01.12.2003
Rethinking the New World Order
№4 2003 October/December
Vladislav Inozemtsev

PhD in Economics; he is Head of the Department of World Economy at the Faculty of Public Administration, Lomonosov Moscow State University, and Director of the Center for Post-Industrial Studies.

It was not long ago that the world order seemed stable and
durable. However, the events of the past five years – the war in
Kosovo, terrorist attacks on the U.S. cities, the antiterrorist
operation in Afghanistan, and the toppling of Saddam’s regime in
Iraq – have dispelled this illusion. The crisis within the system
of international relations seems now obvious, and there are two
ways of resolving it. The first one is to reshape the existing
world order in a slightly amended way, the second one is to create
an altogether new world order. Many sovereign states, international
institutions and non-government organizations have been taking
active efforts to promote the first way, while there seems to be
little enthusiasm as concerns the second one. This could be
explained by the fact that a lot of political stereotypes were made
into non-negotiable principles of international politics. If these
stereotypes are not rejected, a new world order can hardly be
constructed.

On October 24, 1648, Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III was forced
to sign a treaty which established the Peace of Westphalia. This
document proclaimed the indisputable authority of secular powers
over religious policies, and provided for the non-interference of
one sovereign into the affairs of another. The tre-aty is believed
to have laid the foundation for the present international system,
and so far any attempt to revise the concept of sovereignty has
provoked a highly negative reaction in the majority of sovereign
nations.

But how did the Treaty of Westphalia interpret the idea of
sovereignty? The Westphalian system deprived the Holy Roman Empire,
which was a unique political structure with the emperor being
considered primus inter pares with regard to other German princes,
of any real influence. This system established a variety of
monarchies whose rulers thought of themselves as nec pluribus
impar. The idea of sovereignty made all their subjects equal – but
only in their subjugation to the sovereign. And, of course, none of
this implied that an assembly of sovereigns would exert any power
over its members, let alone over outsiders. The Treaty of
Westphalia was successful in establishing peace on the European
continent, but it led to new conflicts beyond its borders. It
enforced sovereign’s absolute power over his or her subjects, but
was valid exclusively within the boundaries of Europe.

Three hundred years passed between the conclusion of the Treaty
of Westphalia and the end of World War II. At the end of this
period, most European countries became constitutional monarchies or
democratic republics; their colonies gained independence. Human
rights were codified; their protection was proclaimed; those
accused of crimes against humanity were convicted. The United
Nations came into being to promote worldwide peace. However, the
principle of sovereignty remained virtually unchanged. But will
this principle remain relevant in the new millennium? And if yes,
is it now fully applicable?

Today, it is the people who are declared all over the world to
be the only legitimate source of sovereignty. This factor
constitutes the first challenge to sovereignty, since people’s
sovereignty presupposes democracy, democracy presupposes
individuality, and individuality presupposes diversity. However,
the doctrine of sovereignty was from the outset aimed at
suppressing individuality and reducing diversity. Moreover, for as
long as the L’?tat, c’est moi formula remained true, the issue of
the popular confidence in the political leadership, not to mention
whether or not the governors lived up to that confidence, was not
on the agenda.

Sovereignty gave the sovereign power over his or her subjects.
Relations between a sovereign and these subjects, as well as
between the subjects themselves, were regulated, at worst, by
tradition, at best, by law, and sometimes by the noblesse oblige
principle, but never by a codified concept of human rights. The
principle of sovereignty did not apply to abstract human beings; it
divided people into subjects of a sovereign and all the others.
This factor constitutes the second challenge to sovereignty, since
violation of some vague “rights” of the subjects was never
considered a legitimate reason for limiting the sovereign’s
power.

Sovereignty never presupposed democracy, although as
nation-states were formed and democratic traditions gradually
developed within them, sovereignty and democracy began to
complement each other. However, any democratic system draws its
legitimacy from the decisions of individuals, not of nations, from
a majority that may easily turn into minority, and vice versa, but
is by no means predetermined. Today we find ourselves at a point
when the combined population of 96 countries formally constituting
a majority at the United Nations does not exceed 300 million people
(i.e., five percent of the world’s total population). At the same
time, the population of only nine countries, which formed a
qualified majority at the UN Security Council of 2002, did not
exceed 92 million people (i.e., 1.5 percent of the global
population). Moreover, both the United Kingdom and France, each
populated by less than 57 million people, have the power to veto
any decision. And the “rules of the game” are crafted in such a
way, that even if the Security Council resolution authorizing an
attack on Iraq had been adopted unanimously, it would have created
a ‘dead-end’ precedent, since it would have committed all the UN
members to collective violation of the United Nations’ Charter
which prohibits the pre-emptive use of force against a sovereign
state.

