Who are the "other side" in the new Cold War?

On 4 February 2022, China and Russia declared what they are all about. Multipolarity, multilateralism, and order are what they hope to offer other countries.

Defying the Western "rules-based order", the Russian and Chinese declaration expresses a commitment to the "international law-based world order". It calls for multilateralism over unilateralism, and the defence of the internal affairs of states against outside interference. In short, for them, the law takes precedence over moral proclamations in international relations.

Defenders of sovereignty

The Russian-Chinese declaration is a statement of opposition to Western meddling in other countries. The US's blatant attempts at regime-change when governments are not complying with Western liberal norms, as occurred in Syria, Venezuela and countless other countries, are recognised in the statement as something Russia and China are going to try to prevent.

It has to be pointed out that incitement of conflict and regime-change, like the West carried out in Ukraine in 2014, is the severest and most blatant kind of violation of national sovereignty. It is the precise kind of meddling that the very concept of sovereignty ever meant to abolish, violating the self-determination of peoples and forcing them to adhere to another country's model and ideology under its direct supervision even from thousands of miles away.

With their declaration, the Russians and Chinese express their willingness to thwart US-allied attempts at regime-change in other countries. It is an assurance to all the member states of the United Nations wishing to preserve their internal order against interference and ensure that they continue to develop naturally rather than being plunged into chaos by outsiders. This is a vision with cross-civilisational support all across the world, being appealing to a set of states so diverse it includes Serbia, Turkey, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Peru and even Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Unlike the Western unipolar disorder, currently bogged down in conflicts in Ukraine and completely defeated in Afghanistan, the multipolar order China and Russia suggest is an uncontroversial configuration that could actually be viable across the entire world.

A helping hand to all countries

It should not be underestimated how appealing the Russian-Chinese declaration will be to other nations. While everything the United States proclaims to member states of the United Nations is a vague threat or a demand for compliance with the US's will, the Russians and Chinese are pledging to mitigate this destructive behaviour by being supportive of countries under US pressure.

In other words, while the US tries to bulk up its aggressive military alliances, denigrate the rule of law everywhere, and overthrow the governments of the world, the Chinese and the Russians are driven by no objective other than preventing such capricious intimidation and violence. Instead, international law will steadily begin to gain teeth under Chinese and Russian protection, and Western attempts at regime-change will increasingly stall as the West's economic and military power gradually recedes.

Abolition of the US-led disorder

With its ideological proclamations and military alliances, the US can't avoid being bogged down in multiple conflicts with a whole host of different countries. It is driven by a craving for confetti-filled skies affirming its supreme importance, and for continuous tickertape parades of glory and victory for itself. What the US wants to accomplish, again and again, is the familiar world where its capricious authority, not the law, is paramount and countries must listen to America's every word. It wants to handwave away the sovereignty of other states and civilisations, declaring itself as the sole judge of whether a regime is legitimate, and judging them by comparison with its vain self. That is what is meant by the rules-based, or liberal international, order.

As of 2022, the US regime still views all other countries as inferior, devoid of agency, subject to US policy, or even completely under US jurisdiction. Such an attitude is in conflict with anyone who has a genuine interest in the shared wellbeing of humanity and would prefer the course of human history to take a path for the good of all rather than the glorification of a few.

In short, the hegemonic goals of the United States are fundamentally opposed to the goals of the United Nations and the authority of its Security Council. Unless the US is able to discard unilateralism, the UN could eventually reform against it and the US could eventually find itself or its NATO proxy states in opposition to UN peacekeeping forces backed by a majority of nations.

Rather than a communist bloc, it is now the multitude of diverse but law-abiding individuals and nations desiring some form of stability that are the "other side". Far from seeking a chaotic world devoid of US leadership and fraught with abuse, they recognise the liberal powers as the main sources of chaos.