Written by Alexander Uzunov; Originally appeared at Memoriabg, translated by Valentina Tzoneva exclusively for SouthFront
Alexander Uzunov has a BA degree in Political Science and is currently continuing his studies in Masters in Diplomacy and National Security at the “St., St. Cyril and Metodiy”. He is the author of analyses in the field of global and regional policy. His interests are in the field of geopolitics and international relations.
There is a curse: it says:
“May you live in interesting times!”
Terry Pratchett has chosen this ancient Chinese wisdom for the beginning of his book, “Interesting times”. I will also start with it because of its particular relevance to the present time. The world is changing at the speed of light and established ideologies and norms sink into oblivion. The first year of my studies at the university was in the not so distant in 2012 and given the bleak scenarios for the coming end of the world, it looked pretty apocalyptic. Of course, everything was dictated by Hollywood’s eschatological ideas about the world that have planted roots in the mass consciousness. There is a cultural feature to which I will pay some attention. The old movies presented light and a utopian future for the world and today they contain significant apocalyptic scenarios that are presented as our near future. This shows lack of confidence in tomorrow. Here I cannot but mention a certain pessimistic wisdom, which states that “The past has no reason to envy the future.”
But let’s go back to 2012, at that time the ideas of globalization and multiculturalism reached the apogee. They literally had accepted the chimeric form of irrefutable truths. A man digging through Google to understand their meaning could not come across a negative opinion about them. Today, however, the reality is quite different. Both ideas experience daily erosion. Multiculturalism sinks in deep oblivion. It crashed into the wall of realism. Time proved that the segregation in Western societies is real. The so-called refugees do not actually integrate, contrarily; they want to shape the Western civilization in their own image. Instead of focusing on the real problems and seeking its lost grandeur, Europe is giving serious consideration to the existential question of the existence of 31st gender and wonders if Orthodoxy is not really a well-conceived Russian ideological propaganda. The problem with multiculturalism is that its shots land on the basic foundations of society: family, church and school. This is the immune system of society, and everyone who has studied biology (and even if one has not) will still know that after the destruction of the immune system follows a lethal end for the organism. Multiculturalism, however, is only an integral part of globalization, and we talked about it in one way yesterday, but in a completely different way today, four years later.
Since 2016 is going to be over, it would be interesting to find a word that would better describe it. Avoiding verbosity, it can be called a reactionary leap year. In this analysis, combined with an overlapping essayistic element, I will analyze precisely this reaction that is currently changing international relations, and with them the global realities.
DIRECTION OF WORLD DEVELOPMENT
In the 80s, Thatcher and Reagan introduced in the Western world the globalist neoliberal development paradigm of the world. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the USSR and destruction of the bipolar model, the entire planet embarked on economic, political, legal and cultural globalization and the global rise of neoliberalism. Francis Fukuyama and other Western thinkers triumphed that it was the end of the story of universalization of the liberal democracy. If we add to this the law of Doyle, according to whom a war is impossible between liberal democracies, we were supposed to witness the planet in a state of Eternal Peace as per Kant. None of this happened. On the contrary, the unipolar world proved to be much more risky. Conflicts followed, one after another, blowing up major geopolitical units and one particular power dictated the rules of the global game. The USA intervened wherever they decided, trying to shape the world by the basic postulates of the Atlantic geopolitics. The years passed, and the US by applying “imperial overpressure of forces” exhausted its authority and prestige. (The concept belongs to the famous historian, Paul Kennedy, who points out that “if a hegemon state does not prevent surges of military resources, it ultimately would only accelerate its decline”  ).
