Al Qaeda’s subsidiary from Central Asia, Uzbek Salafi-Jihadi group Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ), accused the U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and American troops in Syria of violently repatriating ISIS prisoners against their will to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The former amir of KTJ, one of the well-known propagators of al Qaeda’s ideology in the Fergana Valley, Abu Salah Uzbeki, has issued audio and text statements on the KTJ website on the Telegram channel, where he elaborated on the problem of repatriating Islamic State’s jihadists to Central Asia. He accused SDF’s Kurdish militants of executing the order of their American “owners” and forcibly repatriating the 156 captured Uzbek women and children of ISIS jihadists to the non-believer “Satan” regime of Uzbekistan.
According to him, “some Uzbek prisoners wanted to continue to remain on the ground of Blessed Sham, to move to Idlib and join us, Uzbek and Uyghur Mujahideen.”By “the Uzbek and Uyghur Mujahideen” he means Salafi-Jihadi groups from Central Asia, such as KTJ, Katibat Imam al Bukhari (KIB) and the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), which are closely related to al Qaeda. Uzbek and Uyghur Salafists are leading a jihad against the Bashar al-Assad regime alongside the most powerful radical militant group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in northeastern Syria. These territories, now primarily controlled by HTS, often referred to as Greater Idlib, also encompass parts of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia provinces. As Michael Mulroy, deputy assistant US Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, said, “Idlib is essentially the largest collection of al-Qaeda affiliates in the world.”
It should be noted that after the fall of the last stronghold of ISIS in Baghouz in March 2019, several hundred foreign fighters of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and their family members from Central Asia have been detained by the SDF. Many Central Asian militants were placed in the al-Hol displacement camp in north-eastern Syria, where at least 13,000 foreign ISIS followers were being held, including 12,000 women and children.SDF Kurdish leaders have sounded the alarm that they do not have the capacity to detain so many people and appealed to foreign governments to take back its citizens. However, the ice was broken in February 2019 when President Trump urged the EU and other countries to repatriate and put on trial hundreds of their former ISIS jihadists captured by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in Syria.
It may be recalled that more than 7,000 Salafi-Jihadist fighters from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and Russia have traveled to Syria and Iraq in the last six years to join ISIS. Since the beginning of this year, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Russia have begun to retrieve their citizens, mostly children and women from the Middle East on a large scale. In particular, in April 2019, Tajikistan’s authorities have repatriated 84 minors from Iraq, where their parents joined the Islamic State. Uzbekistan during the special operation “Goodness” repatriated 156 of its citizens from Syria and Iraq on May 30, 2019. Also, within the framework of the humanitarian operation “Jusan” (Wormwood), Kazakhstan has repatriated 231 of its citizens from Syria in May 2019. In January 2019, the Kurdish-led SDF has handed over to authorities of Kazakhstan five fighters, 11 women and 30 children. In total, Kazakhstan repatriated more than 500 of its citizens from Iraq and Syria in three stages. Astana’s success was commended by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who “praised Kazakhstan’s global leadership in the repatriation and reintegration of its citizens from Syria, and encouraged Kazakhstan to share its experience with other nations.”So far, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan have not been able to repatriate its jihadists, many of whom are detained in prison camps controlled by the Kurdish SDF and Iraqi armed forces.
In response to the repatriation of ISIS militants to Central Asia, Abu Salah Uzbeki, a former amir of the al Qaeda-backed KTJ and a fiery ideologue of the Sunni Militant Jihadism, has sharply criticized U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters for forcibly repatriating of wives and children of ISIS militants to their homeland. He claims that returnees will face prosecution, torture in prisons and inevitable death in Central Asia. He viciously calls Kurdish troops a “puppet” of Americans, performing their will.
