How Does the Rising Powers of Key Nation States Shift/Alter the Existing International Order?
The essay critically analyzes how the rising powers of key nation-states such as China, India, the European Union, and India affect the altering of the existing international order. The essay is analyzed in relation to the declining U.S. decline in international politics participation. Over the years since the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, the international order has largely been dominated by the United States as the dominant player in international relations. The shift in power relations has profound impacts on the existing international order anticipating the arguments of the unipolar and multipolar system as the key aspects dictating the prevalence of the international order. To exert the decline of the U.S. in international politics – the essay delves into the Americans’ participation in international organizations and cooperation at the global stage. Thus, ascertain the progress in the capacity to maintain the status quo or profound change that has been achieved with the rise of major powers that can alter the international order. The analysis of the future of International politics and potential International order provides an integral part of the essay as we determine the prospect of International Relations.
The Key Nation States and Rising Powers in the International Relations
The notion of rising powers is a central feature in the international relations in its contribution to the war, peace, and security in the international system (Miller 2016). Gray and Murphy (2013) note that there has been extensive debate to the extent to which the rising powers influence the global order on key areas such as economic governance and global politics. This promotes the need to transform the world order with such nations under the caucus of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), as well as, nation-states as Mexico and Turkey pursuance of more recognition in the international community (Parlar Dal 2018). Tank (2012) asserts that the rapid developments in economic power, expansion in political and cultural influence around the world, and the changing dynamics of power in the international system are key attributes to which these nations pride themselves impacting to their influence and capacity to alter the course of the international relations.
As we look to respective nations more closely, their influence in international politics has profoundly shifted the international relations order. China, for example, is a significant power to reckon with in the international system. According to Kiogora (2016), there has been extensive debate among International relations and security experts on the rise of China as a major global power causing a profound shift in the global order. This rise is credited to China’s meteoric transition to modernity through a wave of explicit economic developments and enormous influence in the international system (Kiogora 2016). According to Zhao (2019), this has intensified China’s strategic confrontation with the United States as a result of the realization of multifaceted Chinese foreign policy.
For instance, China’s growing interests and influence in key areas around the world – Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands, Asia, and Central Europe has been integral to raising its power and influence with key international partners (Mazarr et al. 2018). The vast economic resources achieved over the years of prowess expansion in investments, loans, and grants around the world has significantly expanded Chinese cultural and political influence. The preservation of Chinese interests such as peace and acquired global status is integral to its future performance in the international system (Johanson et al. 2019). Thus, it resulted in China establishing its role as a reputable and strategic power in the international community (Mazarr et al. 2018).
The re-emergence of Russia as a great power amassing gargantuan capacity, strength, and influence has been integral to the changing international relations dynamics (Nitoiu 2017). This has seen Russia rise from a defensive approach to offensive one in its mandate to assert itself as a major power in the international system (Bond 2015; Götz 2017; Nitoiu 2017). The tremendous power shift has been witnessed under the Putin rule which has grown Russia’s economic capacity, military strength, and political influence – key tools to assert Russia’s imminent strength and capability to influence international politics and international relations in its favor. According to Bond (2015), Russia has grown stronger and it is determined to retain its superior formal status in key international bodies such as the United Nations Security Council to wield strength to shape international affairs.
The academic circles assert the pride associated with Russia’s reemergence as a global power is profound to influence international policies and global agenda (Kaczmarska 2019). The capacity to willingly comply with international policies has been integral in Russia’s assertiveness in the international system. For example, Bond (2015) notes that Russia has “become less attached to the principle of the sovereign equality of states as enshrined in the UN Charters guaranteeing the respect and protection of nation-states from great powers. Baldoni (2016) finds this to be grossly violated by Russia’s use of its immense power towards the annexation of Crimea. Furthermore, Moscow’s aggressive actions against former Soviet republics with actions such as the attack of Georgia in 2008, cutting off energy supplies to Moldova, Ukraine, and Lithuania, as well as, interfering with domestic political affairs of respective nation-states (Götz 2017). Thus, illustrate a global order where the U.S. or any other power can counter Russia’s aggressive assertions – a show of the shift in the international order and power structure.
