A Theory of Conflict in World Politics – OpEd – Eurasia Review
Rise of liberalism
The United States and its democratic allies had defeated fascism and then communism, supposedly leaving humanity at “the end of history”. The European Union seemed like a bold experiment in shared sovereignty that had banished war from most of Europe. Indeed, many Europeans believed that its unique combination of democratic institutions, integrated markets, rule of law and open borders made Europe’s ‘civilian power’ an equal if not superior counterpart to ‘hard power’. gross from the United States. For its part, the United States is committed to “expanding the sphere of democratic rule, getting rid of autocrats, consolidating ‘democratic peace’ and thereby ushering in a benevolent and enduring world order (Walt, 2016). On the other hand, the fruits of liberal financial systems and market economy driven by free trade and international financial rules are being reaped, which has prompted some states to defend their geopolitical interests by ignoring American unilateralism.
The democratization, pacification and economic revival of Germany and Japan, together with the permanent introduction of American power into the previously conflicted regions of Europe and East Asia, transformed the dynamics of international relationships. Within the confines of the new order, normal geopolitical competition all but ceased until new actors and new states on the world stage emerged to pursue their geopolitical interests (Kagan, 2016).
The liberal order and eventual cracking
The liberal world was destined for the economic well-being of nations, freedom, democracy and human rights. Under this rubric, many nations around the world have joined the liberal world club and enrolled in its financial institutions, created by American heritage. The whole idea was based on “American values”; democracy, free market, collective security, self-determination, etc.…
Since the liberal idea was based on an idealistic conception of the United States and the West, the tenets of this concept might not be shared by the rest of the world as a whole. The metaphysics of liberalism is a utopian world order imagined by the mind. Although this conception of world order became a reality to some extent, the stability of such an order was in jeopardy as many states designed their own identities based on their distinctive cultures and nationalisms which justified geopolitical discourse. As Kissinger (2014) said, there are no universally accepted rules. There is the Chinese point of view, the Islamic point of view, the Western point of view and, to some extent, the Russian point of view. And they really aren’t always compatible.
Many countries have earned their share and increased their fortunes while others have reinvigorated their economies to such an extent that they can challenge US hegemony and choose their own narrative in their dealings with other nations. regional and, such as China and Turkey.
The United States expected to use its diplomacy and military prowess generated by its robust economy to compel other countries to engage in American interests, viewing those countries as being within the sphere of influence since they are firmly rooted in the world order led by the United States. But as their economies began to grow and therefore challenged American interests in their regions, the United States began to eviscerate and weaken these countries from their booming economy and leadership role in the region. More directly, the United States betrayed a system established by itself.
Recently, a host of American political scientists from the progressive left to the libertarian right have launched attacks on the very idea of the liberal order, as well as on the conduct of American foreign policy over the past seven decades. These critics argue that the liberal order was a “myth,” a cover for American hegemony and “imperialism.” To the extent that there was order, it was characterized by “coercion, violence and instability”, and also by hypocrisy (Kagan, 2016).
It was when the interests of emerging states converged and collided with American interests that the United States chose to avoid liberal rules and resorted to its “soft power” of economic and diplomatic coercion, leaving behind them long-standing liberal affairs.
From another perspective, the current world order is being challenged by emerging states that had no say when the order was created in the first place. These states seek to rebuild order in order to establish a favorable climate where their geopolitical interests are better served.
The United States has refuted the legitimacy of the international criminal court, an institution created as part of the liberal US-led world order after the United States revoked the visa of ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in response to his request to investigate possible crimes committed by US forces in Afghanistan.
It can be said that China is the second nation after the United States that has exploited the free market economic system led by the United States by establishing a massive flow of Chinese goods into world markets and establishing “the initiative of Belt and Road,” from which the United States and some of its allies cannot take their eyes off its massiveness and economic potential.
US President Donald Trump has complained about China’s trade practices since before he took office in 2016. He imposed tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods last year, and Beijing has retaliated in kind . So far, the United States has imposed three rounds of tariffs on more than $250 billion worth of Chinese goods. The tariffs imposed on Chinese products, in theory, make US-made products cheaper than imported products and encourage consumers to buy American.
In theory, what we expect from States is cooperation and what we expect from companies is competition. But for the United States, this time the narrative has changed, the narrative or the old adage of the liberal free market economic system.
To some extent, the United States has achieved its liberal democratic world, without any other symmetrical superpowers. Clashes finally took place as emerging countries began to defend their interests which clashed with American interests.
The world is no longer purely unipolar, emerging states are demanding more sharing and pushing their narratives onto global platforms. It is time for the United States to change its unilateral and realistic foreign policy and get back on the path of liberal values, especially multilateral decision-making in world affairs.
Kissinger, H. (2014). Interview conducted by EF &. J. von Mittelstaedt. Retrieved from https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-with-henry-kissinger-on-state-of-global-politics-a-1002073.html
Walt, SM (2016, June 26). The collapse of the liberal world order. Retrieved July 9, 2022, from Foreign Policy website: https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/06/26/the-collapse-of-the-liberal-world-order-european-union-brexit-donald-trump /
Kagan, R. (2018, September 28). The world that America created – and that Trump wants to undo. Retrieved July 9, 2022, from POLITICO website: https://www.politico.eu/article/donald-trump-wants-to-destroy-liberal-world-order-post-ww2/