Amid today’s brutal confluence of shocks, the world is witnessing the unraveling of the Pax Americana that sustained world affairs for more than 70 years after World War II. If humanity proves to be unequal for the time being, it will usher in an era of irreversible and potentially uncontrollable global crises.
BERLIN – I cannot remember a time in the past 75 years when there has been such a massive accumulation of major and minor shocks. The world today faces intensifying climate change, a pandemic, major wars, soaring inflation, disruptions in international trade and supply chains, and severe food shortages and energetic.
Much of this unrest stems from new (and renewed) rivalries between the great powers. This had very visible and chaotic consequences, epitomized by Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. You don’t have to be a doomsayer to foresee that the conflict will be just one act in a longer tragedy. In East Asia, China‘s claim to Taiwan also threatens to lead to military escalation. And in the Middle East, Iran’s ongoing nuclear program could all too easily trigger a major military conflict.
In short, we are witnessing the outcome of the American Pax which supported international relations for more than 70 years after the Second World War. After emerging victorious in the two world wars of the 20th century, the United States won the Cold War that followed. During this time, he guaranteed peace and stability in Europe – which had been largely destroyed in 1945 – and laid the foundations for new multilateral systems of trade and international law, established under the aegis of the United Nations, whose number of members has grown accordingly. of decolonization. But with the rise of China and others, American Pax – which was certainly not perfect – gave way to a more multipolar reality.
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