal function of American capitalism. Cosmetic propaganda can no longer hide the ugliness that lies beneath.
The only way forward is for cooperation in the spirit of common humanity and mutual economic planning. And there is much to be hopeful for – despite the terrifying threats of war that the United States’ rulers are synonymous with.
By Strategic Culture Foundation