Our thinking about the international system is focused on a new era of competition from the great powers.
A confident China is trying to reshape the international order and exercise greater regional hegemony. For its part, the United States will try to deny this privilege from China. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken recently outlined the US approach to China.
“Compete if necessary, collectively if necessary, and competitive if necessary.” It’s a very clever formulation. But at a high level from abstraction, it essentially describes the approach of every country in the world to this geopolitical moment. The big question is whether competition and the dynamics of today’s match are so deep that the space for “cooperation” is rapidly shrinking.
Two dynamics have to fight the risk of competition from the great powers.
The first is the interdependence of the global economy. World trade has returned to pre-pandemic levels. Trade and investment relations between China the US also remain stable. Moreover, the US financial sector has not given up on China.
But is hard to shake off the feeling that the logic of interdependence is now under heavy ideological pressure. Interdependence does not lead to a greater convergence of political values or a more open global political order. China’s domestic political economy has shifted into a “double-loop” while the success of Biden’s plan hinges on reversing essential aspects of globalization.
There is now bipartisan consent in the US that China must be controlled; Just as China believes that the US will not only not tolerate any further rise of China but will also actively undermine the political system and its claim to civilization.
However, in much of the world, the full psychological power of the pandemic has not yet been activated.
This would encourage caution about excessive interdependence, even if protected by adequate diversification of sources. The fact of interdependence will endure its historical inertia, but it has lost its ideological strength and will dissolve.
The second dynamic competition is the idea that shared challenges such as climate change, pandemics, and technological risks will drive greater global collaboration. Unfortunately, the highly globalized institutional infrastructure has created the illusion of greater cooperation.
But doubts are growing as to whether any of these global infrastructures will achieve their goals. As Bruno Masses, the latter in his provocative geopolitics of the end times has often emphasized: From pandemics to climate crises, nearly all global problems that should trigger international cooperation have become places for intensifying global competition.
Source: The Indian EXPRESS