Korybko To Iranian Media: Eurasia Is Experiencing A Fundamental Transformation

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OneWorld is sharing the English-language version of the extended interview that Andrew Korybko gave to Iran’s Farhikhtegan about Eurasia’s fundamental geostrategic transformation in the New Cold War.

1. The US President Joe Biden has stated that one of the reasons for leaving Afghanistan was to “focus on facing the major challenges such as Russia and China.” Did the taking control of Kabul by the Taliban affect the withdrawal of the Americans, making it chaotic and planned to allow ISIS terrorists to carry out suicide operations? Can these events be considered a sign of America’s weakness? In Saigon, Vietnam, the city collapsed after the Americans left, but now they are in a Kabul controlled by an enemy who invaded Afghanistan 20 years ago to destroy it. Why or how did America get to this point?

The US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) were divided on the decision over whether US President Biden should remain committed to his predecessor’s withdrawal plan or continue to remain in Afghanistan indefinitely. Those who wanted to leave in order to focus more on conventional so-called “Great Power competition” won out over those who wanted to remain in an attempt to provoke regional Hybrid Wars from their geostrategically positioned Afghan base. The reason why they went through with the withdrawal plan was because the other faction failed to produce any tangible results after the summer 2010 proto-”Arab Spring” in Central Asia failed, Iran defended itself from Afghan-emanating terrorist threats, and Pakistan was finally able to restore the state’s writ along the Afghan border.

The Taliban’s takeover of Kabul didn’t affect the timeline of the US’ withdrawal despite the losing “deep state” faction desperately pleading for Biden to extend it in a last-ditch attempt to push through their failed agenda. Nevertheless, the chaos created by the Ghani Government’s surprise flight from the country facilitated ISIS-K’s subsequent terrorist attack at the Kabul Airport. Even that, however, wasn’t enough to convince Biden to remain in Afghanistan. The dynamics had already decisively shifted against the US once the Afghan National Army (ANA) surrendered en masse to the Taliban due to the combination of its members’ lack of morale and sympathy for the group. It would have been militarily impossible to reverse those gains without significant costs and losses that the “deep state’s” winning faction calculated to be unacceptable.

America got to this humiliating point because of its human intelligence failures. The Taliban carried out most of their communications through trusted couriers instead of relying on digital means that could have been easily intercepted by the National Security Agency (NSA). The US’ influential military-industrial complex also saw this so-called “forever war” as a bonanza and didn’t want it to end after taxpayers spent over $2 trillion across the past two decades to keep it going. Those politicians connected to this complex as well as neoconservative ideologues who were obsessed with former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski’s scheme to divide and rule what he called the “Eurasian Balkans” through Hybrid War means had no intention to stop the war either. Despite clear signs that they were losing this entire time, they still remained committed to it.

The Achilles’ heel was that they didn’t realize just how genuinely popular the Taliban was becoming among the 75% of Afghans who live in rural areas. This majority of the population also weren’t tech savvy so they didn’t communicate their sentiments through digital means, not that many could have even afforded the cell phones and computers to do so if they wanted. The 25% urban minority was comparatively more sympathetic to the occupying forces and openly expressed such sentiments, which misled the international coalition into thinking that the Taliban wasn’t as well-liked as it truly was. The reason why so many people began to support the Taliban is that it was able to successfully present itself as the so-called “lesser evil” by fighting corruption, establishing law and order, and not killing as many civilians as the US and Kabul did during strikes and raids.

The secretly growing sympathy among many Afghans for the Taliban resulted in so-called “sleeper cells” infiltrating the ANA and other Afghan institutions. They might not have been actual Taliban members but they weren’t going to fight the group once the international coalition withdrew. These people would rather have surrendered to their fellow countrymen and attempted to work within its structures than fight in vain against them and ultimately die for nothing. This explains why the approximately 300,000 government forces mostly surrendered without a fight during the final month of the war. The Taliban simply won more hearts and minds over the past years than the US and its Kabul allies did. This fact, however, escaped the notice of most observers and especially the US “deep state” due to the human intelligence failures that were just discussed.

2. Many, based on Henry Kissinger’s view, believe that by leaving Afghanistan, the United States intends to involve its neighbors and Russia in Afghanistan’s insecurity. For Iran, China and Russia, insecurity and the spread of violence and extremism are as threatening as insecurity in Afghanistan. How dangerous will this security vacuum be for our neighbors and Russia?

