The announcement on Friday by Russian President Vladimir Putin that he will seek re-election for a fifth term in office came as no surprise. That he chose the occasion of a Kremlin ceremony conferring the Hero of Russia medals to servicemen who had taken part in Russia’s military operation against Ukraine to make the announcement is striking. Putin was found responding to an exhortation by the Hero of the Donetsk People’s Republic Artyom Zhoga, commander of the famous Sparta Battalion (who succeeded his son Vladimir, who died at the age of 28 in 2022 and was posthumously awarded the title “Hero of Russia”) that the entire Donbass would like him to participate in the election.
What we are going to talk about today is really nothing more or less than the story of the birthing of a new order that we have, in any case, been talking about and to which President Putin, in his traditional speech to Valdai at the Valdai Club, alluded and which, by the way, the Valdai Club Annual Report also detailed, I thought, very ably. It’s really, the report is worth a read. So please take a look at both documents. But really, as I say, we are talking about the birthing of a new order, the topic of, and this is the topic of discussion not only at Valdai, not only in Sochi, but in China as well, and really practically all over the world. And of course, there’s an enormous amount of hope invested in this.
Pepe and Michael and I are going to discuss the apparently unending series of summits and read their tea leaves to see what they tell us about how the world is changing. And that summitry has been pretty exhausting. There was the fateful NATO summit in July, where much to his chagrin, President Zelensky failed to get even a timetable to get into NATO after having prostrated his country before NATO and having long ago so faithfully let NATO into Ukraine. And then there was the BRICS summit in Johannesburg in August, where the organization defied pessimistic predictions and admitted six new members.
On the first day of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, September 19, countries from the Global South raised the demand for urgent reforms in multilateral institutions, both political and economic, for a just and democratic world order. The session was addressed by UN General Assembly chair Dennis Francis, UN Secretary General António Guterres, and leaders of various countries including Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, among others. Each of these leaders highlighted the growing geopolitical tensions in the world and the failure of multilateral institutions to resolve them.
When US Acting Deputy Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, traveled to South Africa on July 29, her reputation as a blunt instrument of Washington’s hegemonic interests preceded her. According to a veteran South African official who attended meetings with the senior US diplomat in Pretoria, however, Nuland and her team were demonstrably unprepared to grapple with recent developments on the African continent — particularly the military coup that removed Niger’s pro-Western government hours before she launched her multi-stop tour of the region. “In over 20 years working with the Americans, I have never seen them so desperate,” the official told The Grayzone, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The coup in the West African state of Niger on July 26 and the Russia-Africa Summit the next day in St. Petersburg are playing out in the backdrop of multipolarity in the world order. Seemingly independent events, they capture nonetheless the zeitgeist of our transformative era. First, the big picture — the Africa summit hosted by Russia on July 27-28 poses a big challenge to the West, which instinctively sought to downplay the event after having failed to lobby against sovereign African nations meeting the Russian leadership. Forty-nine African countries sent their delegations to St. Petersburg, with 17 heads of states traveling in person to Russia to discuss political, humanitarian and economic issues.
With immediate effect, the Republic of Niger, under the leadership of new president General Abdourahamane Tchiani, and supported by the people of the country, announced the suspension of the export of uranium and gold to France on Sunday. In parallel to the decision, protestors were surrounding the French Embassy in Niger calling for the end of French colonial practices repeating the slogan “Down with France!” and reaffirming their support to the coup leader, Tchiani. Wazobia Reporters, a Nigerien news website,reported one protestor proclaiming “We have uranium, diamonds, gold, oil, and we live like slaves? We don’t need the French to keep us safe.”
Since the end of the 19th century, European development has been based much more on the plundering of African lands and the buying and selling of its people. In addition, many African men enlisted to fight in the wars of their colonizers: thousands of soldiers from that continent participated in both “world” wars. After this confrontation in the Global North the effect was imminent. An anti-colonial wave swept across Africa, to which France, Britain, Belgium and Portugal, as well as other imperial powers, responded according to their political and economic circumstances.
The New Delhi Declaration was adopted on Tuesday, July 4, after a virtual meeting of the leaders of the nine-member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The declaration underlined the need for stronger and more effective international regimes and vowed to work for a more “just, democratic and multipolar world order.” The 23rd meeting of the Council of Head of States was hosted by India virtually. Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the meeting along with leaders from Central Asian countries.
Several experts have emphasized that this visit aims to highlight similarities between the Islamic Republic and the three Latin American countries, particularly in their political stance towards the West. It’s important here to explain the political similarities between them from a historical perspective with a focus on the connection between Western ideology and colonialism. To understand the critique of the colonial project from an external perspective to the Western discourse, it is essential to grasp this ontological relationship between the West and colonialism..
Brazil's President Lula invited all 13 presidents from South America to a summit on May 30 aimed at developing a collective and “common vision and relaunching decisive actions for sustainable development, peace and the well-being of our peoples.” Lula presented 10 proposals to bring about the region’s rapprochement — a consensual approach to economic, social and cultural issues. Peru’s de facto ruler Dina Boluarte was not present because Peru’s right-wing congress did not authorise her to attend. Among the proposals, Lula put forward the undertaking of regional investments to assist social and economic developments.
The Italian political theorist Antonio Gramsci presciently observed: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” This period that we live in is arguably shaped by three elements: two moribund (the implosion of the USSR and the centrality of US imperialism) and one vital (the promise of multipolarity). The camp associated with the US is consolidating at the same time that a countervailing multipolar tendency is emerging. Major changes are reshaping the world order, I contend, but the outcome is not yet clear.
Join Lee Camp and Ben Norton in this captivating episode of Behind the Headlines as they delve into the changing world order, the rebellion of Latin America against Western hegemony, the ongoing proxy war in Ukraine, and the latest international political clashes. Norton, a seasoned journalist who founded Geopolitical Economy, a Nicaragua-based news website that covers international relations with a focus on Latin America, U.S. Empire, and political economy, brings a fresh perspective to the table. The conversation starts with the recent collapse of three U.S. banks and how Federal Reserve policies have fueled the class war that the wealthy elite is waging against the public.