The historic and global significance of the Putin – Biden summit

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
Jun 9, 2021

“Ideas are late compared to the being” – Karl Marx

The forthcoming meeting of the Presidents of Russia and the United States has, objectively, a huge, we might even call it historic, significance, regardless of what results it comes to! Εven the absence of results will prove significant. There are three reasons we attribute such importance to this summit.

The first is the fact that it is taking place in the context of a very dangerous and escalating new Cold War. It is very urgent and of vital importance, not only for the powers involved, but also for all humanity to find ways to stop any further escalation and begin reversing the course of this war.

The second reason this meeting is objectively important has to do with the fact that it is taking place in the conditions of the emergence of a new, reformist leadership in the very centre of the western world. The relations which will be established between Moscow and this new leadership will greatly influence the world situation.

The third reason has to do with the fact that this meeting is taking place within the context of a very rapid deterioration of the situation regarding the enormous, existential threats of all sorts that mankind is facing in the short-and medium term. Those threats are by far the most terrible and threatening in all the 300,000-year history of humans.

But those questions still seem to occupy a secondary place in the politics of great powers, who do not seem to see the importance of the possibility of terminating life on Earth

Only by dramatically upgrading their position in the real political agenda (and not only in rhetoric) and only by a high level of co-operation between all states and, in particular, great powers, can humanity probably have any hope of surviving this century.

Why the new Cold War is more dangerous than the first one

The United States, the forces that influence, shape and “guide” their policy, and the whole “wider West” launched a new Cold War after 2014, which they had been preparing since the fall of the USSR. The new Cold War is much more dangerous than the old one. The new Cold War is dangerous for a variety of reasons. The first of them being that it is taking place in an environment of exponential development of new technologies that are constantly being introduced in the art of war, making the battlefield immeasurably more complicated and revolutionising the art of war itself. This complexity is combined with the shortening of the times during which critical decisions must be made, with the increased emotional weight of decisions and with the inevitable “bias” in the diagnosis of risks by operators acting in an environment of escalating tension and uncertainty as to the intentions of the opponent.

This brings us to a situation which begins to go beyond the possibility of the human mind, human reason and human psychology to control things in a rational way. We are tending towards a situation where AI systems, that is intelligent robots, will take decisions which can be decisive for the very survival of humans.

The Uncertainty Factor

The second reason the situation is more dangerous than during the first Cold War is that now, there are no codes or back-stage communication channels and the degree of certainty characterising the first Cold War; there is not even the fundamental political knowledge and understanding of the world that the political and state personnel of the United States and the Soviet Union possessed. This new environment of anarchy (of high entropy) is also the optimum environment for the actions of agents provocateurs, or, if you prefer, of “Agents of chaos”.

The new Cold War is being waged without any regulatory framework, like Yalta was until 1991, completely unacceptable and counterproductive in many other respects; but we should also recall the ABM treaty (prohibition of anti-ballistic weapons) after 1972, or the Helsinki Final Act (until the interventions in Yugoslavia). All those documents, encompassed in international law, the political result of the victory of European (and in particular of Soviet) peoples over Nazism, had this in common: they reflected the mutual recognition of the other side and the intention not to go to war. The ABM treaty went a step further. It translated this declared will in practical measures to make a nuclear world war impossible

The fact that the West did not respect its own promises to the Soviet leadership in exchange of accepting German reunification, in particular not to extend NATO, has dealt a devastating blow to the confidence necessary for any form of stability and arms control.

If all that was not enough, the new Cold War is combined with the increasingly frequent emergence of a plethora of international crises of all sorts, especially after 2015, which tend to make the equation of maintaining elementary stability and world peace unsolvable.

Other political conditions that might turn the Cold War into a Hot War

Another key factor that makes the current situation more dangerous is the absence of a strong anti-war, anti-nuclear, pacifist movement, the bearer of a superior human consciousness, which was a key factor that prevented nuclear war, but also limited the possibilities of colonialism and imperialism, contributing substantially to its defeats (Vietnam, Algeria).

Another key factor is the prevalence of an almost totalitarian regime in Western information, due to the historically unprecedented control by international financial capital, but also to the development of internet media with a very large capacity for manipulation, also controlled by financial capital, which has also “bought” the vast majority of “intellectuals” whose role has been decisive in the past, and to prove it– it is enough to cite here names like Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Bertrand Russell. Today, it is very doubtful that Daniel Ellsberg would find a newspaper to publish his Pentagon Papers, and if he still published them, it is very likely that they would stop their dissemination, or drown them under a pile of internet trash.

