In an article in India’s The Economic Times yesterday it was revealed that India and Russia are about to drop the dollar and SWIFT when it comes to their trade of military equipment. This comes as no surprise since the United States has been quite willing to use it’s financial dominance as way to put political pressure upon other states, such as Russia and India, over contrasting views of world affairs.
The United States is still by far the most important exporter of military equipment in the world, however other players, such as Russia, are beginning to catch up. There are several reasons for this. Russia has been able to close the technological gap that came in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, in certain fields Russia even has a technological edge today over it’s Western counterparts. But there are also political issues that makes Russian equipment appealing to other nations. To buy sophisticated military hardware is to put yourself in political dependency. One has to take into account the ability to purchase spare parts and upgrades.
One of NATO’s most important members, Turkey, has found itself in a situation of becoming non grata in Washington. Ankara and Washington has developed strained relations in later years due to several reasons. Recep Tayip Erdoğan’s increasingly authoritarian rule and severe clamp down after the failed coup attempt together with contrasting view over the Syrian issue and realignment with Moscow has led Washington to become unwilling to supply Turkey with for instance the F-35 even though Ankara has been a partner in the project.
The sanctions against Russia after the alleged meddling in the US Presidential Elections and Russia’s annexation of the Crimea and support for Russian separatists in the Donbass has taken it’s toll upon Russia’s ability to trade, hence a way to bypass the confines of standard financial systems is paramount to the Kremlin.
It has become evident in later years that the US is struggling to maintain it’s position as the the world’s hegemon, both in the military and financial fields. However with increasingly self assured nations like India, China and Russia this unipolar world order is being increasingly challenged.
In order to secure a more multipolar world order these nations now take steps to become less dependent upon Washington. These steps involve buying less US-made technology and trading in other currencies than the dollar. The all important oil trade is no exception as China now has launched it’s petroyuan.
What we now are witnessing is a shift in the world order for a second time after the Second World War. With the fall of the Soviet Union the US became the world’s sole super power. That position is now being challenged, not just by one opponent but several. Thus the world is becoming ever more complicated and the United States is not willing to see it’s position wither away without putting up a fight. The latter does not necessarily mean on the battlefield, today’s geopolitical arena is increasingly asymmetric and geopolitical dominance can be enforced by other means than just carrier strike groups.