The essence of geopolitics is most often sought and seen in political forces that fight each other, intending to achieve a dominant role in and over society. Within such views on politics, science undoubtedly owes the most to Machiavelli, whose works can be considered the first inspirers of modern realistic theories in political science. Such understandings have gained an even more critical position in the international relations developed in the West. Although US military force is primarily preventive, it has been used to change the other states’ behavior, not just to protect the physical security of the American people. The US power is demonstrated and proven by a policy of pressure, economic, political, and military. Unilaterally, sanctions are imposed outside the UN (illegitimate), and the interests of others are subordinated to their interests, economic and strategic, arbitrarily declaring and treating international terrorism. The tendency to solve issues by threatening force and using force policy is the dominant geopolitical component, although not based on international treaties, agreements, and the UN Charter. International law finds its place as an instrument of order which undoubtedly arises from harmonizing aspirations for just possibilities in international relations. Historically, the US policy reduced and marginalized the UN legislation with a series of geopolitical moves. The politics of “now and always” turned into geopolitical realism. The Russian question of Crimea’s affiliation with the international legal system is still topical and sensitive. In the case of the failed penetration of the Ukrainian military under Crimea, Russia has shown no intention of passively tolerate provocations. The war act could materialize (minor incidents have already occurred). While for Trump, the focus of foreign policy was on the principle of “America first,” the new US president Biden stressed that international alliances are a valuable asset of the US. The path remains as to whether the US foreign policy will gain its idealistic dimension to promote the values of liberal democracy and whether it will restore credibility, humanitarianism, and moral authority.
In the political sciences, there is a widespread understanding that politics is a struggle for position, strength, and power. The essence of geopolitics is most often sought and seen in political forces that fight each other, intending to achieve a dominant role in and over society. Within such views on politics, science undoubtedly owes the most to Machiavelli, whose works can be considered the first inspirers of modern realistic theories in political science. Such understandings have gained an even more critical position in the international relations developed in the West. At the same time, it can be freely argued that such perceptions of international relations, as a specific type of social relations, are much more common, and their genesis penetrates much deeper into the history of political thought. Namely, even the oldest reflections on international relations have features that are clearly distinguished today in realistic theories of international relations. The power and relations that it determines are most impressively manifested in the research of the relations between individual human societies and communities, from the most primitive to the modern state. Even in ancient Indian philosophy, war was considered “the eternal order of things in this world.” Realism as a theoretical position in international relations has its unique place concerning other theories that place force and the struggle for power at the center of politics. “Realists” differ from them in that they differently determine the ultimate cause that determines reality. They point out as the ultimate cause of the struggle for force a permanent and unchanging human nature, so it is impossible to expect that such movements can be avoided or changed in international relations.
As the reputation and importance of the US and its position in the international community grew, so did the importance of its foreign policy. It is a fact that the position of the state in the international community is influenced by natural and semi-natural factors, size and geographical position of the territory, climate, and population, as well as the degree of socio-economic and technical development, socio-political organization, economic stability, and internal unity. The central concept of US foreign policy analysis is political power, which can be defined as control over resources; a relationship in which one state influences another by threat or use of force; making a decision that affects the change in the value of another group of people, i.e., ability to achieve goals. The question of the national interest of the state (a set of specific characteristic requirements that foreign policy decision-makers hold in choosing their alternative) determines the goals of the US foreign policy. Therefore, it is essential that national interests, and thus the goals of the US foreign policy, be clearly articulated. Thus, the US military is a powerful instrument of US global influence and interventionism, serving to maximize US values and interests. After World War II, there was a noticeable tendency to militarize US foreign policy because military solutions determine global problems. The main reason is not that decision-makers are often military leaders but in a tendency for civilians to accept a military solution to political problems. Only after the painful Vietnamese experience did Americans realize that military power and political influence were not synonymous. The militarization of foreign policy is also evident from the rhetoric of the US leaders, who have constantly emphasized that the task of military force is to achieve security and influence. The US saw the arms race as a means of strengthening its military forces and an opportunity to meet the economic needs of US big business and the constant depletion of the Soviet Union. Although US military force is primarily preventive, it has been used to change the other states’ behavior, not just to protect the physical security of the American people. Once a fictional incident, with the US destroyer allegedly attacked by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin, served as an excuse to justify the escalation of the war in Vietnam, and more than fifty thousand US military personnel lost their lives.
