We must work together to build a new world order. This is how we can do it

cold war 2018

“Now the trumpet summons us again, not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are – but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle…” – John F. Kennedy Twilight Struggle is a two-player game simulating the forty-five year dance of intrigue, prestige, and occasional flares of warfare between the Soviet Union and the United States. (Unsplash, 2018)

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Gülnur Aybet, Senior Adviser to the President, Office of the President of Turkey and member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Europe, Professor Yildiz Technical University


It is almost 30 years since the former Warsaw Pact countries were invited to a NATO gathering for the first time. It was a last-minute decision to invite them and some name plates were missing. I remember a delegate from an Eastern European country asking me in a somewhat embarrassed tone, “Sorry miss, but I do not seem to have a nameplate”.

It was the end of the Cold War, we were unprepared for the drastic changes taking place but at the same time, all of us, no matter how small our roles, had to think fast on our feet. I rushed to the stationery cupboard, found a cardboard box, a pair of scissors and a marker. The gentleman nodded at me with a gracious smile, his eyes beaming at the makeshift representation of his country at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s annual event. As a young intern in 1991, that was my contribution to the end of the Cold War.

The need to act expeditiously in times of great change is as relevant as ever. However, the West’s strategy to deal with change in the international order has been one of intransigent denial, while zealously clinging onto what we inherited from the Cold War.

Much of this denial to face change has been embedded in what was the original ‘transatlantic bargain’ and the fact that it was much too good a deal to be jettisoned for something else. The transatlantic bargain was to economically rebuild Europe from the ashes of a devastating war so that it became the principal strategic partner in a global political economy, while the US provided the bulwark of security against the Soviet Union with extended nuclear deterrence.

The moral imperative behind this deal, which strengthened the social legitimacy of its international institutions, was the need to defend a certain ‘way of life’ against a different one. That murky definition was coloured with the principles of freedom, democracy and human rights, but there were parts of the so-called ‘Western bloc’ that did not fall within these principles at all.

It was only after the Cold War that putting the defence of principles before the practicality of military defence became a reality. This was not because of any benign intent. The immediate post-Cold War period rested on a grand design to absorb the post-communist world into the transatlantic institutions that were inherited from the Cold War, and the forebearer of that absorption were norms and values.

Even then a European scholar had commented that wars like Yugoslavia may not have had a direct bearing on the West’s economic and security interests, but they constituted ‘bad examples’ at a time when ‘we’ in the West were trying to advance enlargement of institutions through universal values. It was a time when values and norms did become the interests at hand.

Eventually, the past 27 years evolved into a struggle of maintaining that post-Cold War grand design with the enlargement of the EU and NATO, whilst a battle of norms ensued as Russia and China also took a stab at owning international norms to fit their own designs.

At the heart of Russia’s realpolitik ventures in its own region, was an attempt to curb Western normative expansion in its neighbourhood. While the intervention in Georgia in 2008 was framed as one undertaken under ‘international humanitarian law’, the annexation of Crimea was presented as one of championing ‘self defence’. Both were concepts used quite widely in the break-up of Yugoslavia and the ensuing NATO interventions in both Bosnia and Kosovo.

China, on the other hand, prefers to promote and soften its growing international influence by referring to ‘cooperation’, and a ‘win-win’ approach under a globalist outlook. China’s use of infrastructure-for-resources loans in Africa, as well as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have been put forward as a new regional and globalist ‘win-win’ strategy.

Underlying this approach are nevertheless serious challenges to the persistent transatlantic-centred liberal world order. Not only does the BRI present new challenges to the management of the global commons as primary trade routes, but it also presents a new path paved with investment, not just trading routes, that grow together with alternative new institutions like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

At the end of the day, what has not changed since the 1990s is that power and influence are still being dressed up in normative language to legitimize expansion. The only difference being in the 1990s the ‘transatlantic core’ held the original copyright, whereas today other powers are playing the same game.

This has exacerbated the transatlantic core’s tendency to refuse to accept change in the global order. At the heart of this has been a persistent rejection of Russian attempts to circumvent international norms, that have proved to be both disturbing and frustrating for the West.

Another reason why this denial of change persisted so long was the impending doom of replacing that order with a downward spiral into chaos. It was the vision of a lack of alternatives that stoked this fear of not letting go of the 1990s. What lay behind this was the erroneous belief that, the mission of shaping the world through essentially western institutions and norms, “gave diverse people a sense of a shared mission and a common vocabulary.” This is likely to be less and less the case.

However, does this necessarily mean the international order will have no alternative but to descend into chaos or something far worse? Furthermore, we should ask ourselves if a changed international order, ought to necessarily be an illiberal one? The answer to both questions is if the emergent, the rising and the declining, can manage change together. Surely this is the true ‘win-win’ scenario that all can benefit from. Perhaps a brave new world in the making, one that we can all embrace and shape together is not so far-fetched an idea.

This brings us to the hardest part in answering these questions. How can change be managed together? There are no easy answers but the starting point has to focus on what needs to be done. There are a long list of challenges that impact us all, from creating sustainable peace and growth, to curbing the growing global refugee crisis, and tackling climate change.

By working together in a global functional framework, we can create a ‘Mitrany’ model for the world, of pragmatic international cooperation, where transnational and international webs of transactions focusing on a particular activity will eventually lead to more solid, normative bonds in international relations.

Mitrany’s model of functionalism worked in creating those bonds in post-War Europe. With the building of bonds and trust through functional cooperation we can thus create a Mitrany model for the world, where we will eventually write our own common norms that bind us together. Perhaps these will be the same norms that were embedded in the transatlantic bargain that created a liberal world order, but they will no longer be empty words, but tangible deeds attached to values that mean something.

