Preparing now for a peaceful 21st century.
DESPITE the disruptions evident since the end of the Cold War, the great powers have yet to forge a clear, coherent strategy for promoting global security. Instead, confusion and conflicting impulses abound. From efforts to deal with the civil war in what was once Yugoslavia to coping with domestic turmoil in Somalia, their policies have been characterized by hesitation and false starts. The failure to prevent aggression stemming from long-suppressed ethnic hatreds, alongside percolating rivalries among themselves over trade issues, have heightened apprehensions about whether the great powers will be able to maintain peaceful relations in the long term.
To some extent, their struggles are understandable. Creating a global security policy for a chaotic and confusing post-Cold War world is a formidable challenge. The simple bipolar system of the recent past rapidly is giving way to a more complex configuration of strength, and the prevailing uncertainty surrounding the great powers' future intentions makes construction of a new security system difficult.
In today's cloudy global atmosphere, military and economic might are becoming increasingly diffused. In contrast to bipolarity, where two superstates held a preponderance of strength compared to all other countries, the multipolar mul·ti·po·lar
Having more than two poles. Used of a nerve cell that has branches that project from several points.
having more than two poles or processes. system of the future appears destined des·tine
tr.v. des·tined, des·tin·ing, des·tines
1. To determine beforehand; preordain: a foolish scheme destined to fail; a film destined to become a classic.
2. to contain as many as five roughly equal great powers: the U.S., China, Russia, Japan, and either Germany or a European Union European Union (EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the
European Community with a common defense policy. A "power transition" is well under way, and the changes provoked by this redistribution promise to be fundamental. The relative capabilities of the great powers are moving in the direction of approximate parity.
The diffusion of strength among the world's leading states demands attention because some previous forms of multipolarity have been more war-prone than others. For example, the multipolar system of antagonistic blocs that developed on the eve On the Eve (Накануне in Russian) is the third novel by famous Russian writer Ivan Turgenev, best known for his short stories and the novel Fathers and Sons. of World War I proved particularly dangerous. When a world of many great powers splits into rival camps, there is little chance that competitors in one policy arena will emerge as partners somewhere else, so as to mitigate the competition. Rather, the gains made by one side will be seen as losses by the other, ultimately causing minor disagreements to grow into larger faceoffs from which neither coalition is willing to retreat.
Since the international system of the early 21st century probably will include three or more extremely powerful states whose security interests are global, it is important that they do not become segregated into rival blocs. While the world can rejoice in the end of Cold War hostility, differences in the interests of the great powers have not disappeared, and there is no assurance that future disagreements will not culminate in intense conflict.
As former U.S. Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger warns, we are "returning to a more traditional and complicated time of multipolarity, with a growing number of countries increasingly able to affect the course of events." The primary issues are how well the U.S. and Russia can adjust to their unequal decline from overwhelming preponderance, and how well China, Japan, and the European Union will adapt to their newfound new·found
Recently discovered: a newfound pastime.
Adj. 1. newfound - newly discovered; "his newfound aggressiveness"; "Hudson pointed his ship down the coast of the newfound sea" importance. "The change will not be easy for any of the players, as such shifts in power relationships have never been easy."
Can great-power cooperation, not renewed conflict, prevail? At issue is whether the security threats that collectively will face the world will be managed through multilateral great-power action instead of the unilateral pursuit of national advantage.
Great-power options in a multipolar future
As power in the international system becomes more diffused, what can be done to prevent the re-emergence of an unstable form of multipolarity? How can the great powers avoid the rivalries that historically have provoked the formation of polarized A one-way direction of a signal or the molecules within a material pointing in one direction. , antagonistic blocs? Three general courses of action exist: they can act unilaterally; develop specialized bilateral alliances with others; or engage in some form of broad collaboration with many nations. What matters for the stability of multipolar systems is the relative emphasis placed on "going it alone" vs. "going it with others," and whether joint action is defined in inclusive or exclusive terms.
