The war in Ukraine marks, among other things, the end of the era of the unipolar world, which began in 1989 with the withdrawal of the USSR from Western Europe and ended in the 2020s with the economic leadership of the PRC and the "rebellion of the underestimated" - the Turkey, India, Brazil, England, Russian Federation, Afghanistan, Iran, Venezuela and other countries – which today are trying to independently determine their sovereignties. This era, proclaimed by Francis Fukuyama as the “end of history”, turned out to be not the crowning achievement of the political evolution of liberalism, but only a stage for the transition to a “new” (or perhaps return to the “old”) model of a multipolar but hierarchized world.

At the same time, the hopes of those that a new world order will be formed, in which “it will be as good as before”, even though the striped-star banners will change to red or white, are unlikely to come true.

For the China, the whole world is not a field for the realization of its ambitions, but only a space for the formation of security and profit. China is politically self-sufficient, culturally narcissistic and economically increasingly secure. And the United States, despite its remaining ambitions, no longer has enough resources, authority, support for its society, and, most importantly, ideas for rebuilding the world according to its patterns. For many, though, the new bipolarity seems like a good sanctuary for peace.

In Ukraine today, not only people are dying, but the very idea of ​​globalizing the old unipolar world through political, economic, informational, ecological or epidemic unification. Along with the new "Iron Curtain" between the Russian Federation and the Western World, the attributes, ethics and methods of communication of that world in the form of international organizations, written and unwritten rules, and communication models are falling.

At the same time, the degradation of the UN and the UN Security Council, which is increasingly reminiscent of the "League of Nations" in the interwar period, is of particular "concern". This “conflict prevention mechanism” developed after the Second World War not only does not prevent anything anymore, but has also declined to be a platform for negotiations, a mechanism for formalizing agreements. The UN is simply pushed aside in interstate relations, excluded from decision-making processes in large and small conflicts - the examples of Syria, Nagorno-Karabakh and Ukraine confirm this once again.

In such conditions, not only the well-being, but also the survival of states depends on internal stability and social consolidation, the presence of strong leadership (individual or collective type) and skillful diplomacy. A world without rules gives the smart and strong (stable) unlimited opportunities, and creates existential risks for the weak states.

At the same time, the key goals of states and peoples in this world are primarily internal - ensuring the socio-political solidarity of society and the high efficiency of public administration; and then the struggle for material resources of various types. The absence of permanent conditions, friends and enemies, a huge number of direct interstate contacts, growing raw material and environmental crises, the increasingly effective role of non-state players in interstate relations (TNCs, religious and public leaders, cybergroups, informational influential figures - influencers and structures) are the factors of a new world order.

Ukraine as an eclectic state and society, where the processes of archaism and postmodernity – the building of an ethnic nation and liberal renewal according to the Western model – simultaneously mixed and clashed; imperial and national consciousness; deindustrialization and the formation of a new socio-economic structure; the digital liberation of man and the new political autism; east and west ... just turned out to be one of the "thin places" on the global geopolitical fabric and is doomed to become an unwitting detonator of the formation of a new world order.


Ruslan Bortnyk, Director of the Ukrainian Institute of Politics, Master of Philosophy