The Emerging Multipolar World Order and Its Ramifications

Prof. Dr. Tarık OĞUZLU
24 November 2015
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As we have been experiencing an increasing amount of militarized interstate and interstate disputes across the globe, one may wonder whether there is a direct relationship between the structure of international system on the one hand and the growing propensity to conflict and war on the other hand.

 

International Relations discipline is replete with scholarly discussions on the relationship between polarity and stability or conflict. While a quite number of structural realists contend that bipolar and unipolar systems would produce more peace and stability at the systemic level, some other, already nested within the realist camp, tend to argue that multipolar systems would more likely increase the specter of peace and stability.

 

This short essay will not engage in an academic discussion on the merits of such arguments in detail, yet will argue that a gradual evolution to a loose multipolar system over the last two decades seems to have facilitated the emergence of interstate rivalries and militarized disputes across the globe at unprecedented levels.

 

The first observation to make in this regard is that the gradual erosion in American global dominance around the globe seems to have paved the way for other global and regional actors to move more freely in their neighborhood. The maneuvering capability of powers located in the non-western world has tremendously increased with two of them, namely China and Russia, claiming that they are entitled to their own sphere of influence in their own regions. Rather than agreeing to American primacy in their regions, Russia and China have been trying to do their best to underline that their geopolitical priorities need to be taken into consideration while other global and regional actors design and implement their national interests.

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