Sergey Lavrov’s trips, first to China and then to India, rem-ind us of the obvious: Ukraine is far from everything that is happening in the world right now. For those who think that the whole planet has stopped, abandoned business and is waiting for the outcome of the Ukrainian story: processes that have nothing to do with Ukrainian events at all, but are very important for creating the world of tomorrow, have not slowed down. And yes, Russia is very much invo-lved in these processes.
There is no doubt that part of our public will only notice what Lavrov and others have to say on the Ukrainian topic. Because the bestial laws of life in a re-informed world require sensations almost every hour. But in fact, what was happening in China was primarily related to Afgh-anistan and, more broadly, to the reconstruction of the Middle East, South and Central Asia now, when America has not completely left these regions, but has retreated seriously. And now we have to figure it out without her, which is not easy, but not bad at all.
Who are “we”? Ministers and special representatives from China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran and the United States gathered in Tunxi (Anhui Province). Afghanistan is represented by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaki. The Chinese also invited representatives of Indonesia and Qatar, countries that, although not neighbors with Afghani-stan, are related to the plot.
The talks were scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in different formats: a meeting of the foreign ministers of the countries neighboring Afghanistan, the “troika plus” (Russia, Pakistan and the United States) – and it is clear that everyone will talk with everyone and separately – on any topic.
In China, another plot is planned: for unknown reasons, the ASEAN-US summit on American soil fell through, they called from Washington and said that they were very busy. And now, four foreign ministers from the ASEAN team – the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar – went to China. They may not be talking about Afghanistan, but meetings in pairs on any topic and between anyone should not be ruled out, since such interesting people have arrived. In general, it turns out a real global forum.
It is easy to say that the center of world politics has long shifted to Asia, but politics itself is difficult and time consuming. Afghanistan may not be a superpower, but the task of many countries now – after the failed democratization and the flight of the United States – is to make the current, Taliban Afghanistan a good neighbor. The task is not that impossible. If you remember, after the 1979 revolution, Iran also seemed something impossible and unacceptable, but now it is not everyone, maybe, like, but respected by all regional power. Whose representatives, in turn, in Chinese Tunxi are now explaining something to the new masters of Afghanistan. For example, that their idea that there is no need for schooling for girls is not shared by other Muslims and neighbors.
The new – non-Western – world is not necessarily built exclusively around Beijing. And this time, the absence of another large almost neighbor of Afghanistan, India, is noticeable at the forum. Trouble has happened to this country: increasing its economic influence in Afghanistan under the Americans, it has invested there, according to Chinese estimates, about three billion dollars. But the bet on the United States was unsuccessful. And here, a close friend of Beijing, Pakistan, is also participating in the conversations on Afghanistan. As a result, diplomacy lined up like this: before the Chinese forum, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Delhi, and now Sergey Lavrov is expected there. Well, you can probably write music like that, as Dmitri Shostakovich said about the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar”.
Now about what the Am-ericans are doing in Tunxi: no one excludes Washin-gton from all sorts of “Af-ghan formats”, if only be-cause there is such a question – it is necessary to re-turn the money to the Afgh-ans, their foreign exchange reserves, which America, out of habit, stole while fleeing from there. But not the fact that it will return.
However, in any case, in the United States itself, they even notice that a huge region is drifting away from them – the Middle East with South Asian and Central Asian neighbors. The latest issue of the flagship magazine Foreign Affairs is devoted to this topic, the cover says: “The Middle East moves on.” And under the cover there are a lot of different and interesting things, including material that the old maps of the region do not reflect the new realities and the old Middle East has come to an end.
Or – from the same place – the plot: why democracy is “stuck” here – with the subtitle “Economic despair and the triumph of the Chinese model.” The authors recall the “Arab Spring” of 2011 and note that today only seven of the twelve countries in the region recruit the same more than 70 percent of respondents who consider democracy to be preferable to other political systems. In general, they see that in the authoritarian Arab states with economies a little better. The Chinese model “and, to a lesser extent, the Russian one” is perceived more and more easily, local residents consider these two countries to be more profitable partners.
They also know, the authors remind, that over the past 20 years, China’s GDP per capita has grown by almost five times, Russia’s by about four times, and in Western countries – barely doubled.
The authors of the article – sociologists and economists – surprisingly bypass Syria, that is, the effect on local public opinion from Moscow’s ability to help its own. But this effect, no doubt, is. As well as from China’s constant build-up of all and every kind of ties with the region.
The Celestial Empire moves there slowly, without explosive methods, but steadily. Chinese media, for example, note the recent participation of the same Wang Yi in the ministerial session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Islamabad (Pakistan) at the special invitation of the audience. And do not forget to remind: someone wanted to quarrel Beijing and the Islamic world by launching fakes about “the oppression of the Uighurs in Xinjiang”? There you are.
Russian couch warriors and diplomats would like immediate repentance from the outside world for lies and hatred of Russia, and from friends and allies – spectacular statements on the topic “We are with the Russians.” Instead, something else is happening: the slow, painful building of a new – non-Western – world. Effects here happen infrequently, instead of them there is a long quiet work.