The paper analyzes the post-cold war contemporary geopolitics from the political, economic, and security framework, presenting the concepts and reflections on the international relations focusing on war and peace modalities within a discourse of democracy, hegemonism, global deprivation, and inequalities. It emphasizes the point of view that strengthens the global onslaught humankind despondency paradigm of the post-cold War period. It is evident how lessons from the past manifest themselves in situations from the present, which is very reminiscent of what we can call the “Second Cold war.” Thus, we quickly come to the rationality that today, by the re-nationalization of the post-cold war world, a culture of fear, a violent strategy of developing and maintaining hegemonic goals has been adopted, which rises to unquestionable status. Combined with global deprivation and predatory capitalism that debilitated the welfare state’s idea, nationalism and hegemonism encourage transnational negative behavior patterns. By redefining the relationship between the components of the liberal order – sovereignty, institutions, participation, rules, and responsibilities – a new basis of global geopolitical order could begin. Western-style democracy as we know it today can not, without exception, be applied to the democratic models to achieve the satisfaction of a particular society’s articulated needs. Transformation is related to the difference between what power centers do and other hand, what they are capable of that would solve most of the world’s issues. The Covid-19 crisis and its impact should open up spaces to invigorate a global system that can engage people inclusively across differences and countries.
Aim and Method
The paper analyzes the post-cold war contemporary geopolitics from the political, economic, and security framework, presenting the concepts and reflections on the international relations focusing on war and peace modalities within a discourse of democracy, hegemonism, global deprivation, and inequalities. The study included an in-depth literature review and critical analysis highlighting knowledge and identifies relevant capabilities and consequences. This paper argues that the post-cold war period strengthens the global onslaught of humankind’s despondency, and a violent strategy to develop and maintain hegemonic goals has been adopted.
War, peace, and democracy
Some modern political scientists argue that wars in the past were more humane and just than today because they were announced, fought mostly by soldiers, and remained within the battlefield. Throughout history, wars have been fought in different countries, but technology has reached the level that wars are fought with the most significant human and economic losses in history. Moreover, It seems that “romanticism” from the past had something advanced in itself, while this one is invariably backward, hateful, xenophobic, and intolerant. Post-World War II planners envisioned a world that shared sovereignty and curbed nationalism.
Due to the two worlds’ experiences and the horrors they brought with them, it was decided to regulate international relations with legal acts by signing the UN Charter in 1945. They are thus declaring war and aggression a crime against peace. However, despite this, wars are present in the world. Political-military blocs are formed, and the arms race continues. Previous centuries struggled with “fencing/limiting war,” today we are witnessing “non-fencing of war,” which in diffuse forms penetrates normalcy and everyday life, disappearing the boundaries between war and civility. This destructive and antihumanist approach to a new face of war was also felt by many people in the Balkans when civilians were subjected to horrific harassment, torture, rape, and killing. Already this knowledge of the nature of modern wars – the impossibility of distinguishing military objectives from civilian life – should deter people from war, for everyone can be both subject and object, perpetrator and victim. War is not the only means of states when it is necessary to achieve some goals. After the Cold War, millions of civilians died in violent conflicts; tens of millions were displaced and brought hunger and poverty. According to some estimates, over five million people died in this period; 95% were civilians.
The Cold War is the period after World War II and the military and political tensions between the Soviet Union and the US. Why “cold”? Cold because these forces were not at war with each other but had opposing political and economic principles. In addition to the fact that both forces were well-armed. There was a nuclear weapons race to restrain the opposite side from attacking because of domination aspiration. During the Cold War, these two forces indirectly participated in numerous wars and crises worldwide, such as the Chinese Civil War, the Korean War, the Suez Crisis, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Vietnam War. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late ’80s and early 90’s -they ended the Cold War. However, even after the Cold War, wars were fought again on almost all continents. The end of the Cold War came as a relief to the whole world.
The world has abruptly shifted from a bipolar configuration to unipolarity. Historically reviewed points out that forty years of bipolarity was a game strategically played by both forces to prevent complete devastation and the conquest of their spheres of influence. Although often unrelated to superpowers, every Cold War crisis dragged into the US and the Soviet Union’s story, which readily takes advantage of opportunities to expand their influence, doctrines, and ideologies. It turned out how the global political duopoly suited everyone except the Cold War’s real victims – to the third world. However, ideas that changed the face of the world came to life there: independence and the insistence on independence coincided with the superpowers’ interests, which were through support once increased the system’s power. Either way, the bipolar structure of the world fell apart at the same time as the Soviet Union Alliance’s fall. The once-powerful empire became “just” one Russia.
