The world I grew up in, the world of the Cold War, was a ‘Multipolar’ world. A number of major powers, notably the USA, Russia and China, and to some extent Britain and France, jostled with each other on the world stage. Briefly following the end of the Cold War the West, really the USA, found itself in what appeared to be a ‘Monopolar’ world where it was the only global power. Russia was in a state of economic and political collapse and was largely inward looking, China was absorbed in growing its economy through constructive trading relationships with the outside world, so the west led by America, had a free hand to shape the world.
Politicians, the western mass media, and western so-called ‘thinkers’ told us this was the ‘end of history’, the beginning of an era of the ‘Pax Americana’ where the west’s enlightened governance would rule over a peaceful world of thriving capitalist business bringing benefits to all. I was never taken in by this ridiculous line of ‘reasoning’ because it was based on an entirely subjective and self-serving view of the world. It did not represent the reality of western behaviour or intentions. Instead I dubbed it the ‘Beginning of History’ expecting the west to go on a military rampage around the world and for the tensions and dangers of inter-state conflicts to grow rapidly. I was proved correct.
For the world quickly saw this was not to be an era of ‘enlightened governance’ but one of rapacious predatory militarism. The power imbalances in the world went straight to the heads of western leaders who steadily embarked on a programme of eliminating their enemies and leaving a trail of destruction and chaos everywhere. The legacy of these years will take many generations to repair.
Worse the power imbalances led to a process of deskilling and ‘unlearning’ by western leaders. Confronted always by foes in vulnerable developing societies where the power imbalance guaranteed an easy victory, our leaders lost all capability for objective thought and genuine strategic thinking. By 2014 strategy had degenerated to merely threatening military force, or using military force against your opponents, they could hardly fight back beyond some so-called ‘asymmetric warfare’. Most couldn’t or wouldn’t even do that.
Finally after nearly a quarter of a century of western power having a free hand to do as it willed in the world, other major nations began reacting accordingly. Countries like Russia which had had a rude awakening and China which was never taken in, began to strengthen themselves militarily and to stand up against the irresponsible, reckless and destructive policies of the west through potential UN Security Council vetoes.
Now the leading ‘thinkers’ of western power are screaming blue murder, we are headed towards a ‘Multipolar’ world, it’s the end of civilisation. In fact we are only returning to the normal condition throughout world history. A ‘Multipolar’ world is a good, healthy, normal thing. It is a world where nations are growing and developing economically. It is the type of world where for generations, politicians, diplomats and generals had to actually earn their money by thinking strategically and analysing situations objectively.
The ‘Multipolar’ world is a world where one power will actually have to consider the interests of another power and compromise, cut deals. It is no longer a world where the west can simply claim to be morally superior and therefore have the right to kill and destroy other nations. It is no longer a world where winning is more important than maintaining the peace. Military postures and foreign policies will have to continuously shift and adjust. Politicians, diplomats and generals will have to earn their money. It is a world where war is an occasional unintended failure, not a continuous normal way of life.
However leaders in the west having been so deskilled are hardly receptive to the idea of adjusting. There is an alternative view of the future built on the hypocritical, self-righteous and totally disingenuous bluster of western ideologues who label themselves the ‘Goodies’ in every drama. They never admit to being motivated by any self-interest, they always want to help other people, usually by destroying their countries.
The Neocons embody the extreme of this view, sometimes called by its critics the ‘Wolfowitz Doctrine’. This is the idea that the USA must maintain its global military supremacy by dominating the world by force. If rival powers are arising they must be strangled in their cradle. It is a fascist like view of a world of eternal war. It founded upon the principle that winning is more important than peace. It is the road to nuclear disaster.
People should recognise that the aim of dominating the world is not an entirely sane one. What such American ideologues are trying to do is to stop the course of history to the detriment of most who live in the world. The biggest danger in the future is not the changes in the world, but the way the west might abuse its power to react to these changes.