Last week there was a meeting of Russian President Putin and President Erdogan of Turkey and President Raisi of Iran in Iran’s capital Teheran. Only a short time ago a meeting of these three men, especially in Iran’s capital of Teheran, would have been unthinkable. The meeting was a measure of how much the world has changed in a very short time.
Iran has recently joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and also applied to join the BRICS group, as has Turkey. The idea of Turkey joining such a group, of which Russia and China are the two strongest members and a bitter opponent of the United States led coalition of Western states, would have been unthinkable. It is a measure of how the world has changed and is changing, all in a very short time period.
Another applicant to join BRICS is Saudi Arabia which recently hosted United States president Joe Biden and what turned out to be a fruitless exercise from the American point of view. Biden, who had earlier expressed very critical comments of the Saudi government, was forced to eat humble pie in his foray to the Kingdom. He was forced to meet the Saudi leader in Jeddah, being denied the privilege of a meeting in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.
Russia has made a major effort to woo Turkey which is currently a favoured destination of Russian tourists. Turkey maintains a military presence in Syria, aimed primarily at the Kurdish minority that is in fact an American proxy. The Americans for their part, continue to occupy a part of Syrian territory. There is not the least basis in international law for that occupation. Worse, the Americans are continuing the theft of Syrian oil for which they make absolutely no effort to pay the Syrians. They simply take it and keep the proceeds, which amounts to several million dollars per day. The word “theft” is used advisedly as no other word as accurately describes the nature of the United States actions. Equally as bad as the theft is the complete absence of criticism of such unlawful activity from Australia whose media pretend nothing is happening.
Russia talking to Turkey on such friendly terms marks also another shift in Russian foreign policy. Together with China, Russia is forging a new international trading order on which the vast majority of the nations of the developing world are a part. Again, there is a fundamental shift in the world order, coming on top of the fact that the vast majority of those nations have refrained from uttering any criticism of Russia for its actions in Ukraine.
One of the most important players in this emerging New World order is India. The role of India has always proved something of a puzzle. It is long-enjoyed good ties with Russia and the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) is merely the latest manifestation of the good relationship. India is also a member of the quartet of nations, along with the United States, Japan and Australia, that form what is increasingly an unlikely alliance clearly aimed at China. How India reconciles its membership of this quartet alongside its relationship with Russia remains one of the great mysteries, let alone its membership of BRICS which includes China, nominally one of the targets of the aforementioned quartet.
In this context, India joining the INSTC may be one of the clearest signals, together with its refusal to criticise Russia over the Ukrainian confrontation, that India has decided to cast its lot with the developing nations. In this context it will be interesting to see how its relationship with the Americans survives in the aforementioned quartet.
In this context, India joining the INSTC may be one of the clearest signals, together with its refusal to criticise Russia over the Ukrainian confrontation, that India has decided to cast its lot with the developing nations. In this context also it will be interesting to see how its relationship with the Americans survives in the aforementioned quartet.
Western Europe for its part continues its inevitable slow demise, of which its sanctions against Russia are playing an inexorable role. The confident United States-European view when the full sanctions were applied in February of this year was that Putin’s reign was imminently dead and that the Russian economy would collapse.
What has actually happened has been a rude shock to European arrogance. After some initial stumbles the Russian rouble has progressively strengthened to reach its highest point against the Euro and United States dollar for several years. It is the European economies that are collapsing and the coming winter is likely to be uncomfortably cold for them in more than one sense.
Western solidarity is also collapsing. There are of course those who will oppose Russia to the bitter end, such as Ursula van der Leyen, but their position looks increasingly untenable. A range of European countries are now looking to make private deals with the Russians to avoid the inevitable political consequences of their citizens literally freezing this winter.
Their plight is meeting with a marked reluctance by the Russians to even care about their plight, as entirely self-inflicted as it is. Putin’s recent speech to the Strong Idea For a New Time forum was notable for its promotion of the “truly revolutionary” changes that are occurring in the world that could transform the existing world order to one that was more “harmonious, fairer and more community focused and safe” than the existing world order, dominated is it has been by the selfish demands of the world’s small number of rich nations.
The existing world order was “condemned to fail” Putin said, is it was “becoming a brake on the development of our civilisation”. The old order, which the West was pleased to describe as “the rules based international order”, a singularly inept description and anathema to those who believe in the powerful status of international law as the governing ethos, is bound to fail, Putin argued.
It is a system of change that is long overdue and the sooner it occurs the better off we will all be.