Rhinard and Sjöstedt (2019) expound on the significance and influence of the European Union as an actor in international affairs. The behavior of the European Union is integral to the standing global order with the organization taking lead in key policies and issues of the international context. For example, the EU plays a fundamental role in determining the defense policy of the European Community through closer ties and cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with the United States (Kaplánová 2016). The EU’s contribution to global peace and security has immense implications in international relations. Elgström and Smith (2004) assert that the change in the EU’s recognition as an international actor is attributed to the change from traditional approaches to a more pluralism approach in International relations. Thus, present a changing global order in which key players in the international community impact profoundly in policy and approaches to dealing with global issues. The EU presents a unique contribution to international relations as a ‘supra-government’ entity with authority, government, and structures to ascertain policy implementation (Nitoiu & Sus 2019).
The rise of India into the global powerful nations spectrum has profound implications for the transformation of the power realms in Asia (Horimoto 2017). India’s rapid emergence as a powerful nation in aspects of medicine and nuclear weapons since the 1990s projects it as the country to follow China in the aspiration of major power status (Horimoto 2017). According to Marg (2014), the relative decline of the U.S. has left the global leadership in a position that is severely lacking following the end of the unipolar system and the rise of such powers as China and India. India has emerged to be the prominent play in the Middle East asserting its role and position in security issues, oil importation, and labor exportation (Pethiyagoda 2017). This presents the changing dynamics experienced in the international relations that determine the power actors. The rise of India is embedded in the local, regional, and international affairs as geopolitics influence continue to gain momentum in shaping the world order (Horimoto 2017; Pethiyagoda 2017).
What Does the Rise of these Powers Mean for the International Order?
The rise of emerging economies has a profound impact on the international affairs. The activities of countries in the BRICS caucus, Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, among others continue to exert enormous demand to attain influential positions vital to shaping the international order (Nieto 2012). The growth of geopolitics positions the regional hegemonies as strategic partners integral to shaping international relations. This impacts to the shaping of the international order where the emerging economies play a crucial role in addressing major issues from environmental challenges attributed to climatic changes, poverty reduction, human rights and governance, peace and security, terrorism threats, cybersecurity, among other extensive global problems (Mingst et al. 2018). The advancement of military strengths of China, Russia, and India positions them as strategic partners in war and pose a significant threat to a unipolar system (Bode &b Huels 2018). This results in highly changing global dynamics shaping the international affairs and cooperation of nations.
The spread of cultural and political influence of emerging powers such as China has a tremendous impact on the international system. The Chinese foreign policy has been profoundly determined to expanding China’s interests around the world (Lu 2018). Currently, China is the main trading partner of Africa surpassing the United States and the EU. In 2017, China’s imports accounted for $1.84 trillion and exports of a total of $2.26 trillion. As well, India’s increase in international trade prospects presents the use of soft power by the emerging powers (Mishra 2016). The use of soft power is crucial to shaping the perceptions and behavior of other international relations actors towards the preference of own interests through economic rewards and coercion as stated by Joseph Nye (Mishra 2016). This is a tool that has profoundly been used by emerging powers as opposed to the use of hard power utilized by the U.S. on various encounters (Luo 2019). The U.S. dominance decline indicates a sudden shift in international affairs leading to far-reaching changes and establishment of the world order where multilateral cooperation is key to the future of international relations.
Rising Powers as it Relates to the U.S. Decline in the International Politics
The rise of emerging powers particularly China has a terrific impact on the shaping of the global order. Mazarr et al. (2018) note that since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Chinese scholars have been anticipated the decline of the West-leading to the rise of multipolar world order. The decline of the West was hit by a crippling blow following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis which saw the U.S. economic prowess weaken profoundly (Creutz et al. 2019). Mazarr et al. (2018) assert that while the U.S. has remained resilient in avoiding an absolute decline – its share of the global GDP continues to shrink posing an imminent threat to its capacity to sustainably manage the world events. In turn, this posits a weakening position of the United States’ capacity to dominate the international affairs that they have enjoyed for years.
As a result, the United States’ capacity to lead the world has greatly been eroded leaving a void for the emerging powers to fill. The rise of emerging powers posits a world of uncertainty in the persistence of pursuing the national interests in the international system (Tank 2012). The weakened position of the United States and the West will continue to experience similar trends despite the significant efforts to resurge in economic performances of the major powers. The precedent set presents economic clout of the major powers and augmenting the political positioning powers as they establish themselves as a viable alternative to traditional and dominant powers (Creutz et al. 2019). The availability of alternative powers influences international relations through strengthening the respective nation-state actors with a choice towards the potential ally in the international system (Miller 2016). Thus, it illustrates a phenomenon of continuously changing world order with the global South gaining more international positions and influence around key issues.
