New World Order under stress

November 16, 2016

New World Order under stress

by Chheang Vannarith

In a result that stunned the whole world, Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th President of the United States, defeating the more favored Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton.

Image result for Trump's New World Order

Mr. Trump’s victory signified rising nationalist populism, not only in the US, but also in other parts of the world. It also challenges the liberal world order based on democratic values, economic openness and the rules-based international economic system.

From Brexit to Mr. Trump’s victory, there is one thing in common, and that is the increasing frustration against the old establishment driven by political elites. Many wish to see a different type of leadership and are hoping for change.

We are living in a highly unpredictable and uncertain world. We need to think the unthinkable and be prepared to adapt to unexpected changes. Those who can grasp the opportunities deriving from a crisis and uncertainty will remain competitive.

Image result for Trump's New World Order

The bipolar world established after World War II was replaced by a unipolar world in which the US played a hegemonic power. However,  US power has been declining since the world economic crisis in 2008. Over the past decade, the rise of others such as China, India and Russia has challenged the global role of the US from economic to security domains.

We are now entering either a multipolar world or zero-polar world. Under the multipolar world, there are multiple actors and stakeholders working together to shape and construct global governance and order.In a zero-polar world, there will be no country taking a global leadership role. The major powers will become more nationalist and inward looking. Selfish national interests and zero-sum games will dominate international politics.

If this happens the world will become fragmented and chaotic. Global uncertainties and risks are going to rise. No country will be willing and able to take a global leadership role to maintain world peace and order.

Image result for Hillary Clinton Clinton

The US is great nation largely thanks to democratic pluralism, multiculturalism as well as an open and liberal globalization which has provided tremendous opportunities for Americans. It has successfully integrated itself into and largely benefited from the rest of the world.

Now it is different. Mr. Trump seems to be opting for a more nationalistic, protectionist and inward-looking foreign policy. His populist political rhetoric will adversely affect the liberal order created by the US seven decades ago.

Mr. Trump lacks a robust foreign policy. He seems to mainly focus on populist domestic social and economic issues. Global issues such as climate change will not be addressed effectively without a strong US leadership role.

It is predicted that the US’ global role will further decline, which in turn will create a global power vacuum and a deep hole in global governance.

China, Japan, India and Russia are expected to fill the gap and play a more proactive role in maintaining global peace and order. However, these countries are still struggling with their own domestic issues.

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Obama in Laos

In the Asia-Pacific region, the US has been the hub of regional peace and order. Since 2010, the US has introduced and implemented its “rebalance” or “pivot” to Asia in order to strengthen its alliance system, promote economic integration and deepen people-to-people

President Barack Obama has had a strong interest in promoting the US’ role in the Asia-Pacific. He has committed to strengthening an ASEAN-led regional architecture.

The US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership is a crucial US external economic policy towards Asia. However, it has an extremely low chance of ratification under the future Trump administration.
Under Mr. Trump’s leadership, the US will be less engaged in Asia.

In such a scenario, China will gain more strategic advantages in leveraging its regional influence.US allies in Asia will be forced to invest more in the defense sector in their collective deterrence strategy. Japan, South Korea and Australia will speed up their defense modernization.

The new world order as well as the Asia-Pacific order will go through critical tests, uncertain power diffusion and transition as well as a severe security environment.

As we live in a world with high uncertainty and risk, leaders need to be equipped with the capacity to think the unthinkable, have the courage to change and create a safe space for institutional innovation and transformative leadership.

It is a wake-up call for world leaders to reconstruct the world economy so it is more inclusive and sustainable. Unless fair and just industrialization, and social justice, are respected, the prospect of global disintegration and fragmentation will continue to haunt the world

13 thoughts on “New World Order under stress

  1. dato.din: It is fun to be your student in Cambodia. I would really have to wonder how differently Cambodia would be 30 years later, when Prime Minister Hun Sen retires. Today we still call Trump’s ideology alt-right. Wonder what we should be calling it now when it is already the mainstream. neo-right? Stepping back, perhaps, I see a lot of similarities between Mahathirism and Trumpism.

    Trump is under attack by the media. They will haunt him throughout his Presidency.The reason is quite clear to me. He has embarrassed them. I am keeping an open mind about this 45th POTUS. He might spring a surprise to all of us. He is a realist and is fully aware his awesome responsibility to his people and the rest of world.