The spread of democracy, one component of Wilson’s vision (Ikenberry et al., 2009: 2), was offered at the very end of the 20th century as a formula for pursuing US economic interests. At the beginning of the 21st century, it became an excuse to undertake war campaigns against undesirable regimes. In the first decade after the end of the Cold War, the Clinton administration pursued a strategy of spreading democracy and economic globalization. In doing so, US military power is a crucial pillar of the implementation of such a strategy. According to these understandings, the USA can only be safe if the world is democratic; the transformation of undemocratic regimes into democratic ones is linked to US national security. The Clinton administration’s policy was most severely criticized by neoconservatives, dissatisfied that the US remained the only superpower after the collapse of the Soviet Union was not used. Neoconservatives have argued that the US must seize the unipolar moment and pursue a strategy to democratize countries that are not yet democratic. The collapse of the Soviet Union created a liberal moment, a unique opportunity for liberal values to spread worldwide. However, at the same time, there was a temptation to seize the unipolar moment, that is, the possibility of the US forcibly changing undemocratic regimes, which the neoconservatives insisted. The end of the Cold War led to imperialism “being able to adorn itself with an international spirit that, thanks to liberal internationalist thought, became a convincing ideology, a framework for political action that combined reading history with current policy guidelines that were so intrusive and self-evident and righteousness as much as selfishness.” (Ikenberry et al., 2009: 73)
Slaughter argues in her contribution that Smith’s interpretation of Wilson’s thought and political heritage is wrong but primarily seeks to show that contemporary liberal internationalism as advocated by her and Ikenberry can in no way be an ideological justification for George W. Bush administration’s foreign policy. As the main task, she emphasizes the intention to “formulate a theoretical and practical difference between Wilsonism in the 21st century and neoconservatism” (Ikenberry et al., 2009: 91). She emphasizes that Wilson was a politician of too advanced political beliefs, which he partially put into practice, and based on such beliefs, he developed his views on international relations. Central to this approach was a commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflicts between states. As the war broke out between European countries and as the US’ participation in that war was inevitable in the end, Wilson took the necessary steps to, he believed, prevent the outbreak of any future war. Therefore, she considers Smith’s insistence on spreading democracy by military intervention as a link between Wilson and neoconservatives to distort Wilson’s vision beyond recognition. Likewise, she rejects Smith’s basic premise that liberal internationalists provided the ideological justification for Bush’s interventionism.
On the contrary, she argues, as true heirs to Wilson’s idea, liberal internationalists reject the concept of violent democratization and think that “democratic processes and institutions should be liberalized where they already exist.” Moreover, we reject US military primacy, assuming that it a balance of power in favor of liberal democracies worldwide. ” (Ikenberry et al., 2009: 91) Unfortunately, the author did not explain how the alleged commitment to “maintaining the balance of power” could be reconciled with the explicit liberal and Wilson’s rejection of realistic conceptions of international relations based on the theory of balance of power. Likewise, she remained obligated to explain how balance could be established in someone’s favor. Of course, this claim of hers can be understood so that the existing international relations system favors liberal democracies, and they will, if a revisionist country tries to change it, defend it with all available forces. Furthermore, the prospects for success are guaranteed by the fact that the US, as the leader of the free world, has, among other things, superior military power.
Under the ideological leadership of the US, after September 2001. attacks, “attitude” towards strangers, enemies, and religions is radicalized in such a way that everyone without exception became suspicious and potential terrorists. While nationalism does not necessarily have to be an ideological driving force, it is a powerful platform for mobilization based on identity” recognition, “which can be seen in the ethnocentric, sovereignist, and indigenous rhetoric of populist parties. Some European countries politically and militarily joined the American imperial ambition to “things are being put in order globally,” which has taken world society by surprise in the opposite direction from globalization’s positive aspirations. That moved even further away from Kant’s project of eternal peace, building “New walls” (Brown, 2010), deepening antagonisms, and the gap between races, religions, cultures, ethnicities. New geopolitics has entered the social scene. The phenomenon of increased countries with developed democratic institutions and standards with authoritarianism leads to a closed circle of global “legitimate-democratic” violence, in which democratic institutions and standards, human and minority rights, and freedoms will be a danger. Humankindʼs great concern stems from the “increasingly aggressive foreign policy, xenophobic sentiment, and the growing inclination of the autocratic populist government to stop the transition of violence to democracy scientifically and scientifically, culturally-spiritually objectively, a connected global community.” (Hadžić, 2020: 67)
Ross, in the book Violent democracy, examines how democracies try to deal with a potentially endless war on terror. (Ross, 2009) The author argues that the origins and heart of democracy are fundamentally violent and that the threat of a terrorist attack not only reveals new forms of ‘democratic violence’ but could transform the very character of the democracies we want to defend. “Continuers of the imperial and colonial past, Western powers, have militarized globalization processes and continue to shape the world’s underdeveloped parts.” (Gilroy, 2005: 4) Do we have the right to bring democracy to others by force?