The Taliban never had any foreign expansionist plans so there’s no threat of them invading their neighbors. They also committed to preventing any foreign group from recruiting Afghans or using the country’s territory to fight against any third party. The Taliban can therefore be considered as a security asset by all of its regional stakeholders. The greatest threats that could come from the country are ISIS-K and other terrorist groups like the TPP threatening the neighboring countries. There’s also the risk of large-scale refugee flows flooding into their territory if Afghanistan’s impending humanitarian crisis comes to pass like many fear.

As for Kissingerian strategies, the US might have thought that an added benefit to leaving Afghanistan in order to focus more on conventional “Great Power competition” could have been the creation of this same security vacuum that could destabilize the neighboring countries, but that’s unlikely to have been the primary motivation behind its decision to withdraw as was explained in the first answer above. These unconventional threats are mostly manageable though the humanitarian one will require enormous financial costs and coordinated efforts that are extremely challenging to pull off in practice.

The principle problem is that the regional stakeholders want the Taliban to fulfill its promises of ethno-political inclusiveness in its government, yet the group only appointed fellow members and mostly ethnic Pashtuns at that. They said that this was to prioritize stability during this sensitive moment in Afghanistan’s history and that more appointments will be forthcoming which might meet those countries’ expectations, though some observers aren’t so sure about that. The regional countries would ideally like to extend more aid to Afghanistan as a “reward” for the Taliban fulfilling its promises instead of giving it to them without that happening.

Having said that, they also aren’t holding this aid hostage either and have already pledged to provide some support to the country during the interim. Pakistan, China, and Russia appreciate the Taliban’s pledge to fight against ISIS-K, which they all consider to be the greatest regional security threat. They fear the sudden weakening of the Taliban’s de facto rule as a result of Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis worsening since this could create space for that terrorist group to grow. There are also obvious humanitarian considerations too, but from the perspective of security, staving off that crisis is their top priority at the moment.

Although some differences exist between the regional stakeholders, they’re all on the same page when it comes to seeing a stable Afghanistan. None of them are interested in undermining the Taliban for self-interested political reasons since this would worsen the security situation for both themselves and their partners. The SCO provides a useful platform for coordinating their efforts and resolving any serious differences between them should they arise. For that reason, the Kissingerian strategy theory isn’t all that relevant for explaining recent events in Afghanistan even if the US hoped that it could be a so-called “parting gift” to worsen regional security.

3. China may have played a small role in weakening the U.S. and its hegemony, but it has nevertheless been the centerpiece of the country’s quarrel and hostility. Is the main reason for focusing on China the country’s rapid growth, or is Beijing making other moves to undermine U.S. hegemony? If China’s growth is a problem, should we assume the possibility that this scenario will happen to India or Europe one day?

China’s growth in and of itself doesn’t threaten US interests, it’s the fact that the People’s Republic refuses to compromise on its sovereign interests in the face of American demands. These include first and foremost its internal affairs with respect to the primacy of the Communist Party of China (CPC) over all matters of society as well as the status of the Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region, the South China Sea’s nine-dash line, Taiwan, and Xinjiang as integral parts of the country. China also refused to subordinate itself to the US’ so-called “rules-based order”, which is a euphemism for the unipolar hegemonic system where the US makes and breaks its own rules as needed in order to uphold its leading position over all others.

China learned how to succeed within the international system enshrined by the UN Charter, thus setting a leading example for other countries to follow. Just as importantly, the People’s Republic began extending no-strings-attached loans to fellow Global South nations in order to provide an alternative for them to strings-attached Western loans provided by the US and the top two global financial institutions under its influence, the IMF and World Bank. Its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) aims to create a global system of complex economic interdependence which reduces the risk of any single chain in this link acting unilaterally at the expense of others since they too would suffer from the consequences. China calls this the Community of Common Destiny.

The US cannot continue to lead the world in such a system since its modus operandi is to divide and rule everyone else exactly as the British once did. America doesn’t want to be “just another country” or a “normal member” of the international community. Its ideology of American Exceptionalism preaches that it has a special role in human history. This idea influences the members of its “deep state” and is also reflected by the country’s political representatives. China’s strategic independence, which is the result of the CPC’s visionary leadership and excellent management of the economy as well as foreign policy, is what strikes fear in the hearts of American policymakers. They know that China will gradually erode American hegemony if it isn’t stopped.

