Violence And War: The Terrible Features Of Present Age International Relations – OpEd


Many countries are dissatisfied with the crises created in international relations and in proportion to their power, seek to change the world order to their own favor. This approach has led to the emergence of a more hostile geopolitical atmosphere and a disappointing prospect of economic development and cooperation on a global scale amid the wars of the last two decades. Currently, we are experiencing life in a world full of revisionist and sometimes coercive powers, which has put our life in a transitional state and put the current order on the verge of destruction.

The future of the world order looks bleak due to the western coalition’s war in Ukraine to confront Russia and the strong rivalry of the United States with China. The plunge into the world of disorder comes from the fact that the countries that were influential in establishing the order do not seem committed to maintaining it. In the post-Cold War era, the United States was in charge of the neoliberal order in the unipolar world and ignored national sovereignty and international borders whenever it wanted or deemed it necessary.

Over the last two decades, the liberal order has brought the world into the worst competition in sensitive areas of the world through open-ended wars and complex sanctions against Russia and China. This is while the liberal order was supposed to support democratic values, free market rules, human rights and the rule of law. The Unites States’ wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine are in sharp contrast with the optimistic idea common in the post-Cold War era. The idea that the competition of great powers in the liberal order is over and that violence and war are obsolete due to dependence and mutual interests, became the cause of violence and war. Recent wars remind us that violence and war have become a terrible feature of international relations that must lead to effective deterrence.

Today, under the leadership of Putin, Russia is trying to recreate the lost power and greatness of the Soviet Union through invading Ukraine, and with the strategy of the end justifying the means, it considers any action to achieve its goals as legitimate. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is also a flagrant violation of international norms, and was a falsification of the idea that Russia could play a constructive role within the framework of the US-led order in Europe.

Beijing, during the undisputed leadership of Xi Jinping, has started trying to achieve regional and global supremacy and is preparing to confront the United States.

The United States that is plagued with polarization and domestic issues has little ability to influence the world as a hegemon that establishes order and security on a global scale. The irresponsible and hasty withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan has strengthened doubts about the ability of the United States to continue the war in Ukraine, especially among its European allies. What if after November 9, 2022, the American Congress does not grant the financial support and weapons to Ukraine. Therefore, what is hurting the United States the most are the domestic issues. A country that is divided in its political structure cannot be effective for the world as in the past and cannot be relied upon as a predictable and reliable partner or leader.

In fact, a look at the trends of recent years shows that powerful countries in competition with each other have come to the conclusion that the order after World War II and the Cold War is a thing of the past and they are basically seeking to change the international order. Or at least, in pursuit of their goals, they have consciously acted against such an order and show a behavior that can be called revisionist. This revisionism has taken the form of international disputes during the last two decades, which is especially evident in Europe, the Middle East, and India Pacific region. This revisionism is also reflected in a number of actions of other powers like in the form of growing doubts about free trade in the United States, the arming of the pacifist Japan, the start of arms making in Germany, and the desire of traditionally neutral countries such as Switzerland, Finland, and Sweden to become a member of NATO.

On the other hand, the new geopolitical risks along with the complex challenges such as widespread diseases, climate change, human rights violations and the proliferation of nuclear weapons have made it almost impossible for great powers to cooperate in facing regional and international challenges. As the prospect of geopolitical competition between great powers darkens, the gap between global challenges and the capability of responsible institutions has become increasingly wider.

In the field of health, the Covid-19 pandemic revealed the limitations of the World Health Organization and the inability of rich and developed countries to respond to this global crisis. Effective cooperation to deal with climate change was removed from priority only to supply energy to Western countries in the Ukraine war. There is also the possibility that as the institutions of the international order are weakened and the geopolitical competition intensifies, maintaining the values of human rights and the non-proliferation regime, preventing countries that violate human rights, and the tendency of other countries to join the club of nuclear weapon owners become more and more difficult.

In fact, these new and old problems and crises challenge the current damaged order and will create alarming and unpredictable changes. In today’s world, the rule of law, the orderly transfer of power, the ability to attract and retain immigrants, combating organized terrorism in the form of money laundering and cyber operations will become a thing of the past. A situation where the decline of democracy and democratic values, peaceful solutions to resolve disputes will become less attractive. Therefore, a condition is imposed, the continuation of which is the experience of a vicious circle. In fact, the intensification of geopolitical competition, the lack of consensus and cooperation needed to deal with new global risks will become much more difficult in the future, if not impossible. Making it more difficult or impossible to deal with global risks will further fuel international and geopolitical tensions in the world.

The recent events are taking place at a time when the United States, as the moderator and observer of the post-Cold War unipolar order, seems more powerless and confused than ever due to the changing balance of power at the global level and the unending domestic political tensions. The wide gap between new global challenges and responses to crises, the growing prospect of a nuclear war between the great powers and the proliferation of nuclear weapons have marked the most dangerous moment since the Second World War until now.

In this situation, the United States is struggling to accomplish the two impossible goals of containing Russia and China at the same time. Henry Kissinger summed up the predicament beautifully: ” We are at the edge of war with Russia and China on issues which we partly created, without any concept of how this is going to end or what it’s supposed to lead to.”

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