Amid soaring tensions with the USA and NATO over the crisis in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a short visit to neighboring Mongolia on September 2nd.
In such a volatile time, when Putin is busy with the unstable situation in Ukraine and the resulting sanctions, the question looms: Why has Putin visited Mongolia - a country many consider as an insignificant neighbor – and made this a priority?
Before mulling over the answer to this question, let’s take a look at the background on which the related incidents take place.
The Cold War was a four-decade-long period which divided the globe into two hostile camps. This was a time when the Soviet Union and the USA with their respective allies tried to dominate the world in the ideological and military sense.
Today Russia is an incomparably different country than the Soviet Union of the Cold War. First and foremost, it has lost its grip over the former Soviet republics and satellite states, which gained their independence following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, owing the immense natural resources it possesses such as coal, natural gas and oil, it has formed ties with Europe in the economic sense and until recent conflicts established a bond to the West which was unimaginable for the Soviet Union of the Cold War.
All these changes, along with many other factors, have contributed to reshape and reshuffle the political scenery of the today’s world. It is no longer possible to talk of a Cold War, but we need to admit that the world is still dealing with the legacy of that era.
For instance, although Russia no longer acts on the premise of the Soviet Union, the Marxist ideology, to pursue its interests and has made important initiatives to adapt itself to the socioeconomic conditions of the 21st Century, the USA and Europe still harbor a sense of “the other side” towards Russia. In this regard, we can’t speak of an all-out disappearance of the notion of “opposing camps” which the Cold War era has bequeathed.
As the Ukraine crisis has escalated, this outlook is apt to become more adamant. However at this point rather than a worldwide military and ideological struggle - as in the case of the Cold War - the discord is of a territorial nature involving different risks and interests.
This conflict is pursued with the imposition of sanctions on Russia, the ultimate aim being to isolate it.
Here the word “isolation” must not be considered as a strong one, for what is intended here is to render Russia an outcast country.
At this point we need to reconsider if this is a wise and prudent plan for the world, given that an extraordinary collaboration among nations is required in order to address the very serious issues that are facing us today on a global scale.
It is palpable that today the world is locked into an interest-oriented outlook which gives way to “taking sides” and, inherently and instinctively, breeds hatred against the other. This perspective also brings about selfishness, egoism and all kinds of negativity that will make matters worse for the other party.
That is why the policy of “isolating Russia” is perilous not only for the region but for the whole world. That is also why, under the ever-escalating pressure of being left alone, Russia turned to its traditional friendly neighbor Mongolia amid soaring tensions with USA and NATO.
As long as love and compassion do not prevail and until the motto, “What is in the best interest for us as a nation” is replaced with “What is in the best interest worldwide”, it is evident that worldwide situation we find ourselves in will reveal an even darker picture. In the political, economic and military sense, the policy of isolating “the other side” is bound to result in confrontation, which will only bring losses to humanity and wreak havoc on the innocent citizens of the world.
For the good of humanity and a better world, countries across the globe need to abandon a concept of politics that will “isolate the other side” and be eager to adopt a new one based on “embracing” it.