It was obvious from a distance that after the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, the American global domination came to an end. This was noticed by Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in his Munich speech in 2007. The world began to experience profound doubts towards globalization and began to view it as a tool of advancing US interests. The chief editor of the political magazine A-specto, Kalina Androlova, recently wrote on this occasion that “In the early XXI century, under the wing of globalization Washington is trying to subjugate the whole world” . This is not entirely true. Globalization benefits a small class of the elite in the US. These are the transnational elites, Wall Street bankers and the military-industrial complex, or the common denominator called the “golden percent”. Their interests are protected by the neoconservatives and the neoliberals who have so many similarities that they hardly differ in their views. “They stand in the closest relations with the forces that are at the heart of globalization in its present neoliberal kind” . Nikolay Nikolaev’s comment is correct. Globalization served a serious blow to the average American, part of the middle class. Manufacturing was directed from the US side towards China and other countries, resulting in a loss of jobs for many Americans, and the country began a process of de-industrialization. (Over the past 15 years in the US, 60 000 factories closed doors and almost five million well paid jobs were lost ). Migration brought cheap labor. The endless wars and colossal military spending went deeper into the pockets of the average American, as he is the one who pays for them. Traditional American values inherited from the “founding fathers” are in a process of decline, and the American dream began to collapse. The famous American politician and journalist, Patrick Buchanan, summarized that “America has gained the world but lost itself”, and this happens through globalization.
It was known as early as 2015 that international relations will be formed largely on two defining choices. The choice of the former empire of Great Britain was to stay in the sinking ship of the European Union or seek a lifeboat in other, more reliable alliances. The other choice was about the shape and development of a contemporary American country where traditional Americanism most sharply opposed globalization and more importantly won. “The change does not stop here”  British politician, Nigel Farage said and obviously he is right. These two choices will affect the future of the world like a domino effect.
At first this was tested in the presidential election in Austria. Norbert Hofer, a serious and powerful anti-establishment player in the country gained but then lost by a narrow margin in a particularly unusual race, full of electoral irregularities. The shadow of suspected manipulation of elections will hang over Austria for a long time. The European elite of the status quo cannot feel relieved. The referendum, held in Italy, confirms the strengthening of the popularity of anti-establishment parties and the reduced influence of the traditional ones. Elections in France, the Netherlands and Germany will be held in 2017, which will be crucial for the future of the European Union. In France, at the primaries, Francois Fillon gave a serious request for presidency and he is definitely not a supporter of globalization but carries the spirit of change. And in Germany, the Eurosceptic and anti-globalization party “Alternative for Germany” gained popularity and record-levels of support.
Voting for Brexit was the reaction of the society in Britain against globalization. The migration crisis has highlighted the inability of the European elites to deal with a crisis of a strategic nature. There are indications of a slowdown in economic growth in the EU all along the migration crisis. A closer examination shows that the events on the island are not deprived of its geopolitical logic. Britain is often criticized by the US about its rapprochement with China. Chinese President, Xi Jinping was met in October 2015 in London with much solemnity and with great honor by the Queen. The visit of the Chinese leader was rich with symbolism. Talks about possible reorientation of foreign policy on the island in serious diplomatic circles were taking place then and were confirmed by Brexit. It showed the English sophisticated foreign policy of balancing between different forces. Great Britain gave up the assigned role of an instrument of influence and enforcement of US interests in the EU. With the release from the EU, the UK has shown that it will conduct its relations with other countries based on their own sovereignty and national interest.
More interesting and more surprising was the choice of the United States. The whole world was holding its breath before the election of the 45th US president. Who will be the new most powerful man in the world, holding more power than anyone else depended on this choice. World news agencies, a number of sociologists and political scientists, and Hollywood were persuading mankind that the former First Lady, Hillary Clinton will be the new president. Behind her stood perhaps the most powerful forces in the world, the American military-industrial complex, Wall Street bankers and international transnational financial capital (“the Vanguard”, “the Black Rock”, Larry Fink, George Soros, etc.). Behind her stood also the oil giants from the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The fiercest opponents of Trump and supporters of Hillary were neoliberals and neoconservatives, who are behind the above forces. They by all means seek to preserve and continue the development of globalization. The surprising victory of Donald Trump sent them all in a ubiquitous stupor. The long-standing status quo was violated. Protests against the election of the new president indicate that the powerful circles backing Hillary cannot be reconciled with the loss.
