Dmitry Trenin, who is a research professor at the Higher School of Economics and a lead research fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, shared some interesting insights regarding the ongoing wars in Ukraine and Gaza. They may seem different at first glance, but they both serve as flashing indicators of the seismic shifts occurring in the global balance of power. As the United States finds itself transitioning away from its status as the world’s preeminent superpower, we are witnessing a period marked by escalating hostilities and tensions among major powers. This troubling trend is likely to continue in the coming years.
The root cause of the conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East can be traced back to the failure of the United States and its allies to establish a lasting international equilibrium to replace the bipolar world order that existed after World War II. Trenin asserts that the U.S. and its partners squandered the opportunity to construct a just and balanced system following the Cold War. In doing so, they displayed arrogance, disregard for the interests of other nations, and an overabundance of self-righteousness. This has eroded the respect and goodwill that many other countries once held for the U.S., leading to the current crises we are witnessing.
The conflict in Ukraine, according to Trenin, is a direct result of the West’s dismissal of the idea of a militarily neutral Ukraine straddling the border between Russia and the European Union. Instead, NATO’s expansion was embraced as a sacred principle, which inevitably led to Moscow’s pushback. Similarly, the U.S. has exacerbated the Israeli-Arab conflict by sidelining other members of the Middle East Quartet and focusing on economic handouts to the Palestinian Arabs. This strategy has effectively marginalized the two-state solution and increased tensions in the region.
Trenin also warns of a potential clash between the U.S. and China over Taiwan, as the U.S. has struggled to balance its formal acceptance of the One China principle with its support for Taiwan’s independence. This volatile situation could lead to a direct confrontation between the two superpowers in East Asia.
In hindsight, Trenin laments that the U.S. missed a historic opportunity at the end of the Cold War to build a multipolar world in which it could have secured a role as a balancer and moderator. Instead, it chose to revel in unipolarity and exclusivity, setting the stage for the crises we are witnessing today.
In conclusion, Trenin’s analysis provides a sobering assessment of the current state of global affairs. The challenges in Ukraine, Gaza, and East Asia are symptoms of a larger failure on the part of the U.S. to establish a just and balanced international order. As we navigate through these turbulent times, it is imperative that world leaders and policymakers heed the lessons of the past and work towards building a more equitable and stable global system. By doing so, we can hope to avoid the tragic consequences of past failures and create a more peaceful and prosperous world for future generations.