Wars in the Middle East have turned the world: Adam Bolton discusses how Israel’s conflict with Hamas proves in retrospect that the New World Order was a temporary illusion until competing forces and value systems came into play. However, it is still worth fighting for.
Sky News commentator @adamboutonTABB.
In 1989, many of us thought it was over, except for the screams.
The Cold War is over. The Berlin Wall fell
That summer, the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama published his famous work, “The End of History?” Hypothesis: “We may be witnessing not only the end of the Cold War or the end of a certain period of post-war history, but also the end of history itself: the end of humanity” Development of ideologies and the spread of the West. liberal democracy as the primary form of human government change.”
Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7th brought retrospective possibilities to the fore, and the “unipolar moment” of the New World Order, in which the United States dominated world politics and economics without rival, seemed to be just a moment away. moment of illusion Before competitive forces and value systems come into play.
President Biden acknowledged this last week at a campaign fundraiser in Washington, DC: “We’re in a 50-year post-war period where it’s worked really well, but now it’s running out.” In a sense, it calls for a new world order, just like the previous one. “
Another conservative historian, Niall Ferguson, who works at Stanford University (the academic powerhouse in California where Fukuyama is now based), offered his colleagues a very different and frightening analysis.
He wrote in The Times last week: “I have been warning since January that war in the Middle East could be the next crisis in a series of conflicts that could escalate into World War Three.” If a global conflict breaks out again, the most pressing question is, will “we” win?
Another equally important question that many other countries outside of the “Western Liberal Democracies” are asking is whether the system we have in place is worth preserving.
Global conflict can be triggered by three main challenges
Ferguson believes that global conflict can arise from three challenges to settlements that were created after World War II and then intensified by the collapse of the Soviet Union and so-called liberal intervention.
First, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an imperialist denial of the rights of independent nation-states, especially those seeking to join Western democratic institutions such as NATO and the EU.
Second, Hamas and its sponsor Iran do not accept the right to exist of the Jewish state of Israel, which was created after the Holocaust.
They won’t even name it, but refer to the “Zionist nature” or “profession”. Israel’s allies are divided, calling on Israel to show restraint in exercising its “right to self-defense.”
Those demanding for a “ceasefire” rarely mention that Israel is still under fire from Gaza and, to a lesser extent, now from Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Meanwhile, the United Nations, which is meant to be a global forum for resolving disputes, is in more disarray than usual.
Israel has called on Secretary-General António Guterres to resign, linking his unequivocal condemnation of Hamas attacks to “attacks do not happen in a vacuum” and “56 years of persecution of the Palestinians”. “Stranglehold Occupation” (referring to the 1967 Six Day War, when Israel occupied neighboring territories after an Arab League attack). A possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan could become a third front in Ferguson’s global conflict.
Russia and China are recognized nuclear-weapon states, while Iran, Israel and North Korea – China’s client states – all have nuclear weapons capabilities, although they are subject to international restrictions.
Russia, China and Iran have not yet formed an axis against the West, but they are cooperating on an ad hoc basis to exploit the fault lines of the old world order. Iran and Russia supply China with natural gas and oil, while Iran supplies Russia with drones for use in the war in Ukraine.
There are also indications that Russia is transferring missiles seized in Ukraine to Iran, which is then arming Hezbollah. Russia supports the Iranian-backed Assad regime in Syria, providing naval bases in the Mediterranean in the process.
New political alliances are being formed to challenge the dominance of the old order, such as the G-7 club of rich, industrialized democracies and the United Nations Security Council, where Britain, the United States, France, Russia and China have permanent seats. . Both countries want to expand the BRICS group, ironically made up of the initials of the new economic powers first coined by a British banker, to include Brazil and India, but Lord O’Neill insists the “S” or troubled South is not . Africa.
Xi Jinping and Putin have declared “unlimited friendship” between the two countries and are looking elsewhere for friends. Putin was the guest of honor at the recent 10th anniversary of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI), which aims to expand China’s influence to 150 countries by financing infrastructure projects.
Other countries, including many with a history of colonization by European powers, are cautiously exploring new alliances. For example, India, which receives cheap energy from Russia, has not condemned the attack on Ukraine.
The democratic driving force of a new world order in a political crisis
At the same time, the United States, the democratic engine of the new world order, is experiencing an existential political crisis. Donald Trump’s continued dynamism as a presidential candidate is destroying any hope for bipartisan leadership in Congress, let alone the White House.
If Trump is re-elected, he plans to take away NATO, the bastion of Western defense. The outlook is bleak.
President Biden said, “We are at a turning point in history… The decisions we make in the next four or five years will determine what the next four or five years will look like.
But all is not lost
There are clear signs that all is not lost. It is a mistake to believe that these global crises will inevitably lead to the overthrow of the West.
Given the strong Palestinian sentiment among their own citizens, Middle Eastern Arab leaders from Egypt to Jordan to Saudi Arabia have little choice but to verbally oppose Israel. They are also wary that Shiite, non-Arab Iran is using the situation to expand its influence across the Middle East.
But there is no indication that they want to escalate conflicts across the region or engage in military operations themselves. Despite the political conflict, the US economy is doing well, while China’s economy is slowing.
China has been reluctant to lend, and its enthusiasm for borrowing is waning as current projects run into trouble. In 2017, 29 world leaders participated in the Belt and Road Forum, in 2019 – 37, and this year only 23.
Russia’s failure to conquer Ukraine has not inspired Xi Jinping to invade Taiwan. Both Russia and China are reluctant to become politically involved in the Israel-Hamas conflict because of their many economic ties to the region and hostility to Islamism.
Biden remains optimistic
In these dark days, many will be surprised by Biden’s optimism that “there is a real opportunity to bring the world together in a way we haven’t done in a long time.” If the current dangerous tipping point is to have a positive outcome, defenders of the old order will have to show sensitivity to others, but also respect for their own values.
After the fighting ends, Israel will have to make concessions to the Palestinian “two-state solution.” After that, according to Biden, the kingdom is ready to follow its Gulf neighbors and normalize relations with Israel.
Enlightenment values such as democracy, human rights and women’s liberation have not yet been fully realized in many parts of the world. They are still the most attractive, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many people trying to immigrate to the West.
We are not at the end of history, mainly because the old New World Order is still worth fighting for.