    It is fun to be with young Cambodians. They are eager to learn. They make me young and very motivated. BTW, they speak very good English compared to young Malaysians.

    I am humbled when I read about their country’s recent history. I admire their moral courage and tenacity. They look to Korea, Japan and China as their model countries.–Din Merican

  2. Trump’s inner team, so far, gives one an idea of his base(s) i.e.

    the Christian Right (Pence), the mainstream Republicans, and the
    Neo-Nazis (Bannon).

    The Christian Right and the Neo-Nazis are the outright extremists,
    although the mainstream Republicans are only somewhat behind.
    The modern Republican Party is no longer the moderate right Republican Party of Dwight Eisenhower and Nelson Rockefeller.

    Here’s what Noam Chomsky has to say :

  3. Trump is still struggling to put together his cabinet, observers the world over are trying to figure out how American foreign policy will change under his Presidency. Let me add in my two bits. After all, the President-elect did make a lot of controversial campaign promises about how he wanted to revolutionize the US’ role in the world. I say it’s a lot easier to say those things than to actually implement them in practice.

    I believe the degree of change that Trump will bring to American foreign policy is conditional on several factors, but his ideal vision is to cut a diverse set of pragmatic deals that will allow the US more effectively multi-manage its global empire, though it certainly won’t erase the geostrategic contradictions between itself and its great powers rivals, especially China.

    Without discussing those conditional factors and skip other parts of the world, let me come straight to Asia. Trump will broaden the economic cooperation with China, but the geostrategic rivalry to contain China will continue. Trump will pick up where Obama left off by strengthening the robust and unprecedented military-strategic partnership with India to counterweight China. To release the pressure of India from the close relations between Russia and China, he will drive a wedge between the two great powers by improving relations with Russia.

    The TPP will either be totally rewritten or replaced with a series of bilateral agreements. The US will pull back from some of its South China Sea aggression but will still maintain a presence there. In responding to the ‘defection’ of the Philippines and Malaysia from the “China Containment Coalition” of the US Pivot in Asia, Trump will seek to cut some sort of deal to bring Indonesia on board as a regional pro-American anchor. US policy towards China will morph from direct military provocation to indirect “Lead from Behind” hostility through the proxy network of Japan, India, Indonesia and Singapore. Japan and Singapore are working very hard on behalf of the US to convince Australia to join this proxy network, but I believe the Australian is smart not to get involved

    With the opening of Gwadar Port in Pakistan, the Straits of Malacca is losing importance to the Chinese and the US can no longer put as tied a strangled-hold to the Chinese trade as before. In fact, the geostrategic game is moving into the Indian Ocean. India has border disputes with almost all of its neighbors. With the silent approval from the West, it has been expanding for the last seventy years through military annexation of its neighbors’ land. It used to be only Pakistan who stood up to the Indian bully, but now Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are all speaking up to the bullying. India will be preoccupied and tied down in the Indian Ocean.

    In this geostrategic game, Singapore will be the major loser. When the Third Klang Port at Carey Island is completed, China’s trading ships will mainly call at this new port, thus rendering major loss of income to Singapore. The son has taken the wrong side instead of playing balancing like his father. LKY is rolling in his grave.

    Trump will achieve nothing on the foreign policy front if he appoints Newt Gingrich, or Rudy Giuliani or John Bolton as Secretary of State, He needs someone of the stature and charisma of a Colin Powell or the intellectual power and finesse of a Condoleezza “Condi” Rice. –Din Merican

  4. //The Christian Right … are the outright extremists,

    Dr Phua .. I hang out with Christian Right all the time. We are not extremists. Well.. of course .. Christian Right wouldn’t consider me ‘Right’.
    In any case, most of what Christian Right fights for is merely what most of the PJ/Singaporean folks would agree to. But, I would agree that the Neo-Con .. is a different beast. Cultural issues, in my mind, should not be a cause for political divide. Unfortunately, we grew up in such a world that it has been made a case.

    LaMoy, I think Singapore would do just fine, while spine-less Malaysia would just merely be a ChiLayu-sia in no time. Same would go for generations of sufferings for Philippines. Singapore could easily find something better things to do than as a trading port. I actually think it is China that is going to face a bigger set back under Xi-Core. Many Indians do love Singapore.

