Time Magazine 23rd May 2022 Double Issue

The current international Security system has nearly expired. It’s rotted through. Its remains have collapsed and buried the world order beneath. Trying to revive it is futile.

Most of all, it resembles a broken automaton: its limbs are still able to move, but its gears are worn out, its springs are stretched. And the synchronicity that used to give perfection to its movements has long gone.

Clockwork toys, robots’ mechanical ancestors, became fashionable in the European royal courts during the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century. But the first world conflict in European history, a series of interconnected wars, resulted in something even more important: creation of the first ever world order. Since then, the system of international relations has been based on the 1648 Peace of Westphalia and its core principles: national sovereignty, foreign and domestic policy separation, compromise as a means of reconciling conflicting national interests, equality of sovereign states, and negotiating relations between them.

All the subsequent systems were in fact more or less successful attempts to amend this order to ensure the balance of interests of leading states (known as the Great Powers). This tendency was clearly traced from the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to the Potsdam Conference in 1945. Between the dates, attempts to reject any of the principles of the Peace of Westphalia would inevitably lead to new conflicts. The Great Powers’ aspirations to impose their own will on the rest of the world by force brought the nightmare of two world wars. Or, as some historians rightly point out, the Second Thirty Years’ War (1914–1945).

Now history repeats itself. Russia’s war on Ukraine is a rejection of all Westphalian principles. We are denied the right to sovereignty. We are under pressure to change our domestic policy. Under the guise of compromise, we are offered surrender. We are denied subjectivity and therefore equality. Our civilians are being tortured and killed en masse for simply being Ukrainian.

The aggression against Ukraine is a natural consequence of the continuous series of conflicts in which Russia took part after the collapse of the USSR. This is the decisive phase of the Third Thirty Years’ War. No one can predict how long it will last.

Time Magazine 23rd May 2022 Double Issue

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