Multipolarism is Upon Us

March 20, 2010 at 10:24 am (tWP) (, , , , )

It started early in the century when in 2003 the US decided to throw all the weight of their control of the international system behind a hubris based drive to democratize the world and in general, reshape it in America’s eyes.

The Freedom Campaigns, which under the PR spin of the War on Terror were to make the world safe for democracy, ended up alienating the US from much of the world. In Europe most notably, the Paris-Berlin tandem chose not to side with the Americans. True enough that leftist anti-American prejudice was already high but Paris and Berlin wisely saw no interest in an invasion of Iraq – WMDs present or otherwise – that would destabilise the Middle East and spike oil prices.

Then was the time of the Turks. Relations strained from Turkey’s refusal to allow an American second front in “Iraqi Freedom”, the post-invasion free handed Kurds in northern Iraq caused problems and Ankara itself had to intervene to militarily curb the breath of fresh air given to the independent Kurdistan concept. US-Turkey relations were then further damaged by the US Congress pandering to Armenian and Greek lobbies, which caused an American recognition of the Armenian genocide.

Most recently, Washington’s relationship with Jerusalem and Tokyo has also seen some cracks open up. Israel and Japan are some of America’s closest allies with sensitive technologies being sold and intelligence sharing being especially intimate. If they go their separate ways, will the US alliances be restricted to some carved up pseudo-liberal protectorates in Eastern Europe? And there are even doubts concerning America’s uber more sensitive ‘special relationship’

However, unilateralism is not the order of the day for America’s sake exclusively. Turkey itself has chosen to distance itself from traditional European allies and Israel by choosing a more populist pro-Arab stance, Putin’s Russia has proven throughout the past decade that it does not have to listen to the Washington Consensus anymore and China has pursued autonomous foreign policy goals in Africa and the Indian Ocean rim.

The world is changing. The post-89 realignment ceased in 2008 with the Beijing Olympics symbolising the “rise of the rest”. As the world watched the epic parades and the glamorous displays that the Chinese leadership had devised for its debutant ball, the hallways of Wall Street were filled with recession anxiety and Russian tanks drove into Georgia proper, thus destroying NATO’s influence as a security mechanism.

The US is now on its path towards normalcy and liberal exceptionalism has been checked by lack of funds and a discredited security structure. One should not however, mistake all these events for US or Western downfall. The globalisation of the economy has allowed more economic independence throughout the world and less reliance on superpowers controlling the world’s supply lines.

The centre of the many changing allegiances seems to be the Middle East, where many spheres of influence juxtapose. It is here that the event of multipolarism will be most felt and it is probably here that the most painful realignments will take place.

Just how much there is to fear will depend on how quickly and how profoundly the new security structure is implemented. From Europe to Asia, stability in the Middle East will be the priority, even if the interpretation of relative gains there will rest on very dissimilar perspectives.

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1 Comment

  1. Aysha kunda said,

    Good attemt

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