Further, Abu Salah Uzbeki explained that, despite the fact that ISIS was and remains an enemy for al Qaeda and Al Nusra, they consider Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s subordinates and their families to be Muslims.“We should not rejoice when the Western Kafirs (infidels) bomb and destroying Islamic State’s jihadists, on the contrary, we must help them return to the true path of Allah,” he said in his audio statement. He emphasized that the leaders of the Central Asian and Caucasian Islamic Jamaats (groups) in Great Idlib took active steps to free the wives and children of ISIS militants from captivity held by Kurdish troops.
He said HTS leader Abu Muhammad al-Julani contacted the leaders of the Kurdish-led SDF offered them money and tried to make a deal with them to transfer the captive foreign and Syrian wives and children of ISIS militants to Idlib. However, the Kurds rejected the proposal al-Julani, said Abu Salah. At the same time, he mentioned that in 2017, when ISIS jihadists were surrounded by the Syrian government forces in the town of Ukayribatwilayah (province) Hama, al-Julani made a $ 100,000 deal with the Bashar Assad regime and freed more than 700 wives and children of ISIS militants. Among them were about 100 Uzbek women and children who were handed over to KTJ, Abu Salah said.
As is known, the ideological confrontation between al Qaeda and ISIS, which grew into an armed conflict, had a profound impact on the Central Asian militants. The struggle for leadership between the two main Sunni terrorist organizations has divided the Islamists of the post-Soviet countries, who made Hijrah (the migration of Muslims for Jihad) to Iraq and Syria, into two camps.
Often armed clashes took place between the Central Asian supporters of ISIS and al Qaeda’s Uzbek Muhajirs in Syria. Taliban-backed and al Qaeda-affiliated KIB leader Sheikh Salahuddin was killed in an Uzbek ISIS militant hit in April 2017, during the evening prayer in the mosque of a Syrian city of Idlib. The wife and four-year-old son of Abu Salah Uzbeki were killed by a member of the Islamic State in July 2018, also in Idlib; he himself escaped an ISIS attempt on his life. The so-called Caliphate’s Central Asian fighters constantly attacked their Uzbek compatriots of al Qaeda in accordance with the Takfir of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.It is known that the Islamic State has accused al Qaeda of twisting the nature of Jihad and according to its interpretations of Islam’s Takfir doctrine, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi declared entire sects, including al Qaeda, as apostates.
Uzbek supporters of Ayman al-Zawahiri have referred to Islamic State fighters as liars and Kharijites (the early Islamic sect that was involved in the disruption of the unity of the Muslims and rebelled against the Khalifah) who have mischaracterized al Qaeda’s guiding doctrine.KIB, KTJ and TIP refuted al-Baghdadi’s assumed title of caliph, the leader of all Muslims, and jointly HTS often performed operations against ISIS enemy elements in Idlib, and carried out public executions of captured Kharijites.
And now, when the Caliphate was defeated and its many jihadists, who survived the bombings of the Western coalitions, were captured by the Kurds, Abu Salah Uzbeki opposed the deportation of the wives and children of ISIS jihadists to their homeland in Central Asia.He openly stated that HTS and KTJ were trying to bargain with the Kurds so that they would “liberate” the captured jihadists of the Islamic State, including their wives and children, for money.
It is doubtful that such a defiant “concern” of the al Qaeda’s Uzbek stump orator about the captive Caliphate fighters, the main rivals in the Salafi-Jihadi world, was sincere. Abu Salah Uzbeki’s audio and text statements on Telegram show that the ideological battle between the two main Sunni Takfiri terrorist organizations continues. Today, ISIS and al Qaeda are continuing the virtual struggle for the hearts and minds of Central Asian radical Islamists, who are potentially ready to join its ranks and expand its social base.
Despite the loss of territory, the Islamic State has demonstrated its ideological vitality in the post-Soviet space. Recently, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s enterprise has claimed responsibility for three terrorist attacks in Tajikistan. According to the militant group’s online Al-Nabaa, “caliphate soldiers” killed 32 people in Vakhdat Prison in May 2019. Tajik authorities accused ISIS of another prison riot in Khujand in November 2018, when 25 inmates and two security officers were killed. The Caliphate’s Amaq News Agency has claimed responsibility for the killing of four foreign cyclists in Danghara district in July 2018.Over the past year, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for more than ten terrorist attacks in various regions of Russia, including Chechnya and Dagestan.