    I am worried about Taiwan though.

  5. // I am humbled when I read about their country’s recent history. I admire their moral courage and tenacity. They look to Korea, Japan and China as their model countries.–Din Merican

    Hopefully, the Cambodian could learn only the good but not the bad from those countries. China just scaled so differently from Cambodia. Nonetheless, the news of drug epidemic in Cambodia that I constantly come across is worrying. Pray that some of your students could lead the nation to a better world! Do teach them China does seem like one, but it is really not one China. It is really not one.

  6. Din:
    Gingrich has removed himself from the consideration as Secretary of State. Giuliani is likely to become the Attorney General. It is Bolton who will likely to become Secretary of State. Scary, come to think about this S.O.B. becoming the Secretary of State. Condi and I belong to the same San Francisco Golf Club. The last time I talked to her, I don’t think she wants to be active in politics again. She is happy at Stanford. Trump is facing a lot of sabotages from the Republican Party in putting together his cabinet. Yea, Colin Powell, don’t know where he is. He is awfully quiet nowadays. I think he still cannot forgive Dick Cheney who made him lie in the UN and ridiculed by the whole world.

    Bolton will make the professionals in State unhappy and demoralised. He is a guy who has lots of hang-ups. Good luck to Trump, if he chooses this Neo-Con to be the third most powerful man.

    If you meet Condi again at the Club please send her my sincere regards. Tell her that it is from an admirer of her seductive intellect. I enjoyed reading her memoirs. —Din Merican

  7. Sorry, katasayang.

    By the U.S. “Christian Right”, I mean the Jerry Falwells and not the
    Jimmy Carters. I mean the Pat Robertsons and not the Bill Moyers.
    Equivalent to our PAS extremists versus AMANAH moderates divide.
    I mean those who want to create a politically right-wing “Christian” America.

    The black church in the USA has been generally progressive e.g. Martin Luther King Junior. As a Christian in my younger days (and an atheist now), I understand the mentality of very religious people.

  8. Trump’s political strategy is almost childishly simple.

    He thinks he is still a shrewd businessman, promises one thing to seal the deal and if things don’t work out, not workable or works out differently as it almost always happens, renegotiates for another deal or play for time to let things work out by themselves.

    To use one of his favorite phrases, it is a no-brainer that politics in real life is different from conducting an election campaign where there is only talking to be done. He now has to walk the talk as the most powerful man in the World.

    It’ll be fun to see him try to wriggle his way out which he has to given the hillbilly nature of his campaign speeches.

  9. How does one define right-centrist-left in Christianity? Even Evangelicals are a misnomer, while Pentecostalism has it’s doctrinal biases.

    Conservatives-Liberals-Anarchists, i understand. ML King was no leftist nor progressive in the twisted sense of the Word. He was espousing a Living Social-Inclusive (not socialist) Gospel, which was certainly not a liberal one. For instance, he perhaps would’ve been totally aghast at all this abortion and LBGT angst and debate – that the idle, average American ‘Christian’ spend decades haranguing each other about.

    The most elite of ancient Greek warriors was called the Sacred Band of Thebes. Are they from the old or new world order? Go read it up.

    Just like the other intellectual masturbatory term “The Clash of Civilizations”, a New World Order is actually quite archaic. Devolution is an essential part of Evolution. No?

    The Military-Industrial Complex will morph into the Business-Government Complex under Trumpism – while the GOP will end up as the Gropes O Pokey.

  10. Din:
    Will do. I’ll tell her about your blog. The next time you come to the Bay Area, do drop by to meet her at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

    What an extraordinary lady with great personality. Other than her time as professor in Stanford she is active with the Center for a New Generation (CNG) which she co-founded, an innovative, after school academic enrichment program for students in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park, the ghetto-like areas resided mostly by low-income Afro- and Latino-Americans.

    Thanks. Please send me via her opinion pieces/articles/papers which we can share on this blog.

    Yes, she is an outstanding Secretary of State and National Security Advisor. Dealing with Dick Cheney and his ideologues was not easy. But she did her job with class. Having read her memoirs, I can conclude that she is in my view better than Albright and Clinton in that role.You can say that to her, if you meet her again. –Din Merican.

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