The author of this paper maintains that the “strategy of violence” to develop and sustain hegemonic goals has been adopted without ethical, moral, and conversational discourse. Gilroy’s arguments against the new British imperialism, under the guise of “fighting terrorism,” resonated with the public and elicited specific political reactions. Similarly, criticizing neoliberal America, President Bush, and “War on Terror,” J. Butler shocked the American public. (Buthler, 2004) In addition to ideology, the lever of power and manipulating the masses today is becoming an increasingly important discourse of provoking fear, creating social pressures. Given that in the populist discourse, the “people” are a homogeneous community, a culture of fear becomes a tool for achieving hegemonism political goals.
The new geopolitical climate has changed the character of conflicts in which wars are fought in the name and for the benefit of other actors supported by powerful forces, which can be terrorist groups, various revolutionary independence movements. When it comes to political pressures, one usually uses one’s position at the international level to force a political decision or influence one to give up already established attitudes. Also, there is the possibility of providing support to specific groups or individuals in power to change the country’s political system or cause riots and conflicts, then political embezzlement that can help violate some international agreements. Psychological – propaganda activities are a form of special operations aimed at achieving psychological effects for their benefit. By carrying out psychological actions, it seeks to “weaken and overthrow the defense of the attacked party by encouraging internal divisions, provoking mistrust and suspicion in the ranks of the defense and encouraging internal enemies of the attacking system to initiate fear, insecurity, disorganization; it serves to spread bad promises, illusions, rumors.” (Ranogajec, 2000:150)
On an almost daily basis, we encounter information about opening a new arms race, nuclear, and news of barely avoided incidents between Russia and the US’s armed forces. Just like the unanswered question, what orders, instructions, do members of the US and Russian armed forces have in case of a confrontation. We do not go into broad “details,” such as global terrorism (the source of which should again be sought in Western politics, no matter how reluctantly the West will admit it), such as the Middle East, Venezuela, Ukraine, or the US presidential election; not to mention global climate change. Terrorism itself is the violence directed against faith, tolerance, freedom, and humanistic values internationally. It is a strategy of violence designed to achieve results by gradually causing fear and insecurity. Thus, the suspension of morality and the suspension of legal regulations for everyday conditions, for living in peace. Many violent cases classified as terrorism show that politically motivated violence is a massive, complex, and present issue in societies than reducing the whole phenomenon to militant Islamist groups or isolated individuals. (Hadžić, 2020: 57)
Hegenomism and the global deprivation
If a state with the most significant power — military, economic, or both — as in the case of the US — decides to govern by rules to which it will submit itself, rather than by domination and the use of discretion to use force when it has an interest, then the established order is not imperial but hegemonic. In the imperial order, the dominant state acts unilaterally and above rules and institutions. In a liberal hegemonic order, the leading state should establish harmonized rules and institutions and acts – more or less – within them. The US, under President Bush Jr., seems to have taken a different path. Instead of defining new rules and agreements with the Allies in the changed circumstances, in which the price of the necessary public good provided by US is reduced, it has moved away from the hegemonic system, trying to install imperial patterns of relations between the states.
The ideology of US superiority and exceptionalism, which significantly marked US foreign policy in the 20th century, can make it significantly more challenging to deal with the fact that some growing powers are increasingly openly affirming value systems different from US ones and challenging the right to US primacy. Thus, the “calls for serious, long-term support for economic development programs, real adherence to international norms and tolerance for regional differences collide with prevailing nationalist and neoliberal notions that continue to inspire bold dreams of global transformation under the auspices of the US and following America’s example.” (Hunt, 2007: 325). Since there is no organized global alternative to liberalism and democracy today, we can assume that the new participants in a possible agreement – both states that joined the liberal democracies after the Cold War and those in which democracy and political pluralism are not part of their internal order – agree that the agreement is built on liberal principles. As the US uses its liberal legitimacy to maintain its privileged position in the system of international financial and economic institutions and to justify a unilateral demonstration of its military power, opposing such hegemonic or imperialist ambitions is often linked to the rejection of liberalism.