Unilateral policies, though attractive because they symbolize the nostalgic pursuit of national autonomy, are unlikely to be viable in a multipolar future. The end of the Cold War has reduced public anxieties about foreign dangers and, in some countries, led to calls for a reduction in the scale of foreign commitments. A retreat from world affairs Noun 1. world affairs - affairs between nations; "you can't really keep up with world affairs by watching television"
affairs - transactions of professional or public interest; "news of current affairs"; "great affairs of state" , however, would imperil im·per·il
tr.v. im·per·iled or im·per·illed, im·per·il·ing or im·per·il·ling, im·per·ils
To put into peril. See Synonyms at endanger. efforts to deal with the many transnational threats to security that require active global engagement.
On the other hand, a surge of unilateral activism by any of the great powers would be equally harmful. None of them holds an unquestioned hegemonic status with enough power to override all others. Although the U.S. is unrivaled in military might, its offensive capability and unsurpassed military technology is not paralleled by unrivaled financial clout. Like others, the U.S. economy faces constraints that inhibit the projection of American power on a global scale.
Given the prohibitive costs of shouldering the economic burden of acting alone alongside the absence of a public mandate for international activism, and given the probability that other great powers would be unlikely to accept subordinate positions, unilateralism u·ni·lat·er·al·ism
A tendency of nations to conduct their foreign affairs individualistically, characterized by minimal consultation and involvement with other nations, even their allies. will be problematic in a multipolar future. As University of California The University of California has a combined student body of more than 191,000 students, over 1,340,000 living alumni, and a combined systemwide and campus endowment of just over $7.3 billion (8th largest in the United States). political theorist Kenneth N. Waltz observes, major key nations such as Japan, Russia, and Germany thus "will have to relearn Verb 1. relearn - learn something again, as after having forgotten or neglected it; "After the accident, he could not walk for months and had to relearn how to walk down stairs" their old great-power roles, and the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. will have to learn a role it has never played before; namely, to coexist and interact with other great powers."
An alternative to acting unilaterally is joining with selected states in special partnerships. On the surface, this option also appears attractive. Yet, in a fluid balance-of-power system lacking stark simplicities, differentiating friend from foe is exceedingly difficult. It is exacerbated further when, as exists today, allies in the realm of military security also are the major trade competitors in a cutthroat cut·throat
1. A murderer, especially one who cuts throats.
2. An unprincipled, ruthless person.
3. A cutthroat trout.
1. Cruel; murderous.
2. global marketplace. Instead of adding predictability to international affairs Noun 1. international affairs - affairs between nations; "you can't really keep up with world affairs by watching television"
affairs - transactions of professional or public interest; "news of current affairs"; "great affairs of state" , a network of special bilateral partnerships would foster a fear of ostracism ostracism (ŏs`trəsĭz'əm), ancient Athenian method of banishing a public figure. It was introduced after the fall of the family of Pisistratus. among those who perceive themselves as the targets of these combinations.
Whether they entail informal understandings or formal treaties of alliance, all bilateral partnerships have a common drawback--they promote a politics of exclusion that can lead to dangerously polarized forms of multipolarity, whereby the competitors align by forming countercoalitions. For example, a Russo-American alliance would concern many Western European leaders; similarly, a U.S.-Russian-European Union axis stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals would alarm both China and Japan. The problem with such potential partnerships in a freewheeling free·wheel·ing
a. Free of restraints or rules in organization, methods, or procedure.
b. Heedless of consequences; carefree.
2. Relating to or equipped with a free wheel. dance of balance-of-power politics is that it promotes much switching of partners, and those cast aside then are tempted to break up the entire dance.
Beyond forming special bilateral alliances, great powers have the option of establishing broad, multilateral associations. The most likely variants are concerts and collective security organizations. While unilateralism discourages mutual consultation and specialized bilateral relationships involve regularized consultation among a subset of powers at the top of the global hierarchy (to the exclusion of the rest), multilateral associations require full participation by all states. A concert offers the benefit of helping control the great-power rivalries that often spawn polarized blocs, though at the cost of ignoring the interests of those not belonging to the charmed circle.
Alternatively, the all-inclusive nature of a collective security system allows every voice to be heard, but hinders engineering a timely response to emergent threats. In past collective security experiments, consensus-building has proven both difficult and delayed, especially in identifying the culpable Blameworthy; involving the commission of a fault or the breach of a duty imposed by law.
