Could the United States Lose Its Financial Superpower Status as a Result of the Russo-Ukrainian Conflict?

French historian and anthropologist Emmanuel Todd believes that the Russo-Ukrainian conflict could put the United State’s financial status at risk. In an interview with French media outlet Le Figaro, he cited an analyst offered by University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer, who contended that this conflict was “existential” for Russia. On the other hand, for the US, the Russo-Ukrainian conflict is just another geopolitical struggle that it could exploit to its heart content. In reality, this conflict would be of little importance to the US. 

“But this analysis is insufficient. [U.S. President Joe] Biden now has to hurry. America is fragile and the Russian economy’s resistance is pushing the US imperial system towards the abyss. Nobody had expected the Russian economy would be able to withstand the ‘economic power’ of NATO,” Todd stated.

Todd believes that the United States is in a state of long-term decline and now that its power is diminishing on the world stage, the US has opted to cement its hold over its “original protectorates” in Europe and Japan. The US incorporated these regions into its influence network after World War II.

However, with Europe’s economy imploding and the emerging geopolitical multipolarity, the US’s vaunted position as an economic hegemon could be under threat.

“If the Russian economy offers long-term resistance to sanctions and manages to bleed the European economy white and manages to survive with Chinese support, US monetary control of the world will collapse, and with it, the US’ ability to finance its mammoth trade deficit for next to nothing. This war has become existential for the United States. It cannot get out of the conflict before Russia. They cannot let go. This explains why we are now in an open-ended war, in a confrontation that is bound to result in the collapse of one side or the other,” Todd stated.

Todd stated that the Russo-Ukrainian conflict “leads to a real economy that allows for gauging the real wealth of states and their productive capacity.” The economist cited a two-fold increase in Russia’s wheat production following the first round of sanctions enacted in 2014 in the aftermath of the Euromaidan Revolution, in addition to Russia’s premier position as a builder of civilian nuclear power both at home and abroad as factors demonstrating Russia’s economic resilience in the face of Western sanctions. 

Todd asserted that the conflict’s outcome “will depend on the ability of both systems to produce weapons.” The historian called attention to how the war of attrition that Russia is prosecuting is degrading the power of advanced US military equipment that Ukrainian forces are using. “At this point the West’s fundamental problem of globalization begins to intervene: we have moved so many industries [from our territory] that we don’t know now whether our military plants will be able to maintain the desired production pace,” he continued.

In addition, Todd referred to the “ideological and cultural balance of power” that’s at stake in this conflict. He noted how during the Cold War, the Soviet Union used Communist ideology as a form of soft power to woo China, while making inroads in India and Europe. However, Communism failed to make significant progress in the Muslim world, owing to the ideology’s official atheism. However, Russia appears to have more appeal abroad these days. “Today, Russia, which is again positioning itself as a great power, not only anti-colonial, but also patrilineal and conservative in relation to traditional mores, can attract far greater support,” he highlighted.

“Western newspapers are tragically funny: they keep saying: ‘Russia is isolated. Russia is isolated.’ But when you take a look at the votes at the UN, it will turn out that 75% of the world does not follow the West, which at such moments looks very small,” Todd said in reference to the Collective West’s failure to fully isolate Russia on the world stage. “The current conflict, which our media tend to describe as a clash of political values, at a deeper level is a conflict of anthropological values. It is this lack of awareness and depth that makes the confrontation dangerous.”

“The reality is that World War III has already begun. It is obvious that the conflict, initially a limited territorial war, has evolved into a global economic confrontation between the entire West, on the one hand, and Russia, supported by China, on the other, to have become a world war,” Todd said with regards to the global implications of the Russo-Ukrainian war. Nevertheless, Todd believes this conflict will end within the next 5 years. 

He speculates that given current economic and demographic factors, the hostilities should be expected to end within five years.

Todd is of the view that European countries are co-belligerents in this conflict in how they are supplying arms to Ukraine that end up “killing Russians.” While this is a proxy conflict that has not seen US or European military forces directly enter the country, Western countries are still feeling the impact of the conflict “through inflation and shortages of various goods.” 

Indeed, this conflict is regrettable but Western policymakers can expedite its end by cutting off military aid and trying to bring Russia and Ukraine to the negotiating table. Letting this conflict continue will only lead to further death and destruction, and a potential nuclear conflagration. Not a good look for the West, which claims to promote global peace. It’s time for a different course of action.

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