Re-examining, Re-conceptualizing and Re-shaping the Global System——Jiemian Yang
Re-examining, Re-conceptualizing and Re-shaping the Global System
The world is now witnessing unprecedented changes since the end of WWII. Obviously the so-far existed theories and doctrines are no longer sufficient to explain, let alone guide the international relations and global affairs. Therefore an increasing number of political practitioners and academic scholars are both making relevant exploration and suggestions on such meg-issues as new configuration of powers, world orders and global governance systems. The following four points merit our attention and contemploration.
1) We need to re-examine past century's or even earlier history as well as re-discover the hidden or forgotten facts and truth. On observing the current developments in global affairs, we might find what we missed in the past. At least three shortcomings stand out prominently. First, too much attention was given to the immediate events while neglecting the latter's deep-rooted causes and future impacts, such as in the cases of the Second Iraqi War supported by the British Blaire's government. Second, too much attention was given to the incumbent's strategies and policies while forgetting to compare with the prior or post ones, such as in the case of Libya War launched by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Thirdly, too much attention was given to the fact of the current government while keeping silence on the past wrong doings, in the case of praising President Biden's back to multilateralism while not referring to President Trump's abandoning and quitting.
2) We need to re-think and re-summarize the lessons since the outbreak of the COVID-19. The outbreak of the pandemic has shown the soft belly of global governance in public health area although it is of increasing importance. Moreover, the obvious insufficiency of global health governance was exacerbated by political and security factors, one of which is unilateralism advocated by the then US president Trump. Now that COVID-19 will stay much longer than we originally anticipated, the international community should be prepared to co-live with it while revamping the relevant mechanisms and institutions. Additionally, these efforts should be combined with the improving and/or renovating global governance.
3) Global and regional powers have special responsibilities to reshape the world order and global governance systems. So long as state-actors exist, global and regional powers remains the most important actors in the configuration of powers with the accompanying responsibilities and obligations.
Unfortunately, the United States, Europe, China and Russia are now at odds. Their relations does more harm than good onto the global governance. Nevertheless, these powers must work with other state-actors such as small and medium-sized countries in the form of sub-regional organizations and non-state-actors as well. Furthermore, the global and regional powers must work more effectively within such international institutions as the United Nations and G-20.
4) The academic and think tank community has some special roles to play. On the one hand, the academic circle could make more conceptual and theoretical developments. For example, the IR scholars could pool their wisdom for building up new schools, such as the English and Scandinavian schools did before. Another possibility is about the on-going Chinese theory-building. The Chinese and non-Chinese scholars could exchange their views on the theory-building in China. On the other hand, think tank community could delve into the comparison of various versions of global governance systems and work at their convergence. For instance, Dr. Richard Haass of Council on Foreign Relations in New York City suggested for a concert of powers in the post-Pandemic world.
(August 10, 2021)