Culpability generally implies that an act performed is wrong but does not involve any evil intent by the wrongdoer. party, choosing an appropriate response, and implementing the selected course of action. Since a decision-making body can become unwieldy as its size expands, what is needed to make multilateralism a viable option for the multipolar future is a hybrid that combines elements of a great-power concert with those of collective security.
The key to the stability of any future multipolar system lies in the inclusiveness of multilateralism. It is not a panacea for all of the world's security problems, but offers humanity a chance to avoid the types of unilateral hegemonial pursuits and polarized alignments that have proven so destructive throughout history. Recall that every previous multipolar balance-of-power system has ended in a general war, and that each of these conflicts has been more destructive than its predecessors.
Creating a new security architecture seldom has proven easy. When seen from the perspective of the mid 1990s, all the existing institutions upon which a multilateral concert-based collective security system might be constructed have limitations. Consider first the potential role of the United Nations. After the Persian Gulf War Persian Gulf War
or Gulf War
(1990–91) International conflict triggered by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. Though justified by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on grounds that Kuwait was historically part of Iraq, the invasion was presumed to be , many people assumed that the UN at long last would be able "to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace," as originally proclaimed in its charter.
Whether this becomes a reality will depend on the political dynamics within the Security Council, which has "primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security." Of the Security Council's 15 members, five hold permanent seats and possess the right to veto council actions--the U.S., Russia, Great Britain Great Britain, officially United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, constitutional monarchy (2005 est. pop. 60,441,000), 94,226 sq mi (244,044 sq km), on the British Isles, off W Europe. The country is often referred to simply as Britain. , France, and China. The harmonious veneer witnessed in the Cold War's wake could fade. Moreover, if, as proposed, the Security Council's permanent membership is expanded to include Germany, Japan, and such regional powers as Brazil, India, or Nigeria, reaching agreement for collective action will become even more challenging.
To complicate matters further, there is a pervasive fear among UN members that the organization has become a captive of its strongest member at the moment--the U.S. Although American influence is resented by many states, they still recognize the need for U.S. leadership if the UN is to play a peacekeeping and peacemaking Peacemaking
See also Antimilitarism.
Coriolanus’s witty friend; reasons with rioting mob. [Br. Lit.: Coriolanus]
percipiently urges peace with Greeks. [Gk. Lit. role. This creates a dilemma, for, as political analyst Leslie H. Gelb explains, "Without U.S. leadership and power, the United Nations lacks muscle. With it, the United Nations loses its independent identity."
Thus, an invigorated in·vig·or·ate
tr.v. in·vig·or·at·ed, in·vig·or·at·ing, in·vig·or·ates
To impart vigor, strength, or vitality to; animate: "A few whiffs of the raw, strong scent of phlox invigorated her" , independent UN would need more resources to carry out its mandate for peacekeeping--a dim prospect since its members owe billions of dollars in back dues and appear unwilling to support financially the organization's new initiatives. Attempting to reform the United Nations to cope with the exploding demand for UN peacekeepers was described by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Arabic: بطرس بطرس غالي Coptic: BOYTPOC BOYTPOC ΓΑΛΗ) (born November 14, 1922) is an Egyptian diplomat who was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations from as "trying to repair a car while you are driving at a speed of 120 miles per hour." Nevertheless, he has lobbied for the creation of UN peace enforcement Application of military force, or the threat of its use, normally pursuant to international authorization, to compel compliance with resolutions or sanctions designed to maintain or restore peace and order. See also peace building; peacekeeping; peacemaking; peace operations. units to administer ceasefires between armed adversaries.
As with UN peacekeeping forces employed during the Cold War, Boutros-Ghali recommended that these rapid deployment units be established by the voluntary contribution of member states, act when authorized by the Security Council, and serve under the command of the Secretary-General. In contrast to traditional peacekeeping operations, their use could be ordered without the express consent of the disputants, and the UN's troops would be trained and equipped to use force if necessary.
Despite Boutros-Ghali's energetic quest, the creation of a large, easily mobilized multilateral UN contingency force positioned to manage disputes seems unlikely. The Clinton Administration Noun 1. Clinton administration - the executive under President Clinton
executive - persons who administer the law , perhaps fearing a possible loss of control, vetoed in its 1994 Presidential Decision Directive 13 the contribution of U.S. military units to a permanent UN standby force. Without active enthusiasm in Washington, the other great powers appear unlikely to release command authority of their military units to the United Nations.
