Publié le : 09/02/2024

Hamza Hraoui : The global order awaits its reset

From Gaza to Ukraine, the shifting of geopolitical plates is disrupting all geostrategic balances. In response, an old set of mechanisms for regulating international relations, known as multilateralism, is showing resistance and is slow to undergo its aggiornamento.

The crumbling of the bipolar power game, 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 the global rebalancing.

Only a form of geopolitical myopia can explain the West’s astonishment.

This capacity for independent analysis by African or Arab countries, has not only recalled the fading centrality of Europe but also 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.

Shedding post-Cold War glasses

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was real hope to build a more horizontal global conflict resolution system. Yet, reliance continued on Atlanticist power, thinking it was the only guarantor of the balance of international play.

In the euphoria of globalization, it was easy to believe that an international, even constitutional order was possible: the EU was expanding, the American and Soviet nuclear arsenals were drastically reduced, and unique institutional vehicles were created: the WHO, the ICC, the IPCC, etc.

But the regression of liberal democracies has sounded the death knell for the international cooperation system. In response, Russia or Turkey have succumbed to populist or authoritarian temptations. Moreover, countries like China now openly stand as a Western counter-model for a new world order that is avowedly anti-democratic. These models are seductive and export quite easily. And it’s Africa that is the first laboratory: between 2020 and 2023, more than 8 coups d’état were successfully executed on the continent.

In the meantime, the UN has remained frozen in the same organizational architecture as in 1945.

The Security Council, in particular, is criticized for its inability to effectively respond to current crises, exacerbated by the frequent use of the veto by permanent members. This club of nuclear powers, waiting for a “reset,” needs to be rethought to include a more equitable representation of emerging and developing nations. Recall that since the end of World War II, 5 countries, including two former European empires, share the right of veto, which, used excessively by the United States and Russia, impedes any strong action and methodically distances other countries of the Global South from the Western arc.

Saving the UN soldier

Yet, the UN remains the only forum that can globalize national security issues of states. Hence the urgency of a reformist resurgence.

Since the very notion of security is more global than national. The real threat to humanity no longer lies primarily in rivalries between neighbors, but in the global challenges of the Anthropocene, foremost among them: health security and climate insecurity.

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

Because today we cannot ignore the accelerated emancipation movement of the Global South around international issues. It’s a movement that has been built since decolonization and has led to the principle of “free diplomatic union” illustrated by international relations researcher 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. And without complexes.

In deciding last August to welcome six new members, in addition to controlling more than 54% of the world’s oil production, the BRICS+ want to send a message: world affairs will no longer be the preserve of the West. Emerging countries also want to reorganize the international financial system. The United States and Europe must now see it, understand it, and accept it.

Accelerating the exit from the interregnum

Let’s be clear, the planet will always need global governance. So it is now that we must define a material substrate for it, with the South.

The integration of traditionally considered secondary countries into the instruments of global diplomacy is a first step towards renewed and effective multilateralism. These nations play an increasingly significant role in their respective regions and bring unique perspectives on sub-regional and global issues. Their involvement in international institutions can only enrich the decision-making process as it will be more legitimate, and thus promote a more balanced management of world affairs.

To do this, it is necessary to capture the language of the other, who was considered weak ten years ago, to understand that it can have another representation of the politics of the world, and to end this arrogance that erects the model of the rich countries of the North as a common universal and rational. The current debate on the double standard, against the backdrop of the Soukkot War, proves the limit of wanting to make moral values the cardinal principles of diplomacy.

This does not have to be antinomic with a diligent and coherent defense of humanist values.

Because contrary to popular belief, the countries of the Global South do not have a defined ideological base that is anti-Western. In other words, they will always need 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 in the image of NATO, because these countries project themselves into strategic agreements based on their national interests and not on a rigid ideological camp as during the Cold War.

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

We know that the fragmentation of global diplomacy and the trend towards nationalism weaken international cooperation at a critical moment for humanity, against a backdrop of climate collapse.

The reform of the multilateral system will be a long process. But it is already underway, under the constraints of the interregnum we are living through. If the West wants to be an actor, it will have to now attach the South to world affairs.

For ultimately, it is probably the post-Westphalian concept whose brain death we must accelerate, to think with the South, the advent of new forms of power between BigTech and the States. In short, a new chessboard of distribution of global governance between an old world (the Nation-States) and the aggregation of technological powers, which already overwhelm, our micro-daily lives.

Vous pourriez également être intéressé.e par ces articles :