Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Crisis reflects NATO's blindness to multipolar world

By M.D. Nalapat (China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-07 07:00

The United States and the European Union have imposed fresh sanctions on Russia over the escalating Ukraine crisis. There have even been calls to strip Russia of the right to host the 2018 World Cup or to boycott it after some Western leaders and media accused "pro-Russia separatists" of downing the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine on July 17.

The Western media (and some Western leaders) have been claiming right from the outset that the "missile" used to "shoot down" the plane was made in Russia. Their political goal is to turn international opinion against Russia and its supporters in Ukraine, and their strategic objective is to ensure a halt to the use of missiles by pro-Russia groups in order to give the Ukrainian military an immense advantage against them. The so-called voice transcripts that some Western media outlets cited as evidence to "prove" that pro-Russia groups shot down the aircraft could have been easily manufactured in any intelligence agency laboratory and, hence, will prove nothing unless those engaged in the "conversations" are identified beyond doubt.

Western powers have to accept the fact that Ukraine is a divided country, and perhaps needs a Cyprus-like solution, that is, partitioning into pro-Russia and pro-NATO parts. That the NATO refuses to acknowledge this and still believes that it can hold sway over the whole of Ukraine by eliminating Moscow's influence is indicative of what may be termed the "Bretton Woods syndrome".

In the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US and its EU allies lost an opportunity to create a sustainable partnership with the newly formed Russian Federation by effectively insisting on surrender conditions for establishing any sort of relationship between NATO and Moscow. This is the fuse that ultimately led to the MH17 explosion. Once the Soviet Union collapsed, NATO assumed that it could carry into the 21st century the Bretton Woods system, which was created in 1945 and handed the reins of the international architecture to the US and its key European allies.

Three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are NATO member-states while the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are still controlled by the military alliance partners. It is the refusal by the US and its allies to accept that the world has changed since 1945 that has led to the creation of alternative geopolitical architectures, such as the establishment of a BRICS development bank, which was announced in Fortaleza, Brazil, just over two weeks ago.

The "Bretton Woods syndrome" (or the refusal to accept and adjust to the realities of the post-1945 world) was manifested in the military sphere after the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. Since then, under specially created doctrines and a largely silent UN bureaucracy, NATO has been trying to get back the power that the US and key EU states enjoyed in the previous two centuries - of using military force to resolve issues to their advantage.

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