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Window on Eurasia — New Series: America’s ‘Fatal Miscalculation’ since Cold War has Been to Insist on a Rules-Based Order but Exempt Itself from the Rules, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 17 – When the Cold War ended, Washington decided “the former approach to international relations through the prism of geopolitical interests was out of date,” the editors of Moscow’s Nezavisimaya gazeta say. Instead, the US called for a rules-based order but miscalculated in a fatal way by exempting itself from the rules it insisted others behave.

            It is remarkable for Moscow’s leading independent newspaper to feature a lead article “on the fatal miscalculations of US policy since the cold war; it is even more remarkable for what the newspaper’s editors say is Washington’s mistake, adopting rules for all but not living according to them (

            According to American leaders, “the world should be constructed via the affirmation of universal values, important for all, including human rights, fighting climate change, free trade and the universal distribution of common institutions,” the editors say. And it has taken “approximately 30 years” for the fundamental flaws in the American approach to become apparent.

            Those flaws arise not from these universal ideas but rather from the fact that again and again the US has imposed its ideas on others but, when the chips are down, has exempted itself from their being applied to it. Those Washington was giving orders to not surprisingly resented this, and now they are taking their revenge by ignoring what the US is saying.

            Again and again, the editors say, the US showed that the rules it wanted everyone to follow were not rules it was prepared to live under itself. For all those who had been told what to do by Washington, it became clear the idea of “’a world based on rules’ was a euphemism” meaning the US will set the rules but not live according to them when it doesn’t want to.

            This American mistake involved not only economic issues but political values as when first Trump and then Biden showed themselves quite willing to ignore the principles of free speech, free information, the presumption of innocence and honest political struggle” when it suited their purposes.

            “It has become obvious that the West is not in a position to maintain a world ‘based on principles’ either in the world as a whole or in its own borders.” And the final nail in the coffin of that hope, the Moscow paper says, is what is going on in Ukraine where the US is following the principles of geopolitics rather than of a rule-based order.

            Clearly, Nezavisimaya gazeta says, “Fukuyama’s end of history has been put off for an indeterminate time.”

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