TEHRAN – A political scientist says Russia cannot change the international order or re-emerge as a superpower by annexing Crimea or supporting separatists in Ukraine, and he believes the international order will be transformed by the “gradual emergence of China”.
“The gradual decline of the United States and the gradual emergence of China,” will transform the international order, Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, told the Tehran Times in an interview.
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: Do you think that the Ukraine crisis will change the international order?
A: No. There have been acts of aggression before which have challenged the international order. Israel and Morocco have illegally invaded and annexed neighboring countries and the United States and other Western countries didn’t mind. It is only when a country the West doesn’t like violates the international order that it becomes an issue.
Q: Is Russia strong enough to change the international order and return the world to a bipolar system?
A: Annexing Crimea and supporting armed militia in eastern Ukraine are clearly illegal, but these were relatively small-scale military operations where they had some local support, not an example of Russia re-emerging as a superpower. Indeed, it was more a demonstration of their perceived desperation at being continually marginalized by the West.
Q: If Russia does not have the power to change the international order, what event may change it in the future?
A: It will continue to be a gradual transformation, which will include the gradual decline of the United States and the gradual emergence of China. However, the biggest challenge to the international order is not the nation-state, but the growing role of global civil society and other transnational entities. The state is becoming less and less relevant in an increasingly interdependent world.