Military activities, i.e., pressures against a country, seek to provoke economic disruption and economic crisis. It is most often achieved by interrupting economic relations by introducing certain blockades and prices to force certain concessions. There are currently numerous armed conflicts in the world that sample victims and destroy infrastructure and economic losses. Economic inequality is truly globalized and can be seen in every aspect of society, in all sectors and categories. At the same time, the countries’ military budgets are increasing. The British IHS Markit Institute recently noted in its annual report that the world’s defense budgets have grown the most in ten years, mostly thanks to NATO member states, whose total military budget for this year is more than a trillion dollars. Looking at countries individually, the US spends the most on weapons and has provided an incredible $ 717 billion for this year alone, which is four times more than the second-largest defense budget, the Chinese one. India is in third place in terms of military spending, and in 2019 it increased its military budget by eight percent compared to the previous year. (HIS Markit, 2019)
Economic inequality has also increased significantly in all rich countries since 1975, except Germany. Nearly 690 million people worldwide are malnourished. One hundred forty-four million children have slowed growth due to malnutrition. Forty-seven million children are starving, and 5.3 million children died before their fifth birthday, often due to malnutrition. The poverty rate or social exclusion fell again on the level at which it was formerly financial crisis 2008—approximately 118 million people, or 23.5 % of the European Union population. In 2016, it was exposed to the risk of poverty or social exclusion, while in 2012. the proportion of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU amounted to almost 25 %. (EU Commission, 2017) Is world hunger “the most prominent moral decline of our generation? Now the big unknown, Covid-19, and its consequences are not included in the calculation. There will be an economic slowdown or recession and issues with US healthcare systems—and these are just the predictable things. Metzl believes we will also see significant second and third-order effects. Some fragile states could collapse, and multi-lateral states like the European Union may not support the strain. Speaking of challenges to democracy, actors with different desires and aspirations could get a moment of opportunity. (Metzl, 2020) The economic downturn leads to income decline; the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that this could lead to an additional 80 million malnutrition cases. (FAO, 2020) Pandemic with all economic consequences could double the number of people at risk of acute food production and supply crises. They were left without income overnight, local markets were closed, and peasants with small estates could no longer cultivate their land. In the US, the average corporate director earns 400 times more than an ordinary worker. The latest data show that the USA’s difference between workers and directors jumped to an incredible 1: 531. (Mishel, Wolfe, 2018) Today, 38.2 million American men and women live in danger of starvation and malnutrition, of which 14 million are children. Every twentieth American is not able to eat nutritionally and adequately. Over twenty million people depend on public kitchens and other nutrition assistance programs, and 60 million work in precarious, low-paid jobs. Their salaries continue to fall. In the US, 13.7 percent of the population is deficient, and 45 million people in the US do not have health insurance. (Hertz, 2002) In a country that openly defends its role as world hegemon, in the US, 80% of the population lives literally from today to tomorrow, 75% of them pay monthly bills with great difficulty, while as many as 70% do not have savings that are typically spent in exceptional situations. Statisticians have calculated that the average American dies, leaving a debt of $ 62,000. (DiGangi, 2017) However, the US must be traditionally afraid of socialism. The Democrats’ plan (if such a program exists) to write off student debts faces steep odds unless Democrats control the Senate and the obstacles within the legislative challenges.
Since 2017, the US national security strategy has focused on competition between the great powers, and many in Washington today present relations with China as the new Cold War. Now competition between the great powers is an essential aspect of foreign policy. However, the shift of power between states is standard and expected, but the technologically conditioned transfer of power from states to transnational actors and global forces carries a new and unusual complexity. The technological turnaround puts a range of topics – including financial stability, climate change, terrorism, cybercrime, and pandemics – on the global agenda while at the same time reducing the tendency of governments to respond. The area of transnational relations, which is beyond the control of governments, includes, among others, bankers and criminals, who transfer money electronically, terrorists, who send other weapons and plans, hackers, who use social media to disrupt democratic processes and environmental threats such as pandemics and climate change. Covid-19 has already killed more Americans than the wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. Furthermore, Covid-19 will be neither the last nor the worst pandemic. It is a war in which the enemy is invisible and cannot suppress without isolation, imprisonment, and loneliness. Human thought focuses on the repetitive and familiar in today’s world, while some extreme event interprets as the exception; such exceptional events are crucial in creating the future.
