International Diplomatic Forum “New Challenges for Global Diplomacy: Confrontation or Dialogue?”: Expert Opinion

An International Diplomatic Forum was held March 30, 2018, on the theme: “New Challenges for Global Diplomacy: Confrontation or Dialogue?» at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The event was attended by members of the youth organization The Young Guard of United Russia and members of the Council of Young Researchers at the Diplomatic Academy of MFA. IDF was supported by the Russian – Latin American Strategic Studies Association (Moscow-Sao Paulo) and the Association of Studies, Research and Internationalization in Eurasia and Africa (Rome).

The meeting was attended not only by young researchers from Russia but also from other countries, especially Venezuela. The participants of the conference listened to expert assessments and took an active part in the subsequent discussion. The meeting was moderated by the head of the Center for Public Diplomacy and World Cultures at the Diplomatic Academy, the Head of the project “International Diplomatic Forum” Dr Natalia Maslakova-Clauberg.

Natalia Maslakova-Clauberg, Head of The Center of Public Diplomacy and World Cultures at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Head of the project “International Diplomatic Forum.”

“The ‘diplomatic crisis’ between Russia and Western countries led by the United States in the so-called ‘Sergei Skripal case’ becomes a kind of challenge for the world political system and a test for ‘lessons learned’. The twentieth century was marked by three world wars, which resulted in millions of lives and horrifying scale of destruction, including the nuclear bombing of Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki by US aircraft. However, this does not stop those Western politicians who continue to spin the ‘spiral of confrontation’, bringing humanity to a new world war in the XXI century.

Today we are witnessing an unprecedented ‘diplomatic demarche’ against Russia, organised by Great Britain, contrary to generally accepted international rules and norms, and most importantly – without any evidence. Pursuing a policy of creating a broad ‘anti – Russian coalition,’ the UK is trying to solve its problems, first of all, to divert attention from the problems of ‘Brexit’ and trying to ‘bargain’ with its European allies concessions in this ‘painful process’. However, many European countries are already wondering whether the UK for the EU is an ally or a ‘companion’ because the decision to exit has already entered into a practical plane.

The United States representing Russia as a ‘monster from the depths of the sea’ forgets that in world history Russia did not start wars, but only ended them, thereby saving Europe and the whole world from another threat. This was in 1812, when Russia defeated The Napoleonic army, and in 1945, beating Nazi Germany.

Here it is appropriate to recall the ‘Hague congresses of peace’, which Russia initiated in 1898 to adopt international conventions on the laws and customs of war, as well as on the prohibition of dangerous weapons. It was Russia that was at the origin of the world disarmament process.

Today, some European countries have chosen a dangerous path in their relations with Russia ‘from dialogue to confrontation’ and ‘from cooperation to isolation’. I would like to remind them of the biblical words: <<Whoever sows the wind will reap the storm.>>. However, whether to count on the biblical wisdom of those in Europe who are increasingly moving away from Christian truths is questionable.”

Tatyana Zvereva, Head of the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Studies and International Security,  Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

“The campaign launched in the Western media on the case of Sergei Skripal leads to further aggravation in relations between the West and Russia. At the same time, it is mainly market-oriented. This campaign is more in line with the British authorities’ short-term rather than long-term objectives. It is essential for them today to find new unifying ideas in the context of difficult negotiations with the EU on ‘Brexit’ and the rapid decline in the popularity of the party in power, as demonstrated by the early parliamentary elections in June 2017. The anti-Russian campaign allows diverting attention from these failures and for some time ‘to unite the nation’.

As for Washington, it is clear that it is exerting pressure on its allies overseas to tighten its policy towards Russia. It is essential that Washington’s policy towards Moscow is a hostage to domestic political arrangements. The US-President is forced to demonstrate his anti-Russian attitude not so much because it fits into the foreign policy priorities of the ruling administration but to refute the myth widely circulated in the media about the illegitimacy of his election. Washington’s robust steps against Moscow and the corresponding rhetoric are in many respects demonstrative and are conditioned, first of all, by the desire of the ruling forces to undermine the positions of their political opponents. In these circumstances, it is important not to succumb to provocations and show restraint, while continuing to consistently pursue a line for the resumption of a mutually respectful equal dialogue between Russia and the West”,

Rolf Clauberg, President of the company “InterKulturForum GmbH”/Switzerland, Expert of the international academic expert Council.

The current situation in international relations is experiencing severe turmoil. For the past 70 years, the US has been the dominant economic power in the world. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the formation of a monopolar world with a centre in the United States. Henry Kissinger writes about this in his book ‘New world order’.

In recent years, China has become a serious economic competitor to the United States, claiming its position in the world economy.  China has already replaced the US as the most reliable economic power in purchasing power parity terms and is expected to achieve the same regarding the official exchange rates in a few years from now.

Of particular concern to the United States was the announcement and demonstration of new modernised types of weapons, which were demonstrated on March 1, 2018, in the Message of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Russian Federal Assembly. These systems make the US Anti-Ballistic-Missile defence systems practically useless and thereby also the numerical superiority of the US in Intercontinental nuclear weapons.

All this has led to significant tension between the United States on the one hand and China and Russia on the other side. Competition with China –  confrontation with Russia. And today we witness the escalation of these phenomena.

