Where Will The Changing Global Order Lead? – OpEd


Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the US military exercise in South East Asia, both of which have been conducted with no clear purpose or strategy, indicate that, for the first time since World War II, great powers are confronting each other; an act showing major changes in the global order.

Global orders are basically lost when either the threats disappear or the global macro-management goes out of the control of the controllers with the spread of threats. Therefore, it can be said that the liberal order is declining because on the one hand, Soviet communism, which had been defined as its enemy is lost and on the other hand, the “War on Terror”, started after a ten-year hiatus in enemy-finding following the fall of Kabul, has culminated in the handing over of Afghanistan to the Taliban and jihadists and does no longer have the attraction to gather former partners under the camp of fighting terrorism and maintaining global peace and stability.

From the USA’s point of view, the reason for the change in the world order is that Beijing has benefited from Washington’s self-made order, but it has no will to maintain the order that has caused its rise. In fact, history for China has stopped at a point in which Beijing does not have the power to maintain global financial stability or maintain international conventions, especially in the field of commitment to intellectual property and climate change.

According to what history tells us, the world order has entered a strategic pin[1] situation because it is not supported by the great powers as was the case in the past. The powers that support the liberal order, considering the costs of the war in Ukraine and the coronavirus, do not have the ability or the will to maintain the established order; on the other hand, the newly emerging powers like BRICS countries, especially China, do not seem to have a desire to take the burden of America’s responsibilities in the order.

This is while, by the way, Trump’s nativist, inward-looking, and protectionist discourse, which has many supporters and has become a dominant discourse among Republicans, has also gained strength with the slogan of backing away from commitments.

This situation has brought us into a world where the powers are willing to change the situation but are no longer willing to accept major responsibilities; an era that is transitioning from the theory of hegemonic stability to the theory of regularity in dispersion, an era where the hierarchical order resulting from the American peace gives way to a mosaic regional order and finally an era in which the great powers are to destroy hegemonic order. In general, what we are witnessing now is either systematic anarchism that takes the place of the previous order, or it is an order in which the win-win game should prevail.

The “Kindleberger Trap” provides a clear picture of the status quo. In short, the situation it describes is that “the United States, as the power of the existing world order, no longer has the possibility or will to maintain this order due to its exorbitant costs, and the competing actor cannot undertake its duties and costs either.” On the other hand, “Joseph Nye” with the “Kindleberger trap”, and “Graham Allison” with the “Thucydides trap” have addressed the issues of the decline of the world order and how to deal with China to continue or maintain the American order.

The important and strategic question posing itself is “Which direction the changing order will be drawn?” “Will this order be based on the theories of previous orders or is it completely different from them?” “Will this order be based on the theories of previous orders or will it be completely different from them?” While the previous strongest world orders, from the Westphalian order in the 17th century to the international order of the 20th century and the global concerts of the 19th century, were not comprehensive organizations for collective or human interests, the common aspect of all of them was the prevention of the no-insider actors. 

Now, the important issue is to what extent the great powers have a chance for cooperation based on “one-sided wins” amid the conflict of interests, historical hatreds of the past, and public and government resistance in developing countries. It is while the independent middle powers of the world in Asia and Latin America can keep their countries in harmony with the conflicts of the great powers by adopting multilateralist or neutral policies and protecting themselves from the costly conflicts of the great powers.

However, the confrontations formed between the great powers that are developing at the heart of the current international crises have a serious message that “the world is in an era of transition and the world order is changing as a consequence of a win-win game or a war.” 

If the change of order does not take place in a suitable context, our world will be a more insecure place as a result of the increase in the wave of refugees, the continuation of endless wars between the blocks formed by the Eastern and Western powers, the strengthening of terrorism around the world and a wave of unstable and collapsed governments.

In the process of change, the United States and the United Kingdom are pursuing Putin’s dismissal and systematic containing of China, while Russia has put nuclear weapons on the table to preserve its existence, and China has resorted to a widespread military maneuver for the first time in its history as a reaction to the violation of its territorial integrity and “One China” policy.

The foundations of the new world order are laid by the United States based on fear of China as an actor hostile to the free world and fear of Russia as a geo-energy competitor. There are various ideas here ranging from returning to the concert of powers on the same side under the title of “consensus of supporters of the liberal order” to re-divide the world into stable or even unstable spheres of influence. The basis of this strategic decision-making is the same as colonial and imperialist assumptions stating that top-down global governance can be designed, imposed, and implemented by maintaining current crises.

The ideal scenario for the USA in the transition process of the world order is to continue the policy of creating a crisis in the form of insecurity projects, proxy wars, or something similar to being on the threshold of the third world war with China and Russia so that it can rise again as a superpower from the ashes of the crises. To put it in a nutshell, riding on the collapse of its world order, the United States is leading its European and Asian allies into an all-out war with Russia and China to convince them of a new order that Washington will once again lead. In order to achieve this goal, America is looking for a strategic shift from Western Europe to Eastern Europe to completely encircle Russia and from the Middle East to the Indo-Pacific to contain or confront China.

China and Russia, as emerging powers, are trying to draw new geopolitical and geostrategic lines and form new blocks and coalitions in order to achieve the future international multilateral order. They are challenging the American idea of “He who is not with us is our enemy” proposed in order to turn the world into a large garrison.

In any case, the new situation has provided a platform for the periodic initiation of wars under the guise of different values and brought the capitalist unipolar world with liberal values into conflict with the scattered multipolar world spearheaded by China and Russia.

  [1] Pin is a chess tactic in which a defending piece cannot move without exposing a more valuable defending piece on its other side to capture by the attacking piece.

Timothy Hopper

Timothy Hopper is an international relations graduate of American University.

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