Disrupting environmental-climatic factors are triggering multiple economic, social and existential emergencies to which insufficient responses are being given.
The world is going through a new phase of turmoil while entering uncharted territories. The framework- institutions of the post-world war order: the UN, the Bretton Woods financial structures, MERCOSUR, the G-7, NAFTA, ALBA, the GCC and the European Union are in crisis and face an uncertain future. Some, like NATO and the World Bank-IMF are fading into irreversible eclipse. The Catholic Church is in the throes of a worsening scandal which is undermining this hitherto stable religious pole of the Euro-American global control system.
Disrupting environmental-climatic factors are triggering or aggravating multiple economic, social and existential emergencies to which insufficient responses are being given. The United States, hitherto the main pillar of the international status quo is tottering in a post-Constitutional limbo, which has drastically reduced its functionality and spawned a vicious internal conflict poorly masked by the often unsubstantiated accusations and threats its officials are hurling at other countries as if to create a distraction from the domestic crisis.
The seemingly irresistible rise of China is creating another set of challenges as many other major powers try to fight back to reverse the erosion of their own influence, especially the US, which seems mainly concerned about maintaining its predominance at all costs, and with little regard for the interests of others.
In Europe, as in other regions, history is making an unexpected comeback in the wake of old rivalries and antagonisms subdued or papered over for decades. The mass arrival of illegal immigrants, triggered by the destabilizing policies of the Americans and some of their European allies in North Africa and West Asia has driven a wedge between governments that have so far more or less allowed the influx (Germany, Spain, Italy, France) and those that adamantly oppose what they regard as a mainly Muslim invasion bound to impoverish, weaken and divide their nations, while provoking major immediate disruptions. Rifts are also widening between many governments and their populations on the issue.
The continent is increasingly split with regard to the mission and future of the European Union, a massive bureaucracy attempting to regulate all aspects of economic, political and even cultural life and opinions in its member-states without managing to forge a common foreign policy. The EU has not been able or willing to establish strategic autonomy from the US and remains de facto subservient to Washington’s fiat even when it attempts to resist decisions which hurt the interests of its members such as the US sanctions on Russia and Iran.
On a range of such social and economic matters ad hoc sub-alliances are forming in line with strategic confluences. The Visegrad countries (Austria, Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republics and Poland) are taking a conservative, nationalist course. They are brought together by shared memories of the Austro-Hungarian Empire of yore. Germany’s long-standing Chancellor Angela Merkel, on the back foot is forced to move to the right wing of her coalition in order to survive, coming closer to her country’s erstwhile Central European confederates.
The former ‘Axis powers’ are finding once again an ally in Italy’s rightwing component of the ruling coalition in Rome and they pledge to fight what they perceive as the French-led liberal multi-cultural club of the EU. Those strains are already affecting the Union budget. Italy has threatened to withhold its contribution to Brussels unless more is done by partners to share the burden of migrants and France has also warned that it might suspend funds to countries that violate ‘common values’ and fundamental principles.
The crack is widened by the intractable BREXIT negotiation, which creates uncertainties and conflicts of interest involving multiple actors, from fishermen to banks and manufacturers, and by the Trump administration’s resolve to divide the EU by supporting nationalist conservative political parties in the continent while launching a trade war mainly targeted at the German economy. The Union may soon look like a broken home.
While most “populist” movements share a tradition of anti-Americanism, some of them feel buttressed by Trump’s policies and tend to applaud US positions opposing Brussels’ dogmas and choices. Poland, Sweden and Estonia remain staunchly anti-Russian—Poland is also locked in a tug-of-war with Germany—while Italy, Finland and the Visegrad countries have good relations with Moscow; Romania, Bulgaria and Moldavia are on the fence, but all yearn for increased economic relations with and investments from China, regardless of the “common European” views in the matter.
