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Why Principles - and not Players - Should Determine the Nature of the Emerging International Order

Why Principles - and not Players - Should Determine the Nature of the Emerging International Order

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This Brussels Forum Brief says that the arrival of new global powers presents the West with a dilemma: whether to prioritize players or principles in creating a new international architecture that contributes to the continuity and efficacy of international norms.
This Brussels Forum Brief says that the arrival of new global powers presents the West with a dilemma: whether to prioritize players or principles in creating a new international architecture that contributes to the continuity and efficacy of international norms.

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Published by: German Marshall Fund of the United States on Mar 31, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The remarkableglobal growth story of thepast two decades is alreadybeginning to manifest itself geopolitically. The arrival of new global powers presents theWest with a dilemma: whetherto prioritize players or principlesin creating a new internationalarchitecture that contributes to
the continuity and efcacy of 
international norms. If the Westfails to do either, there is everylikelihood that a competing global system may emergewith ruinous consequencesfor all. Truly empowering new
players will require sacricing privileges, reafrming principles,
consolidating space, andprivileging and engaging emerging democracies.
Te world today is unrecogniz-able rom the one that emerged atthe end o the Cold War in 1991.While some point to the protestsand revolutions in the Arab world asbeing the most recent examples o the crumbling vestiges o the ColdWar, the more signicant long-term global trend is the remarkablearrival o several new players to thegame o great-power politics. Teinternational system, which untilthe 1990s saw power disproportion-ally concentrated in North America,Europe, and Japan, has sincewitnessed a dynamic change indistribution to other players, most— but not all — o whom are in theAsia-Pacic region. Brazil, once aposter child or income inequality,has seen its economy bounce back ollowing a prolonged lull. Indo-nesia, although still manacled by corruption, has evolved rom aninsular military dictatorship into apolitically stable democracy with apromising economy. India has gonerom an aid-dependent regionalpower to a hotbed o entrepreneur-ship, with its economy more thandoubling in size between 2002 and2008. In that same period, urkey’shas more than tripled, accompaniedby a strong sense o identity anda brash sel-condence. Last, andcertainly not least, is the dramatic
Why Principles — and not Players —Should Determine the Nature of theEmerging International Order 
by Dhruva Jaishankar and Joshua W. Walker 
1744 R Street NWWashington, DC 20009T 1 202 683 2650F 1 202 265 1662E ino@gmus.org
rise o China, which in 1990 had agross domestic product per capitaless than India’s, but is today almostour times as wealthy.Te remarkable global growth story o the past two decades — oenoverlooked today in the aermatho the global nancial crisis — isnot just relegated to a handul o emerging powers and city-statessuch as Dubai and Singapore.Countries such as Bangladesh,Vietnam, Colombia, Ethiopia, andanzania are among those seeingrapid reductions in poverty and,with it, the creation o new employ-ment opportunities.
Te Economist 
 even coined the acronym CIVESto designate Colombia, Indonesia,Vietnam, Egypt, urkey, and SouthArica as members o a second tiero emerging big markets, beyond thebetter-known BRICs identied by Goldman Sachs (comprising Brazil,Russia, India, and China).
 Te economic awakening o long-dormant powers has already mani-ested itsel geopolitically. Brazil
Laurence Chandy and Geoffrey Gertz, “Poverty inNumbers: The Changing State of Global Poverty from2005 to 2015,” Policy Brief 2011-01, The BrookingsInstitution, January 2011.
The Economist, “BRICS and BICIS,”
The World in2010
, November 26, 2009, http://www.economist.com/blogs/theworldin2010/2009/11/acronyms_4
March 2011
Paper Series
under President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and urkey under Prime Minister Recep ayyip Erdoğan chose toplay a more active diplomatic role on the Iran nuclearstando — much to the consternation o the UnitedStates and Europe — and Erdoğan has boldly suggestedestablishing a more equal relationship between Europeand urkey.
India has become a critical player in globalnegotiations related to climate change, nuclear disarma-ment, and world trade, i only as a potent veto wielder,and it has joined eight other developing countries asmembers o the G20. China, meanwhile, has been mostactive in its bilateral dealings in its neighborhood andbeyond, with its convening o 48 Arican heads o stateat the 2006 China-Arica summit in Beijing and recentreports that it had surpassed the World Bank as a lenderto developing states being but two examples o its nowconsiderable diplomatic clout.
 Tis so-called “rise o the rest” presents the United Statesand its allies in the West with a troublesome dilemma.
 On one hand, an institutional ocus would suggestimmediately incorporating these new players into extantsystems o global governance so as to more accurately reect the distribution o power and strengthen inter-national cooperative mechanisms. o a certain degree,this has been done on the economic side. Te G20 nowlargely overshadows the G8 as the primary internationaleconomic summit, while at last year’s spring meetings o the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, thevoting shares o China, India, and Brazil — among others— were increased. Te challenge on the political side,however, is to ensure that the inclusion o new actorswill, in act, contribute to the continuity and efcacy o international norms. Jorge Castañeda, the ormer oreignminister o Mexico, has voiced concerns on this score,pointing to the poor human rights records o severalemerging powers and their close relations with unsavory regimes as reasons to exclude them rom various interna-tional high tables or the time being.
But i the West wereto continue to resist or deny these new global players aplace at the high table on the grounds o maintaining thepurported sanctity o institutions, there is every likeli-hood that the entire global system — which the Westcreated and careully nurtured over the past hal century 
