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The new era of confrontation: Russia and the World: 2020 IMEMO Forecast

Sakwa, Richard (2020) The new era of confrontation: Russia and the World: 2020 IMEMO Forecast. New Perspectives, . ISSN 2336-825X. (doi:10.1177/2336825X20954442) (KAR id:84065)


The annual reports published by Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) on Russia and the state of world affairs act like the rings on a tree, measuring changes over time by offering a snapshot of a particular instant. This report is no different but comes at a time that could scarcely be more unlike earlier years. The Covid-19 pandemic has acted like a savage beam of light, illuminating processes that were apparent yet not fully revealed. The pandemic has also intensified many of these processes, accentuating what had already been observed to be ‘the great acceleration’, the speeding up of historical processes in recent years. Drawing on the analysis presented in the IMEMO report, this comment identifies three key interrelated issues that are now subject to accelerated change: first, the broader retreat of the post-1945 ‘Yalta’ international system established at the end of the Second World War, focused above all on the United Nations (UN); second, the decay of the post-1989 settlement, which turned out not to be a settlement in any meaningful sense; and third, the return of a certain type of great power relations in the Covid era. The emergence of the rudiments of bipolarity signals the onset of a new era of confrontation, with few of the guardrails of the First Cold War and none of the clear ideological markers of the earlier era, rendering this period more dangerous than that of the post-war conflict and more akin to the period leading up to the First World War.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/2336825X20954442
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Richard Sakwa
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2020 16:24 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 06:31 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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