After the fall of the ISIS’ last stronghold in Syria’s Baghouz, al Qaeda, al-Baghdadi’s main rival in the world of jihadism, increased its propaganda via the Internet in the Muslim regions of Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus.In this process, the key role is played by Abu Salah Uzbeki who has become an influential al Qaeda’s ideologue in the Fergana Valley. His latest statement fits into the al Qaeda’s ideological struggle for the soul of ISIS prisoners, betrayed by their Caliph and languishing in the hot sunny al-Hol camp in the desert of northeast Syria.
COVID-19 lockdowns are in lockstep with the ‘Great Reset’
In October 2019, a pandemic simulation exercise called Event 201 – a collaborative effort between Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, World Economic Forum, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – concluded that a hypothetical new coronavirus may end up killing at least 65 million people worldwide within 18 months of an outbreak.
When COVID-19 coincidentally emerged from Wuhan two months later, scientists were rushing to generate similar alarmist forecasts using a variety of questionable scientific models. Researchers from the Imperial College London, for instance, approximated death tolls of 500,000 (UK) and two million (USA) by October this year. To those following the metastasis of the global vaccine mania, the Imperial model was predictably “tidied up” with the help of Microsoft.
While scientific models are admittedly fallible, one would nonetheless be hard-pressed to justify the endless string of contradictions, discrepancies and wilful amnesia in the global pandemic narrative. In fact, one should question whether COVID-19 even deserves the tag of a “pandemic”. According to the United States’ Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the updated age-group survival rates for COVID-19 happen to be: Ages 0-19 (99.997%); 20-49 (99.98%); 50-69 (99.5%); and 70+ (94.6%). The mortality rates are only slightly higher than the human toll from seasonal flu and are, in fact, lower than many ailments for the same age cohorts.
If the CDC statistics don’t lie, what kind of “science” have we been subjected to? Was it the science of mass-mediated hysteria? There are other troubling questions yet unanswered. Whatever happened to the theory of bats or pangolins being the source of COVID-19? Who was Patient Zero? Why was there a concerted media agitprop against the prophylactic use of hydroxychloroquine that was backed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) no less? And why did Prof Neil Ferguson, who had led Imperial’s contagion modelling, repeatedly breach lockdown measures to meet his paramour – right after his recommendations were used to justify draconian lockdowns worldwide which continue till today?
Most damning yet, why are Western media and scientific establishments dismissive of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine? After all, Moscow’s credibility, both scientific and otherwise, is on the line here. In a real pandemic, nobody would care where an effective remedy comes from. The virus does not care about borders and geopolitics; so why should we politicize the origins of an antidote?
Perhaps what we are really dealing with here is a case of mass “coronapsychosis” as Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko aptly called it. Who benefits from global lockdowns that are destabilizing all facets of our society? The following four “great” undercurrents may provide a clue.
The Great Deflection
As the author had warned for more than a decade, the world is staring at a confluence of risk overloads, socioeconomic meltdowns1 and a Second Great Depression. For the ruling classes, COVID-19 is fortuitously deflecting public attention away from the disastrous consequences of decades of economic mismanagement and wealth fractionation. The consolidation of Big Tech with Big Media2has created an Orwellian world where collective hysteria is shifting loci from bogeymen like Russia to those who disagree with the pandemic narrative.
We have entered a “new normal” where Pyongyang, North Korea, affords more ambulatory freedom than Melbourne, Australia. While rioting and mass demonstrations by assorted radicals are given a free pass – even encouraged by leaders in the West –Facebook posts questioning lockdowns are deemed subversive. This is a world where Australian Blueshirts beat up women, manhandle a pregnant woman in her own home, and perform wolf pack policing on an elderly lady in a park. Yet, the premier of the Australian state of Victoria remains unfazed by the unflattering moniker of Kim Jong Dan.