Therefore, if the international community fully recognizes the
principle of sovereignty, its members need nothing else but to
draft a collective security pact that would be open for all
potential participants. If Kuwait had been a party to such a pact
in 1991, no UN resolution would have been required to establish a
coalition entrusted to liberate it from the Iraqi occupation.
However, such a pact could not have provided a legal framework for
the international involvement in Afghanistan in 2001 or the
invasion of Iraq in 2003. But if the international community
proclaims the protection of human rights as its objective, then the
principle of sovereignty must be declared invalid. The
international community must then define clearly, what kind of
human rights violations legitimize interference into the affairs of
a sovereign nation and, what is even more difficult, define the
conditions under which a formally independent state will lose its
sovereign status. We have to make a choice between the two
options.

If the principle of sovereignty is recognized as indisputable by
some nations, they should conclude a collective security pact. It
would be logical to assume that the first signatories should be
nuclear powers. Under the present conditions, the probability of
the pact’s approval seems to be high. All the signatories to the
pact would have equal rights. We suggest that the parties work
together to establish the central command of a rapid deployment
force composed of an equal amount of troops from the participating
nations; units of that force may be deployed in close proximity to
potentially dangerous regions. The force would be put into action
by its central command upon receiving proof of aggression against
one of the signatories. If the force proves insufficient for
repelling the aggression, the allies would mobilize additional
resources. Such an approach would be a major step forward in
building confidence among the great powers, yet it would only mean
the creation of a purely defensive alliance, unable to respond to
an attack against an American city launched by terrorists using
American aircraft, or to stop a civil war and ethnic cleansing in
any signatory country, let alone in the world’s periphery.

But if priority is given to the protection of human rights, it
will be natural to assume that these rights cannot be protected by
governments that regularly violate them in their own countries.
Therefore, a community of sovereign states proclaiming the
protection of human rights as their primary objective could not
embrace all nations and peoples, nor could its membership be
guaranteed forever. As a result, the global community would find
itself divided into three parts: nations committed to respecting
human rights; rogue nations that show no sign of respect to them;
and those states that have failed to ensure basic freedoms and
rights for their citizens. The first group of nations may then
perform a policing function with regard to the second group, and a
function of reconstruction and development with regard to the
third. The community of advanced postindustrial countries would
thus reproduce several imperial practices of the colonial era and
receive zones of responsibility in respect to certain rogue
nations, as well as the rights of a protector of some “developing”
countries. This would actually mean the restoration of the practice
of issuing mandates for governing regions and territories, which
was common with the League of Nations, or the restoration of
Trusteeship Council that was a part of the United Nations’
organizational structure prior to 1994.

These initiatives, if implemented, would reduce the threat
coming from rogue nations, add momentum to the fight against
terrorist networks and, perhaps, even postpone a humanitarian
catastrophe looming large over the poorest regions of the world. At
the same time, however, this approach will inevitably boost
anti-systemic movements now gaining scores by denouncing the
alleged imperialist nature of the industrialized countries.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to say how feasible is either
approach to creating a new world order. But we can say with
certainty that what we are witnessing today is a world disorder, to
which almost all members of the international community are now
contributing, together with numerous illegal networks and
organizations.

The world is slipping into chaos. But neither tribal warlords
brutally fighting each other in Rwanda, nor the mujaheedins
comfortably cultivating opium poppies in Afghanistan could be the
only ones to be blamed. Those who should be are, above all, the
recognized sovereign members of the international community which
have no grounds for claiming this status, as well as those who
invented fairytale stories about a democratic world order, and also
those who think that there are still many countries in the world
that do not deserve the governments they have.

Modernity began when European nations established a system of
international relations based on the principle of sovereignty. For
over 300 years, the doctrine of sovereignty maintained the balance
of power, though none of these countries was truly democratic.
After World War II, the system of international relations underwent
two radical changes. First, an overwhelming majority of European
countries became committed to democratic order and have been
loyally abiding by this choice since then. Second, huge territories
that were never recognized as nation states suddenly proclaimed,
and gained, their sovereignty.

