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China against the world

Remember Nov. 9, 1989, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and Dec. 25, 1991, the implosion of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics into 15 separate republics. The two events ended the Cold War. Recall Saddam Hussein invading Kuwait in 1991, leading to the First Gulf War. The UN Security Council (UNSC) had responded quickly and authorized the use of force to expel the Iraqi invaders from Kuwait. Absent was the usual veto that paralyzes the work of the UNSC.

Those were heady days. The Cold War had just ended, and now the UN had acted promptly to thwart an aggression. Thus, the expectation that finally we were on the threshold of a New World Order (NWO), which would include a “peace dividend”: A peaceful world would result in the reduction of defense expenditures that then could be used to eliminate poverty in the Third World.

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This aspiration of mankind ended due to the rise of revisionists, those leaders who want to revise the territorial status quo. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, the revisionists of the 20th century, have been replaced by Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping as the troublemakers of the present world.

The past world order was wrongly labeled a bipolar world. The world was depicted as split into two major camps. The military division was the NATO and the Warsaw Pact. However, there is a larger political division called the Western Alliance and the Socialist Bloc. The “Western Alliance” comprised NATO and other countries allied with the United States. The Socialist Bloc, headed by the Soviet Union, comprised the Warsaw Pact countries and socialist countries.

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We have been part of the Western Alliance from its inception. President Duterte has been seeking to cut this knot.

It was a mistake to claim that we had a bipolar World during the Cold War since there was a group of countries that tried to dissociate themselves from the two blocs. This was the so-called Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and the leader of this group was India. The NAM tried to establish itself as an alternative to the two major blocs. However, it played a marginal role in the outcome of the Cold War.

The implosion of the Soviet Union resulted in the dismantling of the Warsaw Pact and the Socialist Bloc. However, NATO and the Western Alliance went the other way and expanded, with countries comprising the Soviet satellite nations of Eastern Europe joining NATO. An even more dramatic development has been India joining the US in containing Chinese expansion. India has now become part of the Western Alliance.

Finally, we have the beginnings of a New World Order. The Soviet Union, throughout the Cold War, was supported by the Eastern European Socialist Bloc and Third World countries “on the road to socialism” like Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, etc. China has no such allies now. Its close relations with Russia is at most a partnership of convenience.

Russia and its predecessor states had been victims of Chinese expansion in the past. The Central Asian republics ( e.g., the “Tans”—Uzbekistan, Turkestan, Tajikistan, etc.) are, as in the past, potential points of conflict between Moscow and Beijing. It remains to be seen how long these Muslim-majority countries will remain neutral before they assist their Uighur brothers in resisting Beijing’s oppression.

Imperial Germany in World War I had Austria, Hungary, and Italy as partners. In World War II, Germany had Italy and Japan as Axis partners. It will be different this time: The NWO for the foreseeable future is China against the whole world. Credit Beijing’s aggressive diplomacy for this dilemma: It has accomplished what Stalin and Mao Zedong had failed to do, and that is drive India into the Western Alliance.

Now without a leader, the NAM is past history. China, for its part, will try to do what Napoleon failed to do—conquer the world singlehandedly.

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Mr. Duterte, by his failure to resist Beijing’s encroachments on the West Philippine Sea, is China’s sole ally in this endeavor.

Hermenegildo C. Cruz is a retired career ambassador who studied Sovietology. He assumed his post in Moscow in April 1986 when the Chernobyl nuclear disaster happened. His tour of duty ended on Nov. 30, 1989, at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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TAGS: China, Cold War, new world order
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