July 20, 2024

Taking a Chance on Risk

It’s been nearly 40 years since the Berlin Wall collapsed and the end of history arrived. While most people welcomed the peace and prosperity the interim has brought, the organic evolution of the world has been stunted, forced into a straitjacket, and grown misshapen. Our predicament is that we fear the bad old 20th century, and yet the shoes we walked out of its ruins with are pinching our 21st-century feet. No one feels the contradiction more than the hegemon itself. Is there any way for America to relax the reins on the world-order stagecoach without risking a team of runaway horses?

Greg Lawson frames the problem in this way. The U.S. rose to world power during an extraordinary century during which Europe committed suicide, and both Russia and China hampered themselves by subscribing to the dysfunctional Communist ideology. “As the long-standing global superpower, the United States has been at the core of establishing and maintaining the current global order since the end of World War II. “It became as close to a global hegemon as any power in the history of the world during the post-Cold War era.”

However, hegemony was an unnatural state of affairs in the broad context of world history. The more common situation was multipolarity, and therefore, the end of history cannot last forever. Author Charles Krauthammer accepted that while it might last for decades, unipolarity would end someday. In the meantime, American efforts to preserve its hegemony, to freeze the moment, made things develop in twisted and unnatural ways, which created their own set of problems, perhaps the most obvious being the reliance of American NATO allies on Washington for security. Lawson argued that the twisting effect of the straightjacket was progressively making things worse. “The default legalistic and universalist American strategic approach to ensuring global order ironically risks breaking not only the current order, but any form of order while expediting a head long rush into catastrophe.”

What could replace it? “Alternatives to the emergence of global anarchy range from a loose federation that emerges peacefully and spontaneously to a constructed, Westphalian based balance of power approach to a tributary type system as long practiced by China under the notion of Tianxia.” At all events, “the U.S. needs a new strategy to erect a new global order that will be, by nature, multipolar.”

Interesting Read…