Those changes resulted in two major trends. On the one hand, it
turned out that the progress of democracy on the European scale
paved the way to deeper cooperation between the Old World nations
and led to the renunciation of some elements of their sovereignty.
This trend resulted in the establishing of supranational political
institutions unknown in the era of modernity. The continuous search
for consensus came to prevail over democratic majority principle.
On the other hand, the rest of the world began to look for new
models for a “democratic” world order with even greater devotion.
Some of these were announced by the developing countries at the
United Nations in the early 1970s.

Some Western nations later turned more realistic, yet many of
them continued their diplomatic games with the quasisovereign
states of the world’s South. A ramified system of institutions was
established – from the UN peacekeeping forces to the International
Monetary Fund. For years, some of these bodies sought legal grounds
for interfering in the conflict in “sovereign” Liberia where a
military junta, which had toppled a democratic government,
controlled the nation’s capital only, while the remaining territory
was swept by civil war. Others restructured the debt of “sovereign”
Zimbabwe, only to see a large part of its budget embezzled by the
ruling bureaucracy, or were in search for funds necessary to
rebuild “sovereign” Afghanistan, whose president seldom dares to
leave his residence, even guarded by U.S. marines.

Is there any way out of such a mess? Our hopes should be pinned
on the experiment, now underway in Europe, for introducing a truly
supranational governance. The European Union is not a fully
democratic polity. It does not protect abstract human rights but
ensures the constitutional rights of its citizens. Problems that
arise are solved on a consensus basis, rather than on a majority
principle. Finally, the Europeans do not interfere into the affairs
of the world; they realize they possess neither the general
principles nor the detailed plans for such interference.

Some countries often fail to find fair and effective solutions
to many acute problems only because few can admit that the
situation has already gone out of control. People often say that
the world is heading for disorder. Let’s not delude ourselves: this
point has already been reached. It would be incorrect to ponder how
to improve mechanisms of control; it is vital to consider how the
situation can be controlled. In the long run, a correct question
will always lead to the correct answer.

Uncontrollability is now looming as the world’s greatest
challenge. The ongoing discussions about sovereignty, democracy and
human rights can facilitate the analysis of the situation but they
fail to explain the conditions for and trends in its development.
The deterioration of the “core – periphery” relations calls for
addressing attention to the question: Should the inequality rampant
in the contemporary world be considered as unfair?

The division of the world into the “core” and the “periphery”
ushered in at the dawn of the modern era and became its most
characteristic feature. Despite impressive economic and
technological achievements, accompanied by rapid political
development, Europe could not claim to be the world’s economic
powerhouse in the 16th, 17th or even the early 18th century.
According to the well-known sources, by the year 1750 Europe
accounted for less than one-fourth of the world’s gross product,
which made it the third economic power after China and India.
Nevertheless, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Europeans already
considered themselves to be masters of the world’s destiny. So it
would not be an exaggeration to say that l’in?galit? parmi les
hommes, viewed internationally, was the result of Europe’s rapid
development that had started at the times of Rousseau’s writings,
together with the simultaneous stagnation of old civilizations in
Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

Over a relatively short period of time, the Europeans
established a tight control over the larger part of the world,
having colonized America and founded strategic outposts in Asia.
Outward migration from Europe resulted in the emergence of huge
European communities on different continents, and after a century
(or, most noticeably, after two to three centuries) people with
European roots came to constitute a majority in North and South
America, Australia and New Zealand, turning those countries into
what is now called “Western offshoots”. Traditional religions of
the New World were quickly vanquished by the powerful European
pressure, giving way to European beliefs and customs. Three
centuries later the map of the Americas was already covered with
the names of new nations – modern and already independent. Two of
them – the United States and Argentina – at the beginning of the
20th century ranked first and sixth among the world’s largest
economies.

In the mid-18th century, the Europeans began their expansion
into Asia, and in the mid-19th century into the African continent.
But this stage of European colonization differed essentially from
the previous one. The British, French, Dutch, and the Germans
failed to cast their lots with their colonies in the manner the
Spaniards and the Portuguese had done. In fact, since the late 18th
century all attempts to “Europeanize” the indigenous people of the
colonies were dropped, and the colonizers focused their efforts on
the introduction of some European values and principles into their
mentality and customs. In Africa, the “Europeanization” was reduced
to introducing Europe’s industrial and technological achievements
to local tribes and peoples. These attempts, however, seldom became
successful.

