The world order needs a reset

by MMC
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From Gaza to Ukraine, the movement of geopolitical plates is upsetting all strategic balances. The old model of multilateralism cannot cope with rapid changes, but the world needs global governance. To be effective, this must include the South, which is currently kept out of the main power structure. Review of Hamza Hraouico-founder of the international public affairs firm MGH Partners.

The collapse of the bipolar power play, marked by the rise of states previously considered marginal, poses a major challenge to the current architecture of global institutions, prompting their reform. This is a major step in global rebalancing.

The first vote, on March 2, 2022, of a resolution against Russia at the UN General Assembly posed an unexpected headache for the West. Thinking that most African countries, considered “friendly”, would follow Western condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the fact that 35 countries, more than half of them African, abstained was a brutal shock.

This capacity for analysis and independent decision-making of African or Arab countries only affirms the decreasing centrality of the West but also reveals a deeper misunderstanding: the North and the South no longer share the same grammar of international relations. – even as global challenges require a convergence of narratives, at least between the two shores of the Mediterranean.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, there was real hope of building a more horizontal global conflict resolution system. However, we continued to count on the power of the Atlantic Alliance as the sole guarantor of the balance of the international game.

In the euphoria that followed globalization, it was easy to believe that an international, even constitutional, order was possible: the EU was expanding, American and Soviet nuclear arsenals were significantly reduced, and unique institutional bodies such as the World Trade Organization (WHO), the International Criminal Court (ICC) and IP were created: the WHO, the ICC, the International Panel on Climate Change, among others, were created.

But the increasing regression of liberal democracies sounds the possible death knell for the system of international cooperation. Countries like Russia or Turkey have succumbed to populist or authoritarian temptations and countries like China now openly present themselves as a Western counter-model for a new, openly undemocratic world order.

These models appeal and are exported quite easily, including to Africa. Between 2020 and 2023, more than 8 coups have been successfully executed on the continent.

Meanwhile, the UN has remained stuck in the same organizational architecture as in 1945. The Security Council, in particular, is criticized for its inability to respond effectively to current crises, exacerbated by the frequent use of the veto by permanent members .

This club of nuclear powers, awaiting a “reset”, must be redesigned to include more equitable representation of emerging and developing countries. Remember that since the end of the Second World War, five countries, including two former European empires, share the right of veto, which, used excessively by the United States and Russia, prevents any strong action and methodically pushes others away. countries in the South of the Western Arc.

Save the UN soldier

However, the UN remains the only forum capable of globalizing the national security issues of States. Hence the urgency of a reformist resurgence.

The real threat to humanity no longer lies primarily in rivalries between neighbors, but in the global challenges of the Anthropocene, foremost among which: health security and climate insecurity.

The UN must therefore evolve to reflect contemporary realities, marked by complexity and structural interdependencies. And this must start with the integration of an African and Latin American country, with a right of veto in the Security Council.

Today, we cannot ignore the accelerated emancipation movement in the countries of the South around international issues. It is a movement which has been built since decolonization and which has led to the principle of “free diplomatic union” expressed by the researcher in international relations Bertrand Badie. This doctrine explains, for example, why Morocco or Saudi Arabia no longer focus on Paris or Washington but rather on Tel Aviv or Beijing.

The addition last August of six new members to the BRICS+ group, which controls more than 54% of global oil production, is a clear message that global affairs will no longer be the preserve of the West. Emerging countries also want to reorganize the international financial architecture. The United States and Europe must now see it, understand it and accept it.

Accelerate the exit from the interregnum

Let’s be clear, the planet will always need global governance. It is therefore now that we must define a framework that includes the South.

The integration of countries traditionally considered secondary into the instruments of global diplomacy is a first step towards renewed and effective multilateralism. These nations play increasingly important roles in their respective regions and bring unique perspectives on subregional and global issues.

Their involvement in international institutions can only enrich the decision-making process because it is more legitimate, and thus promote more balanced management of world affairs.

To do this, we must understand the language of “others” those who were considered weak 10 years ago, understand that it is possible to have a different perspective on world politics. It also calls for an end to the arrogance which projected the models of the rich countries of the North as universal and rational references.

The current debate on double standards, against the backdrop of the Sukkot war (Israel – Hamas), proves the limit of wanting to make moral values ​​the cardinal principles of diplomacy.

This does not necessarily have to be antithetical to a diligent and coherent defense of humanist values. Contrary to popular belief, the countries of the South do not have a defined ideological base that is anti-Western. In other words, they will still have to cooperate with the United States for their security and with China for their prosperity.

It will therefore not be a question of reproducing alliances like NATO, because these countries are projecting themselves into strategic agreements based on their national interests and not on a rigid ideological camp as during the Cold War.

Even UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres admits that current global governance structures reflect the world of yesterday.

We know that the fragmentation of global diplomacy and the tendency towards nationalism are weakening international cooperation at a critical time for humanity, against a backdrop of climate collapse.

Reforming the multilateral system will be a long process. But it is already underway, under the constraints of the interregnum that we are experiencing. If the West wants to be a player, it will now have to involve the South in world affairs.

Ultimately, this will require the end of the Westphalian concept according to which all states have exclusive sovereignty over their territories and the advent of new forms of power between Big Tech and states.

In short, a new chessboard for the distribution of global governance between an old world (nation states) and the aggregation of technological powers, which are already overwhelming our daily lives.

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