Had the CPC betrayed the country by surrendering its sovereign interests to America’s “rules-based order” like some other countries’ ruling parties have done in the past, then China would have been allowed to continue growing but only within certain limits. With time, the US would then have intensified its Hybrid War on that country by replicating the Syrian scenario in Xinjiang and a more effective EuroMaidan one in Hong Kong prior to unleashing it across countless other Chinese cities. China would have been “Balkanized” because the “deep state” would have always feared that another patriotic force might return to power to help the country rise from its knees exactly as what happened to Russia with President Putin.

It should be remembered that even when Russia surrendered its sovereign interests to the US, America didn’t stop its Hybrid War on that country. Rather, it simply accelerated it to the point where it wanted to “Balkanize” the Eurasian Great Power beginning in Chechnya and then spreading throughout the rest of its vast territory. It was only due to those patriotic forces still remaining within Russia’s own “deep state” that the country was saved after they convinced former President Yeltsin to appoint Putin as his successor prior to the latter’s election by the Russian people shortly thereafter. The US expected that something of the sort would might also happen in China even if the latter surrendered to it, hence why it has to be preemptively “Balkanized”.

To recap everything, not only are China’s policies independent of the US, but they also aim to empower the Global South by replacing Western predatory financial practices with mutually beneficial ones which deliver tangible results to those countries’ people with time by sustainably improving their living conditions. China can attempt this ambitious strategy because it has the excess capital available to do so as a result of its decades-long growth. Since the CPC won’t surrender to the US, it has to be destabilized from within through multifaceted Hybrid War means including via the trade war in order to “Balkanize” China as the so-called “nuclear option” for forever preventing it from threatening America’s unipolar hegemony ever again.

4. Francis Fukuyama recently described in an article “America’s longstanding roots of weakness and decline” as “more domestic” than “international.” Despite realizing this weakness, America seems to be trying to solve the problem with international issues. The development of tensions with China or Russia can be cited as an example. Can Washington address this internal weakness or think of postponing it to “international cooperation”, especially with China? We know that America will not go this way. Should we consider the current behavior of the United States a necessity or should it be interpreted as a result of Washington’s inability to resolve domestic issues? In other words, is the US government trying to reduce its decline or weakness by restraining other countries due to its inability to solve domestic problems?

The strategic situation isn’t either-or: the US is both struggling to resolve its internal weaknesses while simultaneously seeking to “contain” China and Russia through various provocations against them. These policies proceed independently of one another even though there are certain connections. To begin with its internal challenges, the primary one is economic since even the stock market’s rapid rise hasn’t succeeded in sustainably improving the lives of average Americans. The country’s economic system is ephemeral due to its disproportionate dependence on finance at the expense of commerce and manufacturing. Trump sought to change that through the domestic economic dimension of his “Make America Great Again” strategy, hence the trade war with China, which segues the answer into the international dimension.

Recalling what was shared in the answer to the prior question about China’s geo-economic strategy, there was no way for the US to reclaim its prior commercial and manufacturing role in the global economy without reducing China’s. Specifically, Trump hoped to incentivize American companies to “reshore” back to their homeland after leaving for the People’s Republic years prior due to the benefits afforded to them by the globalization model at that time. Although Biden and his backers criticized this policy, they’ve nevertheless largely left it in place for the reason that it’s sensible from the perspective that was just discussed. That doesn’t mean that it’ll be successful, but its intended zero-sum aims are attractive to “deep state” policymakers. They also believe that they can destabilize the Chinese economy by proxy through Hybrid Wars in third countries.

According to their thinking, China can be increasingly cut off from the global trade upon which its economy is disproportionately dependent, which could in turn generate social tensions within the country that might then be exploited for Color Revolution ends with time. The geo-economic consequences of the world’s uncoordinated attempts to contain COVID-19 transformed the strategic situation and influenced China to accelerate its plans for the new development paradigm of dual circulation that it unveiled last year. This was presumably already being considered prior to the pandemic but became a more urgent strategic necessity in light of the shock that the virus had on global supply chains and the like. Dual circulation simply says that China will prioritize both its domestic economy as well as international trade, aiming to balance both equally.

