The Fast & Furious Multipolar, Economic and Political Global Order
Globalization, like climate change and human rights, is a universal regime, which has ‘human’ ends and starts to some extent. It means that there may be fits and starts — but the developments always pose the demand for change. They may have moral and ethical issues, but I propose that morality has nothing to do with reality and its ugliness in general. What has to do is — the ethics of preparation, control/surveillance and innovation to resist and reproduce from adversities we face.
See this graph. Until 1900, the highs and lows of wars were consequential. We started with a formalistic, yet elitist/aristocratic world which conferred limitation in wars in the sense of their excruciation capacity, but by 2000s, the numbers fell drastically, which means the world population went into more constructivist measures in the global system. That is what the rules-based international order all about.
The Rules-based International Order is Begging for Reproduction but is Resistant
Now, the rules-based international order exists, but with redemptions. These redemptions can be legal, political, moral and even social. However, I would propose here that our observation of the global order’s turmoils over the past centuries must not be predicated on the question of whether it was moral to have that kind of order. Instead, we must question our own history a simple question — what do we learn from within as a cluster of systems and a cluster of arrangements and partnerships?
Please understand: if you read the recent Foreign Policy’s comments on a Global Order after Coronavirus, you will find most of the commentaries devoid of moral biases except a few which I humbly disagree themselves with. Now, we are seeing some trends in early 2020, which have, according to Ruchir Sharma, thinker and investor based in New York, showing signs of de-globalization, which is correct, and that is agreed by the data arranged by think-tanks and institutes as well, we can infer. Now that we are not going to care much about moral biases and face real solutions, we must see the bare changes that I will address in this special piece on the multipolar world order:
- Short-Term Power Legitimization Shift from West-to-East
- Change of Priorities for Diplomats and Governments
- End of Left-Right Hypocrisies in Soft Power Diplomacy Between the Global North and the Global South
- Responsibility Overrides Liberties and Privacies
- From Persistent Surveillance to Responsible & Humanized Surveillance in Cyberspace and Physical Context
Short-Term Power Legitimization Shift from West-to-East
It is commented often that the US under Donald J Trump has become populist and nationalistic and that since 2017, has shook the world order, in many ways. Left-liberals argue (1) Brexit; (2) Donald Trump’s election; (3) Rise of Populists, (whether Left/Centre/Right) into a single chain and argue that the world order is in stitches and maybe some drastic human ends will be inevitable, according to them. It is seen amorous, often in Western countries that a sense of hysteria is being communicated to people. However, real liberalism does not advocate hysteria, and since the Second World War, we are witnessing greater stability in the Global North, especially in the West (America, Europe and Eurasia) as compared to the Global South. Now, the rise of China, India and some SAARC and ASEAN countries is a counter to Western ethnocentrism in three issues of global interest:
- economic soft power balancing referred to as (a);
- humanitarian and mediation diplomacy referred to as (b);
- human rights and protection of sovereign and public interests referred to as (c).
In (a), we have witnessed economic evidence that some power shifts are happening, which is good to rebalance and mitigate the ills of the economic order, which still would vary with time. In (b), countries like India, Singapore and Japan are playing better roles at the UN, the EU and even in cooperation activities with the Western countries of the Global North, who have turned out to be centre-populist or right-populist with no offence. India also, for example, has gained a diplomatic edge in handling issues like peacekeeping affairs at the UN Peacebuilding Commission, the CAA-NPR-NRC issue and the Kashmir Question swiftly, and is directing the world towards more multi-aligned world order, with India become ‘a’ stabilizing power and leader of the costly ‘free’ world. In (c), the East, regardless of being poor in its human rights record in terms of efficacy based on structural testing, is not facing the tremors of ethnocentrism and populism the same way the West is facing rapidly.
The efficacy of maintaining a robust and clean human rights record for a state may have certain political concordance that may be considered irrelevant, but the regimes of human rights (if just not by the name), for centuries — have been privileged by the coordinating nature of political activities. In that aspect, considering India, China and Japan as novel examples, there is no existential issue in the course because the West, in comparison is facing vast regime changes and a period of self-exploration, self-realization and self-reflection, which is appreciated. Any country must pass through this period to better itself and develop.
Therefore, taking the examples of the three chain problems that the Left-Liberals do argue at all times, we must understand the problems carefully.
Let me ask a question.
