Political analyst Dmitry Evstafiev – About Russia’s key role in the definition of a new configuration of international institutions
Originally appeared at Izvestia, translated by Theo N. Kaufman exclusively for SouthFront; Edited by Yoana
The statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, about the eager desire of the Western countries to negotiate Russia’s return to the club of leading world powers, which they now call the “Big Seven”, cannot be called a surprise. Neither can the fact that the real motives “of the global leaders “is also not a big secret.
On the one hand, the coalition of the ‘Big Seven’, which is a coalition of “lame ducks”, gradually transformed into one of the “brilliant Seven”, but their leaders missed a visionair, someone, who could be able to make the tough political and international decisions and effectively implement them. And not someone who could only create information fuss, but whose real “goal” was to unleash a humanitarian catastrophe on a regional scale, and then, afterwards, be able to recognize that someone had done something unthoughtful and it went wrong, but he probably believed that he had done a good PR move. In other words, the group of “Seven” needs a strong leader who will gain real dividends from a public point of view, a classic example how this should not be done is th
e anti-Chinese Statement of the Foreign Ministers of the G7 meeting in Hiroshima, in the arena of realpolitik. I must acknowledge, however, that the return of Putin to the “club”, of course, is an adverse move.
On the other hand, the West, in general, and the European countries specifically, do not lose their hope that they’ll have the chance to involve Russia in a “dialogue of concessions” hereby softening the isolation in which they currently are, as a result of following Washington’s orders and not showing, a little bit of strategic vision. This makes the situation to look like as if Russia took the first steps to reconciliation. As such, considered from the point of view of the modern Western – institutional – mentality, an offer to return to the club, of “the leading nations of the world” is sufficient enough.
The most important question that arises, when evaluating the proposal of the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, is whether this proposal was one of his own. The subtle hints that we are witnessing are the reason for these doubts. The objectives of our European partners are quite clearly marked as an “ultimatum from Mogerini”, of which FM Steinmeier stays awkwardly silent. Apparently, it is necessary to explain to our Western partners globally and to Steinmeier personally, that their proposal sounds very childish and even the brightest Western politicians should have realized by now, that it is not the West that sets the stage, nor decides the rules, nor defines the (pre)-conditions, by which Russia needs to abide in order to have the right to return to “the family of democratic nations“. Currently, even after achieving an agreement with the EU for the payment of a “Turkish tribute” and after their clear and tragic inability to oppose to something unintelligible as the illegal wave from the Eastern Mediterranean to the European continent of tolerant idyll Islamic radicalism, it is Russia that is capable of dictating the rules of the game. As a result Europe would be obliged to engage in a dialogue with its eastern neighbor in defiance of the US dictate.
The main question that arises in connection with this proposal of FM Steinmeier is the following: “Why?”. Why does Russia need to return in the circle of the G7 at this point ?
The current group of “Seven” has no longer power over the political influence as in the 1990s, nor over the economic power as in the 1980s. “The countries that form the group of Seven” are no longer in a position to determine the “direction” of the world’s politics and economy. It is more likely, that the format is rather on the road to insignificance. Nonetheless, remember that almost all meetings of these “important” heads of states from the group of “Seven” – (or eight, including Russia) are “photographed without them wearing ties.” An important topic on the recent summit agenda (except for the last symmit, of course) was the discussion of the leading politicians on the fact that Russia was still in troubled waters. The “Seven”, being actually “the eight”, have become a kind of “get-together”, whose effect has been lost. Their goal is to demonstrate the unity of feelings and interests of the so called “civilized nations”, but nothing more. “The Seven” in the end became another “empty box” whose goals were to unconditionally support the current US administration. The return of Russia to this “crowd” can hardly be taken serious. And the real question that remains is whether Russia’s return to the G7 would promote the preservation of the favorable US global institutional status quo. The US has already proven that it is unable to use the opportunities provided to it by respecting its institutional responsibility.
Russia, by contrast, is now having a maximum “free hand” in this game, it could be the initiator of a significant revival of the global “agenda”, including in terms of multilateral institutions. Moreover, Vladimir Putin, currently has the moral authority to formulate a strategic approach to the management of the future world. All because they are finally realizing “what they have done” – even Obama is reluctantly beginning to recognize this. This “window of strategic opportunities” should be used in the near future so that our “great partners” do not become entangled into another round of bloody Ukrainian “meat grinding”.
Not only is it possible to formulate a vision for the future of this group of “eight”, but there also would not be such reflection on the status of the participating countries, many of which are transforming into a relic of the past. And to conclude the agreement with the Russian side of the vision for the future of the group of “eight” and to discuss the preconditions for our return to this format. Most likely, the West will refuse to discuss the Russian point of view on the global future. But in doing so the leaders of the group of “Seven” recognize that they are not ready to overturn this, once important, international institution from a mere round table to one for the American satellites, of which the only meaningful symbolic gesture is the annual discussion of their “achievements” against the backdrop of global challenges. As such this group of “Seven” can calmly and heroically, “boast of their achievements”.
But the question is not only regarding the group of ‘Seven’. With the US and its satellite states behavior, there could be an emasculating factor in the political sense of the newly created group of “twenty”, and it is unlikely to go beyond the format of a “discussion platform”, on which representatives of the “second-tier” industrial states complain to the “seven” over the asymmetry of the current financial and economic relations. We agree that the group of “twenty”, in the form in which it exists now, carries too many signs of economic neo- colonialism, but this does not mean that the format of the group of “twenty” cannot be “rescued”.
The end of the sanctions on Iran, the new global economic status of India, the growing isolation of Turkey and, on the other hand, the stabilization of Egypt, as well as the number of other exciting global processes, such as the crisis in Brazil – a model country “catching-up”, provide an opportunity to reflect on the new configuration of international institutions, which will be more than enough to the developing before our eyes into a system of international political and economic relations.
And here is Russia’s vision of the prospects for the “new global institutionalization” inside the international system – with the group of “Seven”, or “Eight” or without them, it would nonetheless, be extremely valuable. Especially if these ideas are based on real resources and opportunities, not only in declarations and statements.
This idea would be interesting and attractive, and the audience would be always there.
The author – is a member of the PIR Center’s Executive Board