Tuesday’s speeches by the Russian and US Presidents leave almost no chance for the world to avoid a new Cold War of many years. Moldova, located at the intersection of the interests of the opposing sides, will have a hard time, according to RTA experts
As expected, the Russian-Ukrainian confrontation is approaching an intermediate climax on its first anniversary. Leading politicians, experts, academics and journalists must now reflect on the 12 months of war in Ukraine and decide what to expect next and what humanity has to offer. A crisis of ideas, escalating confrontation and a lack of willingness to compromise have brought the modern world to the brink of another global crisis.
On Tuesday, three significant episodes – speeches by an American and a Russian president and the presentation of China’s global security concept – overlapped at the same calendar point. This occurred on the actual anniversary of the open meeting of the Russian Security Council, when the Kremlin decided in principle to go ahead and conduct a “special military operation” after the failure of US-Russian talks on security guarantees.
Chronologically, the first to emerge on the media scene was the so-called “China Principles”, which stipulate the international community’s desire for peace and security as well as global development and prosperity. The initiative aims to address the root problems of conflicts on the planet, improve governance in the area of universal security, and encourage joint efforts for greater stability and certainty.
Joe Biden’s speech in Poland was succinct, but quite specific. The White House head assured the Russian citizens that the West has no intention to attack the Russian people, but at the same time, the US does not plan to stop military aid to Kyiv until Moscow stops its aggression. There were also threats to the Kremlin that Western allies would do anything to make Russia pay a high price for its invasion.
Putin’s speech, despite a lot of PR propaganda, was devoid of any sensationalism. Putin did not make any new threats to Kyiv, nor did he hint at new offensives. This time the addressee was solely Washington, who tried to impress with the suspension of Russia’s participation in the START Treaty, again hinting that the nuclear component and hostilities in Ukraine were directly linked.
The cancellation of a decade-old presidential decree on the implementation of foreign policy that followed the one-and-a-half-hour report was a logical consequence of the final break between Moscow and the West. In fact, yesterday, Biden and Putin launched a new Cold War with the intention of lowering the Iron Curtain on the European continent once again. Thus, the Russian concept of pan-European security “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” has essentially collapsed.
Many have already paid attention that the cancelled decree included provisions about settlement of the Transdniestrian problem on the basis of territorial integrity of Moldova. From what it was deduced that there could be changes on this subject. However, there are similar provisions in other fundamental documents, such as the interstate treaty on friendship and cooperation. It is hard to imagine that Moscow will now suddenly decide to withdraw from this agreement. But it is worth waiting for Putin’s new foreign policy decree, which would somehow change the Kremlin’s approach to protecting its international interests, including in the post-Soviet space.
Overall, the new international reality makes it almost impossible for Moldova to balance the interests of the great powers. The most optimistic hope today is that Washington, Beijing and Moscow will still find the strength to keep the global situation relatively functional and keep the world from falling into another major conflict. Despite the long list of mutual claims between major international actors, today’s world needs a step-by-step de-escalation and at least an intermediate, even “cold” form of coexistence.
Signs of a new Cold War began to emerge in the second half of the 1990s. In the 2010s it almost took shape definitively, and last year “gave” the world the first big proxy war in Ukraine.
Tuesday’s speeches by the Russian and US presidents, unfortunately, leave little chance of getting onto any kind of peaceful track. Putin continues his crusade against the West by shaking his nuclear cudgel, the Americans express their readiness to fight Russia for as long as it takes. Only China is trying to put forward peace initiatives, but at the moment they are doomed to failure, and therefore perhaps their real meaning is also far from being a peaceful message.
Of course, in such a heated atmosphere the countries that lie on the “geopolitical fault lines” are the worst off. Ukraine is already paying the ultimate price for being a bargaining chip in the West-Russia conflict. Other countries in the region have also suffered considerably: Belarus, for example, is subject to sanctions almost as much as Russia, and Moldova is experiencing severe socio-economic distress. Not to mention a major security crisis.
Given that the new Cold War is far from reaching its “Caribbean peak” and will continue to escalate, the threats to our country will become more pronounced by the day. All the more so because the authorities are not doing anything to prevent us from becoming a bargaining chip either. On the contrary, the ruling regime is happy to play along with the West, involving the republic both in the Ukrainian events and in the current geopolitical confrontation in general.
Last year this cost us many internal cataclysms, the consequences of which our citizens and economy felt more than clearly. Energy ties with Russia have been cut almost “at the root” and any “pro-Russian foci” have been suppressed: parties, the media, the Russian language and symbols. Given the ambivalent attitude of the population to these steps, this has only increased domestic turbulence against the backdrop of hostilities in the neighboring country.
But the main risk, of course, remains the Transdniestrian problem. So far it has managed to remain frozen. But with the global “cold” conflict, the risk of new proxy wars is multiplied and, unfortunately, we are among the first candidates here. Of course, it is difficult to say what the real strategy of the West is, what its plans for Moldova are, and whether opening a “second front” in Transdniestria is included in them. But the fact that the subject of potential hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation against Moldova sharply broke into the international agenda and our president is personally groomed by the main world hegemon encourages very anxious thoughts about the future events.
So, until the great powers settle their differences, our country will not have an easy time. One cannot talk about development and prosperity being in the frontline zone and even maintaining the existing status quo may be an impossible task if the big players decided to activate Moldova as another battleground after all.