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The new balance of global power全球力量的新平衡

By Rade Drobac,Deputy President of the Belgrade Forum for the World of Equals
文|拉德·德罗巴茨(Rade Drobac)  贝尔格莱德平等世界论坛副主席        翻译|王晓波









The current situation in the world is characterized by the constant rise of economic, military and, consequently, political power and influence in the international relations and affairs of Russian Federation (RF) and China and the continual degradation of the, until recently, unchallenged leader and unique power of the unipolar world – United States of America (USA).

It seems more evident by day that the period of uncontested leadership of USA over the world political, military, financial and economic affairs and its predominant influence in international organizations and affairs is constantly and seriously challenged by RF and China suppressing its possibility to impose decisions, rules and activities in relation first to RF and China themselves, then to other countries. That process, if it continue and it seems that it will, would inevitably led toward multipolar world, in which there will be no more place for one uncontested leader, untouchable and omnipotent, because the power will be divided.

In this moment it is important to remind that from 1945 to 1989, already existed multipolar relations in the world during the period known under the name of “Cold war”. It was marked by the existence and deep confrontation of two super powers, USA and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), two different political systems, capitalism and communism, two economic models – liberal capitalism (free market) and state owned communism/socialism (planned economy) and two different social and cultural models, living more or less independently one from the other, separated with so-called “iron curtain”. Both superpowers had a number of countries that inclined to their side forming Capitalist and Communist/Socialist blocks. On the military level the confrontation was expressed by NATO (1949 -West) and Warsaw Pact (1955 -East) and on the economic side, less generally accepted but still existing, European Union (EU) and Council for Mutual Economic Cooperation (SEV). During that period the balance of power, predominantly military and political, or better said ideological, succeed to keep certain global stability in the world because of mutual fear, existence of nuclear arms on both sides and a lack of decisive superiority on one of the sides over the opponent. There was, of course, conflicts, even wars, usually proxy ones, but without serious threat of global confrontation. During that period the international law and international organizations were, at some extent, respected, because the balance of power didn’t permit to any side to prevail and misuse them too much. That balance of power and differences in almost everything existed until November 1989 when Berlin wall that separated West and East Germany and divided two blocks was torn down.

That event demonstrated that USSR lost the game of force and entered in structural transition that opened the road for its disintegration and for the race of USA to grab everything it can catch taking profit of such situation and transforming itself in the mightiest and very aggressive unique power in the world. Practically immediately, USA pushed the reunification of Germany (October 3rd 1990) as the first step of its taking up of former USSR influenced territories and its expansion to the East. The collapse of USSR had very negative impact for it. It caused the proclamation of independence of all its 15 former republics: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and, of course, Russia. In those new proclaimed independent states about 30 millions of ethnic Russian became minorities and in many cases deprived of elementary rights. Beside that, despite the fact that Warsaw pact was disbanded in 1991, NATO continued to exist and, contrary to RF warnings, spread toward the East, by admission to its membership many of the countries from the former Eastern block. From 1999 to 2020 members became Poland, Hungary, Check Republic (1999), Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia (2004), Albania, Croatia (2009), Montenegro (2017) and North Macedonia (2020). By its interference in Ukraine and promises to admit it in NATO, USA practically came on the borders of RF and directly threatened its security and territorial integrity. Beside that, USA constantly manifested an aggressive policy toward the rest of the world. During about 26 years (1989-2015 and still) USA participated in a lot of wars and military interventions: Panama (1989-1990), Gulf war (1990-1991 Iraqi no-fly zone enforcement operations (1991-2003), First USA intervention to the Somali civil war (1992-1995), Bosnian war and Croatian war (1992-1995), Intervention in Haiti (1994-1995), Kosovo war ( Serbia) (1999), War in Afghanistan (2001-2021), Yemen (2002-still), Iraq (2003-2011), North-West Pakistan (2004-2018), Second Somali intervention in the civil war (2007-still), Intervention in Libya (2011), American led intervention in Iraq (2014-2021), ), American led intervention in Syria (2014-still), American intervention in Libya (2015-still). Consequently, the period from 1989 to 2015 could be considered as the period of uncontested unilateral domination of USA in the world affairs and USA as the unique unilateral superpower in the world.

