24 FEBRUARY 2021
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova expressed puzzlement over the West recently discussing global issues without her country during last week’s Munich Security Conference, though Russia should do the same without the West through the SCO in order to pioneer alternative means for addressing these collective concerns even though it would obviously be better if the whole world worked together.
Russia’s Response To Munich
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova made some excellent points when criticizing last week’s Munich Security Conference. As reported by TASS, her relevant statement on the topic is as follows:
“Considering that the announced agenda had such global items as ‘Priorities for Global Action,’ ‘Fighting the Pandemic’ and ‘Tackling the Climate Crisis,’ the list of participants is at the very least puzzling. Essentially, the problems faced by the whole humanity are planned to be discussed in a very narrowed format. The organizers invited the US and EU leadership as well as the UN secretary general and the WHO director general to join the discussion. There was no mention of inviting other countries, including Russia and China. On the contrary, they were viewed by the discussions as threats and opponents who need to be countered. We once again are forced to note the trend of the past few years when our Western partners seek to resolve issues in a narrow circle and advance decisions that they are comfortable with, which will later be imposed on other members of the international community through the prism of the ‘rule-based world order’”.
Everything that she said deserves to be seriously reflected upon, but it’s about time that Russia finally fights fire with fire if it’s serious about containing the US like Deputy Foreign Ministry Ryabkov recently suggested.
The Global Relevance Of RIC
Russia should discuss global issues without the West if the latter doesn’t want to cooperate with it to address these collective concerns. Moscow mustn’t be left out of constructive global processes just because it wasn’t invited by its rivals to offer its insight on solving them. The SCO is the perfect platform for Russia to work together with its closest partners to this end, particularly China and India through the RIC format. No matter what rhetoric Western representatives might spout, their strategists would be forced to take notice if these three Great Powers reached agreements on globally relevant topics such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Even if they tried to ignore this potentially game-changing outcome for as long as possible, the rest of the international community that’s mostly comprised of Global South nations would likely ignore them instead should the RIC countries present viable solutions for addressing these issues.
This month’s surprise synchronized disengagement agreement between China and India along the vast Line of Actual Control (LAC) between them will greatly reduce bilateral tensions, thus enabling them to work towards restoring their previously strategic relations, perhaps also with tacit Russian backing. Moreover, Indian Foreign Secretary Shringla’s successful visit to Moscow last week patched up their unexpected disagreements over the past few months after many Indians overreacted to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s criticisms of the US’ growing anti-Chinese influence over their country in December. The stage is now set for a revival of RIC, and while some sensitive issues between them might remain unaddressed such as India’s refusal to participate in China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), these three Great Powers could restore the trilateral goodwill between them by pioneering creative solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change as a first step.
Reversing The Strategic Dynamics
At present, the strategic dynamics are such that Russia feels compelled to respond to the West whenever it’s left out of what should ideally be all-inclusive processes such as the Munich Security Conference’s discussions about global issues. Russia must reverse these dynamics at all costs. Instead of Russia responding to the West, the West must be compelled to respond to Russia, but his can only happen if Moscow is successful at reviving RIC in a manner which imbues it with global significance such as if this format proposes creative solutions to the same global issues that the West wants to resolve without any of those three Great Powers. At the end of the day, East and West will have to work together in order to guarantee that these pressing concerns are adequately dealt with, but the only way for that to happen is if the West stops trying to isolate the East. That won’t change until the RIC-led East collectively takes the lead and compels the West follow them instead.
Mrs. Zakharova’s criticisms about last week’s Munich Security Conference were spot-on, but it’s about time that Russia moves beyond rhetoric and towards tangible responses in reaction to the West’s countless snubs. The Eurasian Great Power has the diplomatic capabilities to revive the RIC format considering the positive developments that have recently taken place within this triangle, and it must see to it that these three countries take the lead in guiding the rest of the Global South. At the moment, the West believes that it can compel the East to react to its proposals, but this strategic dynamic must be reversed otherwise there can never truly be equal cooperation between all. Without that outcome, these pressing global issues will never be adequately addressed, which in turn works out to everyone’s collective detriment. Since the West won’t change its ways on its own, it’s incumbent on the RIC-led East to encourage them to do so by taking the lead instead.