Global trajectory shifts away from US singularity
Published: Jan 16, 2023 11:29 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

The Russia-Ukraine conflict will continue to be the dominant flashpoint for 2023, both in terms of conflict resolution and sorting out the security consequences for Europe.

There are three aspects to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, or as sometimes described the Russian conflict against the collective West. 

The first is military. NATO has made the decision to use Ukrainian military as its proxy. It is training Ukrainian soldiers, equipping the Ukrainian military with tens of billions of dollars' worth of heavy equipment and is providing communication, intelligence and planning support. Ukrainian military is a NATO army in every way but the legal aspect of actual NATO membership. 

But NATO is a paper tiger as an organization that lacks the military capacity to impose its will on a given place. It's one thing for NATO to be beaten in Afghanistan as they were - remember their retreat in the summer of 2021; it's another thing for NATO to be defeated in its own backyard, in a conflict it had been preparing for since 2008. 

NATO, as recently as June 2022, was talking about expanding its reach into the Pacific to confront China. If the Chinese take a look at what's happening militarily in Europe, there should be a growing recognition that NATO is not a threat militarily to China and that China has nothing to fear from NATO. 

The next aspect is economic. The G7 is ostensibly an organization of the seven most influential economies in the world. It is an adjunct of the US. The G7 would not exist if it weren't for the US. The G7 exists to serve the US and to promote the American-driven notion of a rules-based international order - not a law-based international order, but a rules-based international order where outcomes are determined by the US alone.

The G7 in Europe bought into the American notion that Russia could be defeated economically through sanctions. This has not succeeded. It's not just Russia, the world is waking up indeed. The world has woken up to the fact that the US can no longer dictate an outcome through the threat or implementation of unilateral American-driven economic sanctions. This has been a tool used by the US for decades to shape and influence the world as it sees fit.

But Russia's refusal to bend their knee, and instead rising up, has shown the world that the US and Europe can no longer succeed in threatening an outcome through sanctions alone. The G7, because of these sanctions, has become a ruined organization. Think about the German economy. What was it in 2021? Strong, vibrant. What is it today in 2023? Weakened, shattered. The French economy? Weakened, shattered. The British economy? Weakened, shattered. The Italian economy? I can go on and on and on. 

Europe is a weakened and shattered continent economically because of America's policy of sanctions. And how is the world response? BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - and more are saying that the G7 is no longer the dominant force economically in the world but BRICS is. And this is the truth. This is something that may have happened in the future, but this has been accelerated by the Ukrainian conflict, by the economic fallout from the Ukrainian conflict. 

The world is undergoing a radical economic transformation away from the singularity, the hegemony of the US to a multipolar world, where BRICS is now the major player.
China, unlike the US, is willing to work with others on an equal basis, whereas the US only dictates outcomes. So this economic transformation is because of the Ukrainian conflict. And then from that comes the third aspect, geopolitics. 

There is a radical geopolitical transformation taking place away from the American singularity to the global multipolarity. And this is happening because of the Ukrainian conflict. It's something that people have been talking about for years. But the problem was that the US was so powerful, big and dominant that even though we speak of a shift, it's like a giant ship in the ocean. 
Once it has momentum going forward, it's very difficult to change direction. But what has happened with the Ukrainian conflict is that this ship has lost its engine. It's no longer being propelled. It's lost weight. People are jumping off the ship. Nobody's joining the American singularity. People are fleeing the American singularity. And then the Ukraine conflict is like a big tugboat. It's pushing the ship in a different direction, and that's what's happening in the world today. 

The global trajectory, from a geopolitical standpoint, is away from the American singularity and toward a multipolarity. This is one of the biggest things. It doesn't mean that America goes away. America will never go away. It doesn't mean that America is weak. America will never be weak, but what it means is America is no longer the sole entity around which the world must gravitate. It means now that America is one of many, not just one. This is perhaps the biggest story of the year.

The article was compiled by the Global Times based on an interview with Scott Ritter, a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn