Making Sense of China’s Rise and the Challenge it Poses to the Liberal Western Order

Prof. Dr. Tarık OĞUZLU
18 November 2014
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With the dynamics of global politics changing profoundly, the prestigious position of the western actors within the current system has been exposed to serious challenges. As is well known, the current world order has come into being in the aftermath of the Second World War under the stewardship of the United States. The liberal world order has reflected and facilitated the strategic and economic interests of the western actors. The United States, in close cooperation with western European states, has led the key international organizations, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Organization, NATO and the European Union. Other actors had been delegated to secondary roles within such organizations and the final say almost always rested with the United States. For a long period of time, this pro-western character of vital international organizations has remained unquestioned, mainly because the power configurations of the postwar era profoundly favored the western actors. Neither the Warsaw Pact countries nor China had been given a fair representation within such international institutions. These organizations did not only help western actors materialize their interests across the globe but also embody the core liberal assumption that there is only one route to modernity and development, i.e., the western way. Consolidation and promotion of the principles of individual entrepreneurship, democratic way of government, minimum state role in economy, rule of law, free trade, secularization of societal relations and respect for multiculturalism, constituted the backbone of the western-led liberal world order. The assumption was that non-western countries would eventually join the league of developed, powerful and rich countries should they transform themselves in line with such principles.

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