The corona-totalitarianism is unsurprisingly most pronounced in the Anglosphere and its dependencies. After all, these nations are staring at socioeconomic bankruptcies of unprecedented proportions vis-à-vis their counterparts. Even their own governments are being systematically undermined from within. The US Department of Homeland Security, created in the aftermath of 9/11 to combat terrorism, is now providing$10 million in grants to organizations which supposedly combat “far-right extremism and white supremacy”. This will further radicalize leftist malcontents who are razing down US cities and its economies in the name of social justice. There is however a curious rationale behind this inane policy as the following section illustrates.
The Great Wealth Transfer
While the circus continues, the bread is thinning out, except for the Top 0.001%. Instead of bankruptcy as recent trends indicated, Silicon Valley and affiliated monopolies are notching up record profits along with record social media censorships. US billionaires raked in $434 billion in the first two months of the lockdown alone. The more the lockdowns, the more the wealth accrued to the techno-elite. As tens of millions of individuals and small businesses face bankruptcy by Christmas, the remote work revolution is gifting multibillion dollar jackpots to the likes of Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook). Azure (Microsoft) and AWS (Amazon) cloud eco-systems, among others, have expanded by 50% since the beginning of the pandemic.
In the face of such runaway wealth fractionation, panoptic contact tracing tools from Big Tech are increasingly employed to pacify restive populations. And of course, to prevent a second, third or Nth wave of COVID-19 for our collective good!
In the meantime, Big Banks, Big Pharma, Big Tech and other monopolies are getting lavish central bank bailouts or “stimulus packages” to gobble up struggling smaller enterprises. COVID-19 is a gift that never stops giving to a select few. But how will the techno-oligarchy maintain a degree of social credibility and control in an impoverished and tumultuous world?
The Great Philanthropy
Oligarchic philanthropy will be a dominant feature of this VUCA decade3. According to a recent Guardian report, philanthropic foundations have multiplied exponentially in the past two decades, controlling a war chest worth more than $1.5 trillion. That is sufficient to bankroll a horde of experts, NGOs, industry lobbies, media and fact-checkers worldwide. Large sums can also be distributed rapidly to undermine governments. The laws governing scientific empiricism are no longer static and immutable; they must dance in tandem with the funding. Those who scream fake news are usually its foremost peddlers. This is yet another “new normal” which had actually predated COVID-19 by decades.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is a prime example of how oligarchic philanthropy works. Since 2000, it has donated more than $45 billion to “charitable causes” and a chunk of thisis designed to control the global media narrative. The Guardian, rather tellingly, credits the BMGF for helping eradicate polio despite contrary reports of wanton procedural abuses, child death tolls and poverty exploitations which routinely mar the foundation’s vaccination programs. Bill Gates even interprets vaccine philanthropy in terms of a 20-to-1 return on investments, as he effused to CNBC last year.
As for the BMGF’s alleged polio success, officials now fear that a dangerous new strain could soon “jump continents”. After spending $16 billion over 30 years to eradicate polio, international health bodies – which work closely with BMGF – have “accidentally” reintroduced the disease to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.
Poverty, hunger and desperation will spawn a tangible degree of public gratitude despite elite philanthropy’s entrenched bias towards elite institutions and causes. By the Guardian’s own admission, “British millionaires gave £1.04bn to the arts, and just £222m to alleviating poverty” in the 10-year period to 2017. Contrast this with the annual $10 billion earmarked by the philanthropic pool for “ideological persuasion” in the US alone. The rabble is worth their weight only for the potential havoc they can wreak.
There is enough money floating around to reduce our cities into bedlams of anarchy as seen in the United States today. (It will only get worse after the Nov 3 US presidential elections).The crumbs left over can be delegated to threadbare charities. One only needs to reflect on soup kitchens in the post-1929 Weimar Republic. The most popular ones were organized by the Nazi party and funded by wealthy patrons. The march towards a new order has a familiar historical meme. The new Brownshirts are those who terrorise citizens for not wearing masks, for not being locked down in their pens, and for simply supporting a political candidate of choice. Even children who do not follow the oligarchic narrative are not spared!