The election winner was not the Republican Party; Trump was not the only one who won. The true victory belongs to the idea of rethinking the process of globalization. The counter- revolutionary conservative forces won. Industrial capital won over the financial one. We should ask now what forces stood behind the eccentric billionaire? These were traditional Republicans, religious right, white middle class and leveraged American industrial capital. These are the groups that suffered the blow of globalization. “Donald Trump realized something very important, he realized that mass globalization “eats” the middle class in the US ”, the financial expert, Mika Zaykova says. The FBI, which played a role in the selection of Trump for president by periodically exporting discredits against his opponent, was in the shade.
Trump’s ideological approach is at most paleo-conservative, supporting the values of the old authentic conservatism. He defines himself as a “reasonable conservative”. The team, which surrounds the new president, shares his anti-globalization views and the highly conservative movement, the “Tea Party” with serious popularity will have strong positions in Washington (Example – Mike Pompei). The world will relax with the victory of Trump. There are signs that he will choose the way of modern neo-isolationism for which Americanism will be more important than globalization. In this type of policy, the US will turn to themselves and their internal problems, and this in turn will help the world to move more easily from a unipolar to a multipolar system.
With longtime actions of the group BRICS and the SCO, the implementation of Brexit and the choice of president of the American people, the world has started moving confidently towards a multipolar world. World history, according to Hegel, is a movement of the spirit towards the realization of freedom. Nothing is static and frozen, but in constant motion. The international system is a manifestation of the world of the spirit. Understanding of the world lies in a dialectical triad. Following it, bipolarity is a thesis and its antithesis is a unipolar world. The synthesis between them, in which both deny each other, is a multipolar world that is moved by sovereign and independent states. The collapse of globalization is associated with the rise of a multipolar world and regionalization. Anti-globalization trends are growing across the West. Such processes already exist within the EU. First Brexit and second, within the Union, separate groups that pursue their common interests and negotiate other regional groupings and alliances began to form. France grouped around other southern countries in the “Alliance of the southern European countries” (Alliance of Europe’s South). Germany, in turn, grouped with the Nordic countries in a community. On the third side stands the Visegrad Four, which showed strong political will in the face of Viktor Orban. The internal divisions within the union are a serious threat to its existence and lead at least to serious changes in its structure and decision making.
Brexit and the victory of Trump are a blow against globalization and a serious indication that something new is going on in the world. This was partially said during the farewell visit of Obama in Europe. In Athens, he said that “The world’s direction towards globalization requires a course correction”.  The new trends in international relations will be: anti-globalism, strengthening the role of the state and national sovereignty, regionalization, protectionism, the breakthrough movement of nationalist parties, reducing the influence of third players (multinational companies) and the idea of superiority of the security over freedom in the contemporary paradigm of political ethics. The process of corporate colonialism and the practice of non-state actors to acquire significant rights over the state will be discontinued. Examples for this are TPTI and TTP, which were frozen after the election of Trump. These new realities will reflect in the Bulgarian state. As a consequence of the global change the role of the colonial administration, managing the strategic interests of the former global hegemon on Bulgarian territory will be reduced.
All these factors will enable the world to seek a balance between the interests of key strategic players in a new spirit. You will need to seek understanding based on realism. This can happen by relieving the pressure in Syria, Ukraine and the South China Sea. If the US Administration takes such actions it will show Russia and China that their national interests are respected. This in turn will help to address other global issues. Richard Nixon is an example of keeping this type of policy – partnership with China and disarmament treaties with the Soviet Union (SALT 1 and SALT 2). Until recently, the response to globalization has been associated with some degree of anti-Americanism, but now when the spirit of change comes from the US, it will also change.
The world once again realized that history is a series of changes and nothing lasts forever, no matter how safe it may seem. Narrowing the historical time did not allow the preservation of a unipolar world for a longer period. The American hegemony will go away together with globalization. The US will remain the only superpower in the world that has managed to reach such a level of power. And here, we are not just talking about military and economic aspects but also cultural and technological models which America was able to impose on the world. The near future will show new redistribution of forces about which Brzezinski and Kissinger speak in recent articles and analyses. The triangle USA-China-Russia will be the key question in global politics.
I will conclude this analysis in the spirit of its beginning. One thing is certain now, we are entering an era of uncertainty, and the future promises to be more than interesting.
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