The actual instability, crises, antagonisms and conflicts in the world are the clear proof that the things in the world are changing and that the unique predominant position of USA as unipolar power in the world affairs is shaken and that the antagonisms between USA and, in first place RF, but also, China, are constantly rising.  Those antagonismes came to the point that they can’t be solved easily, through dialogue, and with good will from both sides, but with difficulties and strong opposition of USA. That process can be understood as a sign of the transition from unipolar to multipolar world with serious global risks, but with sincere hopes of many freedom loving countries, oriented to their national interests and the respect of international law that on its end it would create conditions for fairer and righteous relations with equal opportunity for any country and nation to develop and freely cooperate in its own interest. But the still actual hegemon, USA, is not disposed to accept the fact that it isn’t anymore the only one that create the rules, impose its interests, interprets international law on its own, intervene where and when it judge convenient. It refuses to understand that some countries evolved and progressed to the point to be in condition to impose and defend successfully their interests, too, and oppose their will to the decisions and activities of USA where their interest are endangered, in other words – to defend their national interests even against USA. Such policy inevitably led to antagonisms, mutual accusations, pressures, conflicts and instability with possible global consequences. The conflict in Ukraine clearly proves it and is today’s the most dangerous clashing point between USA and new emerging superpowers. In that clash RF demonstrates its readiness to defend itself and to affront every attempt and danger toward its territorial integrity and interests. This conflict create certainly a very dangerous situation and represent a threat for global peace but it seems that it couldn’t be avoided because there is no will from the side of USA to resolve antagonisms peacefully and allow other countries to live in peace and develop on their own. It is evident that there is in the world enough space for everybody, but some states, in first place USA and its allies, doesn’t want to renounce to its privileged self-proclaimed position and share interests with other countries. Because of that, in the near future it is possible that, stimulated by USA, new conflict happen, new crises emerge, in first place financial and economic ones, media frenzy occur against RF and China in relation of Ukraine conflict or in case of degradation of the situation concerning Taiwan or other negative events. From the other side, on the international level RF and China demonstrated that they advocate the equality in the international relations and freedom for every country to chose its way, internal and external policies, without pressures and conditions, without interference in the affairs of other countries and the cooperation under fair and honest commercial rules in the true interest of every country. Consequently, the process to a suppression of inequality in the world affairs and the creation of new just world, has begun but it would be long with a lot of obstacles to overpass.

The intentions of RF and China are transparent and publicly announced through very important “Joint declaration of RF and China about the entering of international relations in a new epoch and stable global development” from February 4 2022. That declaration represent a turning point for the cooperation of RF and China and their strategic partnership but more than that, significantly contributed that the rest of the world understand not only the historical moment in which the world is in but also to clearly recognize the causes of the instability in the world and the projected pillars of its new architecture that are in the interest of every freedom loving state. The Declaration testifies that RF and China are fully aware of the complex moment of the contemporary world and that they are ready to take their historical responsibilities. The declaration precise that the “new balance of power is in formation, that forces that represent a minority in the world arena continue to practice unilateral approaches to the international problems, use the policy of force, interfere in the internal affairs of other countries harming their legitimate rights and interests, inciting animosities, disagreements and conflicts, disturb the progress and development that provoke disagreements in the international community”. Between many valuable statements in that declaration, it is very important to cite the following: “two sides (RF and China) are addressing themselves to all states with the appeal to them, in the interest of global well being, to strengthen the dialogue, mutual confidence, deepen mutual understanding, support universal values such as peace, development, equality, justice, democracy and freedom, respect the rights of nations to choose independently the way of development of their countries, the same as the sovereignty and interests of countries in the field of security and development, to defend the international system based on the central role of UN, the world order based on international law..” etc. The majority of the ideas and statements in the Declaration are very acceptable for the big number of the countries and give them real hope that better and more just international relations and fairer and friendly cooperation between the countries in the world are possible, if not for all the countries in the world, at least for the ones that would align with RF and China and create they own legal and economic system.