Should we believe that in a post-COVID19 outbreak scenario China and the East will seek dominance? No. The reasons are simple:
- The East has no elongation of hegemony in world affairs when it comes to its involvement. Although the East is fast, smart and efficient enough in building its diplomatic and cultural confidence, which since the West does not have (and Real Liberalism is not responsible for it, read The Radical Philosophy of Rights by Costas Douzinas), we are not witnessing any stable trends or symptoms of an elongated hegemony in world affairs that the East should achieve. Therefore, if we follow the 3-tier test of global interests, we can see that the West still has some chances to correct itself after a good period of ‘selves’ so to speak.
- The Need of a Global Health System, which respects economic nationalism as well as high and cooperative standards of hygiene and sanitation should be a top priority for the world. A recent December 2019 US Congress testimony on issues related to the pharma industry and China’s dominance politics is crucial to understand because of the very reason that China is unfair to be a monopolistic global leader like the US in issues of crucial importance.
Obviously, the US, even in issues of healthcare is a disaster, and except Scandinavian countries, many Western countries still have to work more to balance and ethicize the global order if they intend to remain as the ends of the political, diplomatic and human reproduction and evolution as a whole. But a timid phase of self-reflection coupled by a less trusted China gives them an opportunity to double-down their efforts to become the better guardians of the free world they advocate.
- The West, yet, even if has lost its diplomatic & cultural confidence, is still, a champion of human rights, and owns the Global North in many ways possible. To guide the international community a proper stage of de-globalization/fixed globalization I believe, the West is responsible enough to balance the social, digital, economic and political scale of say, actions and legitimation between the Global North & the Global South. If they do not realize this, then they cannot be immune to the centre-populist approach of the Global South and the East, and thus, they can be doomed in coming decades swiftly.
Change of Priorities for Diplomats and Governments
For Diplomats and Governments, the categories of priorities change. For a country, terrorism may be a priority, and for others, education is another priority. Nevertheless, as per the 3-tier global interests test I have proposed, I would like to assess where would our priorities go. We have been anthropocentric in issues of state interests and practices, and that fundamentally should not change. However, we can see three important trends that the multipolar order would consider anyways:
- Liberalism to Naturalism in Environment Diplomacy is certain to happen despite populism. Populism may be concordant with the trends of 1950s to 1990s on average in practice, (in countries like India, the US, the UK, some European countries etc, for example) — but constitutional experts believe that populism makes democrats who have earned power more responsible. Furthermore, the nature of the responsibility that pseudo-populists like Narendra Modi, Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, right-populists like Viktor Orban and Jair Bolsonaro and left-populists in Mexico and Italy (since Salvini is not a part of the Italian government as of now in early 2020) are very much responsible to focus on climate change to bolster and legitimize the diplomatic and cultural confidence they have received from the world leaders and their people. Defying them would encourage a sense of alternative populism and not anti-populism politics which they cannot ignore in these times.
- Thanks to the worst record of human rights advocacy of certain NGOs, UN Bodies and refugee advocacy organizations, the universal regime of human rights protection will shift from the woke and community-eyed approach to a more individual-responsibility and autonomous approach, where, the mere recognition of human rights as a universal issue does not deprive nationalist governments to act with limited legitimation and limited freedom.
End of Left-Right Hypocrisies in Soft Power Diplomacy Between the Global North and the Global South
The political left and the political right, at a global perspective, irrespective of captive dominance, would not exist (a) polarised; and (b) ideologically religious anymore even if it seems that populism can increase more ideological toxicity and religiosity among the people.
The Left despite encouraging the philosophy of human rights as a universal concept has failed in determining a breathable future of human rights regimes beyond ethnocentrism and the very fact that respecting global diversity is a white man’s burden. If they keep doing this, their political isolation is susceptible, which itself shows that the world must not lean politically unreasonably, but should focus on a more credible, creative and open world, that is a skeptic but rational not based on some ideological dissonance, but on the basis of human evolution that is reproduced with the freedom to realize who we really can be.
The political right must also not be proud of the rise of populism, because they must understand that the Aristotelian approach of understanding how state changes from democracy to tyranny is fundamentally flawed. Democracy is indeed a flawed concept and requires proper fixing. But should not democracies be always prepared and reproductive to constitutional redemptions? They should be if we argue eminent author Gautam Bhatia’s views from his book, Transformative Constitutionalism. We have another vague example from the Brexit process, where Boris Johnson has denied that the UK would bind to the European Convention of Human Rights.
Misusing or manipulating or misreading laws, social constructs and judgments is the art of the most cunning. Cunningness does not discriminate among the left, the centre and the right. Even liberals, and so conservatives are cunning.
