The roots of a decentred international order


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 2- Multipolar global

With the declining American supremacy in the global order, the world is set for new global order led by the developing countries. The article deals with this rise of alternate global order.

Factors that explains decentred and pluralistic global order

  • The international order is under threat of the rising economic power of the BRICS nations, with China dominating in its economic and military capacity.
  • It is apparent that the future of global politics requires a significant agenda in the hands of the rising powers that are aggressively building a parallel economic order envisaging new centres of hegemonic power.
  •  It forebodes the final decline of American ascendancy.
  • It was the Bandung Conference of 1955, a meeting of Asian and African states, most of which were newly independent, that set the schema for the rise of Asia, politically and economically.
  • The confrontational stance was therefore the expected corollary in third world struggles to create a parallel order.
  •  America will continue to play a prime role in international affairs though its image representing universal brotherhood has sharply declined under the Trump regime.
  • The rising tide of far-right ultra-nationalism and ethnic purity experienced in the Brexit phenomena, in Trumpism and in the promotion of the right-wing agenda in India, has set in motion the wearing down of liberal democracy.
  • Other threats such as terrorism, ethnic conflicts and the warning of annihilation owing to climate change necessarily demand joint international action where American “exceptionalism” becomes an incongruity and an aberration.
  • This indeed has chipped away at the American global supremacy.
  • The world is, as a result, witness to a more decentred and pluralistic global order.

New world order led by developing countries

  • Though pandemic has ravaged economies such as Brazil, India, Turkey and South Africa into a downward spiral, in the post-pandemic period, these economies would rise to meet the American-led liberal hegemonic world order.
  •  With China spearheading Asian regionalism, a serious challenge is possible.
  • China must strengthen the opposition to the West through the promotion of regional multilateral institutions.
  •  More than having individual partners or allies, China must embrace and give a push to multilateral affiliations in order to not further exacerbate regional tensions.
  • Power rivalry in a multipolar world would remain a possibility with military conflict not ruled out.
  • However, the capabilities of the rising economies cannot be underestimated.
  • China and India clearly have the age-old potential to lead as, historically, they have been pioneers of some of the oldest civilisations in the world.
  • China is indisputably a serious rival to the U.S. in the South China Sea, a world leader in renewable energy, and a formidable actor on the global stage of investment and trade, penetrating India, Israel, Ethiopia and Latin America.
  • Thus, a kind of dualism persists in the world order with no clear hegemony that can be bestowed on one single nation.


It is feared that there could be a possibility of a multipolar world turning disordered and unstable, but it is up to the rising nations to attempt to overcome territorial aspirations and strike a forceful note of faith on cultural mediation, worldwide legitimacy, and the appeal of each society in terms of its democratic values.


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