History | Geography

Russia claims major victory in Ukraine

Is the war creating a new world order? Germany’s leader believes that the brutal invasion launched in February by Vladimir Putin has shaken the world out of its complacency. On 21 February, Vladimir Putin shocked the world. He declared that he would recognise the independence of two breakaway states in the east of Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk. Yesterday morning, after months of bloody, grinding war, he captured Lysychansk, the last major city of Luhansk. Ukraine has sworn to recapture Luhansk using long-range weaponry. But its defiance cannot mask the fact that Russia has scored a significant victory in its campaign to weaken and divide its smaller neighbour. Western countries now have to face the fact that there is little they can do to stop their rival to the east. That is why some think the war marks the beginning of a new international order, one split between vast rival blocs. After the Cold War, every country in the world seemed to be moving towards free markets and a democratic system of government. Even Russia opened its economy and began electing its leaders. Many in the West believed things could only get better. They thought the whole world would end up with the same ideas, and this would lead to lasting peace. That dream lasted for thirty years. Now it has been shattered. Russia is once again building up a sphere of influence in eastern Europe. Relations with China are worsening as well. Some fear China may draw the lesson from the Ukraine war that the West is unable to prevent acts of aggression. That could be the incentive it needs to invade Taiwan. Meanwhile, the USA looks less and less capable of fulfilling its traditional leadership role in the West. Bitter political struggles have left its political system unstable. The result could be a new world order characterised by rivalry between a declining USA and a rising China. Is the war creating a new world order? Hotting up Yes: The war is the greatest ever challenge to Western hegemonyThe dominance of one social group or state over others.. It is now clear to other nations that we are in a multipolar world, and they will begin to act accordingly. No: Russia is attacking Ukraine out of weakness, not strength. And China has no interest in world domination; unlike the USA and the USSR, it is not seeking to export its political or economic model. Or… There never was an era of stability after the Cold War. There have been wars in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East. Nations have always sought to dominate each other, and that has not changed.   KeywordsHegemony - The dominance of one social group or state over others.

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