Towards a non-liberal International Order

U.S.-China Relationships And A Power Shift In The International System

Ikenberry in his article ‘The end of liberal international order?’ rightly points towards the not so happy future for international liberal order, however, he argues that the said order still has a role in the future.

Based on the evolving power structures of the international system the order is predictably going to be a hybrid between the U.S and Western-led international liberal order and a more socialist one promoted by the Chinese; whose economy is currently on the rise very rapidly.

This postwar liberal order with its promotion of “open door ” policies globally, expansion of free markets, and maximization of freedom of US capital – protected by a strong US military apparatus and US-centered multilateral institutions has long served the interests of the global west. However, along with the power shifts, internationally that is resisting the dominance of this order, even a stronger resistance is coming from within these western societies against the liberal order.

For seventy years not only this system has protected the American and European interest but also deposited and nurtured the grain of discontent into the general public of the same societies. As these policies have always reinforced and protected the prosperous positions of the political elite, that is about 1% of the society, to rest of the public, it has generated a dissatisfaction and frustration.

Therefore, it is because of this reason that liberal internationalism is seen as not the source of stability but rather that of generating inequality and discontent. On a more global level, as within the Western society itself, it is perceived similarly, as the provider of the favorable playing field for influential and wealthy Western states, by the non-western states.

As the world is adjusting to the power shifts from a US hegemony to a more multi-polar international system international order is also affected by this shift in major ways. China with its leading role in this new international system is pushing for a more non-liberal international order putting forwards their socialist values at the forefront of this new order. The withdrawal of US from the leadership role at the international arena had left the position open which the Chinese President Xi Jinping has happily filled with his own style of running the world.

After the promotion of a more self-isolated foreign policy by the Trump administration; with his withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement, retreat from Trans-Pacific Partnership, creating more than enough entry spaces for the Chinese to step forward with its socialism with Chinese, or a more President Xi’s, characteristics for a new era.

With the resistance from within and from the powershift on the international arena a hybrid system that contains elements from the liberal international order and a new socialist order offered by China as the new “responsible stakeholder”.

Nana De Graaff and Bastiaan Van Apeldoorn explain the contours of this hybrid emerging as a result of all these changes in the international system in their article US-China relations and the Liberal world order: contending elites, colliding vision? They believe that they do not expect China to internally own the liberal order, even though, China’s economy is incorporated and integrated into the world economy and their embracing of the inclusive nature of globalization advocating the same open door policies as those of the liberal order to achieve greater political gains.

Meanwhile, maintain its state-directed form of capitalism, with a more selective adaptation of the liberal order and traditional Chinese state-led policies. Thus, incorporating the two very distinct orders into a hybrid where selective inclusion of cooperation and competition.


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