Russia, Islam and the New World Order
Column: Politics Region: Russia in the World
In his speech at a meeting of the Valdai Club on October 24 Russia’s President Vladimir Putin made a number of frank, sharp remarks regarding US policies. In fact, the Russian leader made it clear that the United States and the West were presented with two options: they can work together with Russia and other emerging economies in a unified effort to create a more just world, or Russia will be eager to act according in response to the current US modus operandi. Since Washington has a habit of infringing upon rules and ignoring the norms of international law, Moscow can play in tune to stay on par with its chief contender. There’s little doubt that such steps may weaken global security and contribute to an increase of instability in the world, especially in the Middle East. In Sochi, Vladimir Putin has virtually announced a new foreign policy aimed at countering US attempts to dominate the world. Speaking to a diverse audience of foreign journalists and political scientists, he said that the United States had repeatedly violated the rules by unleashing military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and by fueling countless color revolutions.
As an alternative, Russian President has put forward the plan of a new world order based on new alliances and unions. “The logical way – is the cooperation of countries and societies in search for collective answers to the ever increasing challenges, a joint risk management” – he said. The world needs a “legal, political, economic basis of the new world order that would ensure security and stability, while promoting healthy competition.”
Some Western political analysts believe that by making these statements Putin put out a trial balloon to check if there’s still a general willingness among Western governments to engage in dialogue. Moscow is prepared for the most serious substantive discussion on the issues of nuclear disarmament and the rules that will determine when a conflict can be resolved by military intervention. This might as well be Putin’s last warning, since the threat of global chaos has surpassed the threat of major confrontations. It’s was no coincidence that Russia’s President hinted at the risk of new conflicts involving major powers, especially “at the junctions of geopolitical interests”.
Putin’s position is as simple as it is justified: since the United States is responsible for the spread of chaos around the globe, Russia has the moral right to take the certain steps. If there are no rules for the US, there can be none for Russia. It’s clear that Moscow is not looking for confrontation, and politics can still come into play, especially due to the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. “America needs Russian help in its fight against ISIL — Putin said – and the cooperation in this field can be the first step to certain changes. “
Yet, it seems that at this stage reconciliation is hardly possible, since Washington has clearly crossed the red line and it shows no signs of regret over this fact.
Historically speaking, a hundred years ago a war between European empires and monarchies erupted out of nowhere, it was later called the First World War. It was quickly followed by another major conflict – unleashed by Hitler in his strides toward world domination. The clash of empires was quickly transformed into a war of nations. Once the Second World War ended, the conflict of ideologies – or the Cold War was to start, when Communist regimes fought with liberal capitalist “democracies“. In geographical terms, this war was waged by entire continents, but soon it all ended with the break-up of the Soviet bloc at the end of the century. The new century began with a new historical event on September 11, 2001. Terrorist attacks on the United States have become a point of no return, a reason for the so-called “war on terror”.
If you look at history, you will notice that all major conflicts were provoked by smaller ones. The so-called “war on terrorism” did not surface out of nowhere with the onset of the new century, in fact, it has longstanding historical roots.
One can say that it all started with the Muslim Brotherhood movement created by an Egyptian imam Hassan al-Banna to oppose colonialism and domination of the West a hundred years ago. After the collapse of the Soviet bloc, with Marxism ideology seeing a sharp decline, Islamism has become the dominant liberation base against Western hegemony in the Islamic world, especially the Middle East. This struggle stretches across the entire Middle East, from Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east to the Arab Maghreb in the west, including Iran, Turkey and the whole Arab world. Judging by its scale one may say that it will last for a decade or two.
Once terrorism was suppressed in America, Europe and Russia, terrorists rushed to the Middle East, thereby expanding the spread of this plague. But beneath the veil of this major conflict, there’s a number of smaller clashes, which are no less important. Among these one may name the “inter-Islamic conflict” which is raging in the region due to the cultural diversity of the Muslim states. Unjustified aggression against Iran launched by Saudi Arabia and its partners in the GCC can serve as a perfect example of an inter-Islamic conflict. Some states are torn apart by internal conflicts, the most vivid example is Iraq. The underlying cause for these clashes are the historical differences between the Iranian, Turkish, European, Caucasian, Central Asian and Arab forms of Islam.
Today Iran represents a new model of social development, it shows no signs of external aggression while preserving its traditions and cultural originality. Turkish Islam – is a moderate wing of Islam, which exists within the framework of a secular state. A new kind of adherents of Islam, or rather Islamism – Salafists are openly supporting terrorism. As for Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and the conservative monarchies of Arabia, they profess the aggressive exterior and interior Islam, while most Arab states profess traditional Islam, which gradually transforms into its secular version. Volga and the North Caucasus Islam were integrated into the secular structure of the Russian state, with its predominant Christian identity, but some small groups that adhere to Wahhabism and Salafism are prone to religious extremism and terrorism. This situation is similar to Central Asia Islam.
