The Imperial Liberal World Order or Sovereign Internationalism? : EIR interview with Dr Richard Sakwa

The Imperial Liberal World Order or Sovereign Internationalism? : EIR interview with Dr Richard Sakwa

“...So when you ask why has Putin acted at this time..…….within the larger question to get an over-arching European security order.So there`s at least 3 levels of conflict : one in the Donbass, one over Ukraine more broadly, its neutrality or its future place in a security order, and then the larger failure of European security. You could even add a fourth, which is that global tension, pressure between the United States`s vision as a global hegemon and the resistance of powers like Russia and China to those hegemonic ambitions.So we are living at the intersection of multiple crises and its not quite clear that if we end up with this crisis escalating to the top level, we`re really talking about a global war.”

“What was most shocking was President Zelensky`s comment at the Munich Security Forum that Ukraine may become a nuclear weapons power. That was shocking enough but what was perhaps even more disturbing was the lack of response of the Western powers, the Atlantic powers, which of course are blocking North Korea and Iran becoming nuclear weapons powers and yet it seemed as if Ukraine was going to be given a free pass.”

“...of course double standards are really the name of the game and they have been for a long time.Obviously when NATO is being talked about as a peace body, a collective defense body only, we have seen the bombing of Serbia in 1999, not to mention the NATO planned invasion of Iraq in 2003, and above all the destruction of the Libyan State in 2011……..In 2008 Libya and Italy signed a developmental agreement, a long term cooperation agreement, Italy of course is the former colonial power, and this did really seem to be the way forward………………all of that was destroyed in 2011.”

Mike Billington: “…Putin also addressed the internal breakdown of key industries, of the economy, and the social structure in his Monday speech. This constrasts, of course, greatly with the Western media argument that the US and NATO are defending freedom and democracy in Ukraine against Russian autocracy….”

“I think Natalia Vitrenko`s analysis is one of the best………….because they have understood the way that the model of post communist capitalism and then the way it has developed since 2014 which has unleashed neo-liberal shock therapy on a society which has already been devastated and pillaged by inequality and indeed by political intolerance. We know that the Communist Party was banned in 2014, a rather shocking development, the Socialist Party, the group that Natalia leads, has been under permanent pressure and of course the Ukraine is one of the few states which , its GDP, both in nominal terms and per capita terms, is lower today than it was in 1991. A shocking development. And whole swathes of industry have died back and the reflection of this dire economic circumstances, very, very expensive services, energy and so on, all pushed by the IMF, has been mass immigration, at least 6 million have gone as labour immigrants.”

At the end of the Cold War, there were 2 peace orders on offer. Both reasonably good in some ways. The first one was the Gorbechovian version, the one that is based on Charter Internationalism, the Charter of the United Nations and subsequent body of international law built on that and Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but the model there is Sovereign Internationalism. Which is good. This is the one that Russia and China pursue. The second model is the hegemonic piece with the expansive liberal , so-called liberal international order, with 2 legs, the economic one and the peculiar model of the economy and of course with NATO. You may say that they deliver certain public goods but it would mean that the rest of the world has to be a subaltern, a sub-ordinate, in some way accepting of the dominance of this Atlantic power system. So these 2 models have been in conflict and this ultimately underlies the conflict to this day.”

The Belt and Road Initiative and its maritime equivalent is extraordinarilly important because it provides an alternative source of development financing for all those countries who have signed up to it. And it is critisized much in the West for becoming exploitative , becoming a sort of debt trap. Many good studies have demonstrated that this isn`t quite the case. Clearly there have been some issues, but what this has offered …………….It can be transformative. If you have the infrastructure balanced with the social capital, or even forms of social organization that are cooperative, you could call it socialism, you could call it other things but ways in which we have not an exploitative form of development but genuinely where the profits and the work , the dignity of labour, as we used to call it, can manifest itself in combination with this infrastructure.But of course we have seen this huge backlash against the Belt and Road Initiative , the Atlantic powers, Lithuania for example has now left and there`s a whole stack of attack on it because it is a model, an alternative model not just of world power but of an alternative model of world development.”

I am deeply critical of this Global Britain agenda in the way that it has now developed which reflects the worst aspects of which you have just referred. That Global Britain is an archaic project to try to re-establish influence not in the framework of what we talked about just now, peace and development. It is an old fashioned, gun boat diplomacy type attitude which of course has had these enormous deleterious consequences over the years. And when Britain left the European Union, I wanted, and I would love to see, a Global Britain that builds on the sort of ideas we have been talking about, which is the idea of development, of moving beyond militarism, moving beyond this endless attempt at gun boat diplomacy, that gun boat diplomacy of the sort we saw in the Black Sea when that British ship went past the territorial waters of the Crimea. And of course the air craft carrier was being sent off to the Far East, to the South China Sea, to wave the flag. This is a sort of 19th Century behaviour. So this is a worst sort of old sort 19th Century imperialism combined now with 21st Century , how can I put it, the liberal Empire of Capital. Which is exceptionally frightening in all sorts of ways. And one also has to say it is the media in all of this, the media autonomy has become undermined by not only financial interests but the erosion of public debate.

Source: Schiller Institute

Global Britain: An Archaic Project That May Bring Global Nuclear War

28 February 2022

Full transcript available here:… This is an interview conducted February 25, 2022 by Mike Billington of the Schiller Institute, the LaRouche Organization, and the Executive Intelligence Review, with Dr. Richard Sakwa, a professor of Russian and European studies at the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent in the UK. Dr. Sakwa has served as head of that school twice in the past. He is also a senior research fellow at the National Research Institute, the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, and an honorary professor in the Faculty of Political Science at Moscow State University. He’s an author of dozens of books and many articles, a very active participant in both political and academic fora, and is a highly respected spokesman for global cooperation as the only means to prevent war.


Leave a Reply