Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The world becomes multi-polar with unforseen consequences

By Aussiegirl

Some interesting perspectives on the passing of the "unipolar moment". There is no question that the world is realigning itself into new blocs, and even into multipolar regions of power and influence, and for the time being this situation is highly unstable.

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs

While US power is likely to remain the strongest, the structure of power in the international system will become more diffuse. Stated in another fashion, the US will remain the leading power, but it will be less inclined and able to take the same unilateral actions as it has made in the past. Consequently, the emerging multipolar system is likely to include the big and powerful - the United States, Japan, Europe and what is now being called the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

This in itself will change things - the major powers will be a more distinct group. As political thinkers since Pericles have taken note, distinction breeds envy, envy breeds resentment and, unchecked, resentment breeds hatred. Some of the visceral dislike for the United States could now have new targets, especially as some of the players are forced to assume responsibility and make difficult decisions - acts that could make them unpopular.

The problem of the emerging multipolar system is that it currently has no equilibrium. The system is still ill-defined and, as such, is inherently dangerous. And in this emerging system, new alliances are being formed and old ones are tested. The re-emergence of Japan and Russia, the rise of China and India, and the spread of nuclear weapons all indicate that the global system is searching for new parameters.

For those still believing in the myth of the US unipolar moment, the next round of international crises will be harder to understand - and quite possibly that much more difficult to resolve. Iran will be a test for a more clearly defined multipolar system. Let us hope the world can meet it.


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