In a way, the war in Ukraine is only a minor issue in international relations.
Of course, this war is horrible. It is one of the main causes of global inflation. It has caused alliances to solidify. And so on.
But this war also depends on the development of management teams in China, Russia and the United States. The evolution of politics in these three countries is uncertain. This uncertainty affects decisions regarding Ukraine.
War-provoking or pacifist China?
In China, Xi Jinping has to introduce the new ministers in his government these days. How far will he and his faction be able to impose their candidates? Will he succeed in confronting the horrific elements of war within his own army?
At the moment, Chinese newspapers publish a fairly pacifist view of Ukraine as in the rest of the world.
The more peaceful the tone, the lower the Chinese military ambitions in Taiwan, the more popular China, including Ukraine, will be.
On the contrary, China’s military militarism implies a tightening of alliances against it.
However, it seems that Russia cannot win the war in Ukraine without the military support from China. This support is far from clear, although trade between Russia and China has increased dramatically over the past year.
More and more difficult for Russia
The war is getting more difficult for Russia every day. Last Wednesday, the leader of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, again denounced the lack of supplies for his forces as well as the incompetence of Russian officials. He even dared to claim that hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers died in the conflict.
How long will the Russians be involved in this war that they can no longer win on their own?
And above all, how long will Vladimir Putin’s regime last, when will the time come to explain the defeat to the people? Who will replace him?
The emergence of a democratic and pro-European Russia in the coming years is not a matter of theory. This is a real possibility, and it is neither in favor of China nor the United States from a military point of view. But economically, everyone will win.
These Russian risks go beyond the war in Ukraine.
Towards an extreme US?
The United States faces what could be turbulent years. The Republican Party has become so extreme that the election of a Republican president like Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis threatens to alienate traditional US allies.
The global influence of the United States will diminish and the coalition supporting Ukraine will weaken.
Leaders everywhere need to consider these potential political developments in China, Russia, and the United States. In a way, the future decides the present.