This report outlines a number of scenarios for the paths Asia may take in the next 20 years, and what the choice of each of these paths will mean for Russia and its role in Asian affairs. These scenarios do not attempt to make an accurate prediction for specifi c events based on linear projection of current events. Rather, they pursue three goals.
The world is living through a “parallel time.” This phenomenon of spontaneous and similar, though seemingly unrelated processes taking place on different continents. The main catalyst is media, only now it is universal and ubiquitous, with the result that the new revolt is instantaneously broadcast to the world and influences it in turn.
Non-Western states that had no part in formulating its principles and now consider that system unfair and the societies of those leading countries reject the elites who are responsible for the policies of the last decades.
The world is already changing, but by which method? Is it through an evolutionary process in which the ever-greater number of players cooperatively effects the transformation of the world order? Or is it proceeding by a revolutionary process in which the “common people” reject the existing order and set out to overthrow those in power – who themselves struggle to retain their wealth and privileges?
Why the disorder? What is anatomy of a protest? How the "game without rules" affected the economy? Is there one solution of all problems? What is the role of international institutions?
The events of 2016–2017 sharply changed the political balance in the West and across the world. The Brexit success, sensational victory of Donald Trump, the atmosphere of ‘the last battle’ ‘on the brink of a precipice’ during the presidential elections in France, a dramatic turn to right wing nationalism in Poland, Hungary and some other countries of Central Europe – the whole of it brought the rightist revolt against the neoliberal mainstream (and response to it) into the global focus.
‘We are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People’ — the Trump’s sharp rebuff of traditional mainstream rhetoric and turn to white-wing nationalism brought the new term of ‘Trumpism’ into being. Nevertheless, the Trump’s rise to power was the result of a broader demand for transformation of the American political system.
The Trumpism is deeply rooted in the American political history and has a certain value system in its core. It amalgamates leftist and rightist elements, forming the bloc of interests, although contradictory. The Trumpism is a new approach to the settlement of old issues, especially economic ones. Trump’s policy is based on the interests of middle capital and aimed at weakening big capital in favour of the middle capital. Thus, this makes the value of protecting the domestic market or sound protectionism a matter of key importance.
What is the future of the Trumpism? Will Europe follow the example of the US? What should be Russia’s attitude towards the ‘rightist revolt’?
The Valdai Discussion Club presents its new paper, “National Identity and Russia’s Future,” based on the discussions at the club’s 10th anniversary conference in September 2013 and subsequent work of the expert groups. The paper, written by the young scholars Anastasia Likhacheva and Igor Makarov of the National Research University – Higher School of Economics, attempts to answer the most fundamental of questions: Who are the Russians, and what does their future hold? Authors, who were overseen by Sergey Karaganov, Honorary President of the Council of Foreign and Defense Policy, lay out their views on Russia’s national identity in a way that transcends the traditional academic framework and leaves room for a free and wide-ranging discussion.
The analytical report “Russian elite-2020” is the first in a series of papers, prepared under the auspices of the Research Grants Program of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club. This research project analyzes the values, mindset and ideological orientation of post-Soviet elites, as well as the factors that influence their formation and evolution. Based on the results of the analysis, authors composed a portrait of a typical representative of the Russian elite in the 2020s, and forecasted how elite values and attitudes will continue to evolve and what effect they will have on the Russian domestic and foreign policy
Since 2008 the neoliberal mainstream, which seemed to be steadfast, has been suffering both economic and political crisis. This makes people seek an alternative of right or left kind. In such circumstances, alternative political forces attempt to satisfy civil society’s needs suggesting new ideas that challenge the neoliberalism. Therefore, both leftist and rightist revolts have been a search for new growth drivers and new balance within societies that takes all the classes and their interests into consideration.
This process is closely tied to several major shifts. The privatization of state’s functions has been doubted and put the return of public capital on the agenda. The voice of people demanding a more equal access to public goods, for example, education gets louder.
There are new politicians able to get this message and obtain a broad popular support. They are, for instance, Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Jean-Luc Melenchon in France. However, what is behind the leftist revolt? Does it have any chance to succeed?
What is happening in the world? Is it a revolution that is breaking old foundations and bringing something fundamentally new? Or is it just a cyclical shake-up that will stir up the environment, but leave intact the principles of relations between states that did not change for millennia? And will the new turn out to be the well-forgotten old in the next stage?
The Valdai Discussion Club reflects on this in a series of reports that are issued for the regular annual meetings in October. The fourth report, prepared this year, is titled "The Importance of Being Earnest: How to Avoid Irreparable Damage.” But unlike the piquant play of Oscar Wilde, (which the title was borrowed from), the authors urge to abandon the "strategic frivolity", that enveloped the global elites at the end of the last century and shattered their most basic foundation, of self-preservation.
It is necessary to return to an adequate perception of reality with its entire palette of dangers and threats, and understand that self-preservation is not 'every man for himself', but everyone together against the risks that is more effective to combat jointly.
In 2012, the Valdai International Discussion Club presented its report “Toward the Great Ocean or the New Globalization of Russia” for the political and expert communities in Russia and abroad. The present report, “Toward the Great Ocean-2”, is a follow-up on the previous one; it has taken into account the experience gained in implementing some of the recommendations contained in the first report and results of its broad discussion.
The authors of the present report hold that the shift of the center of gravity and the pivot of Russia’s foreign and foreign-economic policies toward the Asia-Pacific region is a natural and top-priority response to the challenge faced by the country in the global and diverse world of the 21st century. We have been witnessing an unprecedentedly fast shift of the center of the world economy and politics to Asia. Asia’s economic growth has become a “locomotive” driving many economies in the world, which have reoriented themselves to the supply of raw materials and goods to China, India and Southeast Asian countries. None of the leading states in the contemporary world can claim a truly global status without a strong presence in the Pacific. Russia, too, can and must use opportunities opened by the “Asian century.”
The year 2015 opened a new stage in the development of the international system. Despite the continuing erosion of the old institutions, for the first time in a long while we can see signs of emergence of something new amid the disintegration of the old. The world order, much-discussed since the late 1980s, has never been "built" by dint of anyone's conscientious efforts, but it is now starting to crop up from the reign of chaos. The contours are just beginning to take shape, but there are already grounds for reflections about the world's new structure in the upcoming decades. Globalization is not being replaced by isolationism, although the integrated system is transforming, becoming less centralized, more fragmented and oriented towards regions. Not only are the closest interdependence and intense competition not mutually exclusive, they create an impartible symbiosis. Cooperation and mutual restraining go hand in hand. A new balance is beginning to take shape based on the interaction between two groups of states: the Broader West (the US and its partners) and the "Greater Eurasia". This is not a new bipolarity, but a new dialectic of diverging and coinciding interests. Should the tendency take root, new conditions for a more solid global unity will appear in the midst of an unending competition.