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The Bigger Picture

NWRatCon

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I have started a number of threads, here (The Second Wave of Fascism, War Crimes), and in the Russia/Belarus/Ukraine forum (regarding food, sanctions) about the coming conflict - which became extant with the Ukraine invasion - between "the West" and western values, and, primarily Putin, of Russia, and Xi of China. What I'd like to have here is a broader discussion, generally, about that "conflict" and how it is, and should be, playing out now and in the future.

I'd like it to be broad reaching and civil. Other than that, I'd like to explore more of the big ideas of "the bigger picture". Citations to think pieces are greatly welcomed.
 
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Nomad4Ever

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What I'd like to have here is a broader discussion, generally, about that "conflict" and how it is, and should be, playing out now and in the future.
This Guardian article frames the conflict as a sort of test of the world order and possibly the beginning of a shift towards multipolarity.
But the map of sanctions suggests that the true rift is not between left and right, nor even between east and west. On the contrary, the map reveals a rift between north and south, between the nations that we call developed and those we call developing. And by revealing this tectonic shift, the map can tell us something important about geopolitics in the coming age of multipolarity.
But as great powers prepare for a new century of war, the call for non-alignment will only grow louder. Our task is to understand that call now as Tito and Nehru understood it then: not as “neutralism” or “passivity, as is sometimes alleged”. As they wrote in a joint declaration in 1954: “It represents the positive, active and constructive policy that, as its goal, has collective peace as the foundation of collective security.” (Source)
Now, I don't know if this event is necessarily the catalyst, but I do think a future conflict between the US and China could be.

How I would like to see this play out: the development of independent economic blocs for the global south

So possibly something resembling the EU for Africa and South America. Asia and the middle east are a little bit messier and I don't see the same support for regional unity movements there like I do in Africa and South America, but who knows. I think more nations are rejecting the idea of spheres of influence and the cold war mentality the Russia seems to be carrying the zombie of forward. This war has already greatly effected food security in the third world, especially Afghanistan and parts of Africa. South America has been increasingly drifting away from US control and in more recent years the US has had less and less interest in direct meddling like they have in the past.
WHEN GABRIEL BORIC, who is 36 and calls himself a “libertarian socialist”, is sworn in as Chile’s president on March 11th it will mark the most radical reshaping of his country’s politics in more than 30 years. His election in December is also widely seen as part of a new “pink tide” of left-wing governments in Latin America. (Source)

I see South America as the most likely region to break away from the current neoliberal economic order. This process is similar to Samir Amin's concept of de-linking. Unlike Africa, China has yet to begin any sort of economic neocolonialism in that region so they aren't being pulled into yet another sphere of influence yet. I think a broader conflict between the US and China could potentially create a united front against such a global conflict.

That unfortunately is not what I think will happen, however: (continued)
 

Nomad4Ever

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(continued)

Despite some of the positive hopes I have, I'm a little more pessimistic in my predictions.

What I see as more likely is, while not necessarily WWIII, a destructive draw out economic and geopolitical battle between the US and China. I think a lot of nations will try to insulate themselves from the global economy, but in a more nationalist way than the cooperative economic codependency I described in my last post. As much as Russia tried to create their 'economy fortress' much of their internet economy still relied on western big tech. China created their own tech alternatives to the west for a reason. We are starting to put our own pieces in place as well. Both the EU and US are becoming concerned about relying on Taiwan for silicon. China is flirting with extending their reach into Africa and the Middle East.

I don't think the US will simply stand by and watch this happen and I think most countries will end up having to side with one economic bloc or another if they want to maintain their quality of life. I could (10-20 years from now) even see Russia siding with the West against China.

There definitely has been a tension building up for some time now. It seems unlikely that it will diffuse quietly.
 

HikerGuy83

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I have started a number of threads, here (The Second Wave of Fascism, War Crimes), and in the Russia/Belarus/Ukraine forum (regarding food, sanctions) about the coming conflict - which became extant with the Ukraine invasion - between "the West" and western values, and, primarily Putin, of Russia, and Xi of China. What I'd like to have here is a broader discussion, generally, about that "conflict" and how it is, and should be, playing out now and in the future.