It’s a pragmatic response to the trade war, the anti-BRI dimension of the US’ Hybrid War on China, as well as COVID-19. It reduces China’s dependence on foreign trade while avoiding the pitfall of so-called “economic nationalism” which is practically impossible to perfectly achieve nowadays in practice considering the irreversible nature of some globalization trends from the past few decades. The economic aspect of the New Cold War explains why Biden is pushing his “Build Back Better World” (B3W) agenda that he believes can serve as a counterbalance to BRI across the Global South. Again, this probably won’t succeed, but it’s being advanced because the American economy cannot sustain itself like before without serious international structural changes, particularly the gradual reduction of China’s global economic role via these proxy war means.

When it comes to Russia, however, the domestic dimension to the tensions that the US is provoking against it are very different. They’re mostly driven by the ideological obsessions of those influential neoconservatives within its “deep state”. Objectively speaking, Russia poses no global systemic challenge to the US, let alone like China does. It lacks the financial means to shape the globalization system. The only threat that it could realistically pose is ideological in the sense that it opposes the radical liberal-globalist domestic agenda being pushed upon the world’s people by the West, which aims to erase their traditional identities and turn them into an amorphous blob that’s much easier for their elites to control. Russia’s principled and highly publicized resistance to this agenda has won it hearts and minds in the West, which makes their elite nervous.

The Eurasian Great Power is no longer the exclusive torchbearer of conservative-nationalist social models though since China has recently embarked on an ambitious series of domestic reforms aimed at counteracting such pernicious liberal-globalist influences within its society. Nevertheless, given the comparative civilizational similarities between Russia and the West in contrast to such dissimilarities between China and the West, Moscow’s model remains more naturally appealing to segments of the Western public. Those countries’ elite fear that the members of their population who are might be inspired by the Russian model to actively oppose

the erasure of their traditional cultures could either take power in their countries through democratic means or perhaps even their own Color Revolutions one day, thereby threatening their globalist ideological project.

It’s for that reason why Russia is so demonized. It’s not because of geopolitics, but ideology, though the West won’t openly acknowledge this because that would mean recognizing that a potentially attractive Russian ideological model exists. Instead, all that they do is claim that Russia is a so-called “dictatorship” that supposedly has no natural appeal to anyone, hence why Putin supposedly rules over his people with an “iron fist” against their will even though that’s not the case at all. Considering this, China and Russia are regarded by the US “deep state” as posing different sorts of threats. The first is economic which in turn could erode the foundation of the US’ unipolar hegemony abroad while the second is ideological and could influence events more directly within its own borders. These fears drive the “deep state’s” New Cold War against them both.

5. In your opinion, can an invasion of the South China Sea allay U.S. concerns against China? Basically, are these actions part of a puzzle designed bring the world to the brink of a great war, or are they only pulses to China that could worsen if not restrained?

The US is flirting with provoking a hot war against China, whether directly on its own or via its network of proxies ranging from Taiwan to AUKUS and the Quad countries. This is a dangerous attempt to pressure the People’s Republic into compromising on some of its sovereign interests. The South China Sea is integral to the continued survival of the Chinese economy since the vast majority of its trade transits through this waterway, but Beijing is also diversifying its trade routes in order to reduce its dependence on this body of water. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is BRI’s flagship project and envisions directly connecting the People’s Republic to the Indian Ocean instead of having to transit through the increasingly militarized South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca chokepoint.

There’s also the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) for achieving this same sort of access through that Southeast Asian country, but it’s much less developed than CPEC and is practically held hostage to the ongoing civil war in that country that intensified following the dramatic events of earlier this year. Other workarounds include the Middle Corridor through Central Asia, the Caspian Sea, the South Caucasus, and Turkey as well as the Eurasian Land Bridge across Kazakhstan and Russia. There’s also the Polar Silk Road through the Arctic that Russia calls the Northern Sea Route. These BRI corridors are meant to eventually diversify the Chinese economy’s dependence on the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca, though they’ll never fully replace it since those traditional routes are still cost-effective and convenient despite the growing strategic risks.

It’s difficult to predict whether a hot war will break out, be it by design or miscalculation. The situation is surely becoming much more dangerous though as more actors concentrate their forces in the South China Sea. China is attempting to relieve the pressure upon it through diplomatic and economic means by pragmatically engaging with shared stakeholders, though there’s only so much that it can do in this respect. The regional territorial disputes are difficult to resolve even with the best of relations, to say nothing of the influence that American has in encouraging its partners to remain recalcitrant and refuse to compromise with China. The situation is very dangerous and there are credible fears of a war by miscalculation, though hopefully a breakthrough can be achieved for at the very least responsibly regulating all sides’ intense competition there.

