Breach in ‘Global Order 2.0’ (I)

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First, a few words on the ‘Global Order 2.0.’ In the theory (and practice) of international relations, the current global order dominated by the U.S. is known as ‘Global Order 2.0,’ more widely known as ‘Pax Americana,’ being established at the end of the Second World War when the Axis was defeated by the United Nations coalition.

The global order is defined by the peace settlements reached after the end of this war, which establish through their very contents the basic principles of the evolution of the global stage. The previous period, namely from the end of the First World War, is known as ‘Global Order 1.0,’ being the one that first included liberal principles in its makeup.

Although the U.S. brought an essential contribution to the victory of 1918, it did not take part in its management, withdrawing in isolationism. Its influence in global affairs was nevertheless overwhelming, so that at the onset of the second global conflagration (1939-1945) the European powers called on it to be able to win the new hegemonic war against the alliance of interwar totalitarianisms. ‘Global Order 2.0’ was updated at the end of the Cold War, the period in which the U.S. and the USSR were locked in competition for systemic dominance.

We are still within the framework of this international order, and the liberal institutions set up in 1945 for the management of global affairs – UN, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, NATO, the European Union – are still in existence. But since the start of the great economic-financial crisis of 2007-2008, experts have noticed that ‘Global Order 2.0’ has entered a crisis and the international stage is going through a period of uncertainty – frequent and ever more dangerous crises, the rise in regional tensions, the emergence of a new challenger to global hegemony (China), the decline of the U.S., Russia’s assertiveness, the rise of the importance of the military factor, etc. In this context, there is increasing talk of the creation of ‘Global Order 3.0,’ in other words the previous international makeup is allegedly set to be replaced – through war or not –, and the fundamental principles may or may not continue to be the traditional liberal ones.

What is happening in the international arena today must be understood – especially when we are talking about great powers – from the standpoint of the creation of this new order. Whether we are talking about Brexit, whether we are analysing Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, or the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, or the tension in the South China Sea – sporadically inflamed –, to give only these examples.

It seems this process of the creation of the new order was accelerated once D. Trump was sworn in at the White House. For him, MAGA has become a rallying call to uphold the Pax Americana, but at the same time to profoundly change it. Thus, he supported Brexit and showed European allies that they can no longer rely only on the U.S. for their own security, that they must appropriately contribute to its burden, he emphasised that the sovereignty of states is a basic element that must be strengthened – hence not connected to supranational structures –, treaties that sought to hasten or manage globalisation – the Pacific treaty, for instance – were suspended, the same is being planned for NAFTA etc.

On the Korean Peninsula, faced with the provocations of the communist regime in Pyongyang, the White House did not shy away from a yet to be solved crisis in order to put an end to nuclear proliferation which threatens its global primacy. In the Middle East, the most volatile region of the planet, it basically imposed a new narrative, forming an alliance with Sunni powers to counter and block Iran’s status as nuclear power and its strategy to dominate the region and gain access to the Mediterranean.

On 6 December 2017, Donald Trump announced a decision that decisively broke off the course of developments pre-established ever since ‘Global Order 2.0.’ He decided to move the U.S. embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “I have determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” Basically, this announcement puts an end to an entire evolution in this dossier, of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the “two-state” solution, both states with the capital in Jerusalem, which corresponded to ‘Global Order 2.0,’ and seeks to give a different direction to the regional developments there.

Thus, it can be said that we are dealing with a breach in the current components of the ‘Pax Americana,’ but this does not mean giving up on American primacy in the international system, it means giving it a new dynamic.

As known, since 1948, since the proclamation of the state of Israel, which was then confronted with the critical situation of defending against the Arab coalition in several wars, the peace process handled under the severe oversight of the international community established a solution paradigm consisting of the creation of a Palestinian state with the capital in East Jerusalem.

Even after the Israelis unified the Old City in the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, including after the main Israeli state institutions were moved there and the city was proclaimed the capital of the state, this peace paradigm – which was closest to achievement in the year 2000, toward the end of the Clinton presidency – remained unchanged.

Only lately has the “two-state” solution to the conflict become somewhat outdated, which does not mean that most of the international community does not remain attached to it. In this context, American President D. Trump announced the American embassy’s move to Jerusalem, a long-forecast step but postponed because of the extraordinary symbolic meaning it has. Therefore, Trump’s December 6 announcement is, before anything, a breach in the current global order and sets the outlook of its reformulation.

Through this decision – which was discussed within the UN Security Council on December 8, all other members of this body expressing their opposition to it –, the U.S. shows that it is at the helm of the work to reformulate the global institutions existing today. The short-term future will show what the lines that the U.S. is following in this process are and who will join the great American plan to rearrange the current global order.