A number of certain similarities in views can be observed in terrorist radical political parties and religious terrorist groups. Thus, the Muslim Brotherhood movement keeps on supporting several terrorist groups, and therefore is considered a terrorist organization in some Arab countries and in Russia. Even the West de facto rejected the idea of persuading the Muslim Brotherhood to renounce terrorism. And this struggle within the Islamic camp has been going on for decades.There’s also the struggle of the West against Islam and those Islamic countries which follow their own unique route of development, such as Iran.
The struggle within Islam is now impossible to stop, it will have to be accepted and dealt with one way or another. Individuals, groups and nations in the East can identify themselves as citizens of a modern nation-state no more, instead they reached out to the old traditional definitions. They call themselves Muslims, and then there is a fractional division into Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, Zaidi. And this despite the fact that at the national level, those same people are divided into Arabs, Persians, Kurds, Turks, Pashtuns, Tatars, Uzbeks, Chechens, etc.
Terrorism, of course, is not an inherent property of Islam. Most nations have managed to break away from the past, they created a new system of coexistence, while preserving religion by forcing it to keep up with the changing times. This problem, however, hasn’t been solved in the majority of Muslim states, but it’s up to the people to decide, not religious officials. Today political Islam supports a large population that perceives it as the only weapon to resist the onslaught of Western aggression.
It turns out that Marx’s theory is still accurate, since the West is trying persistently to maintain its position as global ruler, while Russia, China, India, Iran, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and other emerging economies are seeking justice, not only in distribution of wealth, but also in taking part in international decision making.
The current war for influence in the hydrocarbon-rich Middle East, along with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, was pushed to the surface by the current global system. And Russia has found itself on the same side with China, India, Iran and most Arab countries, due to the US’ poor political decisions, since politicians chose to expel it from the camp formed around Western Christian values. And it’s all for the best, since the West is doomed to play a secondary role, as the powerful and rapidly developing economies of Asia, Latin America and Africa will occupy a dominant position in the political and economic fields pretty soon.
That is why Vladimir Putin stated in Sochi that the world needs “the legal, political, and economic basis for a new world order that would allow for stability and security, while encouraging healthy competition.” Hence – there’s a need to build new alliances and unions for collective protection against aggressive moves by the US and its allies. And since the main struggle is now unfolding in the Middle East, Moscow must first look at those states that share common interests with Russia. That is – Belarus, Armenia, Iran, Central Asian countries, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, to some extent Afghanistan and Pakistan, and perhaps even Turkey, which was not accepted into the EU, but is still being ordered around by NATO. The core of this security-oriented organization could be formed by a strategic axis of Russia, China, India, and Iran as the most influential countries of Eurasia. Besides, Russia together with Iran and Iraq have the oil and gas potential that exceeds the capabilities of the Arab Gulf monarchies. Over time, the economic component of this axis can be connected to a hydrocarbon-rich Venezuela, and then the new alliance could come on par with the southern soft underbelly of the United States. Agreements with other emerging economies would allow the new axis to replace the UN, since the UN and its Security Council, has been transformed by the White House into an obedient servant, that can provide a flare of legitimacy to US actions. The new partnership can rally all countries that are not NATO members and such US allies as Japan, Australia New Zealand and the US vassals in the Arabian Peninsula.
US and NATO countries do not need a new world. They are already falling apart, rotten from the inside, while the moral decay and intellectual degradation are still at their height. After all, they have violated all Christian morality norms and lost their spiritual orientation that keeps on inspiring the world of Islam and Orthodoxy, led by Russia. Gay community, gay marriage, same-sex parents, depersonalization in children, pedophilia, Nazism – that’s the present and future of the West. No wonder that immigrant communities from Asia and Africa despite their energy and determination are starting to rot from the inside in Western states .
In this situation, the advantage in the balance of political, economic and military force would be on the side of the new alliance, and the West would have to play by the rules that had been set by the majority rather than so-called Western democratic leaders, willing to impose their will on the majority.
So this would be a real “end of history”, but not the one predicted by Francis Fukuyama, but as a natural step in the development of human civilization, the true liberation from the unbridled power of Anglo-Saxons.
Peter Lvov, Ph.D in political science, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2014/11/10/rus-rossiya-novy-j-miroporyadok-i-islam/