Opinion: “No Need to Rush into the Thick of International Politics”

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Sergiu CEBAN
From the high rostrum of the UN, Maia Sandu once again demonstrated unconditional loyalty and Moldova’s nonalternative aspiration to become a part of the big West. However, in the conditions of global international uncertainty, our leadership should perhaps postpone a “firm geopolitical choice” and stay in the club of “waiting” countries
Last week in New York, the so-called high international week took place on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. However, this time the United States was, in fact, the only country among the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council to be represented at the highest level. Alas, the General Assembly is rapidly turning into an ordinary forum. Heads of state come there less often, realizing the current low importance of the UN, which has less and less influence on the fate of the world. Opening the General Assembly, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres criticized mankind for failing to make progress in the fight against climate change, saying that humans have opened “gates to hell”. He also said that we are getting closer to an unstable and dangerous world due to the current split between the superpowers, like nothing seen since the Second World War. In his opinion, the world was much more predictable during the Cold War than it is today. In their speeches, representatives of member countries traditionally voice lots of well-wishes and attempts to attract maximum international attention to their states. But despite the wide range of rhetorical issues, the main question of international politics is still the following: whether Washington and its satellites will be able to retain their key influence in the world and the ability to project their political will globally. Or a new international environment with a qualitatively different balance of power will emerge in the near future. As recent G-20 summits have shown, the collective West is no longer able to impose its terms on the key countries in the world. For this reason, representatives of the new centers of influence in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa have already unequivocally shown that they do not intend to blindly follow the path of Western international policy and demand that their interests be heeded, including through expanding the UN Security Council. The reorganization of the Security Council is indeed long overdue. There have been numerous projects to reform it, while the overwhelming number of ideas revolves around adding more permanent members. The majority of modern large states reckon that the current format of the Security Council’s five members no longer meets the objective state of affairs around the globe. Therefore, this mechanism needs a serious rethinking in order to achieve global equilibrium and bring the UN institutional set-up in line with today’s realities. In fact, such claims are quite justified, as the world has changed dramatically since the UN was created. The organization itself has almost quadrupled in size. In addition, the countries that were once regarded as pariahs are now in the first line of democratic states, and the states that barely escaped from colonial oppression in the middle of the last century have grown over time to the level of influential international powers with a fair claim to leadership on a global scale. The United States realizes that it is gradually losing its ability to independently manage international affairs and is nominally ready to take into account the other global actors’ interests. However, since Washington does not intend to give up its levers of influence, the United States is likely to consider replenishing the Security Council by including loyal states such as Japan or Germany. Despite the fact that recently the U.S. State Department announced specific initiatives in this regard, Joe Biden in his speech before the General Assembly focused on countering Russian aggression and competition with China, which implies that the U.S. does not intend to share power yet. Since there were no other leaders of the “Permanent Five” among the listeners at the General Assembly and in order not to create unnecessary resonance, it seems that the White House decided to entrust Volodymyr Zelensky with voicing the US views on the UN reform. As always, the Ukrainian leader’s speech was fiery and heartfelt, but it is clear that neither Kyiv nor other Washington’s satellites will participate in the solution of such an important task as reforming the UN structure and mechanisms. Maia Sandu also delivered a set of messages that harmonize with the Western general line. According to her, every day Moldova has to repel hybrid attacks from Russia, whose diverse arsenal includes energy blackmail, support for separatism, provocation of mass anti-government demonstrations, cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns. In addition, Moldova manages to maintain peace throughout the country, including Transnistria, where Russian troops are illegally stationed. The president described Moldova’s membership in the European Union as not just a political choice, but the only way to defend freedom, peace and democracy, calling on the EU member states to support Moldova. Deterioration in the international relations is evidence of a deep crisis in the existing world order, which emerged not on a treaty basis but as a result of the biggest geopolitical shift - the collapse of the USSR. Over the past three decades, the West has attempted to change the profile of the United Nations into essentially its own auxiliary platform for formal endorsement, in a mode of “collective decisions”, of its own vision for international politics and order. However, as the last decades have shown, the crisis of international institutions and the lack of broad dialogue at the global level eventually led to the aggravation of military and political conflicts in various regions of the world, the largest of which is the war between Russia and Ukraine. Realizing what’s happening, however, everyone is cautious and only admits the obvious from the high rostrum of the United Nations - international relations have seriously deteriorated. And while everyone is entering into tactical unions and alliances, probing future allies and new forms of cooperation, the world continues to turn inexorably into several warring groups of countries, which is unlikely to contribute to global stability. For this reason, this General Assembly didn’t produce any high-profile initiatives. It is obvious that the countries of the Western camp are trying to prolong the status quo that has been established for 30 years and maintain their dominant positions in international affairs. The Global South has taken a wait-and-see attitude, watching how Russia and China’s clash against the West will end, so that at the most opportune moment to be at the table where the world fate is decided. Our authorities, of course, used the UN rostrum to once again demonstrate their loyalty and nonalternative aspiration to become a part of the big West. However, given the uncertain security status of Moldova, which, to put it mildly, is much more vulnerable than that of the Global South countries, our authorities should not be so eager to jump into the thick of international politics, and better postpone their “firm geopolitical choice”.