The international system has been in an acute "state of decay" for a long time. While this state of decay develops gradually, it has become more visible in recent years.

The interesting thing is that there is a deterioration not only in economic or ideological terms but also in "military superiority." Russia's patriotic narrative of a victorious war, as well as its approach to its regional 'territorial' remnant, confirm this.

The fact that Russia has been caught in a "global current" that has emerged in the context of "anti-Western" and has brought it closer to China, as well as the fact that it has adopted a revisionist attitude, indicates a tectonic movement in the international system.

Russia's recognition of the "Donetsk People's Republic (DPR)" and "Lugansk People's Republic (LPR)", which declared their independence in the Donbas region of Ukraine, shows that this tectonic movement may deepen.


Declaration of the hybrid cold war

Putin, in a sense, declared the start of the 'hybrid cold war' in his historic speech in which he announced the aforementioned act of recognition.

The first fault in the seismic period broke over Putin's historical manifesto. Because of the nature of the global interregnum, the 'non-hegemon' (interregnum) period is likely to generate more poles and conflicts.

Putin's speech could also be interpreted as a declaration of resurgent Russian geopolitics on its old foundation. Geopolitics in this era is more revisionist and fluid. He also has a strong nationalist bent and a preference for Asia. It does, however, have a complex war narrative with a "hybrid character."

From a regional standpoint, Russia has already taken a more aggressive and revisionist path since 2014, but the global rapprochement with China, as well as Russia's increased activity in regions such as the Middle East and Africa, show that it has progressed from a reactive to a proactive process.

The "inaction of the West" against Russia, which employs a hybrid and asymmetrical war narrative, catches the eye. Although the Western side has stated that Putin's actions, led by Biden, Macron, and Scholz, "will not go unanswered," there has been a significant slowness.

When he said that a 'quick and serious' response was required, Blinken appeared to be reproachful. Then Blinken declared that Russia the greatest threat to Europe since WWII.

USA and Europe not synchronous on issues about Russia or China. Putin, in particular, has put this to the test numerous times throughout the process. The West has no viable option other than economic sanctions. Sanctions are ineffective as a deterrent.

The world has tired of Biden's and his colleagues' constant and inefective tirades. This situation results in a state of chronic inaction.

As with the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the United States is in a state of 'non-strategy.'

The panic in the Afghanistan incident became a topic of discussion in the American media later on. There appears to be a similar panic right now. This is how things become tangled in the absence of a comprehensive strategy and doctrine.


Western inaction and China's stance

Apart from announcing some "ineffective" sanctions and sending (800) US troops to the Baltic states, Biden has said nothing noteworthy in his most recent speech on the Ukraine issue. He weakened the impact of his statement even further by saying, "We have no intention of fighting with Russia."

By the way, there is another aspect of the problem that is focused on China. In the international press, the Taiwan and Ukraine issues are sometimes compared. As a result, China is expected to issue a comprehensive statement on the Ukraine crisis.

So far, it has been content to call for adherence to previous Minsk agreements between Russia and Ukraine. China has good relations with Ukraine as well, but it is doubtful that it will sacrifice Russia for this. I suppose he will find a balanced solution.

China reiterated its position that any country's legitimate security concerns must be respected and that UN principles must be followed, but urges all parties to be restraint. He also opposed imposing unilateral sanctions on Russia, arguing that the country's dispute with Ukraine should be resolved through dialogue and consultation.

If the United States and NATO do not respond favorably to Putin's decision to recognize Donetsk and Luhansk, China will undoubtedly have expectations regarding Taiwan.However, Taiwan and Ukraine are not similar examples.

However, the West's 'inaction' will inevitably leave room for manoeuvring. The Chinese leadership is most likely pondering the most logical response. There are two options: a full support for Russia or support international rules.

It's worth stating again that Taiwan isn't all that similar to Ukraine. China will undoubtedly welcome this inaction, but it will prefer a long-term attrition strategy over an immediate deterioration of the status quo.

Even though China's relations with Russia are becoming more intense, it supports a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis. Recent statements back this up. While Beijing is having issues with the West and its economy is slowing, it does not see the Russia-Ukraine conflict as beneficial.


'Limited action, unlimited glory': Russia's 'war narrative' and hybrid character

The world is entering a critical period as a result of the virus epidemic and the economic downturn. However, there is a distinction between now and then. We are living in an era in which "limited actions are aimed at unlimited victories." Rather than a war to end all wars, it appears that there will be a period in which regional conflicts will increase.

We appear to have arrived in a pre-World War II era. There are some historical parallels. Land demands, revisionist movements, and so on began to rise. However, there is no longer a mediator force as there was at the time. Surprisingly, we are rapidly approaching the point where history will repeat itself.

Armament is constantly being upgraded and has grown to enormous proportions. Furthermore, the technological level of military modernization has reached a dangerous edge. The world has descended into a perilous and narrow tunnel.

Objectivity and reality are suffer by the noise created by conspiracy theories in this period of information manipulation. As a result, it is critical to approach all political or economic developments with a critical eye.

Russia's war narrative expresses a coordinated strategic approach encompassing ideological, psychological, and technology strategies. The Russian mind, which refers to this narrative as "next-generation war" has used hybrid methods to transform the battlefield into a more layered state.

Russia, on the other hand, has a serious strategic approach within the context of the new world order.

With the ongoing rapprochement with China, Russia's strategic approach, which evolved in the context of anti-Westernism, deepens on a geopolitical scale. As the decaying international system disintegrates, the question of whether a new one can be built becomes increasingly important.

As a result, the vision of a West-centered unipolar world has failed, and a multipolar system has yet to emerge. One of the most important questions that need to be answered is how long this uncertain interim period will last and how much it will harm international security.

Note:The following section of the article was written on February 26. 👇

Putin's goal in the Ukraine crisis was as follows. Russia will seize control of the Donbas region, which includes the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. Then, as in the case of Crimea, an annexation process would begin.

Putin, on the other hand, went a step further and decided to pursue "regime change" in Ukraine. His statements make this abundantly clear. However, it appears that Russia made a strategic error here. With this move, he created a serious "legitimacy" problem for Russia.

Putin even went so far as to call on the Ukrainian Army to oppose his government. It has also lost the potential support it could have provided in its efforts to gain legitimacy in the Donbas region. I think marching on Kyiv was a strategic error.

It is impossible to justify this by citing NATO expansion or claiming that they are "neo-nazis." It's also unclear why Russia is so adamant about this point. On the contrary, this situation resurrected NATO, which was doomed from the start.

NATO will now try to use Ukraine as an example to justify possible enlargement moves. Russia's attempt to destabilize the Ukrainian regime over "ontological" security concerns proved to be a move not only beyond its capacity but also beyond its purpose.

Russia has no choice but to end the conflict with Ukraine and restart the Minsk process as soon as possible. On the contrary, using total force to eliminate Ukraine would be strategically suicidal.

Dr.Hüseyin Korkmaz. The author is a researcher focusing on China and geopolitics in the Asia, primarily related to the US-China relations.