The modern world is going through one of the most dramatic periods in its history. And this is not only due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are talking about a number of global challenges that radically change not only the configuration of forces in the regional context, which naturally affects its further development according to one or another scenario, but also form a new reality of the world order as a whole.

In fact, there is a complication not only of the configuration of the participants in international relations themselves, but also of the semantic, intentional vectors of development and trends.

The post-global world is an interweaving of diverse interests, a non-linear perspective of the world’s development with possible setbacks and aggravation of crisis fault lines, in which economic interests overlap with ideological contradictions, seasoned with the use of hybrid technologies and the interests of transnational groups of influence.

New realities of the world order

This is a situation of “new normality” in which states do not play the “first fiddle” as before, but become a kind of “testing ground” for testing certain formatting models.

At the same time, the information environment, which once stood at the forefront of globalization, is now becoming a tool for promoting various projects, from “controlled chaos” to unprecedented control of public behavior in its coverage area. The old concepts of international relations are gaining a new sound and semantic connotation.

Humanity in the conditions of uncoordinated actions against the coronavirus pandemic, intensified by the growing confrontation between global “players”, armed clashes in different parts of the world and an increasing immersion in the stagnation processes of the entire world economy, is facing the threat not only of the degradation of the existing world order, but also its complete destruction.


In different countries, there are “charismatic demarches” of non-systemic populist politicians who introduce an element of chaos and unpredictability into the relations between countries that have developed for centuries, as well as ignoring the norms and rules of international law and behavior, ignoring the decisions of global international organizations and denying general humanitarian values and the meaning of existence in general.

The Republic of Kazakhstan finds itself today in the very epicenter of all the challenges arising in connection with the transformation of the international order. In particular,

we observe a special activity of external forces in all the most relevant vectors of the country’s foreign policy

At the same time, this influence is mostly unpredictable in its consequences.

The New Cold War

These include the” fault line ” of global reformatting between the United States and China, where the continental vector of China’s foreign policy, which was once a secondary one, is becoming increasingly important for China’s growing economy every day and, accordingly, causes natural opposition from its competitor, the United States of America. And Kazakhstan here comes out of its peripheral status and finds itself on the “front line” of the current confrontation.

A number of experts have already dubbed the current relationship between these global “players” as a state of “cold war”, which once accompanied the formation of a bipolar system of the international order in the conditions of block confrontation between the United States and the USSR.

In this regard, it is quite natural to ask whether we are observing the process of transformation of the system of American unilateralism into a new bipolarity, or are we talking about some kind of “new multipolar normality”?

And how should medium-sized countries with more modest regional geopolitical ambitions and limited economic opportunities be positioned in this system?

By and large, there is a huge risk of being the object of influence and manipulation from the outside with the well-known and proven in a number of countries prospect of becoming a zone of international tension and institutional economic and cultural insolvency.

Under these conditions, how can Kazakhstan avoid a bad scenario for the development of the situation for itself? How not to be involved in” other people’s games”, how not to narrow the field for foreign policy maneuver and be able to protect their own national interests?

Currently, special attention of experts is focused on the confrontation between the two main global forces — the United States and China. Since Kazakhstan still retains the status of a strategic partnership with respect to both countries, it is important to analyze the risks and opportunities generated by the growing cold war between these global “players”

The point of view of US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo

According to experts, the beginning of the declaration of a new “cold war” occurred during a speech by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum on the topic: “Communist China and the future of the free world”.

This speech was dubbed by many media outlets as the “new Fulton speech”, which once formed the basis of the confrontation between the USSR and the West. The Secretary of State delivered his speech on July 23, 2020 in the town of Yorba Lens, California (USA).

Let’s try to understand the main theses of the American official on topical issues of the Sino-American agenda.

The US Secretary of State believes that the main purpose of his speech is to determine the importance of Sino-American relations in the modern world.

According to the official, China’s role is destructive both for the existing world order and is an absolute challenge to America’s leadership in the modern world, the very principles of organizing current international relations based on respect for human rights, democratic expression of will and free market.

He believes that the doctrine of interaction between the United States and China, proposed by Nixon, should undergo changes

The speech notes:

“We assumed that interaction with China would lead to a future with a bright promise of mutual politeness and cooperation. But today we are still wearing masks and watching the growing number of victims of the pandemic, because the CCP (Communist Party of China — ed.) has not fulfilled its promises to the world.

