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Will the ‘Ukraine crisis’ change the world order?

Russia-Ukraine conflict: Kiev voiced China's 'more prominent role', the UN General Assembly will hold an emergency meeting.  (Source: TASS)
The United Nations General Assembly held its first emergency session on the Russia-Ukraine conflict on March 2. (Source: AP)

Before Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, many people thought that Russia only gathered its troops to send a tough message, thereby forcing NATO and Ukraine to make concessions. When US President Joe Biden warned that Russia was ready and prepared to fire, many European diplomats still believed that this was just a psychological attack from the US…

World order shakes

With the desire not to repeat the valuable lessons of World War I and II, the international community has made many initiatives to control conflicts between nations, maintain world peace and stability, in which There are three main measures.

The first is nuclear deterrence accompanied by arms control measures among major powers. After World War II, the major powers avoided direct military conflict because both sides understood that such a conflict could very well lead to destructive nuclear war.

The second is economic linkage. Starting with the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952, the idea of ​​creating interlocking economic interests among nations to prevent conflict was a great invention. The proliferation of regional integration processes and economic globalization in general, especially after the end of the Cold War, have really linked the interests of countries together, reducing the risk of war.

The third is international law on the basis of the United Nations Charter. This can be considered as a great achievement of human civilization, creating a common rule of the game widely accepted by the international community, essentially excluding the use of force in contemporary international relations.

But the “Ukraine crisis” shows that all three measures have failed to prevent conflict to maintain peace in Europe. Arms control has not stopped NATO expansion and Russia’s comprehensive military modernization over the past 15 years. The intertwined economic interests between Russia and Europe are not strong enough, even becoming security holes for the parties to exploit. Nor is international law powerful enough to prevent armed conflict.

Adjusted or overdone?

When the pillars of the current world order all appear to be in trouble, it must be difficult for that order to be without certain twists and turns. Therefore, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss likened the Ukraine crisis to Europe’s 9/11 moment, turning the world around.

The EU high representative in charge of foreign and security policy Josep Borrell even called the crisis the worst security event on European soil since World War II. Most associate it with the Berlin Wall (1989), which then triggered the chain of events that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the formation of a new world order.

It will take a while for the world to change its thinking and change its policies to find a new balance and a new way to maintain peace and stability among nations.

The current emerging view is that economic linkages, international law or soft power in general are not enough to ensure the maintenance of peace and stability. National defense modernization, arms race and arms control will be emerging security issues in international politics in the coming time. International law will continue to be promoted, but the mechanism to ensure the implementation of international law will have to be reformed in line with the current world situation.

Economic linkages will continue to be promoted along with the process of globalization, but the most important and substantive links will only take place between partners with strategic trust or like-minded countries. The world economic outlook is divided into blocks, groups, with different members and rules; adopting technological standards, using independent logistics and infrastructure systems… as United Nations Secretary-General Antonyo Guterres warns is not far off.

The changing world situation will have a significant impact on Vietnam’s external environment. After the end of the Cold War 30 years ago, we quickly identified the post-Cold War world trend to expand foreign relations, implement diversification, multilateralisation, and successfully integrate into the world.

More than ever, we need to continue to closely monitor the situation, grasp the new trend in international relations in the coming time, and at the same time put ourselves in the right flow of the international community, while actively contributing to the development of international relations. that flow, confident with the “facilities, money, prestige, position” that Vietnam has built up to protect national interests early, from afar before any changes in the situation.

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