6. The question is more important than the ability to navigate into the South China Sea and the tensions with Russia, it’s either fate or its end. How do you think America’s competitors will deal with these designs? In the battle for China’s security, which side has a better chance of success?

The American military has no parallel in human history, it’s literally the strongest force that has ever existed, but this doesn’t mean that it’ll ever put its full capabilities to use considering the costs involved with waging an all-out war against another nuclear power. The only thing holding it back is political considerations and its own ineffectiveness at times due to its decision-making processes, corruption, and occasional lack of focus. There doesn’t seem to be any serious desire among the “deep state’s” members to risk a likely apocalyptic nuclear war even though they sometimes dangerously engage in brinksmanship which could result in that unintended consequence. For this reason, the competition between the US and China isn’t likely to result in any intentional war, but even if it does, such a conflagration might be short-lived and militarily limited unless one of the sides gets desperate enough to escalate everything even further.

Ruling out the likelihood of a US-Chinese war, it’s much more possible that America will provoke a conflict between one of its proxies and China. Last year’s clashes between India and China can be described as an attempt to advance that scenario, though thankfully they too remained limited, largely due to the nuclear factor since both Asian states have such weapons. It can’t be discounted that something similar might one day happen in the South China Sea, after which the US could rush to its proxy’s rescue by threatening an escalation unless China backs down. That would be a very risky scenario but one which might still be acceptable to members of its “deep state”, though of course a lot will depend on the balance of forces at that time and other factors that are difficult to assess from public sources. Even so, it still remains a possibility that should be considered.

The non-kinetic (non-military) domain is where the most intense competition will likely take place, and it’s here where the odds factor China. The People’s Republic has technological dominance over the US, which is why America fears Huawei and other companies so much and has done its utmost to pressure its partners into cutting off their cooperation with them, though to little avail. The Chinese economy is also more open than the American one and Beijing continues to invest in tangible projects across the Global South which have won it many hearts and minds. The US therefore cannot technologically or economically compete with China on a level playing field, which is why it initiated its trade war in the first place and is likely to wage Hybrid Wars against its global competitor’s economic interests. This will likely see it fomenting Color Revolutions against Chinese-friendly governments that play key roles in BRI, all with the intent of replacing such projects with the B3W.

The New Cold War will therefore be waged through military, intelligence, informational, economic, and political means. The first relates to the conventional competition described at the beginning of this answer, while the second and third are relevant when it comes to orchestrating Hybrid Wars against Chinese-friendly governments. Intelligence and economic means can also be used to incentivize certain governments to switch sides and abandon BRI in favor of the B3W such as by blackmailing their leaders or buying them off. Sanctions can also be employed to pressure such governments to that end too, as well as to worsen the living standards for their people with the intent of making them more susceptible to the intelligence and informational means for provoking Color Revolutions and Syrian-like Unconventional Wars. The US has plenty of experience waging these sorts of conflicts while the resilience of China’s partners hasn’t really been tested all that much. As for political means, these refer to NGO networks, proxy candidates, and the overall regime change sequence.

Nevertheless, it’s here where Russia can play a game-changing role. It’s presently perfecting the art of “Democratic Security”, which refers to counter-Hybrid War tactics and strategies. These cover the spectrum of military, intelligence, information, economic, and political means described above, albeit from the opposite angle. For instance, Russian private military contractors are reported to have helped certain Global South governments counter Unconventional Warfare threats. Proper intelligence support can help detect and root out Color Revolution cells before they become active. Informational means can counteract Color Revolution propaganda, while limited economic support can keep struggling governments afloat to buy a little more time for the prior means to succeed. The cumulative effect of these methods is to bolster the political stability of the country contracting Russia’s relevant services. China and its BRI partners might increasingly come to rely on Russia’s bespoke “Democratic Security” solutions in exchange for preferential economic deals in those countries for its companies.

Considering this, the outcome of the New Cold War will likely depend to a great extent on whether the US can successfully counter BRI across the Global South through Hybrid War means. The trade war resulted in a limited “decoupling” between China and the West but it wasn’t the crippling blow to the Chinese economy that the US “deep state” expected it to be. The steady post-COVID revitalization of globalization processes has helped China greatly recover while its new development paradigm of dual circulation has helped it hedge its economic stability from unexpected turbulence abroad beyond its control. Everything could be thrown into uncertainty though if a war by (likely) miscalculation breaks out between China and its neighbors, let alone with the US, but barring that, everything is expected to generally proceed according to the dynamics described in this answer.

