Friday, January 25, 2019

Russia, China, India And Iran: Changing The World

Russia, China, India and Iran: The Magic Quadrant That is Changing the World

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the commencement of the unipolar era, India, Russia, China and Iran started down their paths of historical rebirth, though starting from very different positions and following different paths. 

India understood that Washington had immense economic and military power at its disposal. Despite the early embraces between Clinton and Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, relations between New Delhi and Washington reached unexpected heights during the Bush era. A series of factors helped to weld the bond. There was, firstly, the reality of India’s great economic growth. Secondly, India offered the opportunity of counterbalancing and containing China, a classic geopolitical scenario.

During this delicate unipolar period, there were two highly significant events for Russia and China that represented the beginning of the end for Washington's plans to dominate the planet. First of all, Putin became president of the Russian Federation on December 31, 1999. Secondly, Beijing was accepted into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Today’s Chinese economic power took flight thanks to the Western industrial companies relocating their manufacturing to China so as to see their dividends triplicate and costs more than halve. It was a winning model for the capitalist, and a loser for the Western factory worker, as we would come to see 20 years later. The strategic thinking of the newly elected Putin was geopolitically visionary and had at its base a complete revamp of Russia’s military doctrine.

India and China continued on their path to becoming economic giants, even as there is a latent but constant rivalry, while Iran and Russia continued on their path of military rejuvenation in order to ensure a deterrent sufficient to discourage any attacks by Israel or the US respectively.

Slowly, and not without problems, these four countries began a military, economic, political and diplomatic cooperation that, almost a decade later, allowed for the ending of the US unipolar moment and the creation of a multipolar reality with different centers of power.
The first confirmation of this new phase in international relations, favoured by historical ties, was the increasingly multifaceted cooperation between India and Russia. Another factor was China and Russia being drawn to the Middle East and North Africa as a result of the Obama administration’s actions in the Middle East with its Arab Springs, bombing of Libya and destabilization of Syria. They feared that prolonged chaos in the region would eventually have a negative effect on their own economies and social stability.

The final straw was the coup d'├ętat in Ukraine, as well as the escalation of provocations in the South China Sea following the launch by the US of its so-called “Pivot to Asia”. Russia and China were thus forced into a situation neither had thought impossible for the previous 40 years: the joining of hands to change the world order by removing Washington from its superpower dais.

Then came the military synergies, and finally the diplomatic ones, expressed by coordinated voting in the United Nations Security Council. From 2014 onwards, Russia and China signed important agreements that laid the foundations for a long-running Eurasian duopoly.

One last step that these countries need to take is that of de-dollarization, which plays an important role in how the the US is able to exercise economic influence. Even if the US dollar were to remain central for several years, the process of de-dollarization is irreversible.

Right now Iran plays a vital role in how countries like India, Russia and China are able to respond asymmetrically to the US. Russia uses military power in Syria, China seeks economic integration in the Silk Road 2.0, and India bypasses the dollar by selling oil in exchange for goods or other currency.

Soon there will be a breaking point, not so much militarily (as the nuclear MAD doctrine is still valid) but rather economically. Of course the spark will come from changing the denomination in which oil is sold, namely the US dollar. This process will still take time, but it is an indispensable condition for Iran becoming a regional hegemon. China is increasingly clashing with Washington; Russia is increasingly influential in OPEC; and India may finally decide to embrace the Eurasian revolution by forming an impenetrable strategic square against Washington, which will shift the balance of global power to the East after more than 500 years of domination by the West.

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