by Fabio Massimo Parenti
After two years of pandemic, just as the world was starting to see the light, the Russia-Ukraine conflict once again plunged it into the darkness of a polycrisis that is at once geopolitical, economic and climatic.
As economic and cultural walls between countries are raised in the name of a new Cold War, we are once again reminded of the fact that there is no way of achieving global peace other than to commit ourselves every day to building the unity of the human race by taking into account of the diversity of all peoples.
In this regard, China seems to provide us with a unique and effective approach to building peace, through the stabilization of international relations, the rejection of the new Cold War logic of power blocs, and the promotion of multilateralism, dialogue and cooperation. These are the pillars of Beijing’s foreign policy.
China, with the extension of the new Silk Roads to more than 140 countries, has become the main promoter of inclusive globalization and one of the world’s largest economic hubs without resorting to military expansionism, wars of invasion, “power bloc” strategies or attempting to impose its own model upon others.
Peace is built through cultural exchanges, dialogue and trade. Exchanges between the people of different nations lead to greater mutual knowledge and pave the way for the political coordination necessary for peaceful coexistence.
Regrettably, the West is not investing in plans for the integration of peoples, countries and economies, but is choosing to foster a new arms race which can and must be stopped.
The Anglo-Saxon countries today are openly arguing in favor of deglobalization, a strategy that, as noted, is antithetical to the interests of European and Mediterranean countries. Their aim is the separation and fracturing of the Eurasian continent (the site, not by chance, of all the major wars of the past two decades), in order to reaffirm the global hegemonic supremacy of the U.S.-led system, which has been seriously eroded but not completely exhausted.
They have pursued this strategy, and continue to do so, through trade wars and unilateral and arbitrary sanctions, which are motivated by political-strategic considerations and are therefore contrary to the principles of the commercial and financial regimes promoted by Western countries themselves. They have also done so, and continue to do so, through countless invasions, proxy wars, and regime changes, as well as by inciting and using minorities, extremist groups and terrorists.
Since they no longer control globalization, U.S. leaders have now chosen to dismantle it to the detriment of Ukraine as well as people there and elsewhere by launching invectives, warnings and insults at any country that doesn’t move in lockstep with the self-appointed rulers of the world.
It is clear that this is not a constructive attitude, especially at a time that would require very different tones, approaches and analytical skills, and most importantly a strategic vision in the interest of the peoples.
This becomes evident when we look at the growing influence of non-Western international institutions, within many of which China is playing a leading role. A growing number of countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia have joined, or have asked to join organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS, all of which were created in the past 20 years.
The reasons for this trend and its more recent acceleration are economic, security-related and ultimately political: there is a common feeling among many countries that they need to emancipate themselves from the dependency traps created by the Western empire — the U.S.-NATO system today, and the European empires before that.
If we look at the global destabilization created over the decades by the declining hegemon and its closest allies, we can expect that a world more influenced by China is likely to be characterized by more cooperation and less competition — a world in which the principle of mutual respect between different political systems, which is not honored today, could become a cornerstone of international relations.
Editor’s note: Fabio Massimo Parenti is a foreign associate professor at China Foreign Affairs University and professor of international studies at the International Institute Lorenzo de’ Medici in Italy’s Florence.