Thus, there is no chance that populism would exist and polarise/regiment societies for long, and the reason is simple. The world is reacting to populism in a diluted and proceduralist manner. Mere political legitimation to populists, and ridiculing of relevant anti-populist politics and governance is not the new reality, if at least not the new normal. The nature of populism in the West is existential, trembling, and misguided. However, the pseudo-populism and real populism in the Global South (if exists) is based on an economic, cultural and social nationalism that aspires for a better world and nation for the people who live and die for the nation. But yes, both Global North and Global South populisms have one of the few similar features that the people demand something really fundamental, i.e., Kindly change your nations first, so to change the world in a responsible way. Thus, populism would thaw out in coming years, which would accelerate a race of political, social and ethical change among leaders and humans. Leaders must be accustomed to it.
Responsibility Overrides Liberties and Privacies
Let me ask a question.
Does the conception of individual responsibility defy the very idea of liberty and equality in general? No. Why? The reason is simple. It is by the practical virtue and actions of individual responsibility that predicate the very idea of human rights, and therefore keeps them alive. Henry Kissinger, esteemed former diplomat, has given a critique in his works that the Congress of Vienna was a successful attempt to gain world peace. I will summarise his views based on an excerpt from an article:
Is “peace” simply the absence of violence between States? To what extent is peace a value in itself and just one at times forfeit something in return for peace? How far do we go in the name of peace? Can our peace mean war for others? In other words, though there are many claims for peace, it remains a contested concept.(Vec, 2014).
The Rules-based International Order has detoxified its personality from the ethnocentric, unreal, utopian and biased ‘toxins’ that fail to adhere to the ethical standard of world order. The world must not be led by morality, but by ethical decisions and reproducing better results to face and reside with legal, cultural and social pluralism. We have already developed reasonable international law principles, which are technically objective, and can be revisited and developed for the developing world and the rest of the Global South in order to gauge a politico-legal diplomatic equilibrium between the Global North and the Global South. Thus, I argue that an order to safeguard rights only works when objective and real responsibilities are taught to those who avail the rights, in a more innovative way, which I think the world can handle. The question which we should always ask is whether we can stop pretending immunity to social and legal redemptions and reproducing the international community with better resistance.
From Persistent Surveillance to Responsible & Humanized Surveillance in Cyberspace and Physical Context
Renata Avila, eminent Digital Activist and lawyer has said in one of her interviews, that:
The Internet of creation disappeared. Now we have the Internet of surveillance and control.
I agree with her because the internet would not seek the age of creation again unless it needs that liberalization. It is impeccable to understand and estimate that the conception of surveillance whether by Artificial Intelligence, in due predominance or not, would face impeccable changes, which is impressive and daunting. However, as I had argued in my past pieces that people must have ethical autonomy themselves to own their liberties not just as responsible individuals but also as responsible masses, I stick to that argument vehemently, because to counter fake news and identity, humans must be ahead of technology and its by-products, the human artefacts.
Unless we have the capability to be a sceptic towards the services that technology as a whole, which can include anything artificially created, and not just tools and services of IT, we can never fight transient populism and consolidate a libertarian model of mass surveillance.
We have a sense of cognitive dissonance, based on identity issues and the urge of structural comfort from technology and living creatures as a pre-emptive expectation, which causes us not to develop and arise as better and evolved humans. I need not argue that surveillance methods have become more intimate, and so the obscurity theory of privacy could be violated, or maybe made obsolete forever. To not counter but challenge the subjective and existentially negative infrastructure of surveillance, which has been the new normal for years, encouraged by the West at most, which I quote as Persistent Surveillance, it is fundamental for us to change the way technology develops its empathy. This applies to artificial intelligence as well. In order to do that, we have to become human-conscious and responsible to challenge technology by not relinquishing those of our soft privacy rights which do not create a layer of obscurity against surveillance but foster trust-based cooperation to the systems of surveillance. Furthermore, the rise in surveillance politics may seem populist and technocratic, but it would not be exponential forever, because, in coming years, surveillance has to become humanized and naturalized to meet the demands and problems of the people. For some inspiration, do watch the last scene of The Circle on Netflix.
We can, therefore, understand that the idea of privacy should shift from sheer obscurantist materialism to a more open, honest and pure naturalism that accepts intervention but is self-sustainable.
Martelloni, G., Patti, F. D., & Bardi, U. (2018, December 19). Pattern Analysis of World Conflicts over the past 600 years. Retrieved from Cornell University: https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1812/1812.08071.pdf
Vec, M. (2014). The Power of Peace Diplomacy between the Congress of Vienna and the Paris Treaties 1919. UN Chronicle: https://unchronicle.un.org/article/power-peace-diplomacy-between-congress-vienna-and-paris-treaties-1919.