The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE CSCE
See Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange (CSCE). ) offers a second multilateral option for a new concert-based security architecture. Although the Helsinki process has established principles that give the great powers incentives to share costs and responsibilities for security without reducing the lesser powers to second-class citizens, the CSCE has not yet proven itself up to the challenge of operating as a global collective security institution. For that, the CSCE must transform itself from a regional security organization into a body that includes Japan, China, and other affected states. Furthermore, it must devise a decision-making formula grounded in majority rule, rather than in the unanimous consent In parliamentary procedure, unanimous consent, also known as general consent, is a situation in which no one present objects. The chair may state, for instance: "If there is no objection, the motion will be adopted. [pause] Since there is no objection, the motion is adopted. among more than 50 diverse members.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), established under the North Atlantic Treaty (Apr. 4, 1949) by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United States. represents a third possible multilateral mooring MOORING, mar. law. The act of arriving of a ship or vessel at a particular port, and there being anchored or otherwise fastened to the shore.
2. Policies of insurance frequently contain a provision that the ship is insured from one place to another, "and till for international security. For many analysts, though, NATO NATO: see North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
in full North Atlantic Treaty Organization
International military alliance created to defend western Europe against a possible Soviet invasion. is more an anachronism a·nach·ro·nism
1. The representation of someone as existing or something as happening in other than chronological, proper, or historical order.
2. than an anchor. The utility of any alliance tends to diminish when the common external threat that brought it together disappears, and NATO is no exception. Without a Soviet or Russian threat to cement its unity, NATO must broaden its membership and the geographical definition of its responsibilities.
Yet, for all the optimistic op·ti·mist
1. One who usually expects a favorable outcome.
2. A believer in philosophical optimism.
op speculation about a broadened, reconfigured NATO, until very recently there was little evidence that the alliance was prepared to take a bold step away from its original mission. With the creation of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council The North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) was a NATO organisation founded on 1991 December and was the precursor to the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. It initially brought together NATO and nine central and eastern European nations in a consultative forum. and the unveiling of the Clinton Administration's "Partnership for Peace" proposal, the security concerns of former Warsaw Pact Warsaw Pact
or Warsaw Treaty Organization
Military alliance of the Soviet Union, Albania (until 1968), Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania, formed in 1955 in response to West Germany's entry into NATO. members have received greater attention. Still, NATO's new Strategic Concept eschews leadership in favor of shared risks and roles. Unless NATO reconstitutes itself to deal directly with out-of-area operations and ethnic violence on its periphery, it likely will cease to exist.
To survive, NATO must redefine its mission. Even more critically in the long run, it must alleviate the fears of ostracism and encirclement by the other powers outside NATO's traditional zone of influence and operation. Russia, in particular, should not be excluded--a principle which Pres. Clinton recognized when, at the January, 1994, Brussels summit, he declared that his aim ultimately was "a security based not on Europe's division, but on the potential of its integration."
The Partnership for Peace must be extended and enlarged. Otherwise, the possibility that ultranationalist forces in Russia will seek to reassert reassert
1. to state or declare again
2. reassert oneself to become significant or noticeable again: reality had reasserted itself
Verb 1. their nation's imperial sway over its lost empire is likely to become a growing concern.
Similarly, an excluded China and Japan are unlikely to look favorably at an enlarged NATO that defines its purpose as their containment. Exclusion is the match that historically has ignited revanchist fires. Restricting security protection to only the 16 full-fledged members of NATO effectively denies it to the others and thus does nothing to prevent the alliance from remaining a symbol of division.
NATO's enlargement is the best antidote to a return to the days of a world divided in separate blocs, each seeking to contain the expansion of the other. The U.S. solution of "separable sep·a·ra·ble
Possible to separate: separable sheets of paper.
sep but not separate" invites the very sort of polarization into competing alliances that it seeks to avoid. Filling the security vacuum around Russia (and China?) could revive the East-West division that followed Yalta--to no one's benefit.
