Russia’s invasion of Ukraine implies a before and after in world geopolitics. From an unprecedented exodus of Ukrainians to Europe, the application of economic sanctions, to the rupture in the relationship between Vladimir Putin and Western leaders, the events of the war in the east mark the beginning of a new era.
The intelligence unit The Economistwhich analyzes complex political and economic situations that impact the world, summarized ten ways in which the war in Ukraine will change the world.
Three decades after the Berlin Wall split the European continent in two, Russia is attempting to do the same by using Ukraine as a “buffer zone” with the West, “which also includes Belarus and Kazakhstan,” he explains The Economist.
That is why Putin insists that the neighboring country does not join NATO and does not adopt the values aligned with Western leaders, while trying to destroy its sovereignty in order to “annex at least part of Ukraine” in order to establish a clear division.
The unipolar world that emerged after the Cold War, where the US hegemony remained solid and practically without rivals, was left behind. In the last 15 years, the meteoric rise of China and the resurgence of Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union made shake the stability of the United States as the only world leader.
With a “growing intra-western rivalry”The report warns, “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a blatant challenge to America’s role as world policeman, and suggests the world has become far more unstable and dangerous.”
“China has to make a decision for itself, about where it wants to be and how it wants history to look at it and see its actions.”, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki commented days ago. The statement came hours after US President Joe Biden held a video call with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in which he warned of the consequences that the Asian giant could face if it gives economic or military aid to Moscow, a situation of “deep concerns” for Washington.
The truth is that, isolated from the “international political, economic and financial system” by the harsh sanctions applied by the West in response to the invasion, “Russia will head east to cement its alliance with China,” the analysis says.
The alignment between both countries generates mutual benefits. Since Russia turned east in 2012, “it has helped China in areas such as energy, air and sea power, intelligence, and military and foreign affairs, and in return has received funding and technology. For China, an alliance with Russia offers security along its northern border, natural resources, and a shared authoritarian approach and a shared authoritarian attitude toward the West.”
Furthermore, Russia is much more economically dependent on China than China is on Russia. In 2021, trade with China involved a 17.9% of total Russian trade flowswhile in the opposite case it was 2.4%, so it is likely that now, having become an outcast from the rest of the world, it will depend much more on its ally.
In line with the previous point, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine deepens a division between two poles in constant rivalry: China and the West, which are moving away from globalization and tending more and more towards polarized worlds, something that had already been reinforced during the pandemic.
“By causing a decisive break with the West, Russia’s actions will hasten the division of the world between two rival poles. Some countries will take sides, but many others will seek to keep a foot in both camps.”, something that will make stability difficult to sustain in the long term, indicates The Economist.
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the focus on global security is now turning to Europe, leaving aside US protection for Asian countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, threatened by the greatest Eastern power.
“By having to divert diplomatic resources to deal with the crisis on Europe’s eastern periphery, the United States will be constrained in its efforts to counter the challenge of a rising China,” the analysis says, adding that these countries will now feel unprotected and will urge the formation of security coalitions to counterbalance Beijing.
The decline in military spending that occurred after the fall of the threat from the Soviet Union came to an end. The most recent and unusual case that emerges from the Russian invasion of Ukraine is that of Germany: as of this year it plans to spend record sums on its armed forces to reach 2% of GDP in the coming years.
From an increase in the Chinese nuclear arsenal, to modernization of defense systems with anti-ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles and anti-satellite weapons in Western countries, the increase in the proliferation of weapons has been going on for some years now.
Although the arms race has not yet reached Cold War levels, The Economist warns that the invasion of Ukraine will generate a “destabilizing cycle” in the escalation to acquire more weapons.
With this unprecedented investment announcement of 100,000 million euros in the armed forces, Germany abandoned its pacifism adopted after the Second World War to become a dissuasive figure against Russia.
After what the German chancellor, Olaf ScholzDescribed as a turning point in German foreign policy, the country that abandoned the massive Nord Stream 2 project to stand up to the Kremlin will now be able to flag itself as one of Europe’s main defenders.
This was stated by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in front of the European Parliament only six days after the war broke out: “We are more united than ever.”
In a rapidly coordinated move, the EU as a bloc adopted harsh economic sanctions, massive arms shipments and even closed its airspace to Russian airlines in an attempt to dissuade Putin, a group strategy that showed the world the potential of the allies.
The United States will remain by far the dominant power in NATO, but the balance is likely to shift in the years to come, as European powers – led by France and Germany – become more serious about asserting their interests”, deepens the report.
However, to stand out as a union on the world stage, they will have to leave national interests – such as the need for Russian energy exports – so that regional interests “come back to the fore” and thus avoid a breakdown of the bloc.
The annual Democracy Index of The Economist year after year he warns of a loss of democratic quality in the world, which in parallel leads to an increase in governments with authoritarian tendencies. By invading the neighboring country, Russia undoubtedly descended into absolute authoritarianism.
“The crystallization of an anti-Western and authoritarian Russia-China alliance will make the battle for democracy even more important in the coming decades,” stands out.
The expansionist intentions of the Kremlin leader and the reaction of Western powers are also a nod to other regimes with the same interests as Putin, such as Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh), China (Taiwan), and Turkey (Eastern Mediterranean), analyze The Economist.
Indeed, “the invasion will have a destabilizing effect on other conflicts”, since the Western response will be watched by the watchful eye of other regimes that will study their interests based on the consequences that they could have after Russia’s experience in Ukraine. .