Even as Vladimir Putin was ordering a partial mobilization of reserve military forces yesterday, he was firing a rhetorical shot across the bow at a nation other than Ukraine. His target was the United States, as many have suspected all along. Putin is still talking about removing the nazis from Kyiv or whatever, and he has channeled much of his aggression more broadly at NATO and its perceived encroachment on Russia’s borders. But underneath it all, Putin clearly resents the dominant position the United States holds in global affairs and would like to see his nation returned to the stature it enjoyed during the prime days of the Soviet Union. He stated that the days of the hegemon (meaning America) controlling everything around the globe “can’t go on forever” and insisted that global events are moving toward a “multipolar world.” But how does he plan to achieve such a goal? (Associated Press)
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday blasted what he described as U.S. efforts to preserve its global domination, saying they are doomed to fail.
Speaking while receiving credentials from foreign ambassadors to Moscow, Putin said that “the objective development toward a multipolar world faces resistance of those who try to preserve their hegemony in global affairs and control everything — Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa.”
He added that “the hegemon has succeeded in doing so for quite a long time, but it can’t go on forever … regardless of the developments in Ukraine.”
It’s a bit disconcerting to hear Putin talking this way about ending American “hegemony” in the same set of remarks where he suggested that could still unleash his arsenal of nuclear weapons. It’s true that this could be little more than rhetoric designed to instill loyalty among his own countrymen or push Ukraine toward some sort of concessions. But we also shouldn’t entirely rule out the possibility that he’s serious.
Russia is clearly trying to firm up its alliances with the remaining countries that are willing to do business with the Kremlin. The list includes the nations I’ve come to think of as the new Axis of Evil. They include China, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and increasingly Turkey. When Putin speaks of a “multipolar world,” he’s clearly suggesting that a new cold war is either coming or already upon us, and he sees Russia as the dominant player on the other side of that conflict.
China might beg to differ, but at least for the time being they seem content to play along with Russia’s maneuvers. Beijing’s recent antagonistic stance toward the United States over the future of Taiwan is likely pushing them further and further into Russia’s orbit, despite the massive amount of money they continue to generate via their control of the global supply chain.
Iran certainly seems less worried about angering the United States than they used to be. This was demonstrated when they recently walked away from what was allegedly America’s “best and final offer” to reenter the nuclear deal that Donald Trump walked away from. And their continued support for terrorist groups across many nations speaks volumes. As far as North Korea goes, there has never been any doubt as to Kim Jong-un’s hatred of the United States. Recent discussions of Kim sending soviet-era weapons and even troops to assist Russia in Ukraine suggest that their alliance is strengthening as well.
Put that all together and you have a significantly potent alliance. On the other side of the figurative battle lines, you have the United States and the rest of NATO. Having lived through most of the last cold war, I’m really not looking forward to entering into another one, though it’s certainly better than a hot war on a global scale. But some of the younger people who have spent their adult lives in the years following the removal of the wall might want to brush up on their history in preparation for the near future. A cold war world is significantly different in many ways from the one they’ve grown to know thus far.