The Great Reset
A great pruning will inevitably occur in the mega-billionaire club as whatever remains of the global corona-economy is systematically cannibalized. The club will get smaller but wealthier and will attempt to sway our collective destiny. Control over education, healthcare, means of communications and basic social provisions is being increasingly ceded by governments to the global elite. Governments colluding in the “new normal” will sooner or later face the ire of distressed masses. Politicians and assorted “social justice warriors” will be scapegoated once they have outlived their usefulness.
In this cauldron, the century-old technocratic dream of replacing politicians, electoral processes and businesses with societies run by scientists and technical experts4may emerge – thanks to advances in panoptic technologies. It will be an age for the “rational science of production” and “scientific collectivism”. The latter is eerily redolent of the Soviet sharaska (prison labs) system.
The production and supply of goods will be coordinated by a central directorate5, led not by elected representatives (whose roles, where they exist, will be nominal anyway) but by technocrat factotums. Perhaps this is what the World Economic Forum refers to as the Great Reset. In reality though, this idea smacks of a global Gosplan minus the Doctor Sausages for the innumerable many.
(Some emerging economies like Malaysia and India casually refer to technocracy as an infusion of greater technical expertise into bureaucracy. This is a misinterpretation of technocracy’s longstanding means and goals).
One intractable problem remains: will the emerging global oligarchy tolerate the existence of various deep states worldwide? Initially, both groupings may cooperate to their mutual benefit but their respective raisons d’être are too contradictory to be reconciled One thrives on an “open society” run by obedient hirelings who will administer a global Ministry of Truth while the other depends on secrecy and a degree of national sovereignty to justify its existence. Surveillance technologies ushered in by the ongoing “coronapsychosis” may end up being the deciding factor in this struggle.
After all, if social media posts by the President of the United States and the White House can be blatantly censored today, think of the repercussions for billions of people worldwide tomorrow?
Author’s note: An abridged version of this article was published by RT on Oct 14
1. Maavak, M. (2012), Class Warfare, Anarchy and the Future Society: Is the Middle Class forging a Gramscian Counter-Hegemonic Bloc Worldwide? Journal of Futures Studies, December 2012, 17(2): 15-36.
2. Maavak, M. (2019). Bubble to Panopticon: Dark Undercurrents of the Big Data Torrent.Kybernetes, Vol. 49 No. 3, pp. 1046-1060. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-06-2019-0403
3. Maavak, M (2021). Maavak, M. (2021). Horizon 2020-2030: Will Emerging Risks Unravel our Global Systems? Accepted for publication.Salus Journal, Issue 1 2021.
4. Elsner, Jr., Henry (1967). The Technocrats: Prophets of Automation. Syracuse University.
5. Stabile, D.R. (1986). Veblen and the Political Economy of the Engineer: the radical thinker and engineering leaders came to technocratic ideas at the same time.American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol, 45, No. 1, 1986, pp. 43-44.
Should Turkey and Azerbaijan Be Worried About Killed Syrian Mercenaries?
Just a few weeks ago many analysts and observers were sceptical about reports of Turkey’s transferring units of its Syrian National Army (SNA) proxies to Nagorno Karabakh, even more so because Turkish officials denied any such claims. However, as evidence of massive casualties among the Syrian mercenaries continues to mount, there is little space left for doubt: SNA fighters have become cannon fodder in the Turkish operation in support of Azerbaijan.
The first batch of bodies of those Syrians who perished in Nagorno Karabakh counted over 50 people, according to messages and videos that went viral on opposition WhatsApp and Telegram channels. Among the dead who were delivered to Syria over Hiwar Kilis border crossing and were given a hasted burial were men from Aleppo, Idlib, Homs and other regions of Syria. Many of their relatives, like families of Muhammad Shaalan from Atareb and Kinan Ferzat from Maarat al-Nuuman, were shocked to learn about their death.
