Perhaps global quarantine a bit lessened the attention of representatives of various categories of the population to world geopolitics.  This is quite natural, since behind all the vicissitudes of the near-coronavirus type, it was difficult to “enter” into the political and economic disasters that shock the planet.

However, the geopolitical aspirations of the leading powers still determine the entire course of world life. The situation around COVID-19 clearly confirms this thesis, which is clearly visible through the prism of what is happening in recent weeks, when Washington and Beijing began to exchange sensitive double-edged injections. The theme of the coronavirus is played out by the parties from various positions and, as far as manifests itself, the situation developing in this direction will aggravated even more - up to the time of the presidential election in the United States.

It is obvious that the aspect of US-Chinese relations will remain one of the most important paradigms of world geopolitics for the coming years. It is on this site that the most important political and economic trends of our time will be formed. However, in order to understand better, what is happening before our eyes, it is important to trace the line that led to today and leads to tomorrow? Even at first sight, we can see how tough geopolitical struggle awaits the world community in the near future. It is unlikely that any continent will remain outside this game.

Forecasts and Scenarios

Back in 1997, the brilliant analyst Zbigniew Brzezinski defined Eurasia as a “chessboard” on which “the struggle for world domination will continue”. According to him, "superiority over Eurasia serves as the basis for global advantage," in connection with which the US is developing its Eurasian geostrategy aimed at preventing the emergence of forces on this continent that could challenge Washington.

Among the important participants in this “chess field”, Z. Brzezinski singled out Germany, Russia and China. They will peacefully try to “eliminate” US hegemony; with the goal of creating a “new world political and economic order”, when systematically, “weakened Washington would have realized the benefit of supporting allied relations with Beijing, which was growing on a regional scale.” Summarizing his calculations on this subject, Z. Brzezinski actualized the initiation by the United States of a situation in which Russia would like to "assimilate into the space of European cooperation" (2).

After just over 10 years, the US National Intelligence Council published a report examining the processes that were supposed to be real by 2025. According to the document, by this year, for many countries, “an alternative model for China’s development may become more attractive,” which will contribute to the continuation of “unprecedented in world history” the transition of world wealth and economic power from West to East ”(3).

At this stage, different analysts began to predict more confidently the loss of US power and the rise of China. So, in his 2009 monograph, American journalist Paul Starobin emphasized the difficulty for the United States to “mentally and psychologically adapt” to the advent of the “Chinese century” (4).

The following year, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin in Madison (USA) Alfred McCoy predicted that the American dollar would lose its “special reserve currency status” by 2020 and cut its military budget. According to his forecast, individual countries, "seeing the inability of the weakening superpower to pay its obligations," will challenge US supremacy "at sea, on land, in space, and in cyberspace." In particular, in 2025, China, by launching a “computer virus,” will take control of “the control system for an American unmanned aerial vehicle using solar batteries.” Uncontrolled spread of the virus “according to the F-6 system,” the code of which “second-rate American computers” cannot decrypt, will lead to paralysis of the aviation and fleet. Thus, "a military power that has dominated the world for almost a century is defeated in the Third World War without a single human sacrifice." In McCoy's opinion, even if the future scenario is not so dramatic, by 2025 the influence of the USA in the world will definitely weaken (5).

In 2012, the US National Intelligence Council issued its next forecast, this time for 2030. As noted in the preamble to the document, previous Global Trends Reports “correctly predicted the direction of the vectors: China up, Russia - down. However, China’s strength is constantly growing faster than expected. ” The report predicted the departure from the historical arena by 2030 of the era of planetary domination of the United States, because “power will pass to the networks and coalitions of the multipolar world. The distribution of power “between the state and informal structures will significantly stop the historical growth of the West”, helping to strengthen the Asian world economy (6).


The revolution of the project “One belt - one way”

Year 2013. Chinese President Xi Jinping presents to the world community the “One Belt - One Way” initiative, which envisages the merger of two projects - the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “21st Century Sea Silk Road”. First, he voiced Beijing’s readiness to apply the “new model” of China’s mutually beneficial cooperation with Eurasian countries, which allows “joint efforts to form the Silk Road economic belt” (7, 8) (remember the Eurasian “chessboard” by Z. Brzezinski). The project’s ideologists identified four “corridors”:

- North A (China - East Asia, including the Russian Far East);

- North B (China - Mongolia - Russia - Belarus - Europe / China - Kazakhstan - Russia - Belarus - Europe);

- Central (China - Central and West Asia - Persian Gulf);

- South (China - Southeast Asia - Indochina Peninsula / China - Pakistan / China - India - Bangladesh - Myanmar).

Following, Xi Jinping will present the 21st Century Sea Silk Road project, simultaneously voicing his readiness to modernize the China-ASEAN Free Trade Zone (Association of Southeast Asian Nations, uniting 10 countries) and create the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (9).

In 2016, Z. Brzezinski, representing China as an equal and probable opponent of the United States in the future, states that Europe is no longer visible by “global power”. In light of which Russia is wooing, as an important and influential nation-state, into a “united Europe”, which will allow Moscow to “resist the growing territorial and demographic pressure from China” (10). “The United States must be mindful of the serious danger of a strategic alliance between China and Russia,” to which they may be partly prompted by Washington’s “ill-conceived foreign policy,” summarizes Z. Brzezinski (11).

