View from India: The global balance of power is shifting towards a multipolar world

12:04 15.02.2024 •

It is often assumed that what matters in US elections is the economic issues. Yes, it does, and often has in the past, but recent polls conducted in the US suggest that more and more Americans admit that America needs to address the issue of foreign policy, especially because the country is deeply entrenched in several wars abroad, which will inadvertently also have economic implications, writes ‘The Time of India’.

It is not only America’s hard power that is being challenged on the global stage, so is its soft power and the power to float a narrative. Take for instance the much talked-about debate on an interview carried out by an American journalist, Tucker Carlson, with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

The Americans can no longer dominate the narrative that the war in Ukraine is solely the responsibility of Russia. The Russians are equally good in convincing the world that the war in Ukraine was imposed by the constant eastward expansion of Nato. And the presence of Nato troops in Ukraine was a red line which Moscow had warned time and again that this was not acceptable to them. Just in the similar fashion, America would never have allowed deployment of Russian troops at the Mexican borders.

The fear-mongering idea of Russia soon invading Poland or Latvia was bluntly denied by Vladimir Putin as a baseless thought in the interview with Carlson. In the case of Ukraine, Russia had insisted several years in advance that they did not want Western engagement in Ukraine, which has a large Russian-speaking minority and several hundred years of historical connectivity to the region. In the interview with Tucker Carlson, all historical arguments for wanting to include Ukraine into the orbit of Russia were explained to the American audience, who are eventually seeking an endgame and an exit from the war of attrition in Ukraine.

The Biden administration is deeply frustrated that the mother of all sanctions, designed to cripple the Russian economy, hasn’t had the expected effect. According to the recent figures released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Russian economy is surprisingly growing faster in 2024 than the economy of many of its counterparts in the Western world.

The Europeans, on the other hand, who are also indirectly involved in the war in Ukraine, have shown their frustration that they cannot produce enough weapons or at least not as much as is needed on the ground to help Ukraine.

Of course, there are developments which do not do any favor to Russia, and people who also refuse to buy the Russian narrative. Take for instance Sweden’s and Finland’s desire to join the Nato. But here again almost half of the Swedish people are skeptical of the idea of joining, which has been done without asking the people in an election. Broadly speaking, Sweden has been a non-aligned state like India and has benefitted enormously by such a foreign policy.

Since 1814 Sweden has not participated in any armed conflict, and its policy of neutrality had prevented wars on its borders. The Scandinavian countries along with Finland could have benefitted enormously by being neutral, as new sea routes are being planned because the global warming is causing the ice to melt in the Arctic region. Now all of the Nordic countries are compelled to spend more money on their defense budgets, and yet the possibility of a nuclear skirmish cannot be completely ruled out. Scandinavia has become a vassal state of the USA. But the entire Global South, with very few exceptions, is not willing to go the Scandinavian way. Finland’s and Sweden’s decision to join the Nato has only increased the potential or the risk of nuclear misadventures. It is in no way going to improve the security architecture of Europe.

What is also interesting is that most of the present European governments in the EU countries are deeply unpopular at the moment, and if there were elections in most of the EU countries, then there would be other government constellations than the ones in power. Germany, France, and UK have seen many protests, and people everywhere are demanding better welfare and are deeply concerned about the climatic changes affecting their lives.

In other words, the world has many issues to handle other than creating more unsolvable wars, and skepticism towards policies, which create endless wars is affecting the entire humankind. One thing is the unanimous decision of the European Parliament to donate billions in aid to Ukraine, but a totally other issue is that more and more people are demanding better use of economic resources on the welfare of their citizens and the local societies.

This is how the American foreign policy might probably get debated in the forthcoming US elections. It is becoming more than obvious that the idea of supremacy of democracy does not entice the entire world. USA, which dominates the United Nation’s Security Council along with a few other Western countries, is seeing its power and legitimacy challenged.

Most experts on Africa are increasingly expressing their discontent towards the American and the European engagement with Africa. Africa may be producing more chocolate and cocoa than the rest of the world, but seems to be earning a meagre or marginal amount compared to the countries that buy its products and market it.

A counter-narrative to the one propagated by Western governments emphasizing democracy and human rights is now being promoted. Both China and Russia are now engaging with African, Asian and Middle-Eastern countries without demanding changes in political structure, and helping them economically to create business opportunities and jobs.

The multipolar world demands participation and wants to address historical injustices committed by Western alliances. The Global South is demanding compensation for the disasters they are facing because of greenhouse gases and industrialization. Historically speaking, the primary contributors were the Western nations. Ironically, Russia has now become the spokesperson of the Global South and is suggesting that the Global South has a right to exist without become bad copies of the Western civilization.

Let’s take the statement of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, who at the end of January 2024 in New York at the United Nations headquarters said the following about the Western nations, who have been largely responsible for colonial rule, “They believe that for 500 years they have ruled the world as they wish, living at the expense of others, and they think this should continue. This logic completely ignores the objective reality, in particular the fact that the vast majority of former colonies have gained independence, become aware of their national interests, want to strengthen their national, cultural and religious identity and are growing so fast that they have left the West behind – at least the BRICS members are.”

As China’s and Russia’s influence on the rest of the world increases, the Western hegemonic influence is receding. The Americans need to be told this. And Tucker Carlson’s interview will have one such effect.

On a positive note, one can expect that very soon after elections we can expect newly installed governments in Europe and America, who might get a bit more pragmatic.

The sooner the Western leaders realize that the multipolar world is here to stay, the easier will it become to avoid unending wars, and the world’s resources can thus be put to better use. Point blank and simple, the World will then be truly democratic.


read more in our Telegram-channel