Ukraine’s crisis has transformed geopolitics into a completely new world order. It has put many countries into more confused to decide to side with whom. There are reports that the US administration is communicating with Venezuela, a longtime rival. There is evidence of negotiations with Iran, a country at war with the US. Taliban the new ruler of Afghanistan has met with Turk and Qatar officials side by side when the Ukrainian and Russian officials were negotiating a peace deal in Turkey – a NATO member. Even, the US has softened its stance on China. There are efforts made to separate Russia and China. All these tactics are to isolate and weaken Russia.
Pakistan is under immense pressure and being forced to choose sides, which is not only against the set norms of international relations but these gestures of choosing sides also added a new element to international relations.
The old order has gone but a new world order is emerging under the influence of big powers, which may not be based on rationality and logic. It is feared that the new world order may prove artificial, temporary, and unsustainable.
The West is propagating that Russia was at fault but it needs to examine the situation in detail before making a conclusion. Despite the fact that Russia has declared Ukraine a red line, but, the US was insisting to grant membership in NATO to Ukraine. As a matter of fact, after the disintegration of the former USSR, the Warsaw Pact was dissolved. There was no need for NATO. NATO was to counter the Warsaw Pact, and it should have been dissolved along with the Warsaw pact. There was an understanding that Warsaw Pact countries will not join NATO, especially, the bordering countries with Russia, as it might pose a direct threat to Russian Security. The US has ignored the Russian concerns and granted membership to Warsaw pact countries one by one. Finally, Russia was left with no option but to attack Ukraine. Unfortunately!
The recent disclosure of Biowarfare Labs has shocked the world and raised severe challenges for the world superpower to justify its war positioning and if Ukraine is betrayed by the western world. Biowarfare weapons presence has clarified the Russian stance. Where realignment of power is taking place and getting shaped with each passing day the jigsaw puzzle of who is right or wrong will also settle down.
The US has used economic sanctions as a weapon in the recent Afghanistan and Ukraine crises. Apparently, at this stage economic sanctions are the new tools/weapons of modern warfare strategy in the new order. The weaponization of international finance is yet another element of war. Where FATF will decide which country to be put in the grey, black and green list. Where the organization is purely based on great power politics. The new inclusion of Turkey and UAE into the grey list is a purely political decision. Keeping Pakistan on the grey list is only to coerce Pakistan economically. Otherwise. The Indian banks are proven to indulge in money laundering, the state is involved in international terrorism and terror financing, it is one of the major suppliers of weapons and components to ISSI, It is involved in the trading of Uranium in the open market, etc., yet, not included in the grey or black list of FATF. Looking at the black and grey list, one can conclude that only political rivals are punished.
There exists unrest among the wealthy people in the eastern world as the US and Europe are no longer trustworthy places to park their ill-gotten wealth. Especially the corrupt ruling elite in the developing countries has transferred their money into the western world, but, are afraid if they speak anything truth and offend the West, their assets can be frozen and they or their heirs may be deprived of such wealth.
The banking sector has become a target of international politics and superpower rivalries. If your country of origin is in the good books of these countries and your country is on the right side of the superpower only until then your assets be safe, otherwise freezing assets has become another tool of modern weaponization.
Freezing Afghan assets, putting sanctions on Russia, and threatening their assets for freezing must have unnerved those countries and individuals who have parked their money both legal and illegal in the US, Europe, and UK banks. With the freezing assets act, trust from the Western banking sector has been broken at all levels.
This will have an impact on the saving assets of various organizations and individuals in the future. Probably, people at individual and state levels will have to explore other means to safeguard their assets and not rely on western states for the safety and security of their financial assets.
Gradually, a shift of assets from the west will be witnessed towards other safe destinations – Asia. As fog is going to be set aside and two clear blocks are emerging: Western Block and Asian Block. States in the new world order will decide based on their mutual state interest which side to choose to park their assets.
These blocks will redefine friends and foes in the international system. As the older friends are either unreliable or their mutual interest is in the clash. Not only states with mutual interest but states with mutual war and financial interest will group to form their allies.
Recently, the way people of color are treated at the Ukrainian border while exiting has set another criterion for who is going to be a refugee and who will not be considered as a refugee. Visible discrimination among refugees from the Muslim world and Ukrainian was noticed. We do have sympathies with Ukrainian refugees, but, expect the same treatment of Muslim refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, etc. We do care lives of the Ukrainian people, but, emphasize that all lives matter, irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity, and nationality.
If yes, some drastic legislation will be required at the UN and International Law regarding refugees and asylum seekers across the world. The new world order brings along economic sanctions and racism as new war weapons. Racial discrimination against people of color and ideology has grown deeper and come to the forefront more openly in western societies. It has become an instrument to subjugate people based on their origin in international relations, which raises eyebrows that will color decide international relations in the new world order?
The way the West has used the International Financial Institutions IFI’s like the IMF, World Bank, etc. the world may see the emergence of new financial architecture in the Asian region.
This will certainly lead to polarization of international politics as well as international finances, which do not augur well to the global community.
But can the world afford this new order and who will be held responsible where the US has put a SWIFT ban on the Russian banking sector? The world has started relying on China Union Pay. It is a Chinese financial services company headquartered in Shanghai. It provides bankcard services and major card schemes in mainland China. They offer Union Pay International as well whose acceptance is in 180 countries and various regions. By blocking SWIFT access automatically Union Pay will be replaced by VISA and Mastercards etc. If over one billion Chinese are already using Union Pay International instead of VISA and MasterCard, the act of US and Western forces is pushing the other billion to use Union Pay.
It might lead to the establishment of the Asian Monetary Fund? Already the World Bank substitute is the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) established in China. The China Development Bank is already contributing to the infrastructure development of many developing countries. Other international organizations, platforms, and systems may need to re-address, in preemptive measures.
The US and Europe need to act sensibly and maturely, otherwise, the world will be divided and polarized financially, politically, and socially. The West should not push the transformation of the new world order so rapidly. Let the international community promote understanding and harmony, to achieve peace, stability, and developments globally.
Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: email@example.com).