Alternative Opinion on Central and South Asia

Politics of Isolation: Russia-Europe standoff

June 10, 2015

It was widely speculated that the exclusion of Russia from leading industrial countries would result into an almost unresolved conflict between Russia and NATO nations.

The recent G-7 Summit, if seen in the perspective of bilateral economic and strategic developments between Russia and China, was expected to become instrumental for mounting extra-ordinary pressure on Russia. It was widely believed that this meeting was due to re-initiate the process of bi-polarizing world.


President Vladimir Putin said in an interview before the inception of the summit that Russia is not a threat to the West. He insisted that he was still committed to a Ukraine peace deal after a fresh flare-up in the country's east.  


The expression on the issue from the summit indicated that G 7 leadership wanted an option opened for Russia, although the stance of Canadian Prime Minister Harper was very hard. Instead, the opinion of German Chancellor Merkel was soft. She said that any easing of the sanctions depended largely on Russia and its behavior in Ukraine.


Group of Seven (G7) leaders vowed at a summit to keep sanctions against Russia in place until President Vladimir Putin and "Moscow-backed" separatists fully implement the terms of a peace deal for Ukraine. This kind of expression by the Summit leaders simply means that Russia and NATO nations have still space to reduce the distance and reclaim normalcy.


The situation also had strategically important connotations of Russian thinking for taking some of the East European countries into its possible alliance,  as well as an intention to make economic intervention into Asia-Pacific region, which is a geo-strategic focus of the various Asian and Western powers.  It ultimately means that these development would not limit themselves to the recognized world powers alone, sooner the countries like Australia, India, Japan and South Korea in association with South Africa and Brazil may also develop their strategic and economic thinking around and according to the happenings.  


No doubt, these new developments in the global politics are steadily re-shaping an entirely new order of the possible alignments with the exclusivity of the struggle between and among the old and emerging powers. Although the situation is new, however one of the darker side of these happenings is their older patterns -- the old wine in the new bottle of the competing interests.


The possible impacts of these developments in the near future can be many but a few of them are important, and  needs to be taken into consideration.


Apparently it seems that if Russia-China alliance further cements, it will give push to a new axis of international politics of interests on the East versus West line. The world has already paid big price in the conflicts based on the so-called notion of "conflict of civilization"; a new dimension of this possible divide would further add adversaries to already wounded humanity and fragile international security.  


We also need to address the 'Ego' factor while addressing the conflicting matters. It will never prove productive for the global security to handle the conflicts and disagreements in a manner that despite their resolution, a new range of conflicts may emerge. Therefore, any notion for further isolating Russia can really prove to be virtually de-stablizing factor not for the Europe alone but also for the world as an collective and coexisting polity.


None can underestimate another important aspect -- the widening space for Russia among the practicing Christians of the Europe and North America, which has developed due to President Putin's policy approach towards the issues like historical ethnic cleansing of Armenian Christians by the Ottoman Turkey.


No doubt, the USA, France and Germany have remained especially focused on the post -Crimea insecurity in the broader Scandinavian and other European countries. Their concerns are also of high importance; however averting rifts would become possible only through more engagement, thus 'isolation' policy may probably prove counter productive.


It is important with reference to G 7 stress on Minisk II accord that the concerned components of USA, Russian and German establishment needs to resume deep engagement on the issue of the Idealism versus Pragmaticism in the Minisk Protocol and Minisk II.


Besides, any delay in this context, would further create chaos in Afghanistan and Central Asia, give new twists to the Middle East politics and give birth to new phenomena in the Asia-Pacific region.


At this stage, President Obama and President Putin also needs to give an special attention to the post-cold war generation of their establishments. Zeroing temperature at this stage would not be easy; however any inappropriate move may further aggravate the unnecessary situation. Besides, this is high time when Brussels needs to play a role of key importance. Besides, it is also important for Russia to reconsider its part of affairs for giving space to harmony and resolution of the affairs.    


In any way, bi-polarims cannot survive in the future world politics. All paths will ultimately lead to the multi-polar world, where powers needs to develop a tradition of addressing certain issues with collective mechanisms , consents and agreements.


(Shah is stateless Sindhi refugee analyst, activist and journalist temporarily staying in India.

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