7. Let us look at this from both perspectives. If the United States fails to contain China, should we expect the emergence of a multipolar of the world order? If so, what will the world be like after the formation of this order? Will this order empower nationalism? To what extent are democratic principles “valued” in such an order? Is the world a safer place to live in a multipolar order, or in the current order despite America’s decline?

Change is the only constant in life, though it’s difficult to predict with confidence exactly what will change and when. All that can be assessed at the moment is that the world order is experiencing a profound transformation due to the ongoing New Cold War between China and the US as well as the full-spectrum paradigm-changing processes catalyzed by the international community’s uncoordinated attempts to contain COVID-19 (“World War C”). Unipolarity is no more and hasn’t been in full force for a while already, though the US is still the most powerful country in the international system. China is its top challenger while comparaively less powerful poles have risen as well such as Russia, the EU, Iran, Turkey, India, and Japan.

Sanjaya Baru is an Indian academic who used to serve as a former adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and his concept of bi-multipolarity that he described in an article last year for India’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) most accurately reflects the current state of affairs. It states that China and the US are the world’s most dominant forces, below which are a plurality of poles such as the ones that were just described. This latter set of countries will balance with and against one another as well as with and against the two dominant powers in order to advance their own interests. This can in turn can serve to constrain Chinese and/or US influence depending on the configurations involved and their overall impact on shaping events.

While some solid alliances like AUKUS are forming, most relationships will likely be interests-driven, less institutionlized, and thus not as long-lived. This will contribute to greater uncertainty in International Relations, but it might also almost counterintuitively have a stabilizing effect as well depending on the arrangements at any given time. This system of bi-multipolarity doesn’t predetermine anything about how those players will manage their internal affairs. The American-led camp will likely stick to their political notion of liberal-democracy (irrespective of whether it’s truly liberal or democratic in practice) and continue their social trends of liberal-globalism (pro-LGBT, erasing traditional identities, etc.) while others might be more conservative.

Information-communication technologies (ICT) and the degree of control that the state exerts over their various platforms like social media will powerfully influence the shaping of relevant domestic and international trends. It’s for this reason why governments are involving themselves more in this domain. On the one hand, it serves as an effective form of “Democratic Security” against Hybrid War threats, while on the other, it can also be weaponized to wage Hybrid Wars against opponents. The end effect though is that the content that users come across might be limited or at least labeled as being connected with a foreign power like how US social media labels Chinese, Russian, and other countries’ media despite not attaching such labels to Western ones.

Some countries like those in the Global South might increasingly cut off access to certain social media platforms if they’re used to organize Color Revolutions like has happened before during times of crisis. These same states might then either encourage their citizens to migrate to “politically reliable” platforms hosted by their government’s partners or invest in creating their own, though the proliferation of VPNs and these alternatives’ possible lack of appeal might limit this policy’s effectiveness. In any case, the point is that social media will continue to play an immense role in influencing social trends, as will governments’ varying degrees of control over its many platforms.

To the question of which world order is safer to live in, that’s a personal question for each person to answer in view of their individual interests. One might attempt to convince others that this or that system is better for them, but it’s ultimately up to them to make that determination themselves. Those who are sincere, however, will warn others that the future will likely remain very uncertain for an indefinite length of time, potentially being characterized by sudden shocks to the international system until a new order definitively comes into being. Even then, if it remains the bi-multipolar one that was mentioned earlier, then certain countries might experience more shocks than others depending on the changing international configurations.

In any case, it’s unlikely that the New Cold War between China and the US will end anytime soon unless something very dramatic happens that can’t be accurately predicted at this time. Nor will the so-called “COVID World Order” end either, perhaps never, since some of the socio-political and economic changes over the past year and a half are irreversible in most countries by this point, especially those whose elite have exploited them in pursuit of their own ideological and other interests. The people who are most likely to succeed in the future are those with flexible professional skills, the ambition to chase opportunities as they arise after doing reasonable cost-benefit calculations, and a solid family support network to fall back on just in case they need it.

The interview was originally published in Farsi here

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