�What is a �unipolar� world?
It is world in which there is one master, one sovereign --
one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making.
And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this
system, but also for the sovereign power itself because it destroys itself from
It has nothing in common with democracy, which is the power
of the majority in respect to the interests and opinions of the minority.
�In Russia, we are constantly being lectured about
democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn
themselves,� Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his address to the Munich
Conference on Security Policy 2-10-07
The deployment of the US Missile Defense System in Eastern
Europe is a de facto declaration of war on the Russian Federation. As Russian
President Putin said in a recent press conference, �If this missile system is
put in place, it will work automatically with the entire nuclear capability of
the United States. It will be an integral part of the US nuclear capability.�
This will disrupt the current configuration of international security and force
Russia to begin work on a new regime of tactical nuclear weapons. This is a
very serious development. Russia will now have to rethink its current policy
vis a vis the United States and develop a long-range strategy for fending off
further hostile encroachments into former-Soviet states by NATO.
Welcome to the new Cold War.
Putin cannot ignore the gravity of the proposed system or
the threat it poses to Russia �s national security. Bush�s missile defense is
not defensive at all, but offensive. It thrusts US military bases -- with
nuclear infrastructure and radar -- up to Russia �s doorstep giving the US a
clear advantage in �first-strike� capability. That means that Washington will
be able to intimidate Russia on issues that are of critical international importance.
Putin cannot allow this. He must force Bush to remove this dagger held to
Moscow �s throat.
Bush�s pyrrhic victory at the G-8
The central issues on the docket at the G-8 meetings were
downplayed in the media. The press primarily focused its attention on the
�anticipated� conflict between Bush and Putin. But, the brouhaha never
materialized; both were respectful and gracious.
President Bush, however, was adamant that his plan for
missile defense in the Czech Republic and Poland would go ahead according to
schedule. Putin, for the most part remained politely silent. His objections
were censored in the media.
But less than 10 hours after the closing ceremonies of the
G-8, Putin fired off the first salvo in what will certainly be remembered as
�the war that brought down the Empire.�
Putin addressed 200 corporate leaders at the International
Economic Forum in St. Petersburg and his comments left little doubt that he had
already settled on a plan for countering Bush�s missile shield in the Czech
Putin�s speech articulated his vision of a �Moscow-centered�
new world order which would create a �new balance of power� -- less dependent
He said, �The new architecture of economic relations
requires a completely new approach. Russia intends to become an alternative
global financial center and to make the ruble a reserve currency for central
�The world is changing before our eyes.� Countries that
yesterday seemed hopelessly behind are today the fastest growing economies of
the world. Institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the IMF are
�archaic, undemocratic and inflexible.� They don�t �reflect the new balance of
Putin's speech is defiant rejection of the present system.
We can be sure that it has not passed unnoticed by anxious mandarins in the US
political establishment. Russia is announcing the beginning of an asymmetrical
war; designed to cripple the United States economically, weaken the
institutions which have traditionally enhanced its wealth, and precipitate a
shift of global power away from Washington.
Putin�s challenge to the US dollar is particularly
worrisome. He emphasizes the inherent unfairness of the current system, which
relies almost entirely on the dollar and which has an extremely negative effect
on many smaller countries� economies and financial reserves.
"There can be only one answer to this challenge,� he
said. �The creation of several world currencies and several financial centers.�
Putin�s remarks are a direct attack on the dollar and its
position as the de facto international currency. He imagines a world where
goods and resources are traded in rubles or �baskets of currencies� -- not just
greenbacks. This would create greater parity between the countries and, hence,
a more even distribution of power.
Putin's vision is a clear threat to America �s ongoing
economic dominance. Already, in the last few months, Norway, Iran, Syria, UAE,
Kuwait, and Venezuela have announced that they are either cutting back on their
USD reserves or converting from the greenback to the euro or a �basket of
currencies.� Dollar hegemony is at the very center of American power, and, yet,
the downturn is visible everywhere. If the dollar loses its place as the
world�s �reserve currency,� the US will have to pay down its monstrous current
account deficit and live within its means. America will lose the ability to
simply print fiat money and use it in exchange for valuable resources and
manufactured goods. Putin is now openly challenging the monetary system that provides
the flow of oxygen to the American superpower.
Can he carry it off?
What kind of damage can Russia really inflict on the dollar
or on the many lofty sounding organizations (WTO, World Bank, IMF, NATO and
Federal Reserve) which prop up the US Empire?
Russia�s power is mushrooming. Its GDP is leaping ahead at 8
percent per annum and by 2020 Russia will be among the five biggest economies
in the world. It now has the third largest Forex reserves in the world and it
is gradually moving away from the anemic dollar to euros and rubles. Nearly 10
percent of its wealth is currently in gold.
Russia has also overtaken Saudi Arabia as the world�s
leading supplier of petroleum. It produces 13 percent of the world�s daily
output and has the world�s largest reserves of natural gas. In fact, Putin has
worked energetically to create the world�s first Natural Gas cartel -- an
alliance between Russia, Qatar, Iran and Algeria. The group could potentially
control 40 percent of the world�s remaining natural gas and set prices as it
Putin�s ambitions are not limited to the energy sector
either -- although he has strengthened the country by turning away foreign
investment and �re-nationalizing� vital resources.
As Pavel Korduban says in his recent article �Putin Harvests
Political Dividends from Russian Economic Dynamism,� Putin intends to expand
beyond energy and focus on technological modernization: �The shift in official
discourse to �innovations� reflects an attempt to reorient economic policy from
the goal of consolidating the status of �energy superpower� to the emphasis on
industrial modernization and catching up with the technological revolution. The
key role in formulating this new policy is given to Sergei Ivanov, who promised
that by the year 2020 Russia would gain leadership (measured as 10 percent of
the world market) in such high-technology sectors as nuclear energy,
shipbuilding, aircraft, satellites and delivery systems, and computer
Putin has also strengthened ties with his Central Asian
neighbors and engaged in �cooperative� military maneuvers with China.
�Last month it signed deals with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
and Kazakhstan to revive the Soviet-era united system of gas pipelines, which
will help Russia strengthen its role of the monopoly supplier from the region.�
(Reuters) He has transformed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) into
a formidable economic-military alliance capable of resisting foreign
intervention in Central Asia by the United States and NATO.
The CIS is bound to play a major role in regional issues as
the real motives behind the �war on terror� are exposed and America's
geopolitical objectives in Central Asia become clearer. So far, Washington has
established its military bases and outposts throughout the region with
impunity. But the mood is darkening in Moscow and Beijing and there may be
changes in the future. We should also remember that Putin is surrounded by
ex-KGB agents and Soviet-era hardliners. They�ve never trusted America's
motives and now they can point to the new US bases, the �colored-coded�
revolutions, the broken treaties and the projected missile defense system to
prove that Uncle Sam is �up to no good.�
Putin sees himself as leading a global insurgency against
the US Empire. He represents the emerging-market economies of China, India and
Brazil. These four nations will progressively overtake the �old order.� Last
year 60 percent of the world's output was produced outside the G-7 countries.
According to Goldman Sachs, by 2050, Brazil, Russia, India and China will be
the world's leading economies.
The transition from �superpower rule� is already underway.
The centers of geopolitical power are shifting like giant tectonic plates. The
trend is irreversible. The deployment of Bush�s missile defense system will
only hasten the decline of the �unipolar model� by triggering an asymmetrical
war, where Forex reserves, vital resources and political maneuvering will be
used as the weapons of choice.
War with Russia is pointless and preventable. There are
better choices than confrontation.
Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at email@example.com.