Every morning we read new news headlines about the repression in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. We are seeing staggering statistics of Chinese trade abuses that are depriving Americans of jobs and causing enormous blows to the economy across America… And we are watching the Chinese armed forces become stronger and stronger, and indeed more threatening.”

From Pompeo’s point of view, the Americans ‘ hopes that China’s prosperity will eventually lead to freedom and democracy in this country have completely failed. On the basis of this authoritarian development, China is already trying to impose its own “Chinese model of globalization” on the world, based on the unprecedented control of the state over society and the individual, as well as the widespread ideological hegemony of the CCP.

The confrontation between authoritarianism and democracy.

For the Secretary of State, the key questions are: “Has America’s security improved? Have we achieved a greater possibility of peace for ourselves and the whole world for the generations that will follow us?”

He comes to the conclusion that as a result, there is a confrontation between China and the dominant and promising ideology of the liberal world order.

Thus, the first important aspect of the conflict into which the modern world falls is the value confrontation between authoritarianism and democracy. The countries of the” free world ” should determine for themselves their own free development perspective.

The Trump administration’s foreign policy task, according to Pompeo, is to confront the “new tyranny” of China. In his speech, he notes:

“Nixon’s great merit is that he realized that China is too important to ignore, even when the country was weakened due to its own brutality by the Communists… In 1967, in a very famous article in the magazine Foreign Affairs, Nixon explained his future strategy. Here’s what he wrote:

“In the long run, we simply cannot afford to leave China outside the family of nations forever… The world cannot be safe until China changes. Thus, our goal is to influence events to the extent that we can. Our goal should be to encourage change.”

Hopes were not justified

The US Secretary of State explains his position on China as follows:

“Over time, American leaders increasingly believed that as China achieved greater prosperity, it would become more open, it would become more free at home and, indeed, it would pose less of a threat abroad, it would be more friendly. I am sure that all this seemed inevitable at the time.”

However, these hopes from Pompeo’s point of view were in vain:

“The truth is that our policy – and the policy of other free countries-has revived China’s weakening economy only to see Beijing bite the hands of the international community that feed it…

We gave the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese regime itself special economic treatment, only to see that the CCP insisted on covering up its human rights violations as a price for allowing Western companies into China.”

A US administration official accuses the Chinese leadership that ” the ultimate ambition of the Chinese rulers is not to trade with the United States, but to plunder the United States.

China has stolen our valuable intellectual property and trade secrets, causing the loss of millions of jobs across America. He took the supply chains out of America, and then added an element of slave labor to them.”

In his opinion, Beijing’s talk about “peaceful growth” is a deception and ” today China is becoming more and more authoritarian at home and more and more aggressive in its hostility to freedom around the world.”

China must change

In terms of developing a strategy for China, the Trump administration does not intend to follow the “dialogue for the sake of dialogue”model. The Americans are going to firmly insist on real changes in both China’s foreign and domestic policy.

The basis of these changes should be the rejection of communist ideology. According to Pompeo, ” this ideology determines his long-term desire for the global hegemony of Chinese communism. America can no longer ignore the fundamental political and ideological differences between our countries, just as the CCP has never ignored them.”

In this regard, the US Secretary of State proposes a doctrine in relation to China: “do not trust and check”. This is especially true for the rules of trade and the attitude to intellectual property.

As you know, the United States has claims against a number of high-tech companies in China. We are talking about unfair competition based on different legal cultures in the countries.

Pompeo argues that ” each country will have to come to its own understanding of how to protect its sovereignty, how to protect its economic prosperity and how to protect its ideals from the tentacles of the Chinese Communist Party.”

However, ” this is difficult for some small countries. They are afraid of damage. Some of them, for this reason, simply do not have the ability or the courage to stand shoulder to shoulder with us at the moment…

The challenge from China requires efforts and energy from the democracies – European, African, South American and especially the democracies of the Indo-Pacific region…

And if we don’t act now, the CCP will eventually undermine our freedoms and destroy the rules-based order that our societies have worked so hard to build. If we kneel now, our children’s children may be powerless before the Communist Party of China, whose actions are the main problem in the free world today.”

Thus, with his speech, a senior official of the Trump administration issued an ultimatum to the Chinese leadership, demanding that not only Zhongnanhai, but also China’s numerous partners around the world, “decide”.

This is an absolute “challenge” for Kazakhstan’s foreign policy strategy, which was based on the principles of equivalent multi-vector approach to these two global forces.

To be continued.

Author: Aidar Amrebayev

The material is posted with the permission of the author of the publication


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