For the European Union, the US was the most important export market in 2015 and 2016 – about 21% of EU exports were to the US, and the next most significant market was China with about 10%, while Switzerland was about 8%, Turkey and Russia about 4% each. Hence in 2015 and 2016, the US was economically more important to the EU than China and Russia. However, with China’s economic growth still far above that of the US and Russia’s economy recovering, this may change already in 2018.

Economic power is determined not only by export markets but also by the dependence on imports. For example, the dependence of the EU countries on Russian gas imports is quite strong. The British magazine Economist estimates that the Baltic States, Poland, Finland, Czech Republic, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia receive 75-100% of their gas from Russia. For Germany, Hungary and Greece this share is 50-75%. The differences in the economic importance of Russia for various EU countries and their corresponding political positions also led already to tensions between EU countries.

Considering all these arguments together, it is unlikely that the US will succeed in securing its monopolistic world order. Also, in addition to China and Russia, India, Brazil, and other countries are striving for a place on the political world stage. This means that the process of transformation of the world political system is only at the very beginning.

Evegeny N. Pashentsev, a leading researcher at the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies and International Security at  the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Coordinator of the Russian – Latin American Strategic Studies Association

Russia does not need a confrontation with the West, but certain ruling circles in NATO and the United States do. First of all, it gives grounds for the deployment of a new large-scale arms race as a means of revitalizing the economy (other measures do not help); distraction of its population from figuring out the internal causes of the practical long-term economic stagnation by a far-fetched external threat; the use of military hysteria to subordinate the countries of Latin America, the Middle East and the European Union to their interests; obtaining a lot of profit from control over energy supplies in the new ‘cold’ (and, at least in part, ‘hot’) war and other such calculations.

The United States is actively trying to influence the socio-economic and political processes in Latin America, resorting to a variety of measures of pressure up to sanctions and threats of use of force against certain States of the region, especially Venezuela, which is the leading opponent to Washington’s imperial ambitions among Latin American countries. Here, as in other areas of the world, today there is a multilevel confrontation:

  • acute clash of values, interests, goals of different political forces at the national level;
  • tensions, between various Latin American countries with different political orientations (e.g. Colombia and Venezuela, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, etc.);
  • conflict of interest between Russia, China on the one hand, and the United States and its allies in NATO and the EU on the other (generally only partly related to events in Latin America itself);
  • the growing rivalry between TNCs and TNBs in the face of growing international competition, declining the international trade, instability in world commodity and financial markets.

Transnational oligarchy accumulates more and more resources in its hands, which provokes social tensions in all regions, including in Latin America.

Russia, developing mutually beneficial relations with Latin American countries of different socio-political orientation, has significantly strengthened its positions and authority, which, in particular, manifested itself in the non-accession of Latin American nations to the sanctions policy of Washington. The effort to ‘up the intensity’ of international tension in connection with the ‘Skripal Case’ also did not find any significant support in the region and did not lead to the expulsion of Russian diplomats. In the current international situation, the further development of relations between Russia and Latin American countries is not only mutually beneficial but also serves as a decisive and important factor in strengthening global stability and international security.”

E. G. Kutovoy, retired Ambassador

Not for the first time in the post-war period, our state is going through a stage of severe aggravation of inter-state relations.  This time it was the result of the ‘Jesuit’ anti – Russian illegal course of the party of conservatives of Great Britain, which led to a dangerous confrontation in its intensity and scale between Russia and the West, in fact-to the unleashing of new ‘cold war’.

Despite all the instability of the current moment, there is a real danger that the international situation in the coming period will develop in the context of the growing race of new, mainly dangerous weapons, which poses a threat to the military scenario of events on the world stage. In the interests of ensuring the reliable security of our state and other countries of the world, it is imperative to use the opportunities of foreign policy and modern diplomacy to prevent further deterioration in the relations of States, the rupture of diplomatic relations.  Keeping calm in relations with the Western States, it is advisable to make greater use of the experience of the Soviet Union in maintaining and deepening contacts and ties with them at the level of cultural, scientific and civil cooperation. Overcoming the current international crisis will require greater interaction with them in other areas as well: people’s democracy, religious relations, the fight against global terrorism, etc.”

Daria A. Zvyagina, senior researcher, Centre for Euro-Atlantic cooperation and international security, Institute for topical international problems, Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry

Today, for the first time since the end of the cold war, the world has once again faced unprecedented tension in international relations. The confrontation between Russia and the West not only ‘exposed’ old mutual claims to each other and hostile stereotypes of thinking, but also revealed new challenges to political stability and the world order. In these conditions to the forefront comes the necessity of finding alternative ways of establishing an international dialogue.

It is youth contacts that have the potential to reduce tensions in international relations and to initiate a productive dialogue. Aspiration unites young people from different countries to the future and desire to establish mutually beneficial international cooperation. Traditionally, the most fertile field for dialogue is cultural cooperation. After all, culture is the space in which the overcoming of the historically formed stereotypes and prejudices becomes possible. When political and economic relations deteriorate, culture remains the most reliable bridge between countries and peoples.”

Further information and a detailed gallery at the following links:  http://www.molgvardia.ru/nextday/2018/03/31/94831 –  http://www.molgvardia.ru/gallery/2018/03/31/94832