In 1945, the focus was to rebuild after a devastating war. Despite the onslaught of the Cold War, there was much that brought people and states together. What was behind the original transatlantic bargain was not a vision laced with fancy words but deeds that built order from ashes. That is what gave meaning to those values and the institutions that upheld them.

Perhaps we will move from an order of ‘interlocking institutions’ to ‘interlocking regions’. Interlocking institutions was a phrase coined in the 1990s that referred to reconstituted transatlantic institutions such as NATO, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, at the heart of a renewed and expanding liberal world order.

This is now likely to be replaced with interlocking regions, where there is no institutional or normative core, but competing and cooperative structures of convenience forming global webs of transactions between different regions and different regional institutions. This has to be the heart of managing change together.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

At Arab League Summit, Guterres reaffirms strong link between UN and people of Arab world

Mixed news about the Eurozone economy

Climate change update: consistent global actions urgently needed as we are running out of time

How fungi could save the world

Fostering defence innovation through the European Defence Fund

Only a few months away from the single European patent space

EU Banks still get subsidies from impoverished citizens

UN gender agency hails record-breaking number of women in new US Congress as ‘historic victory’

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission decides to register 2 new initiatives

Germany resists Macron’s plan for closer and more cohesive Eurozone; Paris and Berlin at odds

General Data Protection Regulation shows results, but work needs to continue

How water scarcity triggers the refugee crisis – and what tech can do to solve it

Globalization 4.0 must build a better world for working people

3 trends that will transform the energy industry

Why medicine is relevant to the battle against climate change

COP21 Breaking News_04 December: Launch of CREWS, climate risk & early warning systems

AI can help us unlock the world’s most complex operating system – the human body

Anti-vaccine sentiment one of 10 biggest health threats, says WHO

UN agency chiefs condemn Saudi-coalition led air strike that killed dozens in western Yemen

The EU can afford to invest trillions in support of employment

European Energy Union: Integration of markets and need for in-house energy production

Asia-Pacific ‘regional parliament’ underway to advance equality, empowerment, for more than four billion citizens

Commission to decide on bank resolution issues

Mental health and suicide prevention: the contradictory access in a reference city of southern Brazil

How building renovations can speed up the electric vehicle revolution

UN chief urges ‘maximum restraint’ following policy shift over northeastern Syria

A young student discusses the determinants of migration in the European Union

Corruption undermines democracy and contributes to instability, warns senior UN anti-crime official

These EU countries have the most government debt

Mali: Presidential elections critical to consolidate democracy, says UN peacekeeping chief

104 countries have laws that prevent women from working in some jobs

Will Qualcomm avoid Broadcom’s hostile takeover post the 1 bn euro EU antitrust fine?

Time to say goodbye to the plastic straw. But what’s the best alternative?

IMF: How can Eurozone avoid stagnation

UN agencies welcome regional road map to help integrate ‘continuing exodus of Venezuelans’

ECB’s first flight in Eurozone’s banking universe will be just a reconnaissance

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘End the Cage Age’ initiative

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about to hit the construction industry. Here’s how it can thrive

Deal on protecting workers from exposure to harmful substances

New volunteering programme for young people in Europe and beyond agreed

Lifting the lid on policy decisions across Africa

Venezuela, Poland and Sudan amongst 14 new Human Rights Council members

The European Youth raises their voices this week in Brussels at Yo!Fest 2015

As Marvel’s first comic book fetches $1.26 million, here are five things to know about the superhero business

First EU collective redress mechanism to protect consumers

UN ‘comes together in sadness and solidarity’ to honour staff who died on board Ethiopian Airlines flight

COVID19 Pandemic: The Mental Health of Colored Chicks

Assembly President launches new initiative to purge plastics and purify oceans

Spending another 3 billion euros on Turkey feels better than admitting EU’s failure

EU security and defence industry prepares positions for ‘producers’ and ‘customers’

Impact Investment needs global standards and better measurement

New phenomena in the EU labour market

LGBTQ+: The invisible poor on our healthcare

Kors and Nyong’o: Food, fashion and film join forces at UN, for the world’s hungry

Youth unemployment: think out of the box

Team Europe: EU provides €100 million to Mozambique for education, health and social protection

EU Citizenship Report: empowering citizens and protecting their rights

EU leaders let tax-evaders untouched

COVID-19 highlights how caregiving fuels gender inequality

UN heath agency: Time is now to ‘act as one’ in fighting infectious coronavirus

More Stings?

Advertising

Comments

  1. Greetings friends of europeansting.com. Talking about building a new world order , here is a proposal that might be of interest to you:

    A SELF SUFFICIENT VIRTUAL CITY AS A MODEL TO BUILD A SUSTAINABLE REAL WORLD

    Despite the high quality of life that some of the so-called developed nations have achieved, the truth is that the world, considered as a group of countries located in a fragile and geographically limited biosphere, is threatened with extinction due to human conflicts and the depredation of the environment.
    Notwithstanding the good and very important actions taken by groups and individuals in favor of a better world, deterioration at all levels continues to increase dangerously.
    After more than thirty years dedicated to these matters, and since “an image is worth a thousand words” we have come up with an alternative strategy, which consists of designing a self-sufficient and sustainable model city that has all the characteristics of infrastructure and organization inherent to the peaceful and sustainable society that we want for ourselves and our descendants, whose representation in the form of scale models, animated series, feature films, video games and theme parks, would constitute a model to follow to generate the necessary changes.
    The prototype that we present has some characteristics that are opposed, sometimes in a radical way, to the religious, economic, political and educational traditions and customs that have been transmitted from generation to generation, yet are the causes of the aforementioned problems, and therefore must be transformed.
    If you are interested in knowing about this project, or even participating in it, we invite you to visit our website https://elmundofelizdelfuturo.blogspot.com/ (written in Spanish and English), where we are working in that sense.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s