If we compare the historical development of the Latin American,
Asian and African peoples, we will find that the economic and
political credibility of the newly independent states depends
largely on the degree of Europe’s involvement in their
history:  The shorter the colonial period, the more acute were
the economic and political problems those states faced, and vice
versa. There are very simple explanations for it. The ongoing
European colonization created quasi-European societies which
developed according to European patterns; local elites, as well as
ordinary people, despite their common protests against the
metropolitan power, adopted European principles.

The declaration of sovereignty by these countries gave rise of
new nations, new customs and new ideas. But in regions where the
European presence was brief, the natives gained political
sovereignty, sometimes through mutiny, and sometimes, which was
even worse, because the Europeans simply withdrew from the regions
where they did not expect to gain any economic and political
dividends. This is why the “national liberation” movements of the
18th and 19th centuries (e.g. in the Americas) and those of the
20th century (e.g., in Africa) can hardly be compared.

 The time has come to admit that the present inequality
between the core and the periphery has been predetermined from the
moment the former European colonies gained their independence. The
political organization of the newly sovereign “nation-states” often
copied features found in Europe, but in a majority of these new
countries neither nations (in the original sense of this term
suggested by Johann Gottfried Herder and his followers), nor the
prerequisites for democratic governance ever existed. The borders
of the new quasi-states were arbitrarily drawn by the Europeans,
and their citizenries were made of a mix of people of different
origins and religions. Due to ethnic and cultural specifics stable
and unchallenged majorities and minorities emer-ged. Under such
conditions, formal democracy quickly turned into an instrument of
domination of one part of the society over the other. Violence and
dictatorship became the common and inalienable characteristics of
the peripheral societies.

The economic strategy of the newly independent nation-states
somewhat resembled the European one, yet it also ended up on a
dead-end road. These new states, like the core countries in the
past, welcomed the accelerated growth of national industries, but
in the last third of the 20th century the industrial sector lost
its potential for growth since the developed economies entered the
postindustrial era. The peripheral countries, seeking to copy the
Western economies’ impressive achievements, attempted to grasp the
advantages of highly specialized production. This proved to be
their principal mistake. At this time, the core countries adopted
various kinds of self-sufficiency strategies, which soon made their
economies quite independent from major overseas supplies, except
for supplies of some rare raw materials. Therefore, the tragedy of
the “developing” countries caused by their inability to apply
Western political practices, was aggravated by their commitment to
an outdated Western economic strategy.

The situation was further exacerbated by the bipolar system
which dominated the international relations in the national
liberation movements’ golden years. As former colonies broke away
from the European empires, they eventually became enmeshed in the
global showdown between Western and Communist nations. Both sides
paranoiacally exaggerated the influence that the peripheral
countries could exert on the outcome of their historical struggle.
This excessive attention to, in addition to the recognition of,
these newly independent states by the United Nations as well as by
other international institutions, led to the overestimation of
their own role. The latter contributed to the rise of
authoritarianism in their policies and to the spread of cronyism
and corruption inside their economies.

The results are horrifying. Today, 84.8 percent of the
population of Southern Asia and 74.7 percent of that of Africa live
on less than $2 per day. The infant mortality rate in the world’s
40 poorest states has reached 10.4 percent (!), while the average
life expectancy in these regions declined below 45 years, and
continues to go down, especially in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

Most of the “developing” nations are now actually bankrupt. The
outstanding debt of the world’s 50 poorest countries increased
sevenfold over the last 40 years, even though their debts have been
largely written off or rescheduled. In 54 countries, the GDP per
capita is now lower than it was in 1986. A majority of peripheral
nations are developing inefficiently, neglecting the hazardous
effects of their growth (e.g. ecological), which have been an
increasingly heavy burden to the rest of the world.

The political “records” of new sovereigns are even more
impressive than their economic “achievements”. In the last 40
years, the core countries were involved in only 10 percent of the
military conflicts that have taken place around the world. During
this period, over 16 million people died in clashes between the
newly independent nations as well as in ethnic conflicts dividing
their people. This figure comes close to the total death toll of
World War I. Importantly, these conflicts were not wars of
liberation fought for the sake of lofty ideals; these were wars
launched by governments against their own people or against their
neighbors.

