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3/23/17

Is the new World order dead? The Geopolitics Of Chaos - by Javier López

The new world disorder is under way while speculation about what President Trump would do has given way to a spate of executive orders. The cocktail of reactionary withdrawal from previous commitments (Trump + Brexit is imposing a change of guard on international relationships, leaving the northern hemisphere turned upside down.
 
The neoliberal economic and geostrategic consensus has broken down and left in its wake an ocean of uncertainty. The Trump administration has shown itself hostile to European integration and has moved close to Putin. Xi Jinping “saved” the Davos forum and has become the standard-bearer of globalization. A wave of protectionist nativism could lead to trade wars with serious consequences. 2017 is the year with the greatest political risk since the end of World War II (Ian Bremmer).

The USA is starting a new era with shades of isolation and unilateralism. This compromises the Atlantic Alliance, the centre of gravity of the twentieth century. A new “special relationship” with post-Brexit Great Britain is sought while fantasizing over the end of the Euro and calling the EU a “vehicle” for Germany. It looks down on supranational organizations, the safeguards of multilateralism, while at the same time escalating tensions with China that may end in triggering the greatest danger the world now faces.

The USA is starting a new era with shades of isolation and unilateralism. This compromises the Atlantic Alliance, the centre of gravity of the twentieth century. A new “special relationship” with post-Brexit Great Britain is sought while fantasizing over the end of the Euro and calling the EU a “vehicle” for Germany. It looks down on supranational organizations, the safeguards of multilateralism, while at the same time escalating tensions with China that may end in triggering the greatest danger the world now faces.

Internally, its democracy is beginning a new chapter based on Schmitt’s Dezisionismus. A sovereign power that does not respond to legal norms or rational discussion. Without checks and balances, without judges or press. In the field of economics, trade barriers are foreseen. Care must be taken as, what do these targets (Mexico, Germany and China) of the new President all have in common? They are great exporting powers. The hostility of the White House is a reflection of one of its greatest weaknesses: its current account deficit. And also one of the greatest global macroeconomic imbalances. Once again, economy and international relations are intertwined.

Putin’s Russia feels strong and has reason to do so. After a gradual loss of domination over the strategic ‘rimland’ (Spykman), Russia has shown that is prepared to do anything, even cyberattacks, to maintain its position. All of its latest moves in the Caucasus, Ukraine or Syria have led to an increase in its influence. Putin’s authoritarianism has masked its economic problems and it seems that the electoral results in the Western world are a fortune smiling in his favour.

And Putin also now hopes that, with an American administration that is more than favourable, trade sanctions will be eased or even lifted. Trump and Putin speak the same language and their connections are more than evident. But be careful, the USA may be using the Kremlin against the Asian giant, just as Kissinger did in the opposite direction during the Cold War. A new anchor to hold down, in this case, the Chinese ascent. Trump is a dangerous character – folkloric and ridiculous, yet it would be wise not to dismiss everything he does as stupid.

The old continent can see these changing international relations as a party to which it has not been invited. Fragmented, terrified and left without the Atlantic umbrella, suffering the worst hangover after the Great Recession, and all in a year of electoral heart-attack. The biggest risk is that a great Troika made up of Washington, Moscow and Beijing will find a new international balance ignoring Europe.

At the same time, as Europeans, we have the opportunity to occupy an enormous hole in a world looking for reference and left by a retreating USA. We could take on the role of defending Enlightenment values: rule of law, democracy, tolerance and open societies. These continue to be attractive and enlightening values, but even the best ideas need to be defended. That is why the EU must restore its undermined social model, equipping it with a shield in terms of security and defense.

We need to activate a flexible Europe, through enhanced cooperation, to unblock the process of integration and end the paralyzing tug of war between capitals.

It is more vital than ever to look for allies who share our vision of the world: laws, dialogue and multilateralism. Our relations with Latin America and Canada take on a new significance. It would suit us to find a new equilibrium with Russia and strengthen ties with China. We will also need to pay special attention to the candidacy for German Chancellor of the social democrat and pro-European Martin Schulz. His victory would have a huge impact on the hegemonic power of the continent.

Read more: The Geopolitics Of Chaos

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