The rise in power of RF started with the coming in power Vladimir Putin (2000), first in the political consolidation of the country, then economic recovering and, finally, in military field, where RF made spectacular progress. Somehow this progress stayed in shadow long time that allowed RF to achieve its full development as power. RF fist public demonstration of its newly regained capacity started in September 2015 when, on official request of the Syrian government, RF intervened militarily in the civil war in Syria. By that act RF showed that it considers itself as global power and manifested its intention to mix in the international affairs when its interests are in stake. The special military operation of RF in Ukraine that started on February 24 of this year, demonstrated openly that fact and, in the same time, that RF will not tolerate anymore any covert or open activities of USA and its Western allies that endanger its borders or its interests. RF openly confirmed that it is ready to take any action appropriate to defend its territorial integrity, political, economic and financial interests. Since then, the things evoluate fast and big changes happen everyday.

Concerning China, in recent decades it mainly concentrated to economic grow, commercial expansion and financial stability. In 2010, its overtook Japan to become the world’s second largest economic power behind the United States in terms of GDP expressed in current dollar terms. Moreover, China outstripped the US in 2009 to become the world’s largest car market and, in the same year, took first place from Germany as the world’s leading exporter. In the financial area, China has the largest foreign-currency reserves – estimated in early 2014 at close to 4000 billion USD. In the same time, in order to consolidate and promote its global economic position, China launched Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), economic cooperation 17 + 1, Win-win projects and succeed to win and cooperate in many projects over the world, including Europe. The unexpected rapid economic expansion of China surprised the world at the point to consider it increasing pivotal emerging market economy with a crucial role in the global economy. Despite that China was very cautious to pronounce itself publicly in political questions out of regional ones. Its first appearance in that regard was in the Balkans, when the Embassy of China in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in August 2021 contested the legitimacy of Christian Schmitt (Germany) as new High representative in BiH. That was China’s first demonstration of interest for global political questions and regional conflicts out of its geopolitical position and, what is also very important, that act was complementary to the Russian one. It should be also noted that China reacted very sharp to the recent visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan (3.8. of the current year), showing that it would not tolerate such provocations nor from Taiwan, nor from USA. It is obvious that China clearly understand that it should be in joint block with RF because USA is fighting against both countries and because it shares many positions with RF. In case of some militarily conflict in relation with Taiwan, USA will act the same as in Ukrainian conflict. It would militarily help Taiwan, introduce economic sanctions to China and harm its interest everywhere. So, strategic partnership of RF and China is the imperative from both countries.

Contrary to RF and China, USA is losing strength rapidly. Its actual political leadership lost significant support in the country, because of its unfounded ambition to rule the whole world which is every day less realistic. It spread its forces very broadly in the whole world, forcing global agendas instead of national goals, paying more attention to international problems than from national ones, advocating agendas that harm not only the unity, strength and moral of targeted countries but of USA too, provoking divisions and divergences in the country loosing unity and efficiency. By support to the global agenda they turned against them not only new rising super powers but the majority of the world. By supporting Ukraine and imposing sanctions to RF they harmed much more their allies then RF, and turned many countries in the worlds against them. They provoked China about Taiwan unifying it with RF more than ever and many other things negative to their interests. Nowadays many countries see more clearly the interference of USA in their internal affairs, by policy “divide et impera” confronting them mutually in their selfish interest, false policies, promises, warranties, but also threats, pressures and their misuse of other states. The future of USA, internally and internationally, deeply depend of the next elections for the House of the representatives, to be held on November 8, 2022, together with 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate and the elections for the President of USA that are supposed to be held on November 5, 2024. If the same administration win (Democrats), the problems of USA would deepen and the future would be incertain, but if the Republicans take advantage there is chances to go out from the impasse in what they are now.

