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Friday, December 1, 2023

Is the West-led International Order breathing its last?

The U.S. has extended its serious concerns over the grime picture of democracy not only in China which is a supporter of an authoritarian regime while hoodwinking the Western liberal democracy under the new phrase, Controlled Western Liberal Democracy, but also in its autonomous regions like Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The devastative effects of the Second World War left the whole of Europe paralyzed in almost all spheres of life, especially the military and economy. The power vacuum was filled by the U.S.A., but it faced a new rival in the international arena, the USSR. The coming decades prepared a stage for their muscle stretching with the purpose to overwhelm the opposite side thereby paving the way for being the sole leader of the international politico-economic system.

The cold war ended with the fall of the former Soviet Union and the long-awaited dawn of western liberalism arose as the End of the History and the Last Man by Francis Faukayama had referred to the formal emergence of Western liberal politico-economic order and the formal end of the ideological skirmishes in future. But years later, the heyday of the liberal international order started withering off with the economically risen China and militarily resurgent Moscow. Apart from these two, global events like the Global Financial Crunch of 2008, the pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia standoff have also put a halt to the smooth progress of the West-led international liberal order.

Read more: Pakistan PM Khan lodge diplomatic protest on US interference

Though democracy earlier worked in the ancient Greek city-states

the modern-day democratic ideals started unleashing in the twentieth century when a number of European countries embarked on adopting the democratic political system. The propagators and sponsors of the Western liberal democracy coalesced a similar economic system under the banner of capitalism as an antithesis to Marxist Communism or socialism. Democracy largely paves the way for liberal economic order as the former advocates right to private property, ownership and material welfare which in return drag the liberal economic order where the market operates freely and openly.

The end of WW2 hosted the Bretton woods conference which engendered the global monetary regulatory giants like IMF and General Agreement on Tariffs and Tradeproposing the reconstruction of the destroyed European economies and paving the way for tariff and other barriers free international trade respectively. These institutions, even today, have kept supporting the cause of their masters. This along with its sister political order( democracy) of the West sailed through the Cold War arena and finally fell into the unipolar world soon after the fall of the former USSR.

The heyday opinion and claim of Francis Faukayama expressed and claimed in his well-known write-up The End of the History and the Last Man, was gradually trespassed by various events that happened both at the global level and the internal level( even inside the West including the U.S.). The comedian episode of 9/11, challenged the stance of Faukayama which was also countered by Farid Zakariya in his opinion published in the Foreign Affairs. Farid Zakariya countered the End of the History argument by referring to the rise and emergence of Islamic Ideology.

Gradually, the international liberal order was badly hit by the Global Financial Crunch in 2008, where the US and international banks had suffered much at the hands of the loans granted to the people in the wake of the U.S. housing scheme.

Read more: Russia-Ukraine military standoff and it’s global implications – Part 1

Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine threatens democracy?

Moreover, this was the era where China embarked on its economic growth as it had already occupied the second spot of the world’s largest GNP and was one of the growing per capita income countries in the world. Similarly, Moscow had shown its strong muscle via its invasion of Georgia, the annexation of Kremia and its support for the Donbas separatists. Both of these two global rivals of the West are advocating and following the authoritarian political and economic systems which are threatening the West-led international liberal system.

The U.S. has extended its serious concerns over the grime picture of democracy not only in China which is a supporter of an authoritarian regime while hoodwinking the Western liberal democracy under the new phrase, Controlled Western Liberal Democracy, but also in its autonomous regions like Hong Kong and Taiwan.

While looking at the economic model of development led by China, the Middle Eastern region has unfolded a great tilt toward the Beijing-based authoritarian economic system( West refers it so). The Arab Spring in 2011, against the bad governance crisis especially the growing unemployment and economic inequality among others had divided the region into two groups: authoritarian leaning countries like Morocco, Egypt and Jordan and democratic leaning countries like Iraq, Lebanon and Tunisia as argued by Amney A. Jamal and MichaelRobins in their mouthpiece who Democracy Stalled in the Middle East. The Arab Barometer survey found the authoritarian leaning countries more economically prosperous than those the democratic leaning ones.

The survey found out more people had satisfaction with their economic regimes in Morocco, Egypt and Jordan than those in Iraq, Lebanon, and Tunisia. Therefore, the region is now retiring toward the Chinese-led model of development as Beijing has invested nearly $120bn in its different BRI projects in the Middle Eastern region so far. As has been mentioned earlier that Arabs had taken to the streets and were up in arms against the good governance crisis, especially in the downtrodden economies of their respective countries, they found the authoritarian model of development more attractive than that of the democratic one.

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Similarly, Covid-19, as a pandemic, shook globalization (the epitome of liberalism of the West) to the core. The world experienced a prolonged lockdown which affected the global supply chain badly. The free movement of raw materials as well as finished products were pushed to their holes and were not transported as nearly the whole world had locked itself down. An article published in Daily Sabah opined that the pandemic had already raised questions about the world’s reliance on an economic model that has broken trade barriers.


The writer has done his post-graduation in English Literature and Linguistics from NUML Islamabad and is a research scholar. He can be reached at abdulsamadkhanbannu22@gmail.com. The views expressed by the writers do not necessarily represent Global Village Space’s editorial policy.