I'd like it to be broad reaching and civil. Other than that, I'd like to explore more of the big ideas of "the bigger picture". Citations to think pieces are greatly welcomed.

Keep in mind that I am the dummy in the room.

First, my time is limited to consider these things amidst everything else and I can be pretty slow on the uptake.

What do you think would be at the heart of the "conflict" that you describe above.

The posturing, bloviating, and now real violence that we've seen these past years is going to continue to repeat itself unless someone steps in to break the cycle.

But I don't know if that what you are referencing.
 

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(continued)

Despite some of the positive hopes I have, I'm a little more pessimistic in my predictions.

What I see as more likely is, while not necessarily WWIII, a destructive draw out economic and geopolitical battle between the US and China. I think a lot of nations will try to insulate themselves from the global economy, but in a more nationalist way than the cooperative economic codependency I described in my last post. As much as Russia tried to create their 'economy fortress' much of their internet economy still relied on western big tech. China created their own tech alternatives to the west for a reason. We are starting to put our own pieces in place as well. Both the EU and US are becoming concerned about relying on Taiwan for silicon. China is flirting with extending their reach into Africa and the Middle East.

I don't think the US will simply stand by and watch this happen and I think most countries will end up having to side with one economic bloc or another if they want to maintain their quality of life. I could (10-20 years from now) even see Russia siding with the West against China.

There definitely has been a tension building up for some time now. It seems unlikely that it will diffuse quietly.

What do you believe drives a country like China to behave this way.

Do you think they are totally an agressor nation or do you think they see it as a matter of self-preservation ?
 

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This article indicates that the U.S. needs to consider that it may have helped push Russia to invade:

George Kennan, the living legend who had fathered America’s policy of containment against the Soviet Union, called NATO expansion “a strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions.” Thomas Friedman, America’s most prominent foreign policy columnist, declared it the “most ill-conceived project of the post-Cold War era.”

… In 2014, Henry Kissinger, the personification of the American foreign policy establishment, argued, “The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country.” If “Ukraine is to survive and thrive,” he insisted, “it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.” Instead of joining NATO, Ukraine “should pursue a posture comparable to that of Finland” in which it “cooperates with the West in most fields but carefully avoids institutional hostility toward Russia.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, who in his time as Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor was known as a Cold War hawk, nonetheless embraced the Finland model as well. Ukraine, he insisted, could have “no participation in any military alliance viewed by Moscow as directed at itself.”

Essentially (in my very simple mind), this seems akin to putting missiles in Cuba.

How this applies to the OP is unclear to me, but I am not sure the conflict represents more than what is described above. To that point, I don't know what the "coming conflict" is....beyond what has existed for some time in terms of our love/hate relationship with both China and Russia.
 

oneworld2

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This article indicates that the U.S. needs to consider that it may have helped push Russia to invade:

George Kennan, the living legend who had fathered America’s policy of containment against the Soviet Union, called NATO expansion “a strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions.” Thomas Friedman, America’s most prominent foreign policy columnist, declared it the “most ill-conceived project of the post-Cold War era.”

… In 2014, Henry Kissinger, the personification of the American foreign policy establishment, argued, “The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country.” If “Ukraine is to survive and thrive,” he insisted, “it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.” Instead of joining NATO, Ukraine “should pursue a posture comparable to that of Finland” in which it “cooperates with the West in most fields but carefully avoids institutional hostility toward Russia.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, who in his time as Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor was known as a Cold War hawk, nonetheless embraced the Finland model as well. Ukraine, he insisted, could have “no participation in any military alliance viewed by Moscow as directed at itself.”

Essentially (in my very simple mind), this seems akin to putting missiles in Cuba.

