Among the various developments that occasionally occur around the world and are then forgotten the impact of some of them on international relations are undeniable even long after they become history.
Recent developments in Ukraine with the focus on Kiev joining the Western bloc and exiting Russia’s hegemony and dominance, followed by the separation of the strategic island of Crimea from Ukraine to join Russia after a referendum– such developments appear to have an impact on international relations and implications apparent in the world order.
This article discusses these impacts:
After the Cold War ended in 1990 following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the bipolar system of international relations vanished, but since the international system cannot be promiscuous the United States, with the help of it’s think tanks and research institutes, tried to enforce its favorable model and paradigm of international system on world’s nations.
This model, which was first introduced in academic circles and then via diplomatic channels during the George H.W. Bush presidency, was in fact a system entitled as the new world order with leadership of the United States.
This theory was in fact a reconstruction of the hierarchical system theory by Morton Kaplan, an American professor of international relations.
A theory that sees the leadership of a superpower at the top of the global system as the way out of international relations anarchy, which he considers as a source of insecurity in the world.
However, following the bipolar system after the cold war this view faced major hurdles such as the European Union, China, South American emerging powers like Brazil and even Muslims, who saw the post-Soviet era, as an opportunity to recover their identity beyond dependence on the East and West.
The clash of civilization theory by Samuel Phillips Huntington in 1993 also failed to overcome the obstacles facing the unipolar system desirable by the US. This theory tried to reproduce the bipolar system with non-communist alternatives in order to establish a US leadership as the inevitable fate of history.
Major world crisis like ethnic conflict between Serbs and Bosnians in Bosnia and Herzegovina, genocide in Rwanda, Taliban’s power reach in Afghanistan and al-Qaeda’s expanded activity in Pakistan’s tribal regions, proved that the US cannot be the sole guarantor of international peace, despite the belief of Washington politicians and American theorists. Many people have also doubts about the US desires and intentions in the creation and preservation of international peace.
The failures in the last decade of the twentieth century led to the replacement of the US leadership theory with a more modest theory. This theory, which was put to action with the start of third millennium and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, was the US-led global regime theory.
Based on this theory the US was not the world’s only superpower that could take unilateral international action based on its own diagnosis and self-interest assessment.
But the US was a strong country that could achieve its international goals by creating international consensus and coalitions using international laws, organizations and its power in elements such as economy, military, media and politics.
According to this theory the US cannot succeed without the cooperation of other international coalitions despite having a leadership role.
In the past decade the US tried to expand the circle of its international coalition around the world, even trying to make Russia an ally.
A clear example of Washington’s relative success in bringing Russia along with this new order was Moscow’s relative accompany with the US in issues like Iran’s nuclear program, especially in refusing to delivering S300 missiles to Tehran at the request of Washington.
However, the crisis in Syria and gaps between the US and Russia’s policies toward President Bashar al-Assad government showed new changes in the world order.
But with the recent Ukraine and Crimea crisis and Moscow’s rapid response to separating Crimea from Ukraine showed that the world order has begun evolving once again after a decade.
As the unilateral supremacy of the US in the 1990s was rejected by the international community and Washington’s inability to manage its regional and global crises was proven, it seems that the idea of a US unilateral leadership through creating international coalitions during the past decade is also unacceptable and some international entities, such as Russia, have loomed against it. From now on we must await reproduction of new orders with new coalitions in the world.
The West thought with guiding and supporting the protest in Ukraine, at the time when Russia was busy with Sochi Olympics, they could put Moscow in a fait accompli situation, but in few weeks after the games, Putin wisely transformed the geopolitics of the region in line with Moscow’s policies and interests and so far -like it or not- Crimea has been the winner of the game.
Although West tries to prevent the continuation of Russia’s new policy through political measures, like expelling Russia from the G8 group of countries and cutting off NATO’s civilian and military cooperation with Moscow, but the reality is that never in the history of international relations was the transformation of the world order solely dependent on the will of governments and politicians.
Maybe this time the world order reconstruction takes place regardless of the actions, intentions and the behavior of parties involved in Ukraine and Crimea conflict and countries could align their interest with the new order instead of creating and building their own self desired systems.
A multipolar system in which the international community does not accept the hegemony of a superpower and the so-called powers cannot play hegemonic role in international crisis.