The current war in Ukraine demonstrates what may be the following conflicts in a multipolar world.
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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According to Aleksander Dugin, the world is moving from a unipolar context with the United States as the only superpower to a multipolar world. Although Russia has always tried to counterbalance, today, when the United States and Europe seem overtaken by China, Moscow appears to have understood that the planet is tending towards a multipolar order. An example is the Ukraine invasion and the war results: a failed invasion, a superpower that fails to defeat a weak nation, and a search for support for China. This multipolarism explains how different superpowers coexist and compete in an international system where several countries fail to maintain complete hegemony.
Today, the two main poles are the United States and China. They compete on both military and economic issues. At the moment, the United States is the reigning hegemon, while China may seek to compete in the long or medium term to overthrow it. But in addition to China, Europe and Russia have shown that they continue to play an essential and increasingly independent role.
Europe has always been a close ally of the United States, whether through collaborative groups or organizations such as NATO or the G7. "The West" tried to coordinate a joint strategy to counterbalance Russia and China efficiently. However, after an isolationist government such as Donald Trump's, Europe understood that it must look beyond dependence on the United States. This can demonstrate an independence that Russia and China can also exploit.
Ukraine is a Clear Example
Many say that when powers are in decline and another power emerges, there is the most significant risk of conflict. Before World War I, there was a period of peace (armed peace) in which, although there were no major conflicts, there was an arms race for when there was a new change of hegemony.
The current conflict was a foretaste of the following conflicts in a multipolar world. On the one hand, Russia, as a declining power, can continue to try to demonstrate its might. However, its current strength is only nuclear and military. This puts Russia in a dangerous position, as there is little to lose, and therefore, several Russian nationalist discourses are already talking about calling for a nuclear war.
You can also read: What Alternatives does Ukraine Have to Harm Russia?
But the time when Russia and the United States shared the world map is in the past. Today we see a significant player: China. Xi Jinping tried to mediate and assume a conciliatory role between the two sides. Currently, China is the power that has the most power; on the one hand, it is an ally of Russia and can exert pressure on Putin. On the other hand, its economic and military power allows it to sit down with Volodymir Zelenski. The time when only the United States could mediate in global crises is in the past since China also has that role and wants to use it nowadays.
New Actors in a Multipolar World
However, in addition to China, which is already a reality, multipolarism may increase exponentially. India and Brazil are emerging as regional economies that could be more prominent in a few decades. It is predicted that by 2050, India (a nuclear-armed nation) will surpass China in population; in third place will be Nigeria, reaching the United States.
New leaderships and hegemonies in Asia and Africa will make the global chessboard more balanced and sensitive to change. Groups such as the G7 may lose greater relevance, while organizations such as the BRICS may bring together the world's major powers in a few years.