Since news headlines are often framed within Cold War era jargon, many ordinary citizens worldwide continue to filter the ongoing global events via an outdated perspective.
Incessant mention of friction between Russia and China on the one hand, and the US and other NATO regimes on the other, creates a superficial impression that the cold war era is back.
The cold war era paradigm does not apply to the current unravelling of the US-centric global order.
It is essential to understand multipolarity of 2022 independent of Western framing.
The Cold War narrative is beneficial to NATO regimes because it presupposes the same outcome, namely that the NATO regimes will triumph over their competitors.
While certain dynamics of the multipolar world order in 2022 might superficially remind of the Cold War, the economic and geopolitical realities are significantly different.
There is far greater space for political and economic maneuvering for regional actors which was not possible during the Cold War.
Let us briefly examine some key differences between the current evolving multipolar world order and the Cold War era.
Currently there is no concrete ideological or intellectual competition between Russia, China and the US.
All three are stuck within the paradigm of capitalism’s political-economic framework and secular-liberalism intellectual foundations.
They merely define these differently and aim to frame both in a manner best suited to their geopolitical interests.
Also, currently China and Russia are not competing with each other like they did during the 1970s and 1980s, but are cooperating geo-politically.
Another major aspect which differentiates the current multipolar global order from the Cold War era is the presence of far more assertive and resistance-minded Muslims in the world.
Yes, the Muslim world is not yet an independent and cohesive force within the emerging multipolar global order, but it is also not a lackey of big powers anymore.
Even traditional vassal regimes of the US in the Persian Gulf are realizing that placing all their bets on Washington’s leadership is no longer prudent investment.
That is partly the reason why some of them are trying to establish a working relationship with Iran, Turkey, China, and Russia.
The biggest practical manifestation of how drastically different the emerging multipolar world order from the Cold War era is to remember the choice made by the US ruling establishment after it murdered General Qassem Soleimani.
Washington’s deliberate choice not to respond to Iran’s ballistic missile retaliation against US military bases in Iraq was a major turning point of a global paradigm shift.
Even during the Cold War era, the USSR never dared to strike US military bases directly.
Thus, during the current multipolar world, there is no single hegemon.
There are multiple regional poles and power centers.
In the Muslim world the most obvious regional poles are Iran and Turkey.
There are also multiple theaters of struggle in the Muslim world where no external power can enforce its will without the region’s power poles.
For example, in Syria, while Russia is the most powerful player in tangible terms, without Iran, Russia will not be able to assert its power in Syria. While the opposite does not hold true.
During a February 2020 interview with the popular Moscow-based radio station, Echo of Moscow, Maxim Shevchenko, a prominent Russian journalist and former member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights dropped an analytical bombshell when he explained why Russia got involved in Syria.
Shevchenko said that Russia’s military involvement in Syria came late, towards the end of 2015, when the Syrian government, Islamic Iran, Hizbullah and the Palestinian Liwa-Al-Quds had rolled back rebel advances and liberated Homs, a key rebel stronghold.
Thus, a major regional conflict was being shaped by Muslim regional players, not an external non-regional party.
A similar situation applies to Palestine and Yemen. No external regional power can control the actions or strategies of the key resistance actors involved.
Multipolarity is here and just like the world of business, customers benefit from business competition among firms.
In a multipolar world order, societies of the developing world will benefit if they are able to skillfully balance the competitive objectives of bigger powers.