The U.S.-led international order faces three simultaneous challenges—a rising power in East Asia, a declining but aggressive power in Eastern Europe and the unraveling of regional order in the Middle East. Left unchecked, events in Ukraine, the East China Sea and Iraq and Syria have the potential to seriously undermine an international system that has helped to guarantee peace and stability since the end of World War II.
On October 2, the Project on International Order and Strategy and the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings co-hosted an event on these growing threats and the policies or strategy the United States needs to meet these challenges. The event brought together scholars from across the Brookings Foreign Policy Program with a range of regional and functional expertise.
The first panel focused on the range of threats the international order faces and whether (and how) the United States should prioritize these challenges and threats. The second panel asked whether the United States needs new regional strategies or a new grand strategy, how the United States can deter and rollback acts of revisionism and how the campaign against the Islamic State can fit into a broader Middle East strategy. Both panels sought to address the question of whether or not the United States can ultimately restore the international order to good health.
Five schools of thought about where the world may be headed next
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Sep. 26 2014, 4:54 PM EDT
Last updated Sunday, Sep. 28 2014, 11:16 AM EDTIt has been 26 years since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev stood before the United Nations General Assembly and used Woodrow Wilson’s phrase “new world order” to describe the “profound social change” that was about to take place in the relations between the world’s nations and their people.
The world, he said, was about to experience a major change driven by “new nations and states, new public movements and ideologies.”Over the next quarter-century,
Mr. Gorbachev’s new world order became, simply, the world order: a world built on a broad agreement among most major countries that democracy and liberal economy were desirable goals; a world with only one superpower; a world where international institutions could govern trade, monetary and financial affairs and military conflicts; a world in which poorer countries gradually adopted the values and institutions first popularized in the West; and a world dominated by the United States, its military and its dollar.
As the UN once again convenes its General Assembly this week – and surprising words emerge from the speeches of Iranian, Chinese, Russian and American leaders – there is a profound sense, among many observers, that the world is once again reordering itself.
The old certainties have collapsed or faded, and new threats challenge them.The United States no longer always calls the shots, and when it tries to, as in the Middle East, it sometimes fails badly. It may no longer be the only superpower, as China expands to become one and uses its military to torment Japan and to bid for control over the South China Sea.
Rival models of nationhood, far more economically and politically authoritarian, are increasingly influential, if not united.The failures of Iraq and Afghanistan and the tumult of the post-2008 economic crisis have left many countries searching for other influences.
An authoritarian, territorial and anti-Western Russia has brought back some of the harsh logic of the Cold War. And a group of defiantly anti-democratic states and violent non-state movements are exercising their own influence – most notably in the failed states created by Iraq’s aftermath, where the Islamic State’s well-financed bid for a brutal theocracy is provoking a new, very different sort of international war, one whose bizarre coalitions we saw emerging in New York this week.
Old-style nationalism, from China to Scotland, has become a force once again. And international institutions have failed to solve some of the world’s most damning problems, notably carbon-driven atmospheric change…. MORE
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