by Raffaele Crocco

When even China and the Taliban are calling for restraint, well: we need to be worried. The Pakistani bombing of Iran, in response to the Iranian bombing of Pakistan the day before, is the latest in a series of events that are truly worrying. In the 99th week since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, If we add to this the major anti-Russian manoeuvre that NATO has decided to launch, tensions are rising. So much so. We are now certain that the battle for the reorganisation of the world order is in full swing and – we should not forget – many players have the ace in the hole: the nuclear bomb. Let us briefly summarise the situation.

The oldest theatre of confrontation remains invaded Ukraine. War has been going on for 23 months and the number of casualties, both military and civilian, may already exceed half a million. A staggering figure, to which we must add the more than 7 million refugees and the country’s shattered economy. The war is technically at a stalemate. It means that the fighting continues, but no one is winning. Alliances are clear. The US, EU, Canada, Australia, Israel and their allies are with Kyiv. We call this formation the ‘pro-Americans’, supporters of the role of the United States as a superpower capable of dominating the world economy and politics. With Russia are the BRICS countries – Brazil, China, India and South Africa – with Iran, North Korea and many African and Asian countries. We call this group ‘the alternatives’ because they want to overthrow the current world order and remove the economic, political and military dominance of the United States.

Defining the camps and the profiles of the candidates is important because we find them, more or less identical, in the other terrains of conflict and political-military confrontation. For example, on the chessboard opened up by the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Israel represents the ‘pro-Americans’, while Hamas and the Palestinians represent the ‘alternatives’. In this case, the latter has also decided to take military action by calling in third parties to intervene. From Lebanon, Hezbollah, a pro-Iranian organisation, bombs Israel territories, triggering an Israeli reaction. In the Red Sea, on the other hand, the Houthi, a Shiite militia that seized power in Yemen in 2014, clashes with the “pro-Americans”, with piracy operations and the bombing of merchant ships. The power that controls the sea controls the world, says an old foreign policy adage, and so the ‘pro-Americans’ in turn took the field, with a naval force controlling the area to and from the Suez Canal and bombing Houthi positions in Yemen. The war has expanded because Iran decided to respond by bombing ‘pro-American’ positions in Syria and Iraq. Then, again, Tehran – and this is the case today – decided to break through to the east and bomb Pakistan along the border. Pakistan responded by bombing Iranian territory.

This is the summary; here is the illustration. A grand contest unfolds above us, a colossal game. It is a game with high stakes: to determine who are or will be the masters of the world. This is no fantasy politics, this is no exaggeration. Candidates have decided that the new bipolarity of the planet, with the United States as the old leader on one side and China as the emerging leader on the other, must be defined and resolved with arms, with a showdown. It seems impossible to talk about cooperation, rights and dialogue. Diplomacy now follows confrontation. Some claim that everything is under control, that a proportional countermove balances every move. It could be, but European and world chancelleries said the same thing on the eve of the First World War, immediately after the bombing of Sarajevo. History tells us how that turned out.