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By Susan Bryce
At the September 2000 meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez characterised the rising discontent with the US inspired New World Order when he stated: “The 20th century was a bipolar century, but the 21st is not going to be unipolar. The 21st century should be multipolar, and we all ought to push for the development of such a world. So, long live a united Asia, a united Africa, a united Europe!”
The New World Order, a euphemism for US hegemony, is based upon a unipolar concept of the world, meaning US superpower domination. What is developing, however, is a multipolar world, implying many centres of influence, including Russia. The Russian Federation considers that social progress, stability and international security can only be guaranteed in the framework of a multipolar world and resents attempts by the US to marginalise Moscow in world affairs. Hence, Russia has become a political, military and cultural thorn in the side of the New World Order, representing an obstacle to its goals.
Following the end of the Cold War, US President George Bush declared a New World Order, in which the heavy hand of American imperialism would fill the post Cold War geopolitical vacuum, enabling the US to ultimately conquer the geopolitical space of the former Soviet Union and interpose its authority over all of Europe.
Russian Efforts to Counter NATO
Russia’s political elite and intellectuals gradually began to sober up to the aims of the aggressive, domination-longing bloc. Not all Russians slavishly surrendered their principles or agreed to NATO control of Eurasia. Opposition was expressed through the publications Den, Zavtra, Sovetskaya Rossia and Elementy. As vehicles for conceptual and creative work, these publications alerted the conformist press to the fact that the West and its ideological banner liberalism was no more than a screen for the direct predatory and egoistic colonial interests of “atlantist civilisation”, building its own “new world order” to the detriment of all other countries, nations, cultures, and traditions.
While most Russian efforts to counter US hegemony have focused upon diplomatic initiatives, Russia’s negotiations with the European Union have touched upon military cooperation in response to NATO’s expansion. President Putin has supported the idea of a greater Europe, “in which there should be no hegemonism of any kind.”
The dangers of an expanded NATO, supporting the barbarism of the New World Order, have already been dramatically illustrated by the US actions against Yugoslavia. For all practical purposes, NATO took over all the essential functions of the UN, in fact, replacing the UN. The ensuing Dayton Agreement (modelled after the Platt Amendment in regard to Cuba) created a virtual American protectorate in Bosnia.
Last year Russia offered to join NATO, in an attempt to counter the bloc’s growing power. However, NATO made it clear that no one had extended such an invitation. Following the snub, Putin stated: “If nobody expects us in NATO why should we be happy about the expansion of NATO and its movement toward our borders?”
Seeking to counter NATO in an appropriate manner, Russia announced in November 2000 that it was willing to consider military cooperation with Europe, should it go ahead with plans for an international rapid reaction 60,000 strong force aimed at defusing or preventing conflicts. Further cooperative relationships between Russia and Europe are developing with an agreement to open talks on how Russia might contribute to the European Union’s new common security and foreign policy.
These visits underscore the timeliness of this conference's theme, "Russia in the New World Order." Russia's place in the New World Order is obviously central. In fact, in recent years, one of the goals of U.S. foreign policy has been to encourage Russia's deeper integration into the institutions and structures that exist for dealing with the political, security and economic challenges of the new century. This has been based on the assumption that, with the collapse of Communism and Russia's re-emergence as a democratic, free-market state, we are coming to share the same values and interests that make real partnership and integration possible. In some cases, we have sought to strengthen and adapt institutions in which Russia already participates (such as the UN Security Council, OSCE, APEC) to make them more effective in dealing with today's problems. In others, we have supported Russia's accession (such as to the G-8, WTO and OECD) or the creation of new mechanisms short of membership (like the NRC) that provide Russia an equal seat at the table for addressing areas of mutual interest. So we are not against multilateralism; what matters for us are results.