Trump’s mandate, which violated the existing consensus of harmonized international norms to which the countries of Western liberal democracies especially adhere, from respecting logic to the achievements of modern science, made pointless the possibility of criticizing Obama’s mandate and caution about the international strategy of the incoming administration. With the “We intend to lead. Now and always” quote, in 2018, Secretary of State Pompeo defined US policy in a global context. In its potential, military, and economy in the first place, the supreme global power, the US, has created a new liberal world order. If someone could have doubted the preparatory course of US foreign policy until then, which, to put it mildly, is not far from the whimsical President Trump, these narratives dispelled any hesitancy. Thus, it is a constant of the world we live in – at least from the perspective of official Washington, the US will continue to use its role as a leader to create a “new liberal world order.” It means a categorical rejection of the concept of a multipolar world, even a bipolar one (there must be no one in a position to strike a balance globally).
The US executed a high-ranking military officer of a sovereign, internationally recognized state by drone. The operation was carried out on the territory of a third country, also (nominally) sovereign and internationally recognized. Apart from Iranian Major General Suleimani, several people from his entourage were killed in the attack despite the sophisticated and precise long-range technology. The state of war has not been released, and the US immediately stated it does not want a war with Iran. On the other hand, Iran announced revenge by rocketing US military bases in Iraq but only after informing the Iraqi authorities (the US) that it will avoid killing US soldiers. At the same time, Tehran representatives noted that they do not want a war with Washington, and the Iraqi parliament demanded that the US withdraw their troops from the area of Iraq. If we analyze it rationally, it was a hypocritical call for calming the tension to remove the danger of the Third World War potentialities. By tolerating inept on the international scene and calling on the attacked not to retaliate, the international community only calls for the danger of a global conflict. It is an indisputable fact that with every unilateral move by which a superpower intervenes, comprehensively tailor the global politics to its strategic interests.
The volute of violence in the Middle East turned around after the US exit from the international agreement, which prevented Iran from creating nuclear weapons. Iran has been practically forced to renew its complete nuclear program (although it still claims that it does not intend to create nuclear weapons). At the same time, there will always be dissident actors in every country globally, for various reasons, within the role of triggering an explosion of internal discontent. The notion of “democratization” would justify the financial and military actions against defective democracies and governments. The change of the other states’ behavior and the establishment of a new government inevitably allied. The humanitarian interventions under the guise of overthrowing dictatorships and introducing democracy, leaving behind destroyed states and societies, torn apart by awakened internal conflicts, become sources of instability and fertile ground metastasizing roots of international terrorism. When the US announced that it is ready to retaliate by destroying millennial cultural monuments, it provoked only timid statements that such a thing “certainly does not help calm the situation.” The Iraqi parliament formed based on democratically conducted elections within the system imposed on that country after the armed intervention that overthrew Saddam Hussein’s regime concluded that all foreign troops must leave Iraq. The US ignored it and ordered the Atlantic Pact (thus legitimizing it definitively as an instrument of its own and only its policy) to send a delegation to Baghdad to negotiate a more robust NATO engagement. The parliament of an independent country has ordered the troops of another country to leave. The outcome is that a fundamental principle on which international relations were based after World War II was dismantled.
On the international scene, especially when it comes to the US, the responsibility recognition at the government level is not sufficient. Unilaterally, sanctions were imposed outside the UN (illegitimate), and the interests of others are subordinated to their interests, economic and strategic, arbitrarily declaring and treating international terrorism. The tendency to solve issues by threatening force and using a force policy is the dominant geopolitical component, although not based on principles, international treaties, agreements, and the UN Charter. The legal order within the states nor the international legal order do not determine social peace, but only legally improve the situation which is determined to exist on a material basis; in other words, the legal order is a consequent state of relations based on a specific basis of society in general. The efficiency of the legal order itself will not change the irreconcilable contradictions that arise in the evolution of society, and any conversation about the role of law must end at the level of knowledge about the state and form of social relations that it should or can regulate. If these conclusions result from the rational analysis, we can argue that they apply more to international law than domestic law. It is possible to compare domestic and international law and draw conclusions about the degree of development of both and the breadth of issues that regulate one or another order. At the same time, no matter how much it declares itself a leading force, the US must acknowledge the Russian-Chinese alliance and the increasingly closely linked BRICS group, Iran, and a new institutionalized triple format (G20): Russia – China – India, particularly when the world faces never-before-seen challenges.