Just like the majority of the Syrians who travelled to Nagorno Karabakh, Muhammad and Firzat were primarily motivated by lucrative rewards of up to 2,000 dollars promised by Turkey. “I came here to make money and have a better life back in Syria where the living conditions are miserable. I consider this a job, nothing else,” a member of Liwa Sultan Murad, one of the first SNA factions to deploy its fighters to the contested region, told Guardian.
The reason behind heavy casualties of the Syrian mercenaries is that they are thrown into action where the clashes are the most violent, including Jabrayil, Terter, Fizulin and Talysh. This move allows Azerbaijan to keep its military, who mainly provide air support including operating Turkey-made Bayraktar TB2 UAVs and coordinate artillery and missile strikes of the Armenian positions, out of direct contact with the enemy.
The estimates of the numbers of the Syrian mercenaries present in Nagorno Karabakh are wildly different. While initial reports put their number at 500 men, it is currently believed that the actual number may be in thousands. This data indicates that at least 10 percent of the fighters were killed during the very first days of the escalation – a serious alarm for the mercenaries as well as their Turkish backers.
These developments must ring a bell for Azerbaijan as well. The longer the conflict protracts, the higher the risk of casualties among the Azeri servicemen becomes, who have already suffered losses in Armenian retaliation strikes. Baku has managed to avoid discontent among the military as well as the civilian populace – not least thanks to the Syrian mercenaries crushed as cannon fodder – but this can not continue for long.
Emerging Multipolarity and its consequences
“Make America great again” a slogan that formed the nucleus of trump’s electoral campaign vividly suggests that America is no more a great country. It is, in fact, an implicit admission that U.S is gradually losing its clout in international politics and hence, its image as a sole superpower of the world has virtually tarnished. Let me rephrase this connotation; it means that the era of unipolar world is over and the world has now transitioned to a multipolarirty.
Currently, new power centers are emerging in transnational political landscape. China, Russia, India and Turkey are excessively engaged to carve a niche for them in evolving international order. Most importantly, with China and Russia’s mushrooming proximity, balance of power is now shifting from west to east. Former United States (US) Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton at her state visit to New Zealand was one of the first to observe “a shifting balance of power to a more multi-polar world as opposed to the Cold War model of a bipolar world”. This conspicuous change in multi-national political setup was also realized by Ban ki Moon, the then secretary- General of United Nations who stated at Stanford University in 2013 that we have begun to “move increasingly and irreversibly to a multi-polar world”. Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, also declared at the Russia-China Conference 2016 that “international relations have entered into a conceptually new historical stage that consists in the emergence of a multi-polar world order and reflects the strengthening of new centers of economic development and power”.
These manifestations of political spin doctors have since then revealed a general acceptance of the idea of multi-polar world as a concept that is inescapable political reality in the contemporary international dynamics. However, when it comes to the transitions and inevitability of power structures, there is a little agreement among the international states.
A much stronger resistance to forego unipolarity remains embedded in the Trump administration vision to “make America great again”. Political pundits such as Robert Kaplan continue to question, whether there is an overlap of unipolar and multi-polar world realities; where US continues to retain the supremacy in military realm of affairs and is anticipated to remain so for a considerable future time, whereby China leads in the economic realm. Additionally nations in the former Third World are acquiring status as rising powers, notably India who have over the years with smart diplomacy have acquired global outreach to shape international agenda.
Chronologically, After World War II, the U.S. became the undisputed and unchallenged global superpower. It was the only country, equipped with nuclear warheads and was one of the few countries involved in the war that came away from it relatively unscathed at home. The U.S. underwent a meager loss of approximately 400,000 soldiers and a fractional amount of civilians in the war. The Soviet Union, meanwhile, incurred a gigantic loss of around 11 million soldiers and some 7 million to 10 million civilians. While Soviet and European cities were undergoing the process of rehabilitation, American cities flourished. It seemed clear to all that the future belonged to the United States.
