Since 2006, when the GEAB bulletin was launched, our team has placed the emerging multipolar world at the heart of the global systemic crisis. The effects of the growing relativity of the American power were the first visible signs of a vast global reconfiguration. Then, in 2009, with the creation of the BRIC(S) club, the new players started to impose themselves in an organized manner on the international stage, really giving substance to this concept of a multipolar world.
That said, the strategy of the emerging powers first consisted of creating a common front aimed at reforming the existing international institutions, in particular through the G20. Initially, the new powers mostly intended to be recognized and integrated into the international architecture built by the West in the twentieth century.
Some changes have indeed occurred as a result of this “lobbying”. However as the West was thus beginning to lose control of their power tools, they started acting more and more outside those bodies which they had created. For example, the United States started stepping out of the UN framework and even of NATO when they led their military campaigns. Similarly, the Westerners also withdrew from WTO at a point in time.
Yet, the Westerners’ partial withdrawal from the international system did not necessarily allow the bodies of twentieth century international governance to really take into account the new diversity of interests involved. The strong Western DNA of these institutions remained at work. And, the new powers mainly see in their participation in those instances a way to limit the risk of polarization between them and the West.
Deepening the concept of multipolarity
This finding requires more careful consideration of the concept of a multipolar world. Indeed, the new world “poles” are not just important new “members” of the international club, and the method that consists of integrating countries such as Russia, India or China into a system of pre-established Western rules, has no chance of summarizing these countries’ roles and action.
A multipolar world is made up of highly differentiated actors with different languages, cultures, value systems, strategic interests, business models, etc. Peace and prosperity are two aims on which these actors agree, but this quest cannot be done under a pre-existing regulatory supervision, in the elaboration of which these actors have not participated. Increasingly visibly, the so-called “international” method is that of a Western club inviting the world to line up under its banner of values and principles for peace to reign. In this statement, we can see to what extent the method is unacceptable in the eyes of some actors whose power is at least equivalent to that of the “masters” of that game.
For a global governance guarantor of peace, instead of an “international” approach, it’s time to think of a “multipolar” method based on a plurality of dominant players: the US, Europe, China, Russia, India, Brazil, South Africa…