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Ideological Clash Is Not Happening In the Middle East or In Asia, but In the West, In Europe

By Kashif Mirza

January 12, 2021

There is no question that the change in administrations in the US will be a critical point in rebuilding the international order. It is a welcome development that President-elect Joe Biden has indicated his intention to prioritize multilateral coordination. His administration will repair relations with Europe, which greatly deteriorated under Trump, and support international frameworks like the Paris Agreement on global warming and the World Health Organization. However, the world cannot expect the U.S. to mend the international order by itself.

It is therefore difficult to imagine the U.S. will again become the global standard-bearer for free trade. Washington is also unlikely to quickly return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. President Donald Trump, who prioritised American interests at the expense of others, has destroyed other countries’ trust in the U.S. The novel coronavirus has helped this trend diffuse worldwide by promoting the exclusionary mindset that one must repel others to protect one’s own life.

The international atmosphere is tense, and the existing order is crumbling as countries pursue their own narrow national interests. The vicious cycle of distrust and insecurity must be stopped in 2021. In international security, too, there is no guarantee the U.S. will maintain its overwhelming military capability. The international order of this new normal cannot rely on U.S. leadership alone. The Trump administration tried to change China’s economic behaviour by exerting pressure on trade while largely ignoring coordination with other countries. With both sides levying sanctions and subsequent retaliation, the situation has turned into an unproductive new Cold War.

Although the World Trade Organization has grown weaker, Japan, Singapore, Australia and other willing countries are still discussing rules focused on data distribution. For Japan, the alliance with the U.S. has long been the cornerstone of foreign policy, but there will now be more occasions than ever for the country to exercise its power independently. China has taken a keen interest in these discussions as more countries have joined.

The era in which world orders were built through the might of superpowers is coming to an end. In a nonpolar world, even modest actions can snowball into something greater. When developing a new framework, there are countless possibilities for participating countries and themes to take up. Countries should compete against one another by demonstrating new ideas and leadership to address outstanding global issues.

Beijing’s relative success is not widely discussed in the rest of the world. That’s a reflection of growing concerns over Chinese President Xi Jinping as the driving force. In Washington, both Democrats and Republicans now seem convinced of the need to treat China as a systemic rival. China’s economy may have rebounded faster than any other major country during the pandemic, but its growth is getting more sluggish. Volatile Sino-US relations and more restrictive access to overseas markets for Chinese companies have prompted a fundamental rethink of growth drivers by Beijing’s top economic planners. About China the West’s fears over the Beijing consensus that is, a future where countries trade and deal along rules shaped by China’s autocratic rulers are overblown. It challenges to imagine that liberal logics will not work out the way we might expect. What if China is making history, not simply playing out its end.

The COVID-19 crisis also taught us one thing, it is not necessarily the most economically or militarily powerful that can go through a crisis unscathed. There is a profound realignment going, and the Muslim world also needs to find its better place in it. This is very interesting that the challenge to the liberal world created by the West is being challenged from within itself. This ideological clash is not really happening in the Middle East or in Asia, it is happening in the West, in Europe, in America. Muslim states have a lot to contribute with their ideas about global justice. Pakistan and Turkey have been champions of all this. Every year at the UN, both the countries talk about global justice, needs for UN reform, and how the world is bigger than five permanent members of the UN Security Council. These issues need to be brought to the attention of Muslim world more rather than an inward-looking reflection on good governance.

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the global power dynamics. No one has a power and monopoly to design anything in the international system now. The current global system is witnessing the return of great power rivalry with the rise of Russia and China that pose an existential challenge to dominant liberal world order and those who would like to maintain it. However, in the new order, we see more cooperation that transcends nations and countries, referring to efforts to manufacture coronavirus vaccines which brought together scientists and different nations. It is a new reality that needs to be internalised and adjusted to. The world order is undergoing a profound realignment, and the Muslim world needs to find its higher place in it.


Kashif Mirza is an economist, anchor, analyst and the President of All Pakistan Private Schools Federation.

Original Headline: New world order and The Muslim world!

Source:  The Daily Times, Pakistan


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