Fareed Zakaria, expert in geopolitics: «The crisis is a chance. For Europe, the era of free US security ends “

Of Paolo Valentino

The expert in geopolitics and international relations explains: «This war changes the world balance more than 11 September. The China? More costs than benefits from Russian stocks. Support for Putin will be limited “

«The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the most important global event
since the fall of the Berlin Wall, as it marks the end of globalization how we have experienced it in the last 30 years and the rebirth of a competition between different powers. There American safety guarantee as a condition of world order it no longer exists. Even September 11 did not change the nature of the international system. The actions of Russia and Putin, on the other hand, are doing it, for example forcing China to defend Moscow and putting it on a collision course with Europe, with which Beijing has tried to establish very close ties “.
American of Indian origin, analyst of the CnnFareed Zakaria is one of the most qualified experts in the world of geopolitics and international relations.

The image of a new Cold War is overused, but correct.

“In truth, the only analogy that comes to mind is just that, but with the difference that Russia is much weaker than the Soviet Union, economically and politically. No.It is therefore not a strategic confrontation between two Superpowers. What comes back is rather the Cold War mentality, where politics prevails over the economy. Over the past 30 years, most countries have acted following a single North Star: growth. Trade, technology, internal reforms – everything was aimed at producing more growth. It was a world where national security was taken for granted. Not anymore. Today, almost everyone, from Canada to Germany, from Japan to neutral Sweden, thinks about their own defense and strategic posture ».

But this is not true from today. From Brexit to Trump’s America First, many choices have been dictated more by nationalist populism than by the market economy.

“It is true, the trend started a few years ago: nations are looking for more security in their supply chains, self-sufficiency is rewarding efficiency. But the war in Ukraine is a turning point: a part of the world is now separated. Think of the business that McDonald’s had built in Russia in 30 years with over 800 restaurants, a vast network of local producers and millions of customers. All finished in a few days. Or to Aeroflot which may have to stop flying because Airbus and Boeing will no longer provide assistance and spare parts due to the sanctions ».

You define this new post-American era.

“Pax Americana is over. The US is no longer the only global power, while still remaining the dominant one. The signals are coming from everywhere: the leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have not even wanted to talk to Joe Biden on the phone and refuse to increase oil production. India, Pakistan and even Israel have not condemned the Russian invasion and say they want to continue their business with Moscow. They feel confident enough to unmark themselves. Washington will have to change its policy in the context of this new reality. It is no longer 1945, when the US had 50 percent of world GDP and could launch the Marshall Plan, NATO, the reconstruction of Japan. But they still have a lot of assets. Like the fact of being the largest producers of hydrocarbons ».

In this new era, in your opinion, Europe has its greatest strategic opportunity. Because?

“There is a great void in the current international system: 25 per cent of world GDP and a large part of defense spending are made in Europe. The EU is decisive in many dimensions: rules, standards, competition, trade. But there is no Europe in foreign policy. All those resources spent separately by nation states for defense have no strategic focus. This new crisis is a great chance to translate this potential into global strategic power. There are important and encouraging signs that Europeans are ready to end the era of free security guaranteed by the US, increase investment in defense and dedicate themselves to securing eastern borders. The breakthrough in Germany is an encouraging step. If Europe became a global player, it would be the biggest geopolitical change that emerged from the Ukrainian crisis. Together with the United States it would create a super-alliance in defense of liberal values, even more important than NATO. But the condition is that the West assumes costs and risks so as not to let Putin prevail in Ukraine ”.

Where does China stay in all this? At the moment Beijing seems to be sitting on the fence: it is with Moscow, but fears for its relations with Europe and the West.

“After the end of the Trump years, China thought Biden would re-establish one working relationship. Instead the new administration has not changed anything. For this reason too, Beijing has moved closer to Russia. But the Ukrainian crisis is problematic: it violates the principle of sovereignty of a state which Beijing holds very much, it damages its relations with Europe. I think Chinese support for Putin will be limited and conditional. The relationship between Moscow and Beijing is a vassalage relationship, the Chinese economy is ten times larger than the Russian one, the most important thing for China is the European market. I think it is a complicated situation for Xi Jinpingto. Among other things, his foreign policy was not very successful: he alienated Australia, India, Japan. We always think that the Chinese move intelligently, wisely, play long time, but in foreign policy they have made many mistakes and their current situation with Russia seems like another miscalculation: they are linked to a partner that brings more costs. what benefits “.

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