A war impossible to win

In its escalation, this new Cold War poses the very great risk of leading humanity into a more and more difficult to control (even for technical reasons) arms competition and, ultimately, to a great probability of confrontation by miscalculation, by mistake, or by the emergence of organised madness (irrationalism). The messianic ideas of people like Israeli Zionists or Evangelicals (Christian Zionists) are a good example. It is true that for the time being they were checked by logic and survival instincts, but we cannot be certain that this will always happen, especially in a protracted environment of continuous conflicts, escalating confrontations and crises without solutions

We know after 1945, that it is impossible to win a World War. We know that such a war will lead most probably to the extinction of the human species and that the luckiest humans will be those who will die immediately. No rational and informed human being today can believe a victory in a nuclear war is possible. Nuclear weapons and the threat of their use are unfortunately still needed; they are the MAD counterbalance to a mad world, but they are needed in order to preserve equilibrium preventing the war, not to make possible an unattainable victory.

The power of ideas

At the same time, of course, there must be a global movement calling for their abolition worldwide, in a balanced way, in order to mobilise and focus the global consciousness of this ultimate danger.

This is very important because the war still remains the continuation of politics (Clausewitz).  That means that ideas do play a role as important as weapons in terms of who is going to win a war but also whether or not such a war is possible. Important forces in the US and British establishment wanted a new WW against the USSR even before the end of WWII. They did not launch it, even in conditions of US atomic monopoly, because their public opinion was not disposed to follow them

The Red Army, the predecessor of the present day Russian Armed Forces learned those realities the hard way during the Russian Civil War. When it tried to face the Whites in Kuban, the land of hostile Cossacks, it failed miserably, putting Moscow itself in danger. However, it crushed the Whites when it changed the location of the front and gave the decisive battle in red, workers’ Donetsk. It is not a mere coincidence that this city has been found now, again, in the epicenter of the East – West confrontation in Europe.

The United States Armed Forces learned the same truths and in an equally hard way in Vietnam and, more recently, in Afghanistan and Fallujah of Iraq (where they operated along with British, always keen to participate directly in the most dirty operations worldwide).  One of the reasons the US won the Cold War was their policy of attributing great attention to the way people were thinking or feeling, or, to be more precise, to the impressions their policy was creating.

When they came to believe they had assured “eternal” victory (the “End of History”), they began to behave without bothering even for the pretexts. This is one of the main reasons they lost what seemed an unprecedented omnipotence back in 1991, in a very short time – span (judging by measures of History).

The importance of ideas, of what people are thinking, is even greater now, because the problem is not to win a world war, but to avert it. In 1939, we had the “luxury” to be able to fight against Nazism and win over it with an enormous cost. Now we do not even have this “luxury”.

Mr. Biden told George Stephanopoulos that he signed the START Treaty his predecessor wanted to abolish because it was for the good of humanity that is above everything else. But, if he means what he says, he must take urgent measures to stop the continuous demonization of Russia and, now, more and more, of China by the western political establishment, by NATO and, in particular by the western media system. The way the West is now portraying Russia and China is the same it was portraying Iraq, or Libya, or Greece before attacking them.

And even if this is not the real intention, it will be understood as such by military and political planners in Russia and in China, who will act accordingly. In reality, this has already happened.  It is very difficult for Biden to reverse this course, and we have noticed how big televisions and newspapers in the USA are pressing continuously both Biden and Blinken to become more hawkish, but there is no other way. If Biden succumbs to such pressure, if he does not take bold initiatives to reverse course, he will be unable to fulfill any of his promises to his voters and we will go to bigger and bigger tragedies worldwide.

In the less dangerous conditions of the first Cold War, humanity has already come very close to the possibility of its destruction. Now the situation is more dangerous, so it is necessary to take measures to stop the escalation of the Cold War and reverse this course. The same must be done in the relations of the US with China and Iran, and also in the “Bermuda Triangle” of South and East Asia.

This is not enough, because the weapons are, after all, the symptoms, not the root causes of the confrontations. But it is still necessary to dispose of them and, if done in a way respecting strategic stability, it may also help to address the root problems.

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