In recent times, there has been a great deal of concentration on Russia as either the embodiment of evil, or as humankind’s last best hope. Russia is being portrayed by Democrats as the puppetmasters behind Trumpism, by the “antifascists” as the new headquarters of world fascism, and by some on the Right as the saviors of (pick one) the white man, traditional values, Christianity, etc. Meanwhile, some on the far Left have assumed a Cold War-era stance by proclaiming Russia to be the leadership of the global anti-imperialist resistance.
All of these points of view are wrong. The reality is that Russia is merely another player in the global-super-capitalist empire. How can a nation that is a member of the G20, and which holds a permanent seat on the UN Security Council be anything else? It is true that Russia has become increasingly resurgent in recent years after the dismal period of the 1990s. But Russia is still a long way from having the power it had even during the Soviet era (which was only made possible by Western aid in the first place), much less presenting a credible threat to American hegemony.
In truth, there is only one system, i.e. the empire described by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. The empire has two major factions. One of these is the “Western” axis or what I have at times called the Anglo-American-Zionist-Wahhabi axis, and which is the dominant faction. However, the Western axis essentially consists of the United States and it client states and puppets. Imagine if instead of having 50 states the United States had about 120 states, with 30 additional states in Europe, and dozens more in the Middle East, the Pacific and East Asia, and you get a picture of the reach of the USA. The European nations could be considered an additional collection of blue states in Western Europe and red states in Eastern Europe, with some deep red states located in the Middle East. Israel might be considered a hybrid of Texas and Manhattan, while Saudi Arabia is just a subsidiary to Exxon. Japan is Hawaii at a further distance, and South Korea is just a glorified West Coast Koreatown. America has around 800 foreign military bases while the other four permanent members of the UN Security council have about 30 between them. China only has one.
The other axis, the “Eastern axis,” consists of the BRICS nations, the Shia block, and their allies in the global South. But, in reality, the BRICS nations are at best unruly provinces in the global empire, with Putin and Xi assuming the role of Jerry Brown to America’s Jeff Sessions. How can nations that bankroll America’s national debt be considered genuine enemies of the United States? The so-called “rogue states” that are to some degree aligned with the BRICS axis (Iran, Syria, North Korea, Lebanon/Hezbollah, etc) are, at best, the equivalent of street gangs or minor league mafia organizations that are aligned with provincial governments within the empire. And the nations of the Global South are essentially the international equivalent of urban ghettos, Native American reservations, and Appalachia.
Meanwhile, the United Nations is like a gathering of crime families (the international equivalent of The Commission) with the “five permanent members” of the Security Council being like the Five Families of New York. The USA is simply the Genovese family, in the sense of being the dominant faction of the Big Five.
Repeat: There is only one system.