Angela Merkel invited Europeans to start preparing for a world without American leadership and reflect on how this world will be.
In Moscow, the answer to this question has been ready for a long time: we will see a multipolar world where countries will respect each other’s sovereignty, where common problems will be discussed at the regional level, as well as in the global board of directors like the Big Twenty.
In general, the world is much safer and more stable than the current one. However, this answer is nothing more than a fantasy that does not take into account either human psychology or the peculiarities of regional systems of international relations.
Yes, the United States is extremely selfish, and in some places destructive. Yes, they interfere in the internal affairs of countries and carry out humanitarian interventions. Yes, it’s on their conscience the destruction of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya (we don’t take Afghanistan – it was already destroyed). Yes, their actions led to the fact that Georgia and Ukraine lost their territories, and the latter generally collapsed into a state of civil conflict. All this is true, all this is so. However, US critics overlook or simply ignore the colossal amount of rough work that Americans are doing in the world as part of their global leadership. A work that saves the whole world from a big war and big problems.
Ghosts of the past
Perhaps the most unpleasant consequences of Washington’s departure from the post of world policeman will be in East Asia. First, we will see a sharp aggravation of the situation on the Korean Peninsula – right up to the war with the use of nuclear weapons. Moreover, North Korea can become an aggressor here (try to solve the threat problem from the South, which has lost the American “roof”, and hence military superiority over the North), and South Korea, having decided to launch a preventive strike, including a nuclear one.
Yes, nuclear – because, and this is secondly – the US rejection of world leadership will entail the desire of at least two states (having a nuclear-free status only because the Americans insisted on taking it under their defense umbrella) of East Asia at an accelerated pace to acquire nuclear weapons: South Korea and Japan. And if Seoul needs these weapons to deter Pyongyang (which receives another argument for delivering a preemptive strike), then Tokyo – to protect it from Beijing’s growing power. As an addition to the Japanese bomb, we will see the rejection of pacifist articles of the constitution and the sharp increase in militarism in this country, awakening the terrible ghosts of the past and again raising the question of what caused Tokyo’s inhumane attitude towards the conquered territories in the first half of the 20th century: temporary insanity or still elements of national psychology.
In addition to these two states, the nuclear sword wants to get one territory – Taiwan. If, of course, she succeeds, for today only the guarantees of the United States and its Seventh Fleet are holding China back from attempts to return Taipei to the fold of Motherland. Therefore, intervention is entirely possible – and, given the increased military capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army of China, this will not be a collective swim of a million soldiers through the Taiwan Strait.
And China may not be limited to Taiwan. Only the United States today is restraining the PRC from territorial expansion in the southeast direction, aimed at controlling the islands and almost the entire water area of the South China Sea. Beijing has enough military and economic opportunities to subjugate the entire region to its will (unless, of course, the Japanese manage to show the wonders of diplomacy and create an anti-Chinese alliance in East Asia under their auspices) – and then pay attention to other geographical directions.
There will be no reason for optimism in the Middle East. In the event the United States withdraws, Israel will fall — the times are gone when the army of this state was an order of magnitude superior to all the armed forces of the Middle East countries, and the prime ministers (even women) had the steel will to make radical decisions. Now the Israeli army cannot even fight normally against Hamas, the elites are indecisive, and the population is divided (to the extent that they are forced to go to the polls three times in order to form a government). Nuclear weapons are unlikely to protect – the territory of Israel is small, and the Arabs may well deliver a preventive disarming strike.