The world has been undergoing some defining global developments recently.
There is the Russian-Ukrainian War, which has cast a shadow over the entire globe. In fact, it is a conflict of will between Washington and Moscow.
This conflict is also reflected in the increasingly hostile relations between the US and China and the political provocations that are currently taking place, such as the upcoming visit Speaker of Congress Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, and military provocations such as the passage of US warships in the Chinese Sea.
These provocations have put everyone on high alert, which heralds a global catastrophe, the extent of which no one knows.
Simply, the first domino — the crisis in Ukraine — from which these repercussions arose is subject to several decisive results, which can be summed up as follows: If the war in Ukraine ends now, Russia will have under its control more than 20% of Ukraine’s lands and most of Donbas — the main industrial and agricultural region of Ukraine.
This would be a great victory for President Vladimir Putin, enough to confirm that NATO is a European delusion, which is another tragedy.
Thirdly, any Western attempt to break Russia’s prestige militarily will automatically open the door to a nuclear war. Therefore, there will be only one acceptable result, which is to reconsider the geographical borders of Ukraine.
The geopolitical situation at the global level will undergo significant changes after the end of the war in Ukraine. Afterall, Washington believes that it is not normal for China and Russia to have identical interests in all issues.
It is certain that Russia will have to reassess at the very least its relationship with Europe and its general attitude towards NATO; the US will have to adjust its policies as well, given that it would be unwise to be hostile towards two opponents in a way that brings them together.
It is necessary for Washington to reach an understanding with Beijing about a new world order to ensure stability or risk a catastrophic conflict similar to the ones that led to the first World War.
Washington must remember that international problems do not have final solutions and that each apparent solution opens the door to another set of problems.
The conflict between countries that possess high armament technology can start in an instant as long as there is no agreement on some kind of restraint.
And the endless competition between the two largest economies in the world risks unexpected escalation and subsequent conflict — a situation that has become more dangerous due to AI and futuristic weapons.
It is true that Beijing is not currently bent on achieving global hegemony, but it will try in the future to develop its capabilities to reach this goal because there is virtually nothing to restrain its legitimate ambition.
The continuous rise of China is actually a challenge to American hegemony, which is witnessing a decline, whether because of its foreign policy or because of a change in the political orientations of some regional blocs, such as what is happening in Europe or the Middle East.
The Chinese economy is also on its way to overtake its American counterpart in the coming decades, backed by the military investments, nuclear weapons, and technological progress of China, which has put it firmly on the path to become the next hegemon.
The rapid erosion of relations between Washington and Beijing means that they are heading towards a new Cold War, but it will not remain cold indefinitely.
This is where there is no agreement that they will not resort to a military conflict, given the provocative steps taken by Washington and the alliance led by the Biden administration in Southeast Asia in order to confront Beijing, which is unwise, especially if the target is a country the size of China, which possesses almost all the elements of an integrated state.
On the other hand, Europe will increasingly find itself caught in a conflict between the US and Eurasia, and the question now is whether the Europeans will try to play an independent role, at least away from American hegemony.
* Hatem Sadek is a Professor at Helwan University