Split in the Middle

Split in the Middle
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International Relations and politics appear to be split in the middle. In lieu of this, it is increasingly becoming difficult to speak of “world order” as the fluidity and churn that defines world politics yield themselves to disorder than order. The reasons for “split” international relations is the morphing of world politics into a loose sort and kind of structural bipolarity revolving around the axes of China and the United States. While China is the rising power in this configuration, the United States is a declining one. Historically, the rise of great powers which have challenged established powers, has led to wars and confrontations. But, this historic axiom was alleged to have been given short shrift by the deeper enmeshing of nation states in trade, financial and economic linkages known as “complex interdependence”. However , this paradigm, defined as it is a by a certain elan and vigor flounders on the rocks of reality, one which is defined by the primacy of state interests as demonstrated powerfully by the United States under the Trump presidency. The country has gone bellicose and aggressive against China and is hell bent on rolling back globalization, re entrenching itself in the process behind walls of protectionism and isolationism. These factors, among other things, give the complex interdependence paradigm a pause or even stem it, giving rise to intense interstate competition in the process. Intense interstate competition can only mean security dilemmas, intense arms races and the quest for the accumulation of raw , hard power by states , in an attempt to gain more power at the expense of other states. Against the backdrop of the loose structural bipolarity, that defines international politics contemporarily, this can mean that states will either bandwagon or balance against the United States and China respectively. Who states ally with or against will determine the tenor and thrust of international relations in the coming years. Given that interstate competition is getting increasingly militarized , a war between Great powers cannot be ruled out. This becomes salient and increasingly possible because a declining United States will resist and try to obstruct its rise, even through military means. A small confrontation between these powers can then develop into a larger conflagration and envelop the whole world. This scenario can perhaps be best pre empted by far sighted and prudent diplomacy which keeps people first over states. But, as the drift of international relations suggests, there appears to be neither quality diplomacy on the horizon nor any desire to work towards a peaceful world. Alas!.