Art by Yousef Amairi

Art by Yousef Amairi
the struggle continues

December 13, 2015

The threat of Rising Multi-polarity to the Western Imperialism, By Kashif Manzoor

Author: Kashif Manzoor
The author is an internee at Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Study, Islamabad
December 6, 2015
It was a historical event, when Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa formed their economic Bloc named BRICS to counter traditional western supremacy. An iconoclastic economic order which considered by some economists and scholars as a more democratic and just multi-polar world order which is heterogeneous in nature.
Currently, multi-polarity is emerging as a new world order due to the growing influence of state and non-state actors at national, regional and international level. Actor at the world stage, these are European Union (E.U), NGOS and non-state actors. The prominent thing is that multi-polarity will shape the destiny of 21st century.
If one reviews the literature of economies of Asia and Europe from last 2000 years, one will get to know that Asia was always to rule the world economy to some extent. The findings of a survey conducted in 2001, reveals that the BRICS economies would incorporate 10% of world GDP. Moreover, it is stated that BRICS countries would overcome the GDP of the Group of Seven countries (G-7) by 2035.
Therefore, West is viewing BRICS as a competitor to its status-quo. The yardstick on which west is gauging BRICS as a threat is composed of both power factors; Hard Power and Soft power.
Now the question arises here is that what role BRICS will play to influence or shape the regional and global politics. Its future role is dependent upon its cohesion and collective decision-making capability. The Neo-liberal school of thought, which is the main vision underlying BRICS clashes with the Western liberalist thoughts.
BRICS can be considered as a product of globalization. The BRICS bloc is folded into two layers, one is economic and the other one is strategic. It is evident that after 9/11, the four countries; Brazil, India, China, and Russia are emerging in terms of economy and military and their growth rates surpassed the G-7 countries (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, USA, Canada). On the other hand, western countries have gone through enough disadvantage in terms of economy and military during different wars i.e. Iraq war, Afghan War, War on Terror (WoT).
National interests are the fundamental factor which enforce states to cooperate with each other. Likewise, BRICS has a critical role in bringing member states closer to each other to due to their mutual interests. China, India and Russia which are key members of this forums, can get economic and military impetus through these kind of forums. China and Russia consider it important against due to their mutual rivalry with US.
Moreover, Brazil is also an important global player, playing its economic and political cards very cleverly; neither accepts Chinese hegemony nor rejecting it. On the other hand, it adapts a diplomatic and neutral posture towards various burning issues i.e. Syrian crisis to avoid enmity of US and Russia. The member states of BRICS are now widening its area of cooperation on other forums i.e. Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
According to Francis Fukuyama, history died after Cold War (CW), it should be kept in mind that U.S. and China on global scale are arch-rival. US views China as a threat to its regional and global hegemon. Chinese activism in Latin America and emergence of Brazil as a regional power express US apprehensions.
Firstly, we have to see what power is, which ultimately is defined as a structure of hegemony: military power, economic power, and institutional power. Yet, in military power, U.S. still is undoubtedly a military power in the globe. According to SIPIRI, U.S. military expenditure accounted for about $ 700 billion in 2010, which made up 42 of the world share.
China’s military aircraft carrier has been in the debate in U.S. foreign policy order. They also held joint counter-terrorism exercises with Brazil and humanitarian exercise with Peru. China’s military scale to Latin America is about 90% of China’s weapons. China is co-operating with Brazil in satellite technology, these are the signs to challenge U.S. military hegemony in Latin America.
In the field of economy, the U.S. has been trying to strengthen its position through the lost co-operation and trade. China’s growing relationship with Latin America reveals China’s search for global power to establish a multipolar world. The increasing economic interdependence between Latin America and China, particularly the increasing dependency of certain Latin America and countries on China’s market represents the dominant dimension of Chinese power in the region. China peruses track II diplomacy, for its policy to peruse institutional power in Latin America.
There are so many events in the history, but when we look back to recent history, first, 2001 represent the end of unipolar setup and the rise of a multipolar system. To begin with, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, shocked the world, and the U.S. that saw itself as untouchable showed elements of vulnerability. Second, in November 2001, China was admitted to the world trade organization (WTO), observing the entry of the greatest Asian economy in the world economic setup. Third, it is 2001 that it is considered as the first year of the Asian century. Fourth, the BRIC idea was instituted that same year by Goldman Sachs, expert James O’Neill, with a specific end goal to support interest in rising economies.
BRICS presents a challenge to American policy makers, to develop a coherent U.S. response to multi-polarity and to debate the rise of BRICS and re-structure the policy debate from China vs U.S. competition to multi- lateral processes of institutional reform. U.S. government, especially Obama administration, feels pressured to develop a response to BRICS.
In the 20th century, 1991 was a year herald for unipolar order, yet in 21st century 9/11 changed the course and 2008 melt down stated that it was time to acknowledge the multi-polar world order. The story traced back to the recent past, the year 2001 symbolizes the definite end of the American unipolar moment. World economies are increasingly getting interdependent, this happens frequently due to the charisma of globalization. To be more exact, the structure of the world is extremely complex because all actors inevitably intertwined in multiple layers of the system.
Surprisingly, American decline is not an illusion but it must be understood in relative terms. Yet, the question arise who challenges Western hegemony. The answer is BRICS. It is becoming multi-polar with the emergence of China, India, Brazil, and South Africa.
The American unipolar moment certainly has ended. BRICS are striving for political influence, therefore challenging traditional Western donors such as EU. It is a ubiquitous truth, 21st century is age of multi-polarity and it will create interdependence in every aspect. On 16th June 2009, BRICS countries’ heads of state, at a meeting at Yekaterinburg, Russia, stated a new slogan “a more democratic and just multi-polar world order.”
Today, with the presence of new actors, new world stage like BRICS and EU; the world remains the unique global power. The vital ingredient would be BRICS bank initiative. This bank is an active tool to improve global economic governance. More centralized states are able to sustain the challenges of globalization than more pluralistic states. autocracy in confusions China , Russia, and Persian gulf, theocracy in middle east, tyranny in Africa, popular leadership in Latin America.
These all regimes are challenging the notion of Western Liberalism, concepts of sovereignty, justice, freedom and freedom of exploitation. If the BRICS goes along well with justice peace and opportunity to all; certainly it will become a potent, legitimate and just economic actor in the fragile, injustice and exploitive prevailing economic order.

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