Inertia is not the way of the world. Anyone who believes that the end of history has arrived has lost both their mind and their senses. The relative stillness of the world belies the fact that things are in fact changing in profound ways that open the door to a brand new era for people, societies, institutions, and the global community. Inevitably, simple actions carried out over a decade or more will produce results. That’s the way life is, and it won’t ever change.
Many people take the headlines they read every day as evidence that something novel has happened that will change how events will unfold. The fact that the repercussions of the Ukraine war were felt in the realms of politics, the economy, thought, and strategy says a great deal about that. From this perspective, we can see the scope of the changes being made to the global system as well as numerous sub-regional systems. The mediation efforts that came before China brokered an agreement to reestablish diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as the exchange of ideas and unannounced meetings in both Oman and Iraq over the previous two years prove the scientific and practical truth that perseverance in steps -such as meetings, the exchange of ideas, efforts to bring different points of view closer together, the search for common interests, avoiding military confrontations, resolving the underlying causes of tension, whether imagined or real- no matter how small and of limited impact they are lead inevitably to a substantial and influential qualitative shift. Time is a critical factor because nothing stays the same and the key is to work toward improvement, clarity, and progress that benefit everyone.
One cannot look at the Saudi-Iranian agreement from a bilateral perspective. Even though China only joined this effort in the last stages, its involvement alone gave the agreement significant international ramifications. For the first time, it appears that Beijing is a significant player in a Middle Eastern crisis, an area long thought to be the sole purview of the White House and governed solely by signals received from Washington. What transpired demonstrated that the era of US hegemony over crises in the Middle East is coming to an end, a decline that can be traced back in part to a US decision and in part to the conflicting wills of regional and international actors.
The waning of US influence in the Middle East has spread to areas where previously it had been widely acknowledged that only American influence was decisive. Problems that occasionally arise between Ankara and Washington, with the former being a significant NATO member that refuses to comply with some NATO’s directives unless they serve its own interests first, as is the case with its special requirements for approving Sweden’s membership in the alliance, along with Turkey’s disregard for escalating US sanctions against Russia, its propensity to buy Russian or Chinese weapons rather than the ones that Washington for various reasons won’t sell Turkey, and the claims made by Turkish officials that the US is supporting terrorism through its support for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDFs) in northern Syria, all illustrate the limits of Washington’s new influence with one of its most significant historical allies, which views global transformations from a perspective different from that of the US and pursues its own interests to the greatest extent possible, at a time when US policy appear to be blind to what is happening around it.
The United States’ inability to comprehend the scope of the changes in Israeli society has become clear evidence of its oblivion, running counter to all of the US rhetoric, including claims to support the two-state solution, to oppose settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories, and to defend the Israeli entity from itself. It was interesting to see the demonstrations turn out in rejection of the visit of the US Secretary of Defense to Tel Aviv, just because he only had made mild and indirect criticisms of the change in the Israeli judicial system. Regarding the shared objective of preventing regional powers from acquiring nuclear weapons, the disagreement between the United States and Israel lies in the specifics, whether they be diplomatic or military, and the most recent developments significantly increase the practical limitations on any military thinking that Netanyahu’s Israel might opt to.
In the wake of the conflict in Ukraine, Europe has decided it no longer wants to play a leading role on the international stage. Europe has accepted its complete reliance on Washington, both militarily and economically, in the war against Russia and in its decision to use American gas rather than Russian gas. In an effort to appease Washington, Europe did not even care who bombed the Nord Stream pipelines, in which numerous European countries had invested millions of dollars, for fear that the Russian accusation against the United States and Belgium would be substantiated. On the other side, this was accompanied by a broadening of relations between Russia and Iran, with Russia sending Western weapons from NATO to Iran in order to copy them, and Iran negotiating to purchase fifth-generation Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighters. So, there appears to be a cycle of significant change in the regional military balance, bolstered by strong regional and international alliances.
In the context of the global economy and trade, a significant shift is taking place. India and Russia have settled on the UAE dirham as the new medium of exchange for their bilateral trade, replacing the US dollar. To challenge US hegemony, Russia wants to stop using the US dollar in international trade. In contrast, India wants to buy Russian oil, gas, and weapons at a discount and avoid using American-tracking banks to do so. This comes at a time when the United States and India have agreed to strengthen Indian military capabilities in response to Chinese military development and to contain Chinese influence in Asia. Indian policies toward China, Russia, and the United States are contradictory, but they disprove the American claim that the world’s options are limited to either supporting Russia or the United States. One of the significant benefits of multipolarity, which is gaining ground at the top of the international system, is that the options available to countries are no longer unilateral but rather diverse and intertwined.