There are many who ask why conservatives support Russia and China. This is a complicated and nuanced question involving the realignment in international affairs from a rules-based liberal international order to a multipolar post-globalist order consisting of civilisation-states rather than state actors.

First, it is important to note that it is not just conservatives who support Russia. There are people on the left such as George Galloway who also support Russia. I think it is fair to say that it is not so much conservatives but populists and nationalists across the spectrum who oppose what is becoming a proxy war between NATO and Russia.

If we are talking about conservatives, we need to make a distinction. The conservatives who do support Ukraine are the post WWII, cold war conservatives otherwise known as neo-conservatives who support the ‘liberal democratic order’ against communism which involves violating the sovereignty of other countries through funding proxies, interfering in elections and assassinating leaders. What Dick Cheney called ‘active measures’ included unconstitutional acts against its own citizens such as espionage and detainment. The CIA would also embark on a series of experiments into mind control and funding of proxy groups, including the forerunners of ISIS, in their war against communism. In fact, history would tell us it would be dissidents in Eastern Europe themselves without American help who would topple the Communist regimes.

The conservative of the modern era is a new type of nationalist populist conservative: one that recognises and respects the traditions of other civilisations and is willing to allow other societies to practice their traditions and customs in return for the same accommodation. This is part of what scholars call ‘retraditionalisation’, in which people react to the shortfalls of progress by turning back to the traditions they were supposed to move away from, recognising it is those traditions that allowed them to flourish. Therefore, conservatives would focus more on issues in their own country and would concern themselves with their own affairs. These conservatives, unlike the ones of old, understand that military intervention to force cultural values on the rest of the world and more crucially undermine others’ values is not an effective strategy.

The liberal international order is now the most hated regime in the world and faces a huge backlash. Especially now that it has moved from fighting communism to pushing woke, secular values on a predominantly religious and traditional population. It has subverted and undermined the authority of countries in the name of ‘spreading democracy’. The Western contempt for traditionalism is seen in their dealings with Africa, Asia and the Middle East, lecturing to these countries about how they can become more ‘equal’ and ‘diverse’ rather than more prosperous.

It is this backlash and this hatred for the ‘liberal international order’ that is being utilised by Russia and China to build a new world order of civilisation states instead of state actors. This explains why Iran and Saudi Arabia, bitter rivals in Yemen, were able to sign a trade deal brokered by China. It is the same reason why twenty-three Middle Eastern countries now want to join BRICS.

This hatred is also coupled with opposition to international finance. For too long the world has been controlled by the US dollar both by investment and by government funding which has directly led to the exploitation and loss of sovereignty for those countries. International corporations had invested in these countries, stripping them of their natural resources. At the same time these nations were being held hostage through the US dollar which could be used to either bolster or destroy their economies, and that depended on whether the investment firms and banks that controlled this dollar were happy with the civilisation they were dealing with and ensuring their investments were ‘ethical’. Known as ‘Environmental, Social and Governance’ or ‘ESG’, the West used finance to decide how economies should be run, which means countries had no control over how to do business.

But times are changing, we are seeing the rise of a new world order to replace the rules-based international order. A civilisation state order that is pushing for reterritorialisation, retraditionalisation and localisation of politics and government. Instead of centralised control under unelected bureaucrats in organisations such as the United Nations, the world order will be led by elected leaders who represent nations. This new order is being led by Russia and China, countries which have the appearance of going through a neo-traditional revival, and it seems they are gaining influence with more and more countries joining coalitions, treaties and agreements led by them. This includes BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Belt and Road Initiative. The US dollar is being rejected by the OPEC nations in lieu of the ruble. Africa, a region I hope to write about, is turning more to Russia which is offering food and gas instead of money.

This also includes the Pacific region, in which China is beginning to gain influence. There is a reason China was invited to a security forum with fourteen Pacific nations, the same reason the Solomon Islands are in a security agreement with China. They are offering infrastructure, exports and security. What is New Zealand offering? Raising awareness of climate change and a rainbow ambassador. That’s what we think the Pacific needs. If this is the contempt we are showing the Pacific and its belief in traditional values it is no wonder the Pacific would rather go to China.

This change in international politics was predicted by Samuel P Huntington in 1992 in his essay ‘Clash of Civilizations’, which argued that the next conflict would be on religious and cultural lines rather than between capitalism and communism. This is what fuels the wars in the Middle East, in Africa, and now in Eastern Europe.

So how should New Zealand interact with this rising new world order? It must move away from the ‘liberal, international order’ it keeps saying it is proud of. We must embrace these new civilisation states, an Orthodox Christian Russia, a Neo-Confucian China, a Hindu India, a new Turkish Caliphate and recognise that we can’t change their culture or society. We should stop talking to them about how they can become more equal and talk to them about how they can prosper. We should not continue to support intervention and interference in the affairs of other countries and instead, just offer our exports and nothing else. Ultimately, we should not deal with these countries as ‘states’ but as ‘civilisations’.

A political scholar with an interest in foreign interference. Traditional conservative. Came out of a family that fled communism and improved themselves thanks to capitalism but would consider myself a...