Finally, some experts have suggested that the Group of Seven (G-7) should become the focal point focal point
See focus. for collective peacekeeping activities in the post-Cold War world. Two reasons typically underpin such arguments. First, G-7 members are democracies, and democracies almost never have waged war against each other to settle their disputes. Second, as countries connected by a web of economic linkages, there are material incentives for the G-7 to avoid policies that would rupture profitable business transactions.
These reasons notwithstanding, the drawback of the G-7 as a multilateral security mechanism is that it functions like an exclusive club whose formal membership does not include Russia or China. While shared democratic values may lay the groundwork for cooperation among members of the club, economic friction can limit the scope of its activities. Trading relationships involve both costs and benefits. The rewards of commercial exchange may be offset by fierce competition that breeds hostility.
In view of the differential growth rates Growth Rates
The compounded annualized rate of growth of a company's revenues, earnings, dividends, or other figures.
Remember, historically high growth rates don't always mean a high rate of growth looking into the future. among the great powers and their anxiety about trade competitiveness in an interdependent global marketplace, the major battles of the future may be clashes on the economic front, rather than armed combat among soldiers. Even in the event that political solidarity overrides economic rivalry, the G-7 is ill-equipped to orchestrate or·ches·trate
tr.v. or·ches·trat·ed, or·ches·trat·ing, or·ches·trates
1. To compose or arrange (music) for performance by an orchestra.
2. peacekeeping missions. Its business is managing business, not warfare.
In sum, the United Nations, NATO, CSCE, and the G-7 all have limitations. Nevertheless, they will play prominent roles in the coming years if only because they are pre-existing structures. Because of this interdependence, for an efficacious concert-based collective security architecture to emerge, it must consist of an ad hoc For this purpose. Meaning "to this" in Latin, it refers to dealing with special situations as they occur rather than functions that are repeated on a regular basis. See ad hoc query and ad hoc mode. combination of regional bodies tied together by an interlocking interlocking /in·ter·lock·ing/ (-lok´ing) closely joined, as by hooks or dovetails; locking into one another.
interlocking Obstetrics A rare complication of vaginal delivery of twins; the 1st membership. For instance, the Eurasian land mass might have NATO or the CSCE anchoring its western flank and some type of a Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Pacific devised for the eastern flank, with relevant great powers holding memberships in both organizations and meeting regularly under the auspices of the UN Security Council.
A full-fledged, comprehensive global collective security system, dedicated to containing aggression anywhere at any time, may be too ambitious and doomed to failure. Nevertheless, a restricted, concert-based collective security mechanism could bring a modicum mod·i·cum
n. pl. mod·i·cums or mod·i·ca
A small, moderate, or token amount: "England still expects a modicum of eccentricity in its artists" Ian Jack. of order in a fragile and disorderly new multipolar system.
The impending im·pend
intr.v. im·pend·ed, im·pend·ing, im·pends
1. To be about to occur: Her retirement is impending.
2. structural shift to multipolarity rivets the world's attention on the historical propensity of contending great powers to act as natural competitors by striving for position and pre-eminence. Whereas few powers seek to rule the world, all appear adamantly averse to subservient sub·ser·vi·ent
1. Subordinate in capacity or function.
2. Obsequious; servile.
3. Useful as a means or an instrument; serving to promote an end. status--for no one wants equality with inferiors, only with superiors.
The diffusion of military and economic capabilities among powers that invariably in·var·i·a·ble
Not changing or subject to change; constant.
in·vari·a·bil have divergent interests presents serious obstacles for the preservation of world order. Multilateralism, with its emphasis on consultative, shared decision-making, provides an avenue for the great powers to recognize their convergent interest in avoiding the potentially bitter confrontations that otherwise might precipitate the formation of hostile blocs. Not all international conflict is amenable to multilateral resolution, but, by promoting mutual responsibility, multilateralism creates a legitimacy for concerted policy initiatives that is lacking in unilateralism and special bilateral partnerships.
Whether the great powers will seize the opportunity to create a concert-based collective security organization is problematic, however. The temptation to go it alone and compete, rather than cooperate to manage peaceful change, will remain strong. Yet, world order well may rest on the great powers' capacity to see their interests served by concerted multilateral initiatives at peacekeeping.