09/05/2014, 00.00
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The not-so-cold war of Putin’s caliphate

by Vladimir Rozanskij
The NATO summit prepares to deploy weapons and military to the East-European border; Russia is isolated and increasingly allied with Asia and the non-West. The globalized era comes to an end with a return to divisions along military, economic and political lines which in reality are convenient to everyone. The Ukrainian question holds the destiny of the world.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The coincidence between the NATO summit in Wales and the peace negotiations in Belarus, between separatists and the Ukrainian Government clearly points to a new image of Europe (and the world) that is emerging with the end of the globalized era and the beginning of a new world division into opposing blocs.

On the one hand the democratic countries "brothers" of the West, in theory ready to sustain and protect each other in the face of totalitarian threats (this, essentially, is the ideology of the Atlantic Alliance). On the other side authoritarian countries "cousins​​" of the East, in theory independent of each other, but in reality ready to join forces against the West.

In this context of going "back to the future", the winds of the twentieth century's cold wars can be felt with the old iron curtains (or barbed wire, like the fragile barrier that the Ukrainian government intends to raise between the Dnieper and the Don). In the past few weeks, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine have reached the "point of no return".  Now there is an unbridgeable gulf, and this means, in the words of both contenders, a "new strategy" that of enmity and permanent war. Putin won his war, without ever having formally fighting it: he has isolated Russia from any external influence, saving his country from the shame of foreign slavery.

In reality, the dimensions of this conflict are manifold, and explain the alternating moments of calm and crisis, depending on the different contexts in which it develops. The military context is certainly the greatest threat pitting as it does the old-new NATO against Putin's old-new Soviet Union. We are back at the starting point of the end of the Cold War,  with the treaties on nuclear disarmament of the eighties, which never really reached a conclusion: the superpowers of the last century still hold the duopoly on nuclear and strategic power, capable of pulverizing the entire world . All wars, and especially those in the Arab world, are influenced by those who control the biggest weaponry power, which remains the biggest expenditure in the global economy's budgets. The tests of strength in eastern Ukraine prove that the time has come to redefine the terms of this primary market: weapons cannot remain without an owner, Putin has made this clear to the entire world, and the American Nobel Peace Laureate cannot shirk his responsibility as lord and master of the great treasure trove of death, which has kept the  United States at the top of the world stage until today. Better to divide the cake, rebalance the percentages, before everything blows up in our face; not surprisingly, the newly elected leader of the European Commission, Polish Prime Minister Tusk, has used every available opportunity to revoke the events of September 1939, when Poland found itself at the mercy of the aims of the two dictators, Hitler and Stalin, only to be devoured by both. Ukraine is right next door.

The second context of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, which is closely related to the first, is the economic one. Energy supplies, trade, industrial production and agriculture are heavily dependent on military strategies, as taught by the entire post-war period of the twentieth century. Putin has avoided the flight of capital and the sale of Russia's raw materials by oligarchs, as well as the marriage between Eltsyn and the West, and now awaits the decisive phase, the consolidation of his economy, which cannot be based only on a State monopoly and welfare based society. Russia has missed the Chinese and Indian train with the financial and technological invasion of Western markets, squeezed to the point of collapse, and Europe must rediscover its ability to maneuver in economic mechanisms, squashed as it is between German protectionism and U.S. cynicism. The ballet of the sanctions, thus far more symbolic than truly incisive, shows that the marketplace is taking a new direction. It will no longer be global, but more rigidly divided. The panic that was unleased in Russian supermarkets, where the race is on for Camembert and truffles (far from basic necessities!) is the sign of a new unknown world that is emerging, just as the opening of the first McDonald's on Pushkin Square in Moscow was in 1991, which has now sadly closed.

The next context of the not-too-cold war political: the myth of Western democracy, victorious twenty years ago against Soviet totalitarianism, has ended. Poroshenko and Yatsenjuk's ridiculous Ukrainian parliament, faced with Putin's rock steady Duma, shows that today the path of consensus does not pass through proportional representation, but a leader's ability to represent the instances of the people, by organizing the same consensus into a more stable and secure dimension. Moreover, populism has gradually replaced the ideological parties of the twentieth century almost everywhere, and Putin is certainly at the forefront in this field. The failure of American democracy "exported" to the Middle East is the best demonstration of the need to move from the Republic to the Caliphate, to power close to the people. Al-Baghdadi organizes tug of war competitions between ISIS members, while terrorizing the flaccid Western public opinion; Putin unleashes his power between the Sochi Olympics and the Moscow World Cup.

In the end, the real strength of the Caliphate, well before its military, economic or political power, is its incorporating moral and religious superiority. This is where radical Islam coincides with apocalyptic Orthodoxy, the original soul of Russia. The world is on the brink (and we are doing our level best to give it a good push), to such an extent that we have only lifeline left: a new Noah's Ark. In the end there will only be one winner: either the Caliph will conquer the Vatican (and he is on the right track), or the Christian Tsar will establish the papacy of Moscow, the Third Rome.


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