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Jul 13, 2016


China and Russia are major powers, but the ideological, economic and political differences between them and the United States (and the rest of the West and Japan by extension) are just nowhere near as profound as they used to be. Putin is admittedly a massive wild card, but China by this point is heavily integrated into the global economy and into the United States. Their interests are just too tied together.

Without a core ideological conflict, the power cleavages are based on economics, ethnicity, geography and other factors. Yes, those are important, but they don't tend to breed the kind of secrecy, resentment and gamesmanship as in the Cold War. There's also no space for a Third World or a non-aligned movement as there was in the Cold War, which is one of the most massive unreported aspects of the global situation during the Cold War.

Wars in general are getting rarer and less violent. While it is easy to forget this while watching the evening news, we're actually safer and more prosperous than we've ever been.

Moreover, multinational corporations and unregulated financial transactions have evolved as an independent power that can meaningfully be compared to states at this point.

Yes, Putin's aggression, his attack on civil society, his disregard for international law, and his willingness to annex and expand Russia are very scary. Yes, relations between Russia and the West have not been frostier in quite some time. But this too has been a recurring issue since the Berlin Wall fell: Russian nationalists and the specter of "loose nukes" were quite real, and Russia's affinity for the Serbs in the conflicts following the collapse of the Yugoslavian Republic was a major factor in those conflicts. Moreover, Russia is also too integrated with the global economy these days: their oil reserves are important, and while Russia has often acted very arrogant as a result, they're actually very dependent on the economies of Europe for export.

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