How this applies to the OP is unclear to me, but I am not sure the conflict represents more than what is described above. To that point, I don't know what the "coming conflict" is....beyond what has existed for some time in terms of our love/hate relationship with both China and Russia.
Great article

Without doubt the wreckless march eastward of NATO has created the problem that has led to this situation today, as was predicted by the people cited in the above. BUT to say it is tantamount to treason these days. Putin bears sole responsibility for the war itself but the bigger picture is a whole lot more inclusive of the nations now screaming for the trials of war the criminals. Their cries tainted by virtue of the fact that they themselves hold no moral highground

Unfortunately, every one of those views, from all of those extremely informed minds would be, in the current climate, considered to be " Putin apologia " or " pro Putin propaganda". Thus the " bigger picture" is being kept out of the conversation and the hawks are prospering off the back of it imo.

We see such nonchalant references to the " containment " of China and/or Russia without ,imo, the necessary inquiry as to what that actually means and why or how it is to be played out.

The world has shifted and the US hegemon is on the decline. The boom times are is Asia and events have pushed Russia closer to China. India too looks like it could throw its clout into that alliance and that is a collosal partnership that rivals western power and economic life.

The war, like many wars, once the first bullets are fired , sometimes cause shifts and unexpected consequences and develop lives of their own where the creators are hit themselves with unforseen problems.

Locally for Russia, I think it's a fatal blow to Russo/Ukrainian relations. For Ukraine it is and always was going to be a horror show which will see the country smashed to pieces and possibly be the omly country in Europe to look like the rubble piles usually, and disgustingly, reserved for third worlders. The racism in war coverage is insane but passes with little comment here in the West where it's legacy still remains strong

It will lead to further increases in NATO membership, possibly Sweden, Finland which will not be well received in Moscow but actions have consequences for Russia as they do for Ukraine, the US and everyone else
 

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Great article

Without doubt the wreckless march eastward of NATO has created the problem that has led to this situation today, as was predicted by the people cited in the above. BUT to say it is tantamount to treason these days. Putin bears sole responsibility for the war itself but the bigger picture is a whole lot more inclusive of the nations now screaming for the trials of war the criminals. Their cries tainted by virtue of the fact that they themselves hold no moral highground

Unfortunately, every one of those views, from all of those extremely informed minds would be, in the current climate, considered to be " Putin apologia " or " pro Putin propaganda". Thus the " bigger picture" is being kept out of the conversation and the hawks are prospering off the back of it imo.

We see such nonchalant references to the " containment " of China and/or Russia without ,imo, the necessary inquiry as to what that actually means and why or how it is to be played out.

The world has shifted and the US hegemon is on the decline. The boom times are is Asia and events have pushed Russia closer to China. India too looks like it could throw its clout into that alliance and that is a collosal partnership that rivals western power and economic life.

The war, like many wars, once the first bullets are fired , sometimes cause shifts and unexpected consequences and develop lives of their own where the creators are hit themselves with unforseen problems.

Locally for Russia, I think it's a fatal blow to Russo/Ukrainian relations. For Ukraine it is and always was going to be a horror show which will see the country smashed to pieces and possibly be the omly country in Europe to look like the rubble piles usually, and disgustingly, reserved for third worlders. The racism in war coverage is insane but passes with little comment here in the West where it's legacy still remains strong

It will lead to further increases in NATO membership, possibly Sweden, Finland which will not be well received in Moscow but actions have consequences for Russia as they do for Ukraine, the US and everyone else

The article was something I came across by accident.

I am always amazed at how narrow (or shallow) my thinking.

There is so much more to consider.

While I don't know if what you say is true, I am curious to know what conflicts @NWRatCon is envisioning in his OP.

Are these trade wars or wars with bombs and bullets. Full out conflict or brushfires ?

He's a much more in-depth and thoughful poster than myself. I always learn from his threads.
 

NWRatCon

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I'm coming back with more ideas and responses, but am currently otherwise engaged. Great discussion, though, and lots to ponder.
 

oneworld2

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The article was something I came across by accident.

I am always amazed at how narrow (or shallow) my thinking.

There is so much more to consider.