Despite all acute problems they are facing, the developing
countries remain leaders in terms of the share of budget outlays
allocated to defense spending: in African countries, it varies from
4.2 to 27.4 percent of all budget expenditures. At the same time,
according to official UN statistics, only 29 percent of
international aid dispatched to those nations reaches the local
poor. It is plain to see that the principal cause of their
impoverishment is the enrichment of the local elites. It is time we
take a fresh look at the real situation in these regions, without
deluding ourselves with tempting promises offered by the
“development” theorists.

Like the world disorder, such a divided civilization has become
an inalienable feature of the contemporary system. And this trend
cannot be viewed as accidental. Meanwhile, the core countries do a
lot to strengthen the dividing lines, often guided by rather humane
considerations.

Aware of their responsibility for the destinies of the peoples
they have formerly governed, Western nations and international
organizations have for several decades now been engaged in various
aid programs. And although the goals they are pursuing deserve
respect, the results they are achieving are dubious. Presently, the
aid being sent to the world’s poorest countries accounts for an
average 5.7 percent of their combined GDP, whereas foreign direct
investment in their economies stands at a mere 0.9 percent of their
GDP. In the meantime, more and more Western citizens working in
those countries are becoming targets of attacks and persecution.
The mass media report on a practically daily basis about the deaths
among U.S. soldiers in Iraq, yet few outlets mention the more than
100 members of the humanitarian missions and international
organizations that have been killed in Afghanistan in the last two
years.

The peripheral states respond to the Western countries’
proposals for increasing aid, claiming the West should “compensate”
them for the damage it inflicted on them in the past. In 1999, for
example, government experts from 14 West African countries
estimated the economic damage caused by the European trade in
African slaves from the 16th to 18th centuries at $780 trillion,
which is 65 times more that the United States’ GDP. Less radical
claims are much more numerous.

This brings us back to the question: Is the inequality in the
contemporary world fair? At variance with a majority of
sociologists, I am inclined to say it is. The growing wealth gap
between the core and the peripheral nations is brought about, on
the one hand, by the technological achievements of postindustrial
economies, and on the other, by the reckless actions of governments
and representatives of the “developing” countries; in my opinion,
the latter factor seems to be much more significant than the
former.

In my view, most of the problems faced by the “developing”
countries derive in part from the mistakes of their own governments
and from the predatory  mentality of their peoples. I think
the only solution to this problem would be the toughening of the
Western approach toward the periphery. Today, a policy of total
indifference toward these nations would be the only way to help
them overcome their present malaise. Such a policy would either
prompt the periphery to progress through cooperation with the West
(which is quite feasible, as seen from the example of the
successful East Asian economies), or would promote a situation in
which new “colonization” would be welcomed by the peripheral
peoples themselves.

I believe the periphery has rightly earned the appellation. The
Western world must admit that most of the economic and political
problems of the peripheral countries were caused by their own
governments, not by the legacy of their colonial past. It must
abandon ineffective aid programs. And it must switch to the
achievement of an ever closer integration inside the developed
world. The events of the last few decades have graphically
demonstrated that neither aid nor economic cooperation will be
appreciated or helpful so long as they are freely offered rather
than asked for.

If the Western political leaders really want the world of the
21st century to become a more stable and fair place, they should
address more closely their own problems while displaying a
pronounced indifference toward the rest of the world. Globalization
has always been a natural process, but from the 17th to the early
20th century the Europeans presided over it, believing not in
globalization in its current sense, but rather in Westernization.
Once the economic and political apex of the world shifted from
Europe to the United States, globalization became much more rapid
and chaotic, so even the Western nations are now beginning to feel
its negative effect, which can become even more serious. The
demands of the so-called antiglobalists should be met – in a sense
that globalization should be postponed, – and then, in a few
decades, the “developing” countries would turn into admirers of
globalizing trends, while terms and conditions of joining the rich
world would be made clear and tough. Only then the prerequisites
for overcoming the current global divide would arise.

From the Western point of view, the dawn of the 21st century is
marked by roaring globalization, usually interpreted as the
intensification of commercial, financial, informational and
cultural interaction caused primarily by economic factors. It is
argued that the politically motivated globalization of the late
19th century opposes the respect for the principles of sovereignty
and non-interference in the affairs of other countries and a
reverence for democracy. It is also assumed that as a result of the
processes now underway, the people of the world will unite, adopt
universal values and overcome their mutual mistrust. This process
will make the world more controllable, while enhancing global
predictability. It is the obvious discrepancy between such
theoretical forecasts and the actual course of events that
aggravates the already evident uncertainty and confusion.

