The growing number of local crises clearly reflects the crumbling of the existing world order. Previous treaties cease to work or become dysfunctional in “disputed zones”, and new ones have yet to be developed.
Sergiu CEBAN, RTA:
The global situation keeps boil over with an unceasing series of escalations of local and regional conflicts. At the end of last week, Israel launched its military operation Breaking Dawn against the terrorist group in the Gaza Strip. At the same time, tension is growing between Turkey and Greece: Ankara has threatened Athens with a preemptive strike if Greece does not fulfill its demands to demilitarize the islands in the eastern Aegean.
Current international relations are so strained that it would be surprising if the global fabric did not tear where it’s thinnest. The military and political crises in various rebellious regions, first in Nagorno-Karabakh, in Palestine, and then in Kosovo, are a prime example. Besides the hardening relations between Pristina and Belgrade in the Balkans, experts are anxiously watching the degradation of a quasi-state formation of Bosnia and Herzegovina anchored in the Dayton Accords.
The so-called Belovezh States, which resulted from the USSR’s collapse, are also an example of “treaty” post-Soviet reshaping. However, current events, in fact, testify to the failure of those treaties. Now we have entered a stage of aggressive reformatting of post-Soviet territories and crushing of part of the states formed in the early 1990s.
This means that the regulatory and stabilization mechanisms underlying these regions begin to fail seriously or stop working altogether. All the powers that have interests there have to think about creating new models of influence and governance so as to prevent the critical growth of conflicts, on the one hand, and to take more active politico-military measures, including the protection of their wards, on the other hand.
The major international incident around Taiwan, where U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi paid an official visit, draws particular attention. It was as if the world froze for hours watching intently as the U.S. official, whose arrival caused the Cuban Missile Crisis 2.0, came aboard. Unlike armed clashes in territories with protracted conflicts, the Taiwan story has a much broader projection and a different geopolitical scope, as it is directly linked to the relationship between two global giants, the US and China.
For many years, the issue of Taiwan’s status was one of the most important components of the fundamental consensus between Washington and Beijing. It is well known that Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger were the chief architects of the US-China rapprochement, which enabled Beijing to take its rightful place in the UN and gave the US a separate law applicable to the island, recognizing the unity of Chinese sovereignty. Such an airtight docking with China and the incorporation of the Middle Kingdom into the Western division of labor eventually gave Washington a serious strategic advantage, including the ability to defeat the Soviet Union.
The episode around Taiwan in early August was, one might say a breaking point and the US’ de facto abandoning One China policy, despite the State Department’s routine claims of continued adherence to such a principle. Apparently, the US establishment made a fundamental decision on the eve of the congressional elections to demonstrate the US foreign policy confidence and readiness to act from a position of strength, and at the same time, conditionally, to teach Beijing a lesson for its indecisive-loyal position on Moscow, which destroys Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
If the US solves the “Russian issue” through Ukraine, it probably intends to solve the “Chinese issue” through Taiwan. However, by doing so, the US authorities open an additional front with their main strategic enemy. So, in the coming years we will see a further increase in geopolitical stakes and the States’ desire to reassert its dominant position. The only question is whether pushing Moscow and Beijing into each other’s arms and speeding up the creation of a Russian-Chinese “Entente” was justified.
In the near future, the state of affairs will be in a phase of cumulative months-long military and political escalation involving China, the United States and Taiwan, with extensive use of economic warfare tools, gradually involving other countries in the region, such as Japan. Unlike previous Taiwan crises, the current escalation will take place amid openly confrontational relations between Washington and Beijing. According to experts, a military clash around the island is almost inevitable in the medium term, and it will be a catastrophic event for the entire global economy.
It seems that the global environment will also continue to unravel, and the growing number of local crises vividly reflects the crumbling of the existing world order, with previous treaties ceasing to work or becoming dysfunctional. The geopolitical players are testing each other’s remaining level of interest, willingness to respond, and capabilities in each specific problem area. The set of these players is largely the same: the West led by the United States, China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, etc. Therefore, it is likely that these countries and blocs will determine new regional balances in the emerging segmented world order, primarily to prevent the proliferation of conflicts that could ignite large-scale military action.
This disposition brings us back to last year’s talk about how dividing lines are not acceptable and how ready the West is to resist such growing attempts to reshape, above all, the European continent. In addition, we were all very concerned about what geopolitical terrain our country would find itself in and in what configuration the “Moldovan question” would be finally resolved. We want to believe that the key actors don’t think about us yet and they will not test each other or play dangerous combinations in our field. Still, we should be prepared that sooner or later it will come to us. Our state of affairs of the past three decades is passing into history, and the coming dawn or dusk of Moldovan statehood is not far off.