Unipolar System vs. Multipolar System
The setting of universal power structure lines continuously continues to attract profound debates challenging the arguments of the existence of geopolitical power structures (Creutz et al. 2019). In today’s world, the emergence of numerous heterogeneous actors indicates a tendency in which there lacks a central power structure. This is a direct implication of the decline of the unipolar system giving room to the rise of a multipolar global order. Scholars such as Joseph Nye argue that the power structures in international relations vary differently across specific issues (Creutz et al. 2019). For example, state power dominance in issues such as military strength continues to show the US hegemony as the prevailing power. This designates the persistence of a unipolar power structure in the field of military affairs. In the aspects of economic power, the global affairs are shaped by a multipolar structure comprising of the U.S., China, and the EU as the leading economies (Miller 2016). Other areas such as political fields are influenced by a much more heterogeneous power structure shaped by regional hegemonies in geopolitical affairs (Creutz et al. 2019).
According to Varisco (2013) “the prevalence of the hierarchy of power defined on the basis of the unipolar world allowed the US to loom largely unchallenged for many years.” This resulted in the maintenance of relatively peaceful and stable world order. In the existence of the multipolar system, the world order has become more drastic and unstable with major powers and rising powers competing extensively to sustain the power status (Zala 2017). In the era of a bi-polar power structure that depicted the U.S. and the Soviet Union presented the balance of power through Mutually Assured Destruction in case of aggression against the other.
Zala (2017) asserts that the multipolar world order is characterized by the realist approach to international relations. This posits a world order that constitutes competing visions of the interstate impacting the instability of the international order. The shift in polarity is attributed to the distribution of capabilities which has seen emerging powers become more strong in significant areas of global interest (Gaiser & Kovač 2012). The Russian capability to pursue intensive warfare with its presence in Syria has profoundly the U.S. dominance a global military power. China’s economic capabilities pursuing megaproject one after another in various parts of the world have profoundly impacted to US-Sino-domination of the global economy. The capacity for several states to counter U.S. influence is integral to providing alternative leadership in global issues (Oezel 2015). For example, climate changes leadership posits China as the best alternative to lead global efforts in sustaining and protection of the environment following the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Protocol.
As a result, the increase of multipolar international order presents a decline in the U.S. capabilities to sustain the status quo. The rapid rise of emerging powers presents a continuous trend despite the U.S. resilience will not be able to recover the unipolar status. This marks a profound shift in global order which asserts other international relations actors as strategically positioned to shape the international order. The transformation presents a continuous trend in which more powers are bound to gain higher status as strategic regional and international partners. Thus, ascertain a world order where cooperation and multilateral agreements are crucial to the future of international relations.
U.S. Participation in the International Organizations and Cooperation
In recent years, the U.S. participation in the International organizations and cooperation entities has declined significantly. This exerts extensive ramifications on the global leadership mandates that the U.S. has enhanced for years. In areas like climate change which is constituted in Paris Climate Changes Protocol – under the Donald Trump Presidency, the U.S. withdraw its commitments in the fight on climate changes, seek better preventive approaches, and mitigate the current problems of global warming (Zhang et al. 2017). The U.S. withdrawal left a leadership void which to fill presents emerging powers with higher leadership mandate in readiness to set the direction in which the world is to follow. China assuming the position presents an opportunity to shape international relations afresh on matters climate changes. On the other hand, the U.S. withdrawal left cities, businesses, and corporations with the capacity to set new standards of the international order as they pursue more recognition as key International relations actors (Pereira 2019).
As the U.S. adopts more protectionist policies that favor domestic investments and development over the overseas investment has seen the U.S. participation in international organizations and cooperation diminishes profoundly (Marg 2014). The approach promotes cutting down of the aid and grants fund which the U.S. previously sent out to the world. The funds to Sub-Saharan Africa have extensively been cut leaving the countries open to accept new partners with the economic capacity to sustain the insatiable need for infrastructure developments (Gray & Murphy 2013). This constitutes a void that China has to be at the forefront to fill by investing massively in major infrastructures in key African countries including Kenya, Ethiopia, Angola, Uganda, Mozambique, Djibouti, Nigeria, Ghana, among others. The spread of Chinese economic power, political and cultural influence in various regions around the world has set a new precedent of world order (Mazarr et al. 2018).
