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System of international relations shaken by populism, pandemic

14:10 | 17.02.2021 Category: Interview, Event

Chisinau, 17 February /MOLDPRES/- Emergence of the coronavirus in Wuhan, followed by a worldwide pandemic explosion has challenged the international relations system. Frankly, things began to deteriorate seriously in the middle of the last decade, when the Russian Federation crossed the red lines by annexing Crimea and challenge of a separatist conflict in Donbas. This was followed by an undermining of the basic principles of American foreign policy by coming to power of Donald Trump. The nationalist and populist approach promoted by Trump has negatively changed the perception of the United States of America in the world, but somehow changed paradigm of international relations.

The biggest blow came to transatlantic cohesion, which had a hundred years of experience and was tested in the two world wars. Trump's semi-isolationist policy has created dissension both in US-EU relations and between some European states. The old European continent was accustomed to the role of leader and locomotive of the USA in promoting and defending Western values. The new approach of the White House during Trump's time confused Europe, but also created image problems for the USA. Biden administration needs time and effort to repair the damage of policy.

The US-EU disagreements have affected a number of fundamental issues over time. Firstly the domination of the West in the world has been seriously compromised by misunderstandings in the transatlantic bloc. It is by no means ruled out that this moment played a decisive role in separating Great Britain from the community bloc.

Secondly the unitary policy towards states that violate international law and human rights has been shaken. However, it allowed some states to use the indecisive policy of the West to violate fundamental principles set after the World War II. The conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, Karabakh are managed in de facto absence of the West and encourage a return to the politics of spheres of influence.

In the relations between the great European economic powers, there have been misunderstandings and unhealthy competitions for the role of continental leader. After Brexit, Great Britain is keen to show the world, but primarily its own citizens that without the EU the islanders will develop much better and will return to the position of European leader.

The US-EU disagreements have forced Europeans to try to have a different policy towards the US in relations with Russia, China and Iran. There was only one victory on this front: China became the EU's most important trading partner, ahead of the United States.

Germany is desperately trying to legalize Russia Nord Stream gas pipeline, and not only Trump but also Biden vehemently oppose it, calling for increased EU dependence on Russian gas and a substantial weakening of Ukraine's position by excluding it from the energy transit process to Europe. The pipeline is 94% ready, but the American sanctions are so harsh that they seriously question Berlin.


For the time being, there are no clear signs that Biden will radically change Trump's approach to China, which has the second largest economy in the world and the only one that has seen GDP growth in 2020. Things are complicated by American suspicions about Chinese behavior in the first phase of the appearance of Covid-19. But for now, it's just a matter of suspicion.

It seems that Russia is increasingly determined to ignore the West, which is sharply expressing its protest against the events in Ukraine, Moscow's non-observance of human rights and Navalny case. Attempts by Macron and Merkel to "tame" Russia have failed.

The pandemic has also made a strong imprint on international relations. A national selfishness of the rich has been highlighted and this, as experts in the field mention, is rather caused by the relationship between political leaders and citizens, which turns cyclically into voters.

Overcoming pandemic and restoring transatlantic cohesion are prerequisites for return to normality. Recent years have shown that Europe can only be strong and united with the US as a sincere and strong strategic partner. Restoring world order up to Trump and pandemic or building a new world order? The answer to this question can only be given with the return to worldwide health normalization and the position of the new American administration in international relations.

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