DOI: 10.5176/2251-2403_PSSIR17.16

Authors: Bertel Heurlin

Abstract:

In his 2014 book,” World Order” (p.371) Henry Kissinger asserts “that a reconstruction of the international system is the ultimate challenge to statesmanship in our time. He continues that “The penalty for failing ….. will be an evolution into spheres of influence identified with particular domestic structure and forms of governance- for example, the Westphalian model as against the radical Islamist version.” To reconstruct world order seems necessary. But how? Comprehensive World disorder is a serious possibility. Just look at the current developments international politics. The image reveals disorder, disintegration, dissolution. We are confronted with an American president pursuing a what could be called a “post-superpower” policy (Patric,2027:52), signalling isolationism, anti-globalism, mercantilism, distortion, zero-sum- uncertainty driven politics avoiding world leadership and avoiding prospects for universal values. We are experiencing a European Union characterized by disintegration and in dissolution, a World of Islamism, a World of terrorism, a World of waves of refugees and immigration, a world of bloody civil wars, heavy conflicts in Asia, not least in the South China Sea and in North Korea. According to this interpretation the US is no more disposed to be the leader of the world, to be the manager of the World Order. This implies that the overarching world order, until the new American administration took over, is generally considered to be heavy influenced by the only superpower´s global political project, which aims at an order based on market economy, democracy, individual freedom, human rights, international law and order, is fading. This paper will, however, argue that an alternative interpretation of the state of affairs of the world based on neorealism using a theory of unipolarity will better explain the current international political outcome. Also the paper will assert that the current World Order, which emerged after the end of the Cold War, is not going to disappear in a foreseeable future. Accordingly, no new World Order is about to be born. Many would argue that this unipolarity- based approach could be rejected as not only outdated and obsolete but also as irrelevant. Admittedly very few scholars and even less politicians will today use the notion of unipolarity to describe the current structure of the international system. More are, however, inclined to use another wording for the same situation, namely to speak of e.g.” an order with a single superpower”. The lonely superpower concept seems to be more acceptable, more political correct. But if one is recognizing the international system as a system with only one superpower it is difficult to reject the theoretical notion of unipolarity. Unipolarity means a system with a single pole, a superpower. A superpower is not just the first among equals. Asymmetry exists between superpower class and all other classes of countries.

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