Opinion| After the conclusion of the Russian-Ukrainian War, will a new global accord be an alternative to WWIII?

Marwa El- Shinawy
6 Min Read
Dr Marwa El-Shinawy

In 2008, the US National Intelligence Council released a report titled ‘Global Trends 2025’. According to the report, by 2025, the international system will be a multi-power system.

The report also stressed that it would be difficult to define the features of the new international system in contrast to the current system that was established in the aftermath of WWII. This is due to the rise of several new emerging powers, the globalisation of the international economy, the historical shift in relative wealth and economic power from west to east, and the increasing influence of non-state players such as multinational corporations.

Today, in 2022, the world is already facing a historic turning point. In light of the continuous economic rise of Asia, a century of American hegemony over the world in light of the so-called “American peace” is about to end.

More importantly, the US is not only losing its political and economic hegemony, but also its ideological hegemony. This is evident as democracy fell prey to populism in most countries, and even in the US itself.

At the same time, a rising China — with the ferocious help of Russia — is openly seeking to challenge western authorities for international leadership. To add to that US President Joe Biden, who lost his popularity in the first year, cannot be a leader that is capable of restoring American democracy and restoring the leadership of the US over the world.

This dangerous historical moment foretells the outbreak of major wars that could lead to global annihilation.

Indeed, the majority of research and reports — especially American ones — confirm that the outbreak of a third world war is inevitable unless it is recognised that the liberal order established by the west after WWII will not be able to establish global stability in the 21st century in any way.

This is especially so since the Security Council stands helpless today because of the behaviour of major powers during crises, as it is always completely paralysed by the excessive use of veto rights. This is what we have already seen in the Russian-Ukrainian War.

According to this result, this American report presents the experience of the European Concert in the 19th century — which included the UK, France, Russia, Prussia, and Austria — as an inspiring experience and a model that can be imitated to create global accord at present.

This is the new American vision for structuring the international system, as analysts assert that the best way to enhance global stability in the 21st century is through reconciliation and creating spaces of mutual understanding between the major powers. This is to enhance international cooperation and curb geopolitical and ideological competition, which usually accompanies multipolarity. 

According to this vision, the new global accord will be an advisory body rather than a decision-making body to confront emerging crises. This new accord will have six members — China, the EU, India, Japan, Russia, and the US.

The total of these countries will represent about 70% of the world’s GDP and military spending. This will certainly give this new accord a geopolitical ability to effectively confront the challenges of achieving a more secure and stable world.

Indeed, this is not the first time that American policymakers have seen the European Concert as an inspiring model. Franklin Roosevelt, for example, took the concert as a landmark for designing the union of the world’s great powers that would later become the United Nations Security Council that stands helpless today in front of many problems.

Henry Kissinger and Woodrow Wilson also highly praised the European Concert, seeing that it provided this generation with a period of stability that allowed its hopes to be fulfilled without a major war or permanent revolution.

However, despite the amount of interest and admiration for the European Concert on the part of American policymakers, the creation of a Global Concert would not be a panacea for eliminating global problems. The experience of the European Concert reveals negative results. Although this concert maintained peace in Europe for decades, it did not prevent the outbreak of the Crimean War between Russia, France, and the UK in the end, which is what is happening now.

The question that arises now is whether it is possible to restore the European Concert that took place more than 200 years ago but in a global framework this time.

Is this system still, in all its complexity, valid for this day and age? And the most important question is whether the world will do away with American hegemony to live according to an American vision that has already proven its failure before.

Marwa El-Shinawy Assistant Professor at International American University for Specialized Studies (IAUS)

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