Rising Powers and the Emerging Global Order (CONCLUSIONS ( Great powers…
Rising Powers and the Emerging Global Order
Basic aims of the lecture
To determine the place and function of great powers in the international system in the past and today
To examine the rise and fall of great powers and determine the place of 'rising powers' to change the current international order
'Rising Powers' and Global Instability
Taking Germany from 1914-45 and Imperial Japan 1931-45 as prime examples, the historical record suggests that 'rising' powers can disrupt the international order, leading to war
The Balance of Power
By examining patterns in the historical record since 1648 it is possible to argue that peace is guaranteed by balancing power between several states in international society preventing any one from gaining 'hegemony'over the others (see Realism)
Great Powers: A paradox
Paul Kennedy argued that great powers rise and fall according to their power relative to potential rivals. This leads to a paradoxical dilemma whereby in order to remain a great power, it may be necessary not to prove great power status.
Great Powers and International Order
Despite periodic shifts in the international order (e.g. 1918-23; 1945-49; and 1989-91) the great powers of the day play an important role in keeping the current international order as it is (and to their own benefit) and display a remarkable continuity over time.
Great Powers and Change
Nevertheless, as well as preserving the (or an) international order, actions and inactions by the great powers of the day can lead to change in the international system such as the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989-91 (and 2017?)
Russia: Rise, decline and...
This history of Russia's relations with other powers suggest a pattern of 'catch up' and 'relative decline' since modernisation began in the 18th century
Brexit Britain and Trump's America
Are the USA and the UK too 'embedded' in the international order they created after 1945, or will US protectionism and Brexit create opportunities for rival powers to exploit leading to American and British decline?
Great Powers: Common characteristics
By comparing what appear to be 'great powers' across time, we see that there are three features that they share in common:
Significant human and material resources
The governmental capacity to mobilise such resources
Power is a crucial concept in politics and international relations: it can be defined as the ability of an agent or actor to get a second party to do something that they otherwise would not do of their own volition. It can be military, economic and even moral
The Post-Cold War Order
(Liberal) optimists hoped and believed that the USA would use the 'unipolar' moment for the greater good, spreading free trade and democracy around the globe, aligning its interests and values in the best of all possible worlds. This would be done by force if necessary
The US as a 'Revisionist' Power
After the Cold War, some argued that the US moved into a phase of revisionism seeking to use its position of influence to embed its interests in a post-Westphalian order structured by institutions of global governance dominated by the US hegemon
Challenges to the US World Order
The most obvious challenges to the international order came, not from rival great powers but via 'blowback' from radical states, non-governmental actors and anti-hegemonic social movements who did not see any benefit from the Western order
BRICS and MINTs
Less spectacular, but no less important, was the economic and diplomatic performance of significant non-Western powers, notable the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and the MINTs (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey
G7, G20 AND G77
Various forms of 'multilateral' governance emerged after 1945 and the end of the COld War amongst 7 (occasionally 8) largest economies, the 20 largest economies (including Australia) and the smallest 77 economies in the world
A Return to Multi-polarity?
In the wake of the US invasion of and withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan (2003-14) some have asked if we are returning to a multi-polar international system more like the international society in the nineteenth century what the bi-polarity of the Cold War era
Rising Powers and the International Order Today
Most change in global politics is incremental and gradual
Rising powers' have sustained their rise through good diplomacy in an adverse international environment after 2008
Rising powers are crucial to legitimacy of the institutions of global governance in which they operate (it's not just economics)
If military power is the most important source of power then the US cannot be challenged for a very long time
The BRICS and MINTs have little in common and are as much competitors as allies
The US retains dominance over institutions of global governance, and can decide what gets decided in such forums
A Post-Westphalian Order?
By making a comparison over time, we can see that despite significant transformations on the basis of state sovereignty, territoriality and autonomy, it is far too soon to write off the Westphalian order as an important foundational element of the international order today
Great powers are a crucial element in the creation of and maintenance of the international order
The historical records show that great powers rise and fall and that rising powers can destabilise the international order
The embedded nature of US dominance in a post-Westphalian order means that the challenges of rising powers might be more easily contained
Yet history - and the history of International Relations - also shows us that major change is unanticipated