Northern Economist 2.0

Friday, 20 July 2018

Is the Russia-America Global CoDominium About to Begin?

Well, I had so much fun writing this and posting it on Worthwhile Canadian Initiative that I decided it was worth posting here too!

In the wake of the Putin-Trump Helsinki summit, there is much speculation about what was actually said between Putin and Trump behind closed doors and the uncertainty spread throughout the American government about whether agreements had been reached on issues such as Syria and the Ukraine.  The subsequent invitation to Putin to visit the White house in the fall – probably just before the November elections – has resulted in further uncertainty especially after Putin’s statement that he proposed to Trump holding a referendum to resolve the eastern Ukraine issue.  So, what is really going on here?
Quite frankly, we have all have been scratching our heads as the behaviour in some respects is reminiscent of 18th and 19th century monarchs gathering to decide the fate of wide swaths of the world in private meetings.  Putin is an autocrat and Trump is a business autocrat who admires political autocrats, so their personal level diplomacy may indeed be a series of moves designed to remake the world and return it to an age when Russian and American led blocs were the only game in town. Both the Russians and the Americans have seen their political influence decline in a multilateral world led by growing Asia-Pacific economies and both countries have been less than comfortable with the rise of China.
One has to wonder if this is an attempt by Trump to forge some type of private alliance with the Russians in an effort to coordinate their interests and deal with their ebbing international influence? The idea sounds like science fiction.  Indeed, the idea of these two countries getting together and establishing a CoDominium actually has substance in an alternate reality – the science fiction world of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.  In their novel The Mote in God’s Eye, which was originally published in 1974, a series of treaties between the Russians and the Americans establishing the CoDominium in the 1990s sets the stage for a global government and the expansion of the human species out into the galaxy.  This of course would place Trump’s musings about setting up a Space Force into quite an entirely different light. Indeed, is Donald Trump drawing inspiration from a mythical civilization disrupting character known as a Crazy Eddie
Trump may be trying to engineer some broader type of Russian-American political alliance to counter their waning influence in the world driven by a nostalgia for the 1960s and 1970s.  After all, the rise of the Chinese economy and the growth of Chinese military influence is seen as a potential concern in some circles.  It does not matter how far-fetched the idea may seem given everything else that has been happening lately whenever Donald Trump takes the world stage.  Disrupting the world, wrecking the liberal economic order and creating chaos and then having America and Russia step in to fix things may seem crazy but does it make sense to foreign policy experts?  And, while Trump may be thinking along these lines what is Putin really thinking? I doubt he is a Niven and Pournelle fan.
Of course, one expects that greater formal cooperation between the Americans and the Russians will ultimately require Congress to sign-off especially if actual treaties are eventually negotiated. On the other hand, if it is all kept informal and behind closed doors, who knows what is eventually going to emerge?