By Andrew Korybko – Oct 8, 2022
The future of the Golden Billion’s soft power is already set in stone with respect to it continuing to rise within its “sphere of influence” while declining across the Global South. Russia’s will continue declining across the Golden Billion but its future across the Global South remains uncertain since it’ll largely depend on its response to this latest terrorist attack. A lackluster one could lose countless hearts and minds while a muscular response would retain them.
The Crimean Bridge terrorist attack, which video footage very strongly suggests was carried out by a suicide truck bomb, is poised to be a strategic game-changer as well as an inflection point for the soft power appeal of each side in the Ukrainian Conflict. The first was explained in the preceding hyperlink while the present piece will touch upon the second, building upon the insight from the earlier analysis noting how “’Western Values’ Now Include Celebrating Terrorist Attacks Against Civilian Infrastructure”.
The aforesaid drew attention to the counterproductive optics of Zelensky’s senior advisor Mikhail Podolyak and infamous Russiagate conspiracy theorist Adam Kinzinger praising this suicide truck bomb terrorist attack in spite of their side’s self-proclaimed opposition to terrorism in all its forms. This undeniable observation completely discredits the so-called “rules-based order” concept of the US-led West’s Golden Billion by exposing it as the pursuit of strategic objectives via Machiavellian means.
The masses inhabiting that bloc are mostly misled by incessant information warfare into either ignoring these blatant double standards or doing narrative backflips in an attempt to justify them. Those inhabiting the BRICS– and SCO-led Global South, meanwhile, have already been suspicious of this concept from the get-go and now have even more reason to outright reject it since this multipolar bloc is united by its societies’ principled opposition to terrorism, separatism, and extremism in all their forms.
Each bloc’s views about the legitimacy of Kiev’s cause will therefore further polarize in the coming future. As for Moscow’s, there’s no doubt that the Golden Billion will remain opposed to it no matter what, but the enormous support that this newly restored world power enjoys among the Global South could abruptly be offset depending on how it reacts to its NATO-backed but Ukrainian-fronted opponent’s latest terrorist attack in the US’ proxy war on Russia through that former Soviet Republic.
Moving in the direction of evolving the special operation into an anti-terrorist or other one, not to mention resorting to Russia’s own “shock-and-awe” campaign, would be sufficient for sustaining this goodwill. That’s because the latest terrorist attack included a crucial political component like all such attacks do, namely the intent to deal a heavy blow to Russia’s soft power by attacking civilian infrastructure associated with that civilization-state’s reunification with its historic lands.
Continuing to abide by the self-imposed military restrictions connected with the special operation, which are guided by envisaged humanitarian and post-conflict political objectives, would inevitably portray Russia as “weak” irrespective of its noble intentions and objective strength. That would be counterproductive for this Great Power’s long-term interests since it’s pivotal that Global South societies remain confident in Russia’s prospects for success in its ongoing struggle against the Golden Billion.
Losing faith in that scenario could lead to a chain reaction of pessimism that ultimately culminates in a crisis of confidence, thus putting enormous pressure on their governments to recalibrate their principled neutrality towards the Ukrainian Conflict. This bloc has thus far retained ties with Russia out of the expectation that there’ll at worst be a stalemate, which would in turn continue accelerating the global systemic transition to multipolarity. Beginning to think otherwise could lead to gradual policy changes.
Russia would therefore do well to keep these strategic considerations in mind since retaining hearts and minds across the Global South (especially among their decisionmakers) is arguably of similar importance to holding the ground that it liberates in Novorossiya. The Golden Billion’s information warfare against Russia hasn’t adversely affected the developing world’s opinion of that targeted state, let alone their pragmatic policies towards it, so the Kremlin shouldn’t let that deter it from responding very forcefully.
To the contrary, the Global South is clamoring to see a Russian version of “shock and awe”, even if only because that’s what they expected all along since the special operation began. Instead, they’ve been “teased” by this global revolutionary state proverbially fighting with one hand behind its back this entire time due to a combination of it underestimating its true NATO opponent as well as the priority that it gave to advancing its well-intended humanitarian and post-conflict political objectives.
In view of the insight shared in this analysis, the future of the Golden Billion’s soft power is already set in stone with respect to it continuing to rise within its “sphere of influence” while declining across the Global South. Russia’s will continue declining across the Golden Billion but its future across the Global South remains uncertain since it’ll largely depend on its response to this latest terrorist attack. A lackluster one could lose countless hearts and minds while a muscular response would retain them.
Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.