But it didn’t take long for the luster of unrivaled power to tarnish. The U.S. military machine relaxed as quickly as it had mobilized, and wartime unity gave way to peacetime political debates over government spending and entitlement programs. Within five years, a bipolar world emerged: The Soviets attained an atomic bomb, and the U.S. was caught flat-footed in a war on the Korean Peninsula that ended in a stalemate. Soon thereafter, the U.S. was withdrawing from Vietnam and rioting at home. In 1971, then-President Richard Nixon predicted a world that he said would soon emerge in which the U.S. was “no longer in the position of complete pre-eminence.” Within 26 years of the end of World War II, Nixon’s prediction saw the light of the day and the U.S. had to resign to its fate.
Theoretically, multipolarity refers to a distribution of power in which more than two states have nearly equal amounts of military, cultural, financial and economic influence.
If we look at the contemporary world, we find that with the rise of like China, India, Russia, Indonesia, Turkey and Brazil, global power will spread across a wider range of countries, hence, a new world order with multipolar outlook is likely to emerge .
Realistically speaking, several revisionist powers are and will shaking up their regions. For instance, Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 – annexing Crimea, over which it has fought several wars throughout history (mainly with Turkey). In turn, Turkey is asserting its sovereignty over the eastern Mediterranean to the frustration of countries like Greece, Egypt, Cyprus and Israel. Meanwhile, India has upped its aggression in its border dispute with Pakistan as Modi began a process to revoke the autonomous status of the disputed territories of Jammu and Kashmir.
Notably, after the age of city-states and nation-states, we are now entering the age of continental politics. The most powerful countries of the 21st century (the U.S., China, Russia India, Indonesia, and Brazil) are the size of continents. They have broad economic bases and their digital economies potentially have hundreds of millions of users. Internationally, their scale requires them to seek broad spheres of influence in order to protect their security.
Here the question arises what will be the impact of growing multipolarity in the world? First of all, revisionist powers will increasingly ignite tensions. The growing assertiveness of countries like Russia, Turkey and India is the new normal. As they grow more powerful, these countries will seek to revise arrangements in order to reflect the new realities of power. Because these (continental) states seek broad spheres of influence, many places are at risk of destabilization.
Second, one of the biggest risks is the growing paranoia of the hegemon (the U.S.). The current trade war has shown how destabilizing the policy of the (financial) hegemon becomes as it feels threatened by the rise of a rival. Historically, this has been the most important source of violent conflicts. Indeed, the biggest source of uncertainty in the coming years is how the U.S. will react to the rise of China.
Third, the world order will become more ambiguous. Two developments deserve our attention. First, the growing use of shadow power will make conflict more unpredictable. With digital tools, states (and non-state actors) are manipulating each other in subtle ways. For example, Russian hackers posed as Iranians to hit dozens of countries and Americans blamed Russia for tampering with American elections. Second, alliances will also become more ambiguous. With ever changing dynamics of world economy, new alliances, motivated by the concept of triangulation (to keep balance in relation with the US and China, the trade warriors) will form and such alliances, as predicted by spin doctors; will be less stable than the blocs, formed in 20th century.
To sum it up, before we reach a multipolar world order, we will see a period of growing uncertainty based on the rise of revisionist powers, the paranoia of the U.S. and growing ambiguity of conflict and cooperation. Moreover, the political pundits are divided in opinion that whether multi-polarity is unstable than unipolarity or bipolarity. Kenneth Waltz strongly was in favor of “bipolar order as stable”. On the other side, Karl Deutsch and David Singer saw multi-polarity as guaranteeing a greater degree of stability in an article published in 1964, “Multipolar Systems and International Stability”. Simon Reich and Richard Ned Lebow in “Goodbye Hegemony” (2014), question the belief whether a global system without a hegemon would be unstable and more war prone. However, whatever the system the world is likely to witness in the days to come, let’s hope that this should be in the best interest of humanity and it should make the lives of the inhabitants of this planet peaceful and prosperous.
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