The world’s only reigning super-power is set to lose its position to four emerging super powers namely: Japan, China, European Union (under command of Germany) and the Arab Magreb Union (if they stick together). This is set to conclude in three year’s time. The Obama win has only delayed the American demotion, as Obama’s presidency is a public relations mini-era which will hardly change the impending thrust of the new international power order. African countries and other developing states should re-examine their foreign policies and alliances in favour of this emerging powers.
The New World Order is a phrase created by former U.S President George Bush during the Gulf War. At this time the U.S administration viewed America as the dominant power in the world since the fall of the Roman Empire.
According to Kenneth Waltz; a great Lord Professor of Political Science at the University of California, there is an emerging new world order in the international political system. To him, for more than 300 years the drama of the modern history has turned on the rise and fall of great powers. He employs the concept of polarity, which is a structure of international system that is based on the number of great powers and their interrelationships. Unipolarity denotes existence of one super power; Bipolarity; two super powers and Multipolarity, several great powers.
There were twelve great powers in the multipolar era; of this seven remained at the beginning of World War II. At the end of the war two powers emerged, America and Soviet Union: bipolarity therefore prevailed. The Soviet Union as well as the U.S intervened widely in affairs of other states. For instance, the U.S intervened militarily to defend allies in China, Korea and Vietnam while the Soviet Union on the other hand acted in Afghanistan, Angola and Ethiopia. The two powers developed ideologies: interventionist liberalism\capitalism for U.S and communism for Soviet Union.
A combination of factors such as economic burdens of allies and internal upheavals, precipitated the fall of the Soviet Union internationally. This led to the current unipolar system where the U.S as a sole super power has for long not been checked by another state or combination of countries. But balance of power is a recurring phenomenon. Other countries alone or in concert will eventually bring American power into balance. The E.U (European Union), China or Japan qualify to play this role of great powers to check the U.S.
A reluctant super power, Japan’s institutions and behaviour support the proposition that it has again taken its position among great powers. Its productivity and technology have worldwide influence. In fact the E.U strove to achieve economic unity in 1972 partly due to fear that a disunited Europe could not stand up to a Japanese and American competition. According to renown International Relations scholar Charles Kegley; latest national economic growth rates point to a world in which China is likely to overtake U.S and the larger E.U. U.S, just like Britain at the end of World War II; is exhausted by the myriad interventionist policies in Iraq, Somali, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iran to name a few.
We are on the brow of a century where rank of a power no longer depends on military strength only, but a combination of items like size of population and territory, political stability and competence, and magnitude of the economy. Power status cannot be maintained without certain economic capability. Today to estimate the power of countries, analysts frequently rely on the economic size because this measure predicts the power potential of each state. Though the U.S, China, Japan, India and Germany are today’s economic powerhouses; by 2014 global hierarchy of power will change. Economically China will lead then U.S, Japan, India, Indonesia, Germany, South Korea, Thailand, France, Taiwan, Brazil, Italy, Russia, Britain and Mexico.
It is therefore clear that as military worries fall, economic worries rise; hence competition and conflict continue to turn on technological and economic issues. The outcome is a set of great powers forming their own regional bases to stem economic competition. Japan or China will lead East Asia bloc, EU in Western Europe, U.S at centre of North America Free Trade Area (NAFTA), while Germany will play a leading role in Eastern Europe.
Finally, with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, U.S ascended to super power status, with hegemonic leadership. However, as the former U.S Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, observed, “Overwhelming power evokes nearly automatically a quest by other countries to achieve a greater voice and to reduce the relative position of the strongest.” In the long run the current unipolarity under U.S is very unlikely to endure. The historical cycle has come to fulfillment; just like the previous formidable sole powers- Roman Empire and Britain – which are now ordinary states; the U.S is headed for a fall. Africa, especially Kenya which has an amorphous foreign policy, must immediately adjust its international relations policy away from sinking U.S.