The strengthening of RF and China in the international arena and their every day more evident open confrontation with USA and its block, or maybe more correct resistance to it, had already positive consequences to the rest of the world. Out of USA and its allies – Great Britain (GB), European Union (EU), Australia, New Zeeland (NZ), Korea, Japan (JP) and few more states, many countries showed, in different ways, their support to the position of RF and China. The most evident way to manifest it was their refusing to introduce economic sanctions against RF imposed by USA and its allies because of the conflict in Ukraine, despite pressures and threats from USA. Many respectable countries, such as Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, North Korea, Turkey and, practically, the big majority of the world community, resisted to USA and didn’t introduce economic sanctions against RF. That’s shows that they understand and support the position of RF, in first place, and then of China, and also that they don’t fear USA anymore.

For the actual situation it is maybe important to mention that during the period of “Cold war”, out of two different and opposed blocks, existed a “third” block – Movement of Non-aligned Countries, that .gathered a number of countries (about 120) that didn’t wanted to join one or the other block. Its basic principles about the international relations reflected the international circumstances of that time and were respected between them.  In big part they coincide with principles in the recent Joint Declaration of RF and China and by that are still valid. Between the most important are “respect of territorial integrity and suzerainty of every country”, “non interference in the internal affairs of other countries”, “Settlement of differences by peaceful means”, “Active and peaceful cooperation” and other and those principles are probably the reason why “Joint Declaration of China and RF” is close to many countries, especially former members of Non-alignment movement. Today, when some new balance of power is emerging, maybe it would be possible to revitalize those principles, the international law and reconstruct international organizations in the way to honestly and professionally carry out theirs duties, deal impartially with the international problems and not misuse their position to promote any particular interest. It is necessary to secure that the international community function on base of free, just, legal and transparent cooperation, without interference in internal things of other countries. Maybe, such principles in this moment wouldn’t be acceptable for USA and its allies but in the current situation nobody can defend to the rest of the world to function on those premises. That would probably mean that the world community would be divided in two separate parts, each one with its specific, political, legal, financial, economic and social rules, living independently one from the other. We already had this experience during “Cold war”. Of course, the best would be to gather the whole world over the same principles and institutions, accepted by all and equally favorable to each state, but if it is not immediately possible temporary separation and division is surely better and maybe necessary. Hopping, of course, that USA and its allies, with time, would accept the realities, the wish of the big majority of the world community to have the same right as every other state, without privileges, inequality and injustice, that can happen sooner that expected if the elections in USA bring new more constructive administration.















就中国而言,近几十年来,它主要关注的是自身的经济增长、商业扩张和金融稳定。2010年,中国的以当前美元计算的GDP超过了日本,成为仅次于美国的世界第二大经济强国。而且,中国在2009年超过美国,成为世界最大的汽车市场,同年,中国取代德国成为世界第一大汽车出口国。在金融领域,中国拥有最大的外汇储备——2014年初估计其外汇储备已接近4万亿美元。与此同时,为了巩固和提升自己在全球的经济地位,中国启动了“一带一路”倡议、17+1经济合作和许多共赢项目,并在包括欧洲在内的多个全球项目中成功地实现了共赢和合作。中国经济出人意料的快速扩张令全世界感到震惊,人们都认为它正在成为一个日益重要的新兴市场经济体,并在全球经济中发挥着至关重要的作用。尽管如此,中国在地区问题以外的政治问题上公开表态时仍非常谨慎。2021 年8月,中国驻波黑大使馆对克里斯蒂安·施密特(德国)担任联合国波黑问题新任高级代表的合法性提出质疑,这是其在这方面的第一次发声。这是中国第一次出于地缘政治立场对全球政治问题和地区冲突表现出兴趣,而且同样重要的是,这一举动也是对俄罗斯立场的补充。还应注意的是,中国对美国众议院议长南希·佩洛西最近访问台湾(今年8月3日)的反应强烈,表明它绝不会容忍来自台湾或美国的此类挑衅。很明显,中国清楚地认识到,它应该与俄罗斯联手阻止这样的行径,因为美国正在与它们两个国家为敌,而它与俄罗斯有着许多相同的立场。如果与台湾发生军事冲突,美国会采取与乌克兰冲突相同的行动。美国会在军事上帮助台湾,对中国实施经济制裁,并损害其在各方面的利益。因此,俄罗斯和中国的战略伙伴关系对两国来说是最重要和紧迫的。