Morality and Law
The Development of a Peaceful Multipolar Order

In recent decades, the international order has undergone profound changes. The leadership of the U.S.A. and Russia, affirmed since the Second World War, has been joined with increasing importance by new states: China, the nations of the European Union, India and other emerging countries.

The US leadership, already weakened by the crisis of the monetary system founded in Breton Woods, has suffered the most from the glaring effects of this turnaround.

The dollar has gradually lost its importance as an international payment and reserve currency.

Globalisation, which was based on roles that normally belong to the state being dedicated to the market, has lost strength in the face of Colbertist-type national policies. A stateless market is doomed to fail, as it is not defended by adequate public policies.

The United States and NATO have lost the certainty of being able to guarantee their own defence in the face of the hypersonic missile development by Russia and China.

Europe has found itself part of a new multipolar order and this is forcing it to update its responsibilities. The European Union must choose between three fundamental alternatives:

  • renew the traditional alliance with the United States on a more equal basis;

  • develop its own autonomous army;

  • enhance its own initiative in the field of foreign policy to limit the risks of conflict, while promoting economic and political collaboration and integration.

This third alternative is the model theorised by Tommaso Padoa Schioppa: “Europe, gentle force”.

Alternatives are not rigidly alternative solutions; they can contribute to designing a new peaceful order.

The world is experiencing a transitional phase characterised by risks and new opportunities. Multilateralism can repeat, mutatis mutandis, the logic of the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648; alternatively it can accelerate the process of integration at the international level, according to the logic of The Federalist Papers, written in 1788 by Hamilton, Jay and Madison. These dates, 1648 and 1788, indicate how the current transition has deep roots and is destined to develop in the long-term. This must make us aware of the choices that are maturing, as they are destined to affect our future in a profound way.

The processes underway are accelerating more rapidly than expected. The alternative between a multilateralism that produces tensions and wars and a peaceful multilateralism based on collaboration and innovative forms of integration is destined to take a dramatic turn if far-sighted decisions are not taken in good time.

The design conceived by Roosevelt’s heirs at the end of the Second World War was a great US - Europe – Russia alliance. This design was shelved due to the development of the Cold War.

A possible initiative today can be constituted by the resumption in renewed forms of an alliance between the USA - Europe - Russia, which has its roots in secular history and from the union that allowed the victory against Nazism.

The convergence between these three great countries would constitute a fundamental contribution to the construction of a more peaceful international order.

This perspective is not easy to realise, but it can be based on strengths that make it realistic. An economic union between these three great countries, open to ever wider international participation, can constitute the strategic choice capable of strengthening a new balanced world economic order based on freedom and solidarity.

This evolution can hardly count on the initiative of existing international institutions which, each in a different but substantially not dissimilar way, have proved inadequate to realise the objectives for which they were born.

The multipolar order is intended to bring out two alternatives to overcome the inadequacy of international institutions.

A first alternative is the strengthening of existing institutions. In an abstract way, it is the most linear solution, as it is based on the experience already acquired. Realistically, this solution can only be adopted on condition that we understand the reasons for the weakening of the existing institutions, which have prevented them from taking initiatives capable of solving these problems.

A different alternative is the creation of new institutions that could work alongside traditional international institutions and that could determine the evolution of the latter.

The start of this process can be constituted by the creation of Communities, on an international scale, in the sectors of health, the fight against various forms of pollution, and the development of clean energy. The history of the European unification process demonstrates the extent of the Communities as a gradual constituent process, with the transition from forms of Governance to more advanced forms of Government.

The European Health Community, with the accession of Russia and the United States, is a first step in this direction.

It is the responsibility of Europe to participate in emerging multilateralism with a role of promoting a peaceful and solidary multilateralism. 

The Arrival of Multipolarity and Its Impact on US-Russia Relations
Jacob L. Shapiro
A toxic combination of inertia, nostalgia, suspicion, and mutual recriminations continue to define the Russia-US relationship, rather than a clear-eyed appreciation of just how much the world has changed, writes Jacob L. Shapiro, founder and chief strategist of Perch Perspectives.
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.