While I don't know if what you say is true, I am curious to know what conflicts @NWRatCon is envisioning in his OP.

Are these trade wars or wars with bombs and bullets. Full out conflict or brushfires ?

He's a much more in-depth and thoughful poster than myself. I always learn from his threads.

Imo, economic warfare is just warfare by other means and can cause devastating damage to the targeted nation/s

The US sent a delegation over to Venezuela to probe the Maduro govt about playing a part in filling the void left by the US decision about not buying Russian oil as a result of the conflict with Ukraine/sanctions. US led sanctions on Venezuelan oil have had a severe impact of the Venezuelan economyAt the same time there are millions of dollars reward payable by the US govt for information leading to the arrest of Maduro on drugs trafficking charges/allegations.
The US and Europe have opened the Pandoras box with sanctions and are now having to threaten China to desist from aiding Russia avoid the ones placed upon it since the invasion.

So we have the duplicity of the argument that Ukraine has the right to make its own sovereign decisions free from outside influences but China somehow doesn't wrt its choices vis a vis Russia
 
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Evilroddy

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To all:

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is an act of naked aggression by Russia for the purpose of both expanding its imperial power envelope for its own advantage and for reasserting its near-abroad as an ideological buffer zone to ward off both Western interference and Russian accountability through the influence of a rules-based, international system/world-order which is foreign to Russia and the Russian Federation. The West's response has been to support Ukraine with money, military training and military hardware while at the same time attempting to economically hamstring Russia with actual, direct sanctions and threatened future sanctions against any third-party states, organisations, corporations or individuals who support the Russian economy.

The Russo-Ukrainian War is serious because it strikes at the heart of the West's rules-based international order and because this is the first large-scale conventional war in the West's European back-yard. This threat to the rules-based order is so important to the West because that order is so advantageous to the West and to its values and its economic dominance globally. Challenging that order directly threatens Western global political, economic and military hegemony by the West, which has been expressed through the economic and military predominance of the USA since the end of WWII economically and since the mid-1980s militarily. Russia's invasions of Ukraine in 2014 and 2022 have been a dagger-strikes at that very beneficial rules-base order which has been so beneficial to the West and thus that strike is an existential threat to Western global dominance.

The Russo-Ukrainian War is serious to Russia because it represents a last-ditch effort to prevent the foreign and hated Western, rules-based order from moving closer to the Russian Federation's heartland. Those rules which are advantageous to he West are anethma to Russian Orientalism which historically has valued power, statism, authoritarianism and too often outright totalitarianism as necessary tools to bulwark against rival foreign Western imperialism, invasion and influence through the the export of commerce, culture and ideas to Rusdia. Ideas such as individualism, consumerism, commodification of all things and the promotion of managed, top-down, oligarchy controlled democracy as an attractive alternstive to oriental absolutism and coercive, open oligarchy.

The Russo-Ukrainian War is serious to us all because it is a struggle between two nuclear-armed blocs which could possibly escalate into direct military confrontation, up to and including thermonuclear war.

Thus this Russo-Ukranian War is the violent manifestation of a clash of elites' values. One Western set of values promotes an Oz-like notion of top-down, managed democracy which allows some limited room for the political participation of the electoal masses. The other Oriental and Eurasian set of values promotes an openly coercive, authoritarian oligarchy which vigorously seeks to limit mass participation in the politics and affairs of state and which is also a type of oligarchy which is quite willing to serve an absolutist state or ruler in return for better economic opportunities and advantage to those elite members of the oligarchy. This is an elite vs. elite struggle for dominance in Eastern Europe/Western Eurasia; fought by either motivated, nationalist-inspired, non-elites or indifferent and disenfranchised, but conscripted non-elites; both for the benefits of their respective elites.

China, India and Brazil watch on because they are also expressions of dominant and authoritarian oligarchy, although two dress up like a democracy and the other does not.

The struggle is more about appearances of how power is exercised rather than if liberal democracy is really at work, IMHO.

Cheers and be wrll.
Evilroddy.
 
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