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The Ukrainian Crisis: a dramatic blow given to the Euro-BRICS rapprochement as well as to the emergence of a multipolar world

Marie-Hélène Caillol, April 4th 2014
President of LEAP2020, Paris, France 

The Ukraine crisis is not an accident of history, it is the result of an intention: that of forcing Ukraine to choose sides between Europe and Russia. The European External Action Service of the European Commission led by Ms. Ashton and Mr. O’Sullivan refused the tripartite negotiation proposed by Russia in November 2013 between the economic partnerships under development among Ukraine and Russia on the one hand, and Ukraine and the EU on the other hand [1]. Once launched, the process was inevitable: forced to choose, Ukraine lost its freedom and, because of its dual nature, headed towards the major crisis that we know today. From the door it was between Europe and Russia, Ukraine transformed into a wall.

If Ukraine’s fate is to be pitied, the real target of the maneuver is Europe, in fact its independence and freedom to be precise. Indeed, the sharp deterioration of the Euro-Russian relationship following the crisis throws Europe into the arms of America-NATO, so keen to receive it. Therefore Europe loses its liberty because of the imbalance induced on its external relations [2].

Who should know better than us, LEAP and the Euro-BRICS network, that Europe is the key to the emergence of a multipolar world that frightens so much some people in Europe and the United States. The Euro-BRICS process launched in 2009 by LEAP is in fact based on the idea that when faced with the rising power of emerging countries and, particularly, BRICS, there is the risk that a Western Bloc (United States + Europe) be created in the hope of retaining control a little longer, which would drag the world into a polarization which best way out would be the creation of a new Cold War (knowing that this time the West would end up confined) and the worst way out, the outbreak of an open and global war.

Without Europe, the United States do not have the necessary vehicle to break the process of multi-polarization in progress. They would manage at most to bring down the iron curtain on themselves … for some time … then inevitably find themselves drawn into the dynamics of the new configuration where they have their place just as the European entity.

Depending on whether Europe is dragged, against all the underlying trends, in an emergency-rescue of the twentieth century world by an alliance of iron with the United States, or it embraces these future trends embodied by the emerging countries and BRICS, the world will move toward a bipolar or multipolar configuration.

Naturally, a multipolar world configuration also conveys tensions: stakeholders cooperating peacefully or entering into conflicts of interest, anything is possible. But a bipolar world is built de facto on a confrontation while the multipolar world has a choice … including that of inventing the framework of international relations suited to its nature (through an ad hoc reform of the XXth century international organizations or the creation of new structures) and capable of ensuring peace among its members.

The rapprochement between Europe and the BRICS for the purpose of adapting the external relations of Europe to the new realities of the de facto multipolar world of the 21st century and contribute to the invention of new international institutions, intends to contribute to LEAP’s Euro-BRICS process, driven by the idea that today’s multipolar nature of Europe naturally calls upon it to play a significant role in this evolution.

But nowadays the multipolarization of the world has suffered a serious setback. Europe is caught in a trap which its political weakness seems to prevent it to escape from: some officials in Brussels and Washington and a media machine proving its structural Atlanticism block any possible reaction from national governments paralyzed by their internal and external divisions.

Therefore, Europe sorely experiences the dramatic consequences of its negligence in the implementation of the political union that the degree of economic integration reached in the late 80s imposed thereon. Desired by the European policymakers in the 80s, the 90s and 2000 decades were characterized by the Anglo-Saxon influence in favor of an entirely economic Europe (free trade, enlargement and that’s it). Two and a half decades later, the member states no longer have access to the levers of power which have long passed to European level without having been placed under trans-European political control. The beautiful power and independence machine built by Europeans was left going adrift. But nature abhors a vacuum … including political nature …

The undermining of the Euro-Russian relationship caused by the Ukrainian crisis throws Europeans in the arms of the Americans, as evidenced by NATO’s regained considerable influence on European territory [3] (what free media and politics would call an invasion), by the nascent agreement between the United States and Europe on energy issues [4], by the rapid progress of the signing of TTIP [5] (Treaty which had no chance of being signed 3 months ago), etc …

In the same spirit, the consequences of the Ukrainian crisis throw Russia into the arms of BRICS, and each Western sanction made ​​against it will force it to abandon the dollar, the Western credit card networks [6], the Euro-Russian gas pipeline projects [7] etc. … and tighten all the ties between Russia and other BRICS, bringing its members to take sides in favor of Russia [8] (and thus against the West since the watchword is once more “You’re either with me or against me” [9]), for example accelerating the start-up of the real “game-changer”, i.e. the Sino-Russian pipeline project [10] …

However, it is probably that all BRICS would approach China in such an escalation of power struggle … leading the world towards a US-China confrontation lying at the heart of the emerging countries-West division. It is likely that the power ultimately referred by the Ukrainian manoeuvre would be China.

The world gets bipolarized. And this is very bad news. What are the chances of resuming the path of an open and multipolar world? What are the instruments for getting back on the right track?

First of all, there is the European public opinion which did not give way in the face of media propaganda during recent months, and questions the honesty of all these martial stances [11]. And then there are the most obvious interests of the vast majority of the real economy for which the Euro-BRICS rapprochement has been a daily reality for many years, which have much to lose in the erection of this wall [12]. There is Germany which is the EU country less favorable to the rupture in relations with Russia and most able to impose its views [13]. Finally, contrary to what Brussels would have us believe, the Eastern EU countries have public opinions capable of making the difference between the Soviet regime and Putin’s Russia on the one hand, well aware of the fact that they would be the first exposed in case of conflict … not to mention that in the event of an Iron Curtain these countries would stand again on the wrong side of the barrier [14].

Europe must find by its own the means to get out of the trap into which it has fallen. But maintaining, despite everything, the dialogue with the BRICS is critical to its chances of success: keeping in touch with an outside view of the situation; remaining open to the outside world so as not to sink in the Western paranoia; continuing to exchange goods, people and ideas; keeping alive the axes of the relationship between Europe and the rest of the world;… the Euro-BRICS rapprochement makes even more sense nowadays when the world can tip into the dark scenario that leaves none unscathed, even if it is certain that the EU and America would lose such a war (cold or hot) because, contrary to what Obama dared to say in a further proof of the American blindness, it is the West and not Russia which is placed on the wrong side of history this time thereof.

Nevertheless, the West does not exist but from the loss of Europe’s independence. A choice remains for some time yet.

[1] Source : Le Monde, 05/03/2014.

[2] Read the development in this analysis of LEAP of the Ukraine crisis on the website of GEAB.

[3] Source : The Guardian, 01/04/2014

[4] Source : The Bellingham Herald, 02/04/2014

[5] See « EU-US Summit Joint Statement» of 26/03/2014. Source : Council of the EU

[6] Source : Business Week, 24/03/2014

[7] Source : Euractiv, 25/03/2014

[8] Source : Economic Times of India, 25/03/2014

[9] Source : CNN, 06/11/2001

[10] Source : Bloomberg, 25/03/2014

[11] Source : Le Figaro, 07/03/2014

[12] Source : Bloomberg, 23/03/2014

[13] Source : Der Spiegel, 04/03/2014

[14] Examples : Bulgaria (Reuters, 01/04/2014) ; Czech Republic (Israel Foreign Affairs, 26/03/2014) ; etc…