There is an obedient government (those who followed Washington in the Iraqi adventure with tragic consequences). However, the US’s rational analysis and awareness are not alone globally are critical for foreign policy within the political and military circles. There are other countries, some of which with full coverage claim the title of great power for themselves. It is necessary to include the so-called “deep state” of anyone who understands that the US policy’s hegemony has already led to tectonic changes in the global constellation of forces? The first wave of Western sanctions against Russia in the full sense of the word provoked an alliance between Russia and China.
Furthermore, one of the consequences of that alliance is Moscow’s growing closeness and Beijing’s position on abandoning the dollar as a means of payment in international trade. Is it understood in the corridors of the State Department and the Pentagon, the Congress, the CIA, the NSA, and finally the White House, that the US must count not only on the Russian-Chinese alliance but also on the increasingly closely linked BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). Besides, Iran and Turkey are getting closer to and with a new triple format institutionalized during the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires: Russia – China – India.
We have many processes that symbolize global apathy and fragility: hunger and poverty, the economy of violence and debt, the destruction of nature and social injustice, xenophobia, homophobia, wars for oil and power, terrorism, populism, hypocrisy, and the culture of fear. Moreover, the defenders of the old, proponents of reviving the notion (and practice – see Brexit) of 18th and 19th-century sovereignty, nationalists of all colors and kinds are united, not formally, but really in defending the order that gave its, even in its return to condition from some hundred years ago. Today there are 7.5 billion people on the planet and an 86 percent literacy rate, which means over 6.5 billion people can be part of the systemic transformational processes.
As far as human rights are concerned, the differences are still considerable. At the UN General Assembly, a resolution calling on all member states to pass laws aimed at “eliminating all forms of racial discrimination,” a resolution condemning the glorification of the neo-Nazism in any form,” as well as “revisionism concerning World War II,” had been tried to be prevented. Moreover, why were the US and Ukraine against, why was the EU restrained? For one reason: Russia proposed the resolution (which was eventually adopted by most Third World votes). Israel voted for the resolution, opposing the U.S., its traditional patron, and joining the Third World, which condemns it almost daily, even at the UN, for its policy towards the Palestinians.
History shows that the defense of universal rights is ultimately the key to success, prosperity, and justice. It is up to us to embrace the enormous task of creating a new world order – not a return to anything that was, but the creation of something new, an order that will ultimately ensure a life worthy for everyone. That will genuinely give everyone equal opportunities. The concept of human rights is subject to a certain degree of divergence depending on the overall socio-political environment, tradition, culture, politics, religion, historical background, and many other factors. (Kayacan, 2016) Whether someone agrees with such policies or not, they do not necessarily have to be undemocratic. The issue arises when a vocal and radical minority begins to carry out the majority’s tyranny, which undermines democracy, calls into question the rule of law, and endangers human rights.
Nevertheless, this paper’s title seems thoroughly grounded and justified. The study emphasizes the point of view that strengthens the global onslaught humankind despondency paradigm of the post-cold War period. Thus, we quickly come to the rationality that today, by the re-nationalization of the post-cold war world, a culture of fear, a violent strategy of developing and maintaining hegemonic goals has been adopted, which rises to unquestionable status. It is evident how lessons from the past manifest themselves in situations from the present within the international relations, which is very reminiscent of what we can call the “Second Cold war.” Combined with global deprivation and predatory capitalism that debilitated the welfare state’s idea, nationalism and hegemonism encourage transnational negative behavior patterns. The Covid-19 crisis and its impact should open up spaces to invigorate a global system that can engage people inclusively across differences and countries. By redefining the relationship between the components of the liberal order – sovereignty, institutions, participation, rules, and responsibilities – a new basis of global geopolitical order could begin. The Western-style democracy as we know it today can not, without exception, be applied to the democratic models to achieve the satisfaction of a particular society’s articulated needs. Transformation is related to the difference between what power centers do and other hand, what they are capable of that would solve most of the world’s issues.
is an independent researcher and an author from Bosnia and Herzegovina. He holds an MSc in Security Studies, Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Studies, BSc in Psychology & Economics, and MBTA Mindfulness-Based Transactional Analysis. His research is multidisciplinary in Social and Political Psychology, Political Science, Socioeconomics, Critical Security Studies, Criminal Justice, and internationally published vastly.
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