At the inauguration, Trump explicitly promised that the US would no longer “impose the American way of life” on anyone. The speech was a form of the diadem of the campaign that led him to the position of President, in which, for months, he persistently and consistently reiterated that he wanted to normalize relations with Russia, accused the previous administration (not without reason) of bearing colossal responsibility for the strained relations on the Moscow-Washington line. It hinted at a new era of US-Russian cooperation, especially in the fight against international terrorism. He also promoted his slogan “America first.” It presented a symbolic similarity to the known historical slogan, “Germany above all.” It served as an instrument to envelop the policy of unfettered protectionism, even at the cost of isolation, the almost contemptuous rejection of the vast majority of states (the issue of climate change), the politics of trade wars, threats of either sanctions or tariffs. The second pre-election “Make America great again” turned into a political battle of new aggravation with Russia and China and – occasionally – with the European Union. Thus, the US power is demonstrated and proven by a policy of pressure, economic, political, and military. Within the professional framework, it is called “representative war,” i.e., the conflict of smaller countries to achieve the interests of the great ones who support and arm them to the confrontation of the great ones. Historically, the US policy reduced and marginalized the UN legislation, a global organization, the key instrument for preserving peace and preventing war, with a series of geopolitical moves, from denying financial support to ignoring it. Politics of “now and always” turned into geopolitical realism.
The US and European sanctions against Russia have been in force for several years, without noticeably harming Russia, but with significant losses to Western economies. Nevertheless, it is no longer just a political or economic confrontation, although that would be enough to justify the conclusion that we are in a new Cold War. On the global scene, we have an opening of a new nuclear arms race, with news of barely escaped incidents between the armed forces of Russia and the US. The US military is close to the Russian stronghold in Vladivostok, or Russian planes approached close to US planes and ships during the Atlantic Pact military exercises. Ukraine requested the arrival of NATO ships in the Black Sea, which is already frequently cruised by US warships, probing the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Ukraine gained independence in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, Russia sees Ukraine – leaning towards the West – as a threat to its interests. The pro-Russian government in Ukraine was overthrown in 2014, after extensive protests due to the government’s decision to suspend joining the European Union. Russia then annexed Crimea, while pro-Russian separatists entered two Ukrainian regions in the east of the country – Donetsk, and Luhansk. More than 10,000 people have been killed in clashes in eastern Ukraine. After the annexation of Crimea (if we ignore the fact that it was primarily provoked by the overthrow of the legally elected President of Ukraine and if we accept that it was “aggression” and a violation of international law – despite the referendum and its results), no other Russian moves to justify they are called aggressive, or even there was no aggression. When the Ukrainian people, who wanted to get closer to the European Union and NATO instead of Russia, took to the streets and squares, pro-Russian-oriented Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych left the country. Russia, taking advantage of the confusion in Ukraine, activated pro-Russian paramilitary troops that it sent to the peninsula with Russian troops in Sevastopol, even though it was not legal. The Crimean Tatars, Muslims, are exposed to tremendous pressures in the context of religion, while, on the other hand, the population faces severe issues in the field of economy. The peninsula, which is considered a tourist paradise for its historical and natural beauties, has today become a Russian military base, and people in the region, whose economy is entirely dependent on Russia, have become inadequate. The question of Crimea’s affiliation with the international legal system is still topical and sensitive. This topic could be one of the most challenging for Russian society and state. The question of Crimea’s affiliation with the international legal system is still topical and sensitive. In the case of the failed penetration of the Ukrainian military under Crimea, Russia has shown no intention of passively tolerate provocations. In order to avoid any misunderstanding, the Russians made it clear that in the event of the first new incident, either with ships or with aircraft, they would react decisively. The war act could materialize (minor incidents have already occurred) either in the Black Sea or on the Russian border with the Baltic states. According to the US representatives, US forces in that region are on high alert because they are an “escalation of Russian aggression.” Biden confirmed it by solid support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine regarding the ongoing Russian aggression in the area of Donbas and Crimea. The global conflict with the use of nuclear weapons leads to only one outcome: the destruction of civilization as we know it, even the destruction of the world.
While for Trump, the focus of foreign policy was on the principle of “America first,” the new US president Biden stressed that international alliances are a valuable asset of the US. The general activity of the US in international politics and the specific engagement in the Western Balkans, from where, is the author of these lines, are two separate segments. Internal polarization will not slow down the return to previous structures of the US foreign policy. The question is, will Biden, as someone who knows international relations will rely on that experience to shape a turn in foreign policy despite internal turbulence. The path remains as to whether the US foreign policy will gain its idealistic dimension to promote the values of liberal democracy and whether it will restore credibility, humanitarianism, and moral authority.
The organization of the political system of societies that enter into mutual relations is a significant factor in international relations. The very fact that the will of the ruling group of societies in question is maintained through this system indicates determining the determinants that cause a specific behavior. In this intertwined relationship of material and subjective factors, international law finds its place as an instrument of order which undoubtedly arises from harmonizing aspirations for just possibilities in international relations.
He is an Independent researcher and an author from Bosnia and Herzegovina. His academic background and research are multidisciplinary in Social and Political Psychology, Political Science & International Relations, Critical Security Studies, Sociology & Socioeconomics, Criminal Justice, Ethics, Sociology of Religion, and Media Studies