Arindam Chaudhuri
[May, 2005]


Surveys amongst the people of Russia had been revealing for quite some time that the Russians feel that they were better off before the dismantling of the former USSR. The loss of global pride being perhaps the biggest loss. Finally Vladimir Putin too has come out in the open and regretted the breaking down of the former USSR. For the world it is indeed a landmark admission. Given the past might of USSR and its unparalleled role in protecting world peace in the bi-polar cold war era, for quite some time, one could realise Putin's growing discomfort with the current Russian status in world politics. However the realisation comes far too late and the process is irreversible i.e. the former USSR can't be revived.

At a similar time, leading thinkers across the world are also becoming more conclusive about the need for a balancing power in world politics today, to counter the complete one sided domination of the smoke 'em out variety being carried out by the US under the cowboy regime of George Bush. However, having seen the dangers of one nation dominating all others, this balancing equation that many in the civilized world are in search of can no more (and should no more) be provided by an individual nation in what can be called, a new world economic and military order.

A new order where every act (either in the name of globalisation or in the name of global peace) is being redefined and justified to suit the interest of one nation-the US. A new order where one man is allowed to go scot free after bombing multiple countries (Afghanistan & Iraq) by supplying false information to the rest of the world through its powers of media manipulation. A new order where one man is allowed to go ahead with his war plans time and again without the sanctions of the United Nations (which today looks like a defunct and powerless international body). A new order where some acts of terrorism are worse than other similar and often larger acts of terrorism... Some innocent lives are more innocent than others (belonging to poorer countries)... Some countries have a greater right to violate UN orders than others... some countries have a greater right of making nuclear weapons for their protection than others and in the name of world peace they also have a greater right of bombing other countries especially if they are not a part of the developed capitalist world. In this new (post USSR) world order, power is not flowing solely out of the barrel of the gun but getting more dependent on the economic might of a country. And in this new world order; Peace, civilized co-existence and fair-play can be assured only if the balancing opponents of the US have a combined economic might that is strong enough to rival that of the US.

European Union, the far more civilized face of the west, could have been an alternative specially with the strong Euro but their lack of comparable military might and historical bent towards the US specially with the NATO in place, rules them out. On the other hand Russia still holds the balance of military might and though, Putin might be feeling helpless about the dismantling of the USSR, in this globalized world of alliances, one often has to find solutions beyond boundaries. Russia by virtue of its past as well as present military might is destined to be the natural leader of this balancing alliance. Though by Gorbachev's own admission as well as CIA's documents USSR was already 40% of the American per capita income in terms of purchasing power parity in 1991; Over the years the breakdown of the USSR has made a huge dent in Russia's economic might. That is one of the main reasons why in spite of an urge to put a determined front against the US on many grounds, Putin mostly ends up bowing down.

If Putin is to bring back the lost pride of the Russians, through any alliance, India, its long standing ally, is its first hope. Despite Kofi Annan's recent vision-less thumbs down, a permanent seat in the security council backed up by a determined Russian lobby could be a final seal of acceptance of India's unquestionable arrival as a global power to reckon with. While militarily India is not necessarily at par but by virtue of its economic future and present growing global stature as the next big thing, India, certainly is not a country that can be ignored or isolated any more. On its own today India stands tall. Its culture and history are its biggest strengths. Gandhi its biggest global brand, signifying the most civilized and futuristic ideology of non-violence in an otherwise constantly warring world and the Non-Aligned Movement being its leading global initiative. It shows all potentiality to be an equal future partner in a joint front even with a country like Russia, specially as the more approachable, flexible and democratic front. Its weakness being that it is still more a land of future promise than current achievements. Unfortunately, economically, it still has about 25 years more to go before reaching any standard of global respectability.

On the other hand, another of India's and Russia's neighbours, China, despite the capitalist worlds propaganda that it has still about five years to go before catching up with the US, in reality has already surpassed the American GDP in terms of purchasing power parity. The Chinese of course know it, and admit it within closed doors, but find it more convenient to rather accept the global propaganda as they find the underdog status to their favour in the international markets. They are branded as the worlds largest dictatorship yet they have all the democratic FDI from US and its allies flowing in. They are completely non caring about all US dictates yet the US wants to have good terms with them. After all; While the internal markets become saturated for the American companies, they see mind boggling potential in the ever growing Chinese market thanks to China's commitment to removing poverty and its people oriented policies of giving purchasing power to the people at the bottom of the pyramid. China, therefore, is the balancing economic might that Putin could be looking forward to.

While China has been mending ties with India (facilitated by growing economic benefits), past ego problems, however, have kept it away from their most natural ideological ally i.e. Russia. Of course the Chinese had to pay for it. In the absence of any natural guarantee of protection from the USSR (like India and most of the developing countries had during the cold war era), China had to invest heavily on defense; Not only to counter the threats from the imperialistic capitalist forces led by the US but also the unfriendly USSR, which in turn ended up eating into their initial growth rate. But China has matured over the years and learnt to play by the rules of the global world. While protecting its internal governance it has intelligently shifted towards the market on the economic front; Which in turn has given it the huge economic might of today. It will only be a more mature step for the steadly liberating China to realise that it is perhaps time to forget the past and work more closely with Russia for a greater global cause.

A cause which could be called the CIVILIZING CAUSE. The coming together of three of the mightiest countries in the world with each of them holding the key to future global markets (mind you, the capitalists don't bomb their own markets). The more humane and socialistic orientation of all the three nations binding them together ideologically and the fact that they are neighbours binding them emotionally. Three nations with a common orientation towards peace and protecting it and with no past record of compulsive global aggression.

Unlike the US, all the three countries are also great civilisations with strong historical and cultural forces giving them distinct identities. They don't form the likes of another G8, they make the unique C3 : THE CIVILIZING THREE. The coming together of three nations to have a civilizing effect on the greed driven, constantly warring, empty heads; With Russia representing the military might, China the economic might and India the power which flows out of the civilizing ideology of non-violence. And together they can be the new balancing force in this unipolar world of aggression at will. And, yes, they can't be termed an axis of evil. No; Not even by evil himself. Will Putin, Jintao and Manmohan Singh be the first to take the big step towards this inevitable alliance of great civilizations?
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