On the outskirts of Europe, Turkey plays the balance of power between the West and Russia, while helping Iran circumvent US sanctions and the Ukrainian conflict simmers on as US government and private entities are fanning the flames. The turmoil in West Asia, East and Central Africa is spreading, while in Afghanistan the civil war is turning to the advantage of the Taliban and of Daesh/ISIS, bolstered by imported elements from Syria. Unrest and violence in the region are affecting the rest of Europe and Asia more directly than relatively remote “fortress America”.
In this confusing scenario a number of experts from Europe and Asia feel that a closer consultation between innovative think tanks and independent researchers and policy-advisers is highly desirable in order to strike a middle and common ground between the alternatively cooperating and conflicting Anglo-Saxon and Chinese poles in a context of rising acrimony and yet deep entanglement between Washington and Beijing.
Without opposing any of the “superpowers”, a new Europe-India-Russia (EIR) independent and private platform should lay the ground for a non-partisan third path, which may take into account the historic experiences, human resources and social capital of the countries forming those three regions to study and propose path-breaking solutions to many of the problems which confront them and the rest of the world.
India is methodically striving to join the club of dominant powers and maintains a strategic dialogue with Russia, the EU and major European nations in the search for a stable and dynamic multipolar order, free from both single power hegemony and antagonistic bipolarization. India is also working to set up a free trade zone with the Russia-centric Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)
Russia has re-established itself as a pivotal state between Europe, Asia and America, with decisive influence on many of the conflicts that affect surrounding regions. Both Russia and India are members of BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organizations which show potential in the future to replace respectively the G-7 and NATO in terms of importance. The Russian leadership does not wish to weaken the European Union, but rather to establish with it or its leading members a reliable partnership immune to US or any other diktats and pressures.
Some of the planners of EIR met in Vienna in late July. They represented the International Institute for Social and Economic Studies in Vienna, Austria, chaired by Dr Walter Schwimmer, former Secretary-General of the Council of Europe (the IISES Secretary-General is Dr Vladimir Kulikov); Moscow State University in Russia; the International Institute for Global Analyses “Vision & Global Trends” in Rome, Italy chaired by Dr Tiberio Graziani; and Paris-Berlin-Moscou founded by business executive and international affairs expert Henri de Grossouvre. This writer was among them.
Several other like-minded organisations active in many fields, have expressed their interest in participating in the deliberations and contributing to the resulting publications and reports.
Some of the topics to be explored jointly are:
* Alternative strategies to the ruling but increasingly contested neo-liberal globalizing model which is being replaced in the US and in other states by protectionistic crony capitalism. Pointing the way to a different system are the stochastic methodology and binomial statistics pioneered by Professor Vasily Simchera, former director of the Institute of the Russian State Committee on Statistics and new cyber-systemic mathematical models devised at Lomonosov University (Prof Elena Veduta and Dr Tatyana Dzhakubova).
* The “Full Money” credit model developed by eminent economists (Allais, Fisher, Werner, Gomez et al.), in line with the monetary reform proposed in a recent Swiss national referendum, to correct the critical imbalances and flaws of the current financial system based on “private” fiat money creation through fractional reserve lending.
* The evolution and future of cryptocurrencies and the emergence of a non-dollar centric, post-Bretton Woods financial architecture in the wake of the global power shift from West to East.
* Restructuring the Internet into a decentralised, publicly administered trust and promoting alternatives to the privately owned, mostly US controlled corporations (GAFA) which cannot but be profit-making tools of political and commercial influence for their owners, clients and the American government. In contrast, the European Union’s Next Generation Internet (www.ngi.eu) and Internet 3.0 are important subjects for study and collaboration. More and more countries like India now require the data collected by the infotech giant to be stored on their territories as is already the case for China.
* Development and use of Big Data, Blockchain-based exchange processes, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence and their implications in social, political and cultural life and institutions.
* Transcontinental transport and communication projects, primarily the China-driven Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Razvitie (Integral Development) East-West and North-South Corridors proposal sponsored by Russia.
It is hoped that such a multinational initiative along with others will help advance mutual understanding and collaboration between the concerned countries, in the public and private sectors.