Donald Trump is trying to prevent the growth of China's power by moving on to the stage of trade wars with Beijing, but China is moving along the territory of the “chessboard” as a grandmaster. In the spring of 2019, Xi Jinping seized the European initiative from Washington by signing the “Memorandum of Understanding” with Rome as part of the “One Belt, One Road” project (12).  Italy became the first state from the G7, joining cooperation with China through the Beijing Initiative. It is highly symptomatic that, in anticipation of Xi Jinping’s visit to Rome, the U.S. National Security Council spokesman Garret Marquis stated that the planned signing of the agreements could damage the “long-term global reputation of Italy” (13).  Anyway, Beijing has developed the Five Ports project for the Apennines, which, if implemented, should link Trieste, Venice, Ravenna (Italy), Fiume (Croatia) and Kapodistrias (Slovenia) into a single transport and logistics chain. ) At the same time, Trieste is seen as an important point for transporting Chinese goods to Germany, the Balkans and Eastern European countries (14).

According to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during a meeting of top officials of China and France on the same days, President Emmanuel Macron announced EU plans to "deepen the strategy of interconnectedness" between Europe and Asia and the One Belt - One Road project. The head of the Chinese Foreign Ministry emphasized, negotiations with European leaders, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had specially arrived in Paris, provided the world with “a clear signal of strengthening Sino-European strategic mutual trust and deepening their strategic interaction.” Soon, "Greece joined the mechanism of cooperation between the PRC and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe." As an example of successful cooperation in the framework of the Chinese initiative, Wang Yi cited the project of the Greek port of Piraeus by the Chinese company COSCO Shipping, which created "more than 10 thousand direct and indirect jobs for residents of Greece." Piraeus “became the largest port on the Mediterranean Sea” (15, 16).

Well, the joint declaration between the EU and Beijing, signed at the EU-China summit, confirmed the parties ’agreement to reform the WTO (in order to eliminate “global trade challenges”) (17).

In the same spring of 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin signified that the Beijing initiative “echoes the Russian idea of ​​creating a large Eurasian partnership”, which implies “integration of integration” and creation of “comfortable conditions conducive to the development of cooperation and cooperation throughout the Eurasian continent.” Following this, V. Putin declared the desire of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) for the broadest possible interaction, “primarily with China, whom we consider to be our key like-minded person, a natural partner in the comprehensive development of the continent” (18). In the summer of 2019, a joint Russian-Chinese statement was signed “on the development of comprehensive partnerships and strategic interaction” and an agreement to expand the use of rubles and yuan in bilateral trade (19).

In the fall of 2019, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), stating “concern over the steady deterioration of the situation, recorded “the onset of a period of global economic stagnation that could harm most people” (20).


The development of the situation against the backdrop of COVID-19

On December 31, 2019, Chinese authorities informed WHO of an outbreak of unknown pneumonia in Wuhan, and in February 2020, an epidemic of a new virus swept Italy. On April 3, G. Kissinger’s policy article appears, which we examined in detail (1), and the next day, George Friedman, the authoritative American analyst, founder of the “shadow CIA” - Stratfor Analytical and Forecasting Center, forecasting the post-coronavirus situation in the geopolitical aspect, said that proceed from the understanding of the actual “disappearance from the scene” of the European Union ”(21).

In the same April, the American Politico released information on the sending of a memorandum by the National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC) with recommendations to Republican candidates. Among the “main lines of attack” was a point such as lobbying by the Republicans for “imposing sanctions on China because of its role in spreading the pandemic” (22).

Against this background, an editorial by the French Le Monde emphasized that the Covid-19 pandemic led to a change in the planetary order, primarily in the direction of US global leadership. The article noted that  the “real balance of power” became different, which manifested itself “in a delay in warning the world community about the risk of a pandemic by WHO, demonstrating Beijing’s death grip on this structure.” Although Europe, “abandoned by the USA, cold with Russia and desired by China, still believes” in its unity (23).

Well, this May began with the mutual injections of Washington and Beijing regarding the reasons for the spread of COVID-19 around the world, which allows us to assume with a considerable degree of confidence a further aggravation of the US-Chinese relationship. A new Cold War format is approaching, manifested through the backdrop of COVID-19 and planetary economic collapse.

1. Teymur Ataev. After quarantine. April Theses by Henry Kissinger

2. Zbigniew Brzezinski. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives

3.Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World

4. Cit. by: Alexander Kustarev. Book release: Paul Starobin. After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age

5. Alfred McCoy. The decline and decline of the American empire: four scenarios of the fall of the US Empire

6. . "Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds"

7. President Xi Jinping Delivers Important Speech and Proposes to Build a Silk Road Economic Belt with Central Asian Countries

8. Speech by President Xi Jinping at Nazarbayev University

9. Speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Indonesian Parliament

10. Zbigniew Brzezinski. Towards a global redesign

11. Presentation of the speech of Z. Brzezinski at the forum dedicated to the Nobel Peace Prize. Oslo, Norway, 2016

12. Memorandum Of Understanding Between The Government Of The Italian Republic And The Government Of The People’s Republic of China on Cooperation within the Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt And The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road

13. Davide Ghiglione and others. Italy set to endorse formally China’s Belt and Road Initiative

14. Vladislav Gulevich. Italy's cooperation with China develops contrary to Washington

15. Wang Yi on the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Italy, Monaco and France

16. Wang Yi spoke about Xi Jinping’s state visit to Greece and his participation in the BRICS summit in Brasilia

17. Chinese breakthrough: what the EU achieved at the summit with China

18. Vladimir Putin took part in the second International Forum “One Belt, One Way”.

19. Press statements following Russian-Chinese talks

20. Multilingual Summaries. OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2019 Issue 2. Preliminary version

21. Az Európai Unió eltűnt a színről. George Friedman szerint a járvány visszaigazolta a nemzetállamok létjogosultságát

22. Alex Isenstadt. GOP memo urges anti-China assault over coronavirus

23. Après la pandémie liée au coronavirus: un ordre mondial à réinventer


Teymur Atayev

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