Old fault lines in Russia, China and Iran are changing the face of the globe.
Across the globe, world leaders, economists, and foreign policy experts are facing a series of harsh new geopolitical realities.
The world into which we have emerged from the pandemic is not the same world we lived in prior to that fateful lost March of 2020.
Or rather, it is wrong to call certain developments, “harsh new geopolitical realities.” World leaders are certainly grappling with global upheavals from civil unrest, to widespread famine, to full-scale military conflagrations. These are all certainly harsh and definitely geopolitical realities.
Whether any of it is really all that “new” is another matter entirely.
In almost every case, the pandemic revealed and worsened long-simmering conflicts and geopolitical fault lines- it didn’t create them.
Vladimir Putin, prior to marching on Kiev in February, had already been waging a slow-motion but deadly war against Ukraine for over a decade. It was an open secret, though Moscow always denied the accusations, that Russia was launch hacking attacks against vulnerable government systems in Ukraine and engaging in information warfare strategies designed to keep the country out of NATO.
It is clear in retrospect Putin was also engineering European energy dependence on Russia, as- at the very least- an insurance policy against sanctions and embargoes imposed on Russia in the event of a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine.
Obviously Putin was planning this attack for a very long time. Plenty of world leaders were reading between the lines of Moscow’s many denials on the subject of Ukraine, looking at the fine print and considering the consequences. They were ignored, laughed at and sidelined.
Knowing what European Union leaders now know about Putin’s Russia, it will be a very long time before countries like Germany are again willing to treat Russia like a legitimate and equal economic partner and ally. Putin has shown his true colors. Far fewer countries, going forward- if any- are going to be willing to put all their energy eggs in Russia’s basket.