The Ukrainian Crisis and the New World Order

The Ukrainian crisis and its consequences reflect the dynamics of international relations, demonstrating that the current period is one of transformation of the world order. Ukraine, formerly one of the largest Soviet industrial and technological centers, today in a survival situation, tries to take advantage of what remains of the Soviet arsenal and its strategic position, Russian gas pipeline route to bring energy to the West. The United States and Russia have used this situation in their interests.

Ukraine for the Russians is of strategic importance, historical and cultural, because the so-called Russian civilization started in Kiev County. However,, practical issues seem to be more relevant as the South Stream project, the gas pipeline that passes through the Black Sea and takes energy to Greece, Italy and Austria, already under construction since 2012. This measure creates an alternative energy transport to the Ukrainian route, avoiding problems of non-payment and destruction of gas pipelines by anti-Russian activists in the country. Added to that, seeks to consolidate Russian commercial and energy control in the area and opposes the Nabucco gas pipeline project, supported by the USA, starting in Azerbaijan, passing through Eastern Europe, arriving in Central Europe. In 2013, this was passed over by the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline, for political and financial issues.

Washington wants to reduce Russian commercial hegemony in the region, since Russia seeks to resume international prominence, in economic areas that have remained intact, after the chaos of the end of the Soviet Union. The potential to produce oil and gas and the vast military and space arsenal, remnants of Soviet times, are the economic basis of Russian foreign policy so far. The most recent Russian initiative is the creation of an Eurasian Union, which aims to compose a connection between the old center of western power and the new oriental, through the alliance of three centers: Berlin, Moscow and Beijing.

In practice, is a deepening of political and economic integration between Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. However, through these alliances, Russia sees the opportunity to promote closer ties with the European Union and China, as it aims to act together with the economic interests of these countries in the regions of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, attracting investments to key sectors like infrastructure, transport, energy, technology, scientific research, architecture and engineering.

This alternative aims to take advantage of Russian power in the areas mentioned, but also to drive economic diversification, que objetiva minimizar a dependência atual de 65% da renda do governo russo ser proveniente do comércio de energia. O gasoduto South Stream é um dos motivos para a anexação da Crimeia. O Mar Negro garante amplas rotas marítimas e significativas reservas de gás e petróleo. Outra questão seria a importância da Ucrânia como país chave para o estabelecimento de uma rota comercial e de infraestrutura para consolidar a União Euroasiática.

O país também é estratégico para a defesa do território russo, impedindo que forças do Tratado do Atlântico Norte (OTAN) contemplem definitivamente toda a fronteira russa. Therefore, a expansão da OTAN e de seu projeto de instalar escudos antimísseis no leste europeu, aiming to nullify Russia's military projection capability in Europe, it's a disturbing scenario for Moscow.

The USA, since the end of the Cold War, seek to establish a power of influence in three main focuses: Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Middle East. The importance of these territories is due not only to the fact that these areas obtain important global energy reserves, but also because they are commercial routes (the example of the Strait of Hormuz) and military points considered central to the security of American interests.

Since the years 1990, many ex-socialist countries in Eastern Europe, including some former republics of the USSR, joined NATO. Others, like Ukraine and Georgia, even though they are not members, têm sido atraídas para colaborar com a organização. At the beginning of the 21st century, com a invasão do Iraque, as tropas dos EUA estão presentes em quase todos os países do Oriente Médio, excluindo a Síria e o Irã. A preocupação americana está para além da luta contra o terrorismo e atinge à Ásia, em decorrência do rápido crescimento da economia chinesa e sua necessidade por importar energia.

Esta questão tem levado a China a promover relações amistosas com seus vizinhos, os russos, nas áreas de energia e militar, e também com desafetos como o Japão. A atitude pragmática dos chineses vem tentando construir um novo ambiente de cooperação econômica, podendo em longo prazo, criar um Novo Centro de Poder Econômico Mundial, que competiria com o antigo Centro do Atlântico Norte, a linha direta de cooperação entre EUA e Europa Ocidental.

+ posts

Journalist graduated from PUC-RS
International Policy Specialist - PUC-RS
Master in International Strategic Studies - UFRGS