One thing the pro-Kremlin “geopolitical experts” can’t seem to shut up about is the need for a “multipolar world.” Supposedly we live in a unipolar world, that one pole being the United States or the “Euro-Atlantic project.” Russia is supposedly leading a struggle to balance this and create a multipolar world. They’re just precious, aren’t they?
Initially this theory of the unipolar world wasn’t exactly ridiculous. Plenty of respected intellectuals from a variety of different points of view acknowledged or still acknowledge that in the immediate aftermath of the USSR’s collapse, the United States became “the world’s sole superpower,” the one country that could still project military and economic power around the world. Of course as in all cases, Russia’s intellegentsia lags far behind, stuck in the Brezhnev era many of them grew up in. The reality is that we already live in a multipolar world today.
Why then, do the “geopolitical experts” keep babbling about this need for a multipolar world then? My guess is because in this real multipolar world, Russia isn’t one of the poles. It’s still just a regional power with no ability to project its military might much further than its own borders and it has virtually no economic levers that it can apply to anyone other than former Soviet republics. The two other countries/entities one can consider “poles,” apart from Poland of course, are the European Union and China. The latter, of course, is even beginning to fetter Russia with its unequal trade agreements and loans.
I think this is a case of the delusions of people like Markov and Dugin rubbing off on their foreign acolytes. The world is only multipolar if Russia is one of those poles, an idea similar to their delusion about BRICS being some kind of alliance of states standing up to the same West that is actually their biggest trading partner.
The main problem with the multipolar theory is that this isn’t a desirable goal. The first incarnation of such a world gave us the First World War, which of course led to the Second World War, which in turn led to the Cold War. The First World War was a product of colonial imperialism whereby great powers divvied up the world and often tried to exclude their rivals from access to markets or resources. The Cold War, which is the era in which people like Putin and his ideological hacks were born, was a big different, but still involved two major superpowers carving up the world into spheres of influence. The results, of course, were numerous proxy wars, coups d’etat, assassinations, and terrorism, not to mention the constant threat of nuclear annihilation. That Russia’s neo-fascists think this is desirable is logical, but wholly unacceptable for the majority of humanity.
What humanity needs is a world without poles, without great military powers projecting their force around the world and angling for the interests of their ruling classes. This is precisely why working people must oppose regional Russian imperialism and its propaganda with the same tenacity they would Western imperialism. The truth is that Russia’s leaders see nothing wrong with imperialism, even a much more heavy-handed imperialism than that which the West commonly practices. The only problem they have with Western imperialism is that it’s Western and not their own.