It is assumed that economic globalization can help form a
unified and predictable world. What does this assumption rest on?
Actually, it is based on the assertion that economic interests
always require peaceful interaction among individuals organized on
universal principles of a market economy. Mutual interests bring
people closer together; common values make their behavior
predictable. However, these axioms are true only for Adam Smith’s
“economic man,” whereas the economic interests, underlying
contemporary globalization, are promoted not by individuals but by
corporations, and this factor makes the difference.

Modern corporations are not well-structured state-like entities,
but networks managed primarily by economic objectives. These
objectives presuppose the effective use of existing global
divisions rather than the promotion of worldwide unity and
solidarity. The same objectives require market behavior, i.e.
maximum flexibility and rapid reaction, which in no way corresponds
with predictability and controllability. Needless to say, by
penetrating into more and more countries, corporate networks only
create additional dividing lines between their people. Therefore,
how can these trends be considered as effective instruments for
establishing unity within the contemporary world and enhancing
global stability?

Moreover, the very nature of a market economy requires replacing
less effective economic and political forms with more effective
ones. I would like to emphasize that the efficiency principle was
introduced into the modern world alongside with the “economizing”
principle. And if a form proves its effectiveness, it would be
na?ve to think that someone would not like to try and copy it. So,
it should be no surprise that the era of industrial monopolies in
the Western world had become at the same time an era of cartel-like
alliances of resource-exporting countries; that the period
dominated by adaptive corporations in the West turned into the
period of global networks of arms and drugs dealers in the world’s
periphery; and, most recently, that small terrorist groups, united
by extremist ideas, became as flexible and creative as famous
Western dot-coms. And if Western policymakers would like to
continue speaking of the “dark” side of globalization, they should
bear in mind that even the moon illuminates a dark part of the
Earth with reflected sunlight.

This prompts a logical conclusion that forecasts about the
course of economic globalization were false from the beginning.
Furthermore, the resulting fragmentation and chaos, as well as the
inability of state agencies to control the private networks, were
all predictable events.

The scope of this problem has not been realized till now, as the
policies of the Western nations – above all, those of the United
States, are a good proof. U.S. foreign policy today seems extremely
wily. American leaders recognize the principle of sovereignty but
always find casuistic pretexts for violating it. They preach
universal values yet increasingly pursue a strategy of
unilateralism. They proclaim devotion to economic freedoms but, at
the same time, charge many European imports with customs duties and
impose arbitrary economic sanctions against other countries. They
think it is natural that the United States is the main crossroads
for global money flows, but they cannot get used to the idea that
America is now becoming the main target of extremists’ and
terrorists’ attacks. And most importantly, U.S. policymakers seem
to be sincerely surprised that their state powers are now losing
the war against terrorist networks, but consider quite natural the
ease with which their corporate networks subjugate peripheral
countries’ governments.

The contemporary world has not yet become fully integrated, yet
its primary elements have already ceased to be completely isolated.
Today nobody can act without expecting a reaction. The new world of
the 21st century is not a global but an interdependent world, and
only by assuming that can we elaborate a viable strategy for
achieving geopolitical stability.

In my view, it should be based on an understanding of
contemporary realities as those determined by the principles of
interdependence, rather than globality. The Western civilization
should reduce its zones of influence (and responsibility) beyond
its boundaries and deepen interaction (and mutual understanding)
within it. On the one hand, this move would take the edge off the
problem of the wealth gap between the core and peripheral nations
(too much emphasis on this problem leads to an oversimplification
of global problems), as more attention would be given to the less
obvious differences among the core countries. On the other hand,
this approach would help outline the range of countries which can
become founders of a new international order, which may later
extend to the periphery.

What countries could claim to be part of the hypothetical core
of a new world order? These would naturally include the United
States, countries of the European Union and Japan. These may well
be joined by Russia, as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand
and other minor “Western offshoots”. The new alliance would be the
undisputed global economic, technological and military leader,
embracing the best-educated and wealthiest part of the world’s
population.

