Goodbye the Unipolar Moment. Take a Moment to Appreciate Just How Monumental Was the Putin-Biden Summit
1991-2021 RIP. The Empire doesn't talk to anyone like this. At least it hasn't since the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Joe Biden to the media, courtesy of a White House transcript:
We hope by Friday we’re going to be able to say and announce to you that we’re having meetings at a higher level, not just with us but with at least four of our major NATO Allies and Russia to discuss the future of Russia’s concerns relative to NATO writ large and whether or not we can work out any accommodations as it relates to bringing down the temperature along the eastern front.
Washington DC is making a lot of the right noises right now. Leveling with Ukraine about its real NATO membership chances (zero), suggesting it will press Kiev to grant Donbass autonomy, and promising to explore if it can agree to any of the Russian demands on no more missiles and a new security framework via an upgrade of the Helsinki Accords.
Even so, the expectations in Moscow are low. If past history is a guide, rightfully so. Likely Biden won’t be able to offer nearly enough, and even what he would have to offer the Empire would eventually go back on.
Nonetheless, even if the process that started with the December 7 virtual Putin-Biden summit is unlikely to lead anywhere. This should not distract us from what a landmark and monumental development just the existence of this process is. For the first time since 1991, the US has acknowledged that somebody other than the Empire can have a legitimate security concern.
Think what happens when the US holds security talks with Iran or North Korea. Iran develops a domestic missile capacity and a civilian nuclear program. The US proclaims this a security concern for a part of the Empire and slaps extensive sanctions on Iran. The US then invites Iran to hold talks about the Empire’s “security” concerns. Iran is invited to alleviate Washington’s “security” concerns, and in return it can see some of the coercive measures lifted. However, Iran’s own security concerns are not a topic of discussion and of no concern to the US. How many and which strike systems the US places in and around the Persian Gulf is not something that is any business of Iran’s. If Tehran feels threatened by the US military capability around it then that’s too bad because as a weak, unaffiliated state Iran isn’t entitled to security concerns — or (as a rogue state) to security for that matter.
This new US-Russian process however is exactly the other way around. It is Russia’s security concerns that are the pressing question, and it is Russia which forced the US into talks on them. The only thing that’s in the talks for DC is to avoid whatever consequences that Moscow has the mind to carry out.
I have never seen anything like this.
The Imperial Capital may still ultimately proclaim Russia’s security concerns invalid (aka free of convincing content) and provide no appeasement, but it has already recognized the legitimacy of Russia having security concerns “relative to NATO writ large” in principle.
That it is once again — and for the first time since 1991 — legitimate for Moscow to have security concerns means its power today enjoys the kind of respect that has been lacking for the last 30 years.
For the first time in 30 years, someone is strong enough, with enough military capacity,to have security concerns that the Empire can not simply wave off.