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, “The Robust Man of Europe,”
, January 17, 2011.
Geoff Dyer, Jamil Anderlini, and Henry Sender, “China’s Lending Hits New Heights,”
The Financial Times
, January 17, 2011.
Fareed Zakaria,
The Post-American World
(New York: W.W. Norton, 2008).
Jorge G. Castaneda, “Not Ready for the Prime Time,”
Foreign Affairs
, September/October 2010.
— may be jeopardized. Te West now aces a choice:should it let players or principles determine the worldorder o the 21
“Do Not Pass Go”: New Rules or a New Game?
It might help to compare the international system tothe board game Monopoly. Both are characterized by multiple players, limited resources and inuence, andriendly but intense competition. In both cases, thereare variants, but as long as the rules are agreed to at theoutset, the game can be played to everyone’s satisaction(i not always to their benet). Te international systemtoday is a long-running game whose main players are theUnited States, the major member states o the EuropeanUnion, and Japan, and to a certain degree China andRussia. India, Brazil, urkey, and others want to join,but their inclusion would necessitate a consolidation o weaker players to make room or new ones and exibleredistributions o power, but ultimately the same set o rules in an altered game. Te alternative is worse. As thepower o these emerging economies grows, so will theirrustrations at being excluded. And the risk is that thesenew players may start a new game o their own, excludingcertain long-established powers, such as member states o the European Union.Te implications o a competing new system would bemonumentally destabilizing, even i some may benet.At the very least, the uncertainty o a new system iscause or collective concern. History suggests thatmomentous transitions — those resulting in new inter-national political orders — have always been tumultuous,ollowing destructive conict and the utter collapse o anearlier system. Te Westphalian order that establishedmodern conceptions o sovereignty and nation-statehood
The challenge is to ensure thatthe inclusion of new actorswill, in fact, contribute to the
continuity and efcacy of 
international norms.
was a direct consequence o the Tirty Years’ War andthe demise, once and or all, o the
respublica christiana
.Te Concert o Europe rose out o the ashes o the FrenchRevolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and the end o theprecarious 18
century balance-o-power system. Ourmodern system o global governance centered on theUnited Nations Security Council (UNSC) is largely anoutgrowth o World War II. It is in the collective sel-interest o all powers, both established and emerging,to ensure that the transition to a successor system isaccomplished without any o the trauma or ruin o thesedevastating conicts.One alternative to the gradual incorporation o emergingpowers into a liberal international order — although by no means the only one — is a uture marked by erodinginstitutions and heightened competition: a 21
century that closely resembles the world o the 19
century,with competing regional powers carving out spheres o inuence, possibly to correspond to their ormer impe-rial domains.
Asia, home to a large percentage o theworld’s population, as well as several major economic andmilitary powers, is likely to be the main theater o suchcompetition. China and India, between them, accountor a third o the world’s population and a signicantpercentage o its growth, and will likely be the two largestmarkets or military equipment, making their rivalry relevant not just or the region but or the entire interna-tional community. Asia is also sharply divided betweendeveloped societies (Japan primarily, but also SouthKorea and aiwan) and developing nations such as India,Vietnam, and Indonesia. Ripe or polarization and secu-rity competition, Asia’s uture will almost certainly neces-sitate a central role or the United States, although theemerging adversity may not necessarily involve Europe.
A Way Forward: Prioritizing Principles
Te West is no stranger to accommodating and incor-porating non-Western states into its orbit. During theCold War, Japan and South Korea beneted rom decadeso U.S. military presence and security guarantees, whileTailand, the Philippines, Pakistan, and urkey were allinvolved in security alliances with Western powers. Buttruly empowering and privileging new global playersinevitably involves breaking with the status quo andsacricing certain privileges.
Robert Kagan,
The Return of History and The End of Dreams
(New York: Knopf,2008).
Europe, even more than the United States, is in danger o being caught o guard by the ongoing global power tran-sition and, as a consequence, losing out. Te moribundand ineective UNSC represents the starkest problemwith the global system as it stands. Europe has threepermanent veto-wielding players out o ve at the table(i Russia is included along with Britain and France),while its largest economy, Germany, has no say. Asia,meanwhile, has only a solitary representative in China,which has been anything but accommodating o its Asianneighbors. Solutions and suggestions or restructuring o the UNSC range rom a complete re-ordering to some-thing more like the G20 group o nations, or simply theaddition o a ew more signicant players such as Brazil,Germany, India, and Japan.At the same time, Europe may also have much to gainby ensuring the viability o norms and institutions thathave served it well since World War II. Cooperation withAsian powers in dealing with the potentially destabilizingeects o a rising China will be oset by the benets o involving East Asian powers more closely in security priorities or the Atlantic allies, such as combating globalterrorism.Te enduring memory o the September 11, 2001,attacks in the United States makes it difcult to ignoreor downplay the potential havoc that can be wreakedby transnational and nonstate threats. Yet the ongoingwar in Aghanistan — waged to ensure that a sae havenor groups engaged in terrorist activities does not exist— oers a powerul example o the ailure to translateconverging international interests into tangible results.On a more promising note, preventative cooperation incombating piracy, particularly o the coast o Somalia,has brought both traditional Western and modern-izing Asian navies together or joint patrols, although
Truly empowering and privileging new global players inevitablyinvolves breaking with the status
quo and sacricing certain

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