Such an integration of the core countries would gradually change
the global configuration, with the unipolar world finally becoming
a reality. If the leading world powers succeed in establishing
institutions that would operate on the basis of their principles –
such as an International Criminal Court; an International WMD
agency; an International service combating illegal trafficking of
drugs and people; and some others – these collective institutions
would not have to consider problems of legitimacy since they would
comprise an unprecedented power.

Moreover, this alliance could guarantee security to countries
committed to its ideals (e.g., countries that have renounced their
nuclear or chemical arsenals). Such guarantees would be a major
factor in ensuring international stability. However, the above does
not mean that this new “northern alliance” would initiate any
dramatic transformations in the rest of the world: quite the
opposite, its primary objective would be “maintaining the distance”
between the core and the periphery. Such a strategy would guarantee
the rigid protection of its economic interests, security, freedoms
and lifestyles. Taking into account that some level of policing the
periphery will be unavoidable, one should admit that the United
States would become the natural leader in most of these issues.

How realistic is the creation of such a core? A number of
considerations make the idea quite possible. Historically, a
majority of the aforementioned countries are more linked with each
other than they are with any of the peripheral states. Many core
nations have long established military and political alliances
(above all, the U.S. and Western Europe, the U.S. and Australia and
New Zealand). Russia is now engaged in the U.S.-led “war on terror”
and has been displaying a certain degree of loyalty to Western
values. Japan, too, may wish to join such an alliance since it is
losing its status of Asia’s leading regional power to the rising
China. And, of course, core countries will be motivated to rally
and unite in such an alliance because of their growing fears of
being attacked from the periphery.

The creation of such an alliance would make it obvious that none
of these countries deserves the status of the main “globalizing
force.” Any close examination of the existing differences between
their political and legal systems, the role of the state in their
economies, the limitation on the flows of goods and capital between
them, not to mention political disagreements, will make it possible
to consider their present calls for globalization as purely
demagogic.

It should be mentioned that those countries whose leaders now
praise globalization will need decades to completely drop off
customs restrictions, introduce currency exchange rates regulated
from one center, harmonize intellectual property laws, liberalize
migration rules, adopt a unified code of environmental protection,
as well as create a common social security policy. Naturally, this
will be a difficult task, but only searching for solution the core
countries can produce schemes applicable for the rest of the world.
The core would thus demonstrate to the periphery the advantages
that globalization would create. The European Union, with its
extensive experience of “glocalization,” would become the obvious
leader in such issues.

Many of the current problems can now be solved only through
collective efforts, and responses to many of the challenges can be
found only through consensus. However, the last few decades have
been marked by a rapid rise of cultural, political and even
economic separatism. Communities that were united for centuries are
now being broken up by the ideology of multi-culturalism. Alliances
based on deep-rooted traditions of cooperation and common interests
are giving way to ad hoc coalitions of the willing, whose
composition no one will remember even a few years after their
formation. Durable economic ties are sacrificed for the benefits of
financial speculators. If the world succeeds in overcoming these
trends within the next decade, the 21st century may become a
century of peace and progress.

Of course, many of the above may seem a utopia. But by proposing
my own scenario for the global progress, I sought not so much to
present a potential forecast as to highlight the existing problems
and priorities in a new way. I would like to emphasize that present
government-led forces are unable to win the war with private
networks – no matter whether these are corporate, criminal or
terrorist. I would like to stress the fact that the rogue
peripheral regimes that emerged from the long confrontation between
the two superpowers will not change their political “philosophies”
unless they come to understand that the time of speculating on the
differences among the core countries has gone.

 

 ***

As before, various countries and peoples are now trying to build
a unified world for all, proceeding from diametrically opposite
principles and preferences. Of course, the present technological,
economic and even cultural and intellectual gap between the core
and the peripheral nations makes such a state of affairs to some
extent natural. Yet, with every new step in our historical
development it will become ever more evident that an artificial
acceleration of evolution will not solve the world’s most pressing
problems.

Social and political analysts have always been rather skeptical
about drawing analogies from natural sciences. Nevertheless, we
could say that the methods for “solving” global problems now being
proposed by the Western nations are tantamount to the medical use
of radiation aimed at initiating some “mutations” that would make
the larger part of mankind more susceptible to the aspirations and
objectives of the “enlightened minority.” Of course, radioactivity
is a natural and universal phenomenon, and it may be applied for
both positive as well as dubious purposes. But has mankind ever
attempted to achieve the same results using a no less universal and
simpler phenomenon familiar to all humans: the law of gravity?