The adoption of protectionist policies has led the U.S. to open new antagonisms with key trading partners as it seeks to promote local production from external commodities. For example, U.S.-China relations have thwarted several times following the prevalence of trade wars between the two countries. As well, U.S.-Canada relations have been affected by the former slapping tariffs on the latter’s commodities exported to the United States (Nitoiu & Sus 2019). The same trend has renewed talks and negotiations with the EU, Mexico, Turkey, India, among other organizations in the regional context. The impact entails the potential decline of U.S. influence in the political, economic, and cultural proceedings of these countries IF it is replaced by a superior power like China. Thus, the economic front – the U.S. remains profoundly vulnerable ushering a new world order where national interests of the emerging economies have been spread across the world to exert more influence and secure long-term relations with new strategic partners.
Maintaining the Status Quo or Change?
Bäck and Lindholm (2014) assert that the “default ideological position is the status quo maintaining.” In the aspect of adopting measures and new practices that challenge the status quo opens the international relations and the world order to increased risks and threats. The challenge on the status quo presents the need to adopt new approaches to maintaining the world order which is at risk of conflict as a result of competing national interests (Ikenberry & Lim 2017). This presents an advancement of the realist world in which every nation must pursue its national interest by any means necessary. The preference for maintaining the status quo in international relations is supported by the system justification theory (Bäck & Lindholm 2014). However, given the rise of new global powers – maintaining the status quo has become more problematic as each nation seeks more recognition and respect in shaping the international order (Phillips 2008).
The capacity of rising powers to deal with geopolitical problems project them as reputable forces to set the global agenda. In international relations, this sets a new precedent in which emerging powers contribute significantly to international relations (Ikenberry & Lim 2017). The capacity to influence other nations in adopting policies that you set is a new trend which was only assumed by the U.S. This posits an increasing order of international relations different from the traditional approaches that were dominated and influenced only by the major powers. The rational thinking and contribution to approaches that set the global agenda are palatable to the conduct of nation-states (Bäck & Lindholm 2014). Thus, a profound impact on the standards of the international order set through policies and global agenda brings international actors closer for more cooperation and collaboration.
Recently, small countries like Kenya set the precedent with planning for the first of its kind blue economy summit. The question revolves around the role of such actions and what does it auger to the international order? The rise of small powers contributing enormously to the international system sets new practices of the international relations which previously were only pursued by the great powers like the U.S. The rise of new powers opens the world to new practices which are on a continuously rising trend without a possibility of scaling back (Bäck & Lindholm 2014). This presents a future where the U.S. status’ quo dominance is realty challenged by several countries whilst its efforts to maintain a strong economic and military strength.
The Future of the International Politics and International Order
The future of international politics and international order sets the new precedent to which nations will conduct themselves in pursuit of their national interests. The prevalence of regional organizations is bound to take more charge and influence global affairs as traditionally suppressed regions gain more momentum in seeking international recognition. The countries that have attained the recognition of emerging power – intend to maintain the new status valiantly without ever declining back. This posits a world of competing national interests that threaten potential conflicts. Thus, a more erratic and wildly competitive world is bound to be experienced in the international order with strong powers such as China and India set to take precedent to global affairs.
The potential state’s survival is integral to the future of the nation-state. This asserts a need for which – nation-states remain focused on amassing substantial power and influence in the international arena. For the small and week states – regional formations are crucial entities for their protection from any external aggressor. In the case of internal aggress – the regional formations are bound to have sufficient power and capacity to maintain a zero-sum game where the conducive environment can be maintained between the conflicting parties. As well, this plays a fundamental role in maintaining the balance of power as more nations become more and more capable of attacking and sustaining the war. This is critical for international politics and the international order to follow countermeasures in case of potential threat impacted by anarchy.
Furthermore, the role of businesses and corporations is bound to expand significantly in the international system. As the corporations become richer and wealthier than nations themselves – it opens up new challenges to international politics and international order. Despite the lack of being primary international actors – corporations that expand to multinational entities constitute a strategic position o influence global affairs and global order. This is critical to the future of international relations. Interesting in the study of international relations the research on the role of multinational corporations in shaping the world order is critical to balance the rise of new powers. The capacity to maintain power balance is critical to avoid further dominance and succumb to anarchy as competing national interests become the order of international relations.