The US overture on APEC to Russia shows that Washington has failed to isolate Moscow

Of Andrew Korybko


Translation by Marco Pondrelli for

The United States has enacted a policy of isolating Russia from the international community and related forums this year, since Moscow began its special operation in Ukraine. This approach, however, has completely backfired, as evidenced by the fact that the United States itself has invited Russia to attend next year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) meetings, which it is set to host. Senior US official for APEC Mike Murray kicked off this initiative during a media briefing on Monday.

Murray explained this policy reversal on the grounds that the United States will be “good stewards of APEC” during its presidency next year, which in turn requires that it invite all attendees, without exception, to attend the events. related ahead of the 2023 APEC leaders meeting in San Francisco. Aside from its high-sounding rhetoric, the reason America backed down from its previous policy of isolating Russia is that it was in fact isolating America itself.

Despite consolidating unipolar hegemony over the ‘Golden Billion’, over the past ten months the US has alienated the Global South like never before, after showing them how aggressively it will seek to impose its will on everyone those who will dare to challenge them, as Russia did. Instead of forcing them to cower before them in fear of being the next target, they bravely resisted their pressure to assert their principled neutrality in the new Cold War.

Doing the opposite of what the United States expected, but which all objective observers following the Global South’s impressive strides in favor of sovereignty in recent years could have easily predicted, Washington was forced to recalibrate its policy to adapt to this reality. The political fantasy of isolating Russia has never been realized and indeed has been counterproductive to the great strategic objectives of the United States, hence the urgent need to abandon this approach.

The Golden Billion anti-Russian sanctions will remain in place, as they aim to perpetuate the decoupling between Russia and the EU indefinitely, but the American leader of this de facto New Cold War bloc is signaling that efforts of its prosecutors to oust Russia from international forums cease immediately. This startling development would not have been possible were it not for India which, earlier this month, once again showed its principled neutrality.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (EAM) spokesman Arindam Bagchi said on Dec. 1 during a weekly media briefing that “Russia is a member of the G20 and so we expect them to participate in these processes” that the ‘India will host in the presidency next year. Russian G20 sherpa Svetlana Lukash then backed EAM’s Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s intended goal of her country becoming the voice of the global South through this role, thus dispelling claims of her isolation in the G20 .

As a result, the United States was left with no choice but to allow Russia to participate in next year’s APEC meetings, which it intends to host next year. Had India succumbed to American pressure to distance itself from Russia, signaling that it did not want that country’s representatives to participate in G20 processes, then there is no doubt that the United States would have continued to enacte its isolation of Moscow from related forums.

The general trend is that the global systemic transition to multipolarity already far preceded this year’s dramatic sequence of events that accelerated it to unprecedented heights, such that these processes were already entrenched to the point of making the success of the US anti-Russian policy. The American strategists had not realized this and for this reason they continued their approach for a long time, until the recent decision by India made it impossible.

Facing the new geostrategic reality of India, which has succeeded in achieving its grand strategic goal of becoming a Great Power of global significance, which in turn has set it on the trajectory of becoming the third pole of influence in the world order evolving bimultipolar, the United States promptly changed course. Murray’s pragmatic approach to Russia’s participation in next year’s APEC meetings, which his country will host, is a direct result of US policy failures and India’s relative successes, both of which have changed global affairs.

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The US overture on APEC to Russia shows that Washington has failed to isolate Moscow