For about 25 years since the end of the cold war, one of the dominant themes of American politics was the attempt of globalization of the liberal international order which originally prevailed in the West after the Second world war. Washington had hoped to carry out this task through the deep integration into the system of her potential opponents, namely Russia and China, so that they no longer had any desire to fix her obstacles. The goal was to use economic and diplomatic incentives to lure all of the major world powers into a system that will satisfy them — and which nevertheless will continue to dominate the United States and American values.
It was intoxicating and his courage idea based on the notion that Russia and China are on the irreversible path of political and economic liberalization, and that ultimately they can be inclined to the way of definition of its own interests, which is comparable to the us.
However, this project is today the obvious way to have stalled. New goal of the American strategy now, does not imply the integration of competing great powers in a truly global world order, and the protection of the existing international system is successful when, in fact, incomplete — from the devastating effects.
To accept such an outcome may not be easy, because it is completely contrary to the extraordinary optimism that had characterized the post-cold war era. When the confrontation between the superpowers ended, democracy, and free markets began to spread with the speed of forest fires, the walls collapsed, disappeared geopolitical barriers.
Even Russia and China (one long-standing geopolitical rival of America, and the other future great power) was interested in the integration and closer cooperation with the international community under US leadership. It seemed possible movement of the world towards a single model of political and economic organization and a single global system with the United States at the head.
The promotion of this scenario was the main concern of American politics. The United States sought to deepen diplomatic relations with Russia Boris Yeltsin and encouraged by the democratic and market reforms, while at the same time insure against possible Russian revanchism and European instability, giving NATO membership to former Warsaw Pact countries.
Similarly, Washington pursued a "comprehensive engagement" of China, focusing on the integration of Beijing into the world economy and causing it to assume a more active role in regional and international diplomacy. The idea was that a richer China will eventually become a more democratic China, as grown numerically, the middle class will have on the government pressure demanding political reforms. Integration policy of America at the same time was going to give Beijing its own share in the existing liberal order led by the US and thereby would eliminate the reason to challenge it.
The descriptions of the administration of President bill Clinton, this approach was based on "the desire of both countries to participate in the global economy and global institutions and meant that each country will enjoy the benefits of integration, while taking the relevant obligations."
This strategy, which the Deputy Secretary of state Robert Zoellick in 2005 has been described as a model of "responsible stakeholders" reflects a long-held dream to forever leave behind the tense geopolitical and ideological confrontation of the XX century. However, as the last decade — first in Russia and now in China — this approach is based on two assumptions that have not withstood the test of reality.
The first one that China and Russia really hasn't looked to economic and political liberalism of the Western type. In the late 1990-ies, against the backdrop of economic crisis and political chaos, the Russian reform has stalled. Over the next 15 years Vladimir Putin has gradually restored a leadership model more explicit political authoritarianism and collusion between the state and the main business community.
China's economic growth and integration into the world economy has not led to the "inevitable" political liberalization. Instead, the ruling Communist party used the dizzying pace of economic growth as a way to gain legitimacy and to buy off dissent. In recent years, the political system of China has actually become more authoritarian: the government diligently suppress human rights activity and independent civic activity, and the centralization of power was achieved not seen before over several decades of scale.
The second assumption was that these powers can be persuaded to define their own interests in a way that was convenient US. But the trouble is that Russia and China never wanted to fully embrace the American liberal order, and ideas that must have seemed like a threat to dictatorial regimes — not to mention the expansion of NATO to the former sphere of influence of Moscow and the preservation of alliances and armed forces of the United States along the Chinese borders in East Asia. Therefore, as soon as Beijing and Moscow have gained, or regained, the right to challenge this order, they took the opportunity to do it.
In the last decade, the Russian force and intimidation committed to revising the post-war European devices, the most striking examples was the invasion of Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. Putin's government is also actively trying to undermine key institutions of a liberal order, such as NATO and the European Union, additionally it is aggressively interfering in the elections and the internal political Affairs of Western States.
© 2016 AFP, Philippe Lopez
Passers-by walk past the exchange point in Hong Kong
China, for its part, gladly enjoys the benefits of incorporation into the world economy, meanwhile it increasingly seeks to dominate its periphery, suppresses and intimidates neighbors, starting with Vietnam and ending with Japan and weaken the alliances of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region.
American officials hoped that over time the proposed system will satisfy Moscow and Beijing and they will seek to preserve the status quo. Instead, as he wrote to Thomas Wright (Thomas Wright) from the Brookings institution, these powers behave in the spirit of classical revisionism.
Thus, the era of integration came to an end in the sense that there is no realistic short term prospect involving of Russia or China in the American-led system. However, this does not mean that America is destined to war with these countries or that it should strive for complete isolation of the two powers.
Good or bad, but trade between the U.S. and China continues to be vital for American prosperity and the health of the global economy; cooperation between Washington and Beijing and even Washington and Moscow — it is necessary to solve international diplomatic challenges such as nuclear proliferation and climate change.
Actually all it means is that the US should absorb more rigid and less ambitious approach to relations with the major powers and the international system. Less ambitious in the sense that they need to abandon the idea that the liberal order is indeed will have a global reach or that soon it will include all the major powers. While the rigidity of this approach will be based on the understanding that in order to protect the existing order in the face of challenges posed by revisionist powers will require greater efforts.
You will need to take difficult but necessary steps: for example, to carry out military investments needed to bolster the U.S. government and deterrence in Eastern Europe and the Western Pacific ocean, and improve the capabilities needed to counter Chinese coercion and political sabotage, which Russia is pursuing in relation to its neighbors. This will require the cohesion of old and new partners in the face of threats posed by Russian and Chinese expansionism. First of all, it would mean the recognition that relations between the major powers are entering a period of greater danger and tension, and that the willingness to big costs and risks will be the price of the struggle with the revisionist practices and the preservation of American interests.
In short, a completely integrated world of today is an elusive goal. Successful protection of the existing international order that the United States has successfully built and led for many years, will be sufficient for today's task and accomplishment.
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