Thus, as with the overwhelming majority of wars, the origins of the overwhelming majority of wars are usually based on something petty, and then the petty origins of a war evolve into something much bigger. Vladimir Putin’s dispute with the West over Ukraine began as a response to what Russia saw as petty Western provocations on Ukrainian territory. In turn, a dispute over petty Western provocations in a small country like Ukraine which has a very a small role in international affairs evolved into a conflict that now has the potential to decouple the Eastern world from the Western world. And in turn, this conflict over Ukraine had the unintended consequence of perhaps catapulting Vladimir Putin to the level of a major world leader on behalf of non-European peoples.
Vladimir Putin’s catapult into a leadership role on behalf of non-European peoples arguably began with his gradual involvement and support for countries in Latin America and Africa over the course of the last few decades. But Russia’s involvement in Africa and the Middle East predates the era of American global hegemony and these involvements originate from the Soviet period. Putin’s leadership role on behalf of non-European peoples has now augmented as a result of going toe-to-toe with NATO over Ukraine.
Certain folks have categorized or labeled what is going on between Russia and the West at the moment as “Cold War II.” But as in the case of the previous Cold War, the outcome hinged on Afghanistan. Thus, the outcome of “Cold War II” may have already been rendered as a result of Afghanistan, and Putin’s assumption of a leadership role on behalf of non-European peoples is perhaps a formality or nominal in terms of how things stand as a result of Afghanistan. As mentioned on numerous occasions, international politics and international relations revolve around two core elements or two core things, namely, the global ‘balance of power’ and international rules and norms. In both regards, the circumstances are disadvantageous for Washington due to Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Thus, the recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent countries on the part of Russia coincides with the initial moment or initial stage of a broader shift in what is known as the “global balance of power.” And the more Russia pushes the envelope against the West with the global balance of power as Russia’s undercurrent, the more China will have to choose between East and West. As they say, geography is destiny, and as a result, China will most likely align with an “Eastern Bloc” that originates from Russia’s political actions on the international level. In addition to a number of political interests aligning between Russia and China, economic interests are also broadly aligned between the two neighbors.
Also, more than anything, Ukraine and the fallout from the Ukraine issue demonstrates that Washington is not in control of international affairs. Far from it. Washington can only react to events and to a situation which have evolved and moved outside of Washington’s grasp. Washington is perhaps still absorbing and digesting the gravity and sheer power of the current international situation, and the situation is fascinating and intriguing, especially for observers of international affairs like myself who have dedicated an entire lifetime in the understanding of these kinds of issues. Quite frankly, all of it is quite remarkable.