The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.
1. The international order was created by the U.S. over the ruins of World War II in Europe and in Asia, and it reconciled the military, financial and commercial interests of Washington with its allies.
The world order is a set of norms, values, laws and institutions created by the dominant nations to regulate the functioning of the different nations. The beginning of this century seemed to be oriented toward globalization as an ideology of a new world order.
Such open, plural, multilateral order covered a great part of the world and was formed by universal institutions such as the U.N. and permanent alliances such as NATO and the EU. And for a very long time, with the ending of the Cold War and the subsequent victory of the U.S., this world order was expanded to a global scale.
In this century the possible new world is yet to be understood. It is also a world that is unpredictable, complex, tyrannical, conflicted and full of greed – “globalization of indifference” – and irrationality, which needs to be civilized. All human beings deserve equal dignity. We can only have hope in the future generation.
During the Cold War, “peace is impossible, war is improbable,” (Raymond Aron) but the EU made peace come true for decades. However, the frightening coincidences of the circumstances that preceded the world wars should be a reason for disquiet among world leaders.
The new world order announced by the end of the Cold War seems agonizing in the face of an emerging world disorder, where proxy and hybrid wars proliferate, and whose aggravation could bring a devastating war.
We live nowadays in an age where unregulated globalization has been causing an increase in conflicts in an international system in transition, where one can anticipate changes in geopolitical alignments and balances and also in a security environment that is becoming more and more unstable.
It is also an anti-multilateral order, since Donald Trump supports bilateral relations. Maybe that’s why he has antagonized the U.N., NATO, and the EU, even having considered the latter as the main enemy and having shown signs of wanting to cause the fragmentation of the EU, a goal also shared by Vladimir Putin.
We are at last facing a new world order that prefers a coalition of wills – the mission creates the coalition, even if it implies alliances comprised of variable configurations – instead of permanent alliances like NATO, where the coalition is prepared for a variety of missions.
2. The complexity of the problem of the new world order – not represented in the U.N.’s Security Council – is presented to those who have to make political decisions.
No global power seems at the moment capable of shaping the order. All nations maintain at different levels a certain freedom to act unilaterally and a certain necessity, obligation or interest in respecting multilateral frameworks.
Trump and Putin are deforming the global order. Only a united EU can be influential in the reshaping of a new order, based upon the principles of humanism, dignity, tolerance and cooperation between people. The new post-Trump era is promoting a political revolution without a defined ideology that tends to autocracy, having an impact and changing the world order.
Trump’s politics through social media are anachronistic and his hostile speech toward the press causes a breakdown in democracy. On the other hand, the press – inappropriately – has been acting as a sounding board for his politics and insolence. However, as incredible as it may seem, he still has an untouchable base of support with the rearguard actions of the fanatic Stephen Bannon. And he is at risk of winning the next election.
Trump is a narcissist and he wants to be the winner in all situations, even if that means he has to use illusion and fiction. It’s not really “America First,” but rather “Trump First” – a worrying omen which Henry Kissinger classifies as very serious.*
With the new president, the cycle of the liberal democracy came to an end. His speech and actions have been showing exacerbated nationalism (revealing a deep contempt toward immigrants, despite being himself a son of German immigrants) and dangerous populism – not ideological but opportunistic – which subverts politics and institutions, based on ethnic-racial disputes.
Increasingly dynamic international politics make the future quite different than we think. However, the U.S. can’t be exempted from a balancing role that will allow it to guide toward peace a globalism without governance.
The world faces dangers today that go beyond national borders and that affect everyone, such as the environmental issue or climate change, which are not compatible with the isolationism that the U.S. wants.
Due to globalization, preventive diplomacy is now present in almost every field of human activity. However, Trump acts alone and is not aware of how civilized nations deal with their antagonisms. That is, there is not a consistent and credible foreign policy. There is nonetheless a familiar pattern in Trump’s foreign policy – insults and threats, followed by backtrackings and victory declarations – the Trumpism two-step.
Trump’s administrative reorganization – with his eyes on the mid-term elections – and the shift in the strategic route combined with an erratic foreign policy increases uncertainty and unpredictability and leaves allies confused.
3. Human beings can’t transform society so we replace values with technology. We know the price of everything and yet we don’t know the value of anything. We are in the middle of a values crisis and a severe security crisis due to the subversion of the state’s functions, leading to serious national identity crises in a disoriented EU, which needs a convergence between economics and politics.
Under these circumstances, the EU, lacking a strategic concept, should pay attention to the lack of trans-Atlantic solidarity that weakens the alliance. It is evident that autonomous systems of European security and defense must be a reality.
Understanding how to find solutions in Europe might be an essential experience in this global disorder. Unilateral and protectionist actions are not solutions, because they make us withdraw from an increasingly independent world. Plans for EU reform require action and determination: in the regulation of economies, in the strengthening of capital markets, in the construction of the banking union and in the conception of a common foreign policy with greater integration and cooperation in the fields of security and defense.
Trump is the first president to jeopardize this world order, which together with new geopolitical projections and alignments tends to be transformed into a new global disorder and international legal system. However, Trump only does what others before him have already defended; but historically a world power has never provoked a commercial war. We are seeing the decadence of an era. And that is dangerous.
4. Some things we can never change: geography and the history of people. The historical mistake of the West was ignoring Russia’s declaring itself a world power and the geopolitical abilities its geography afforded it, which maintains the instability that spreads from Europe to North Africa.
Crises, conflicts and wars essentially victimize people and cause migratory crises difficult to solve – something that is fragmenting Europe.
The new types of conflict are no longer the traditional wars between nations, due to the growth of transnational terrorism. Nowadays, the U.S., with or without the approval of the U.N. Security Council, is still the only power, but we are on the path toward a multipolar order. It is predictable that Brazil, Japan, India and other countries will form part of that order in the long run.
In this context, the Western world might be endangered due to the emergence of Asia, changing the paradigm of the conflict between blocs with the decline of the West.
The current crisis in the relations between the West/NATO and Russia is a defining moment for a new relationship among all political actors of the Euro-Atlantic region, and it is the most important strategic challenge of the last decades. The response to it can’t be merely political. Shifting the paradigm from confrontation to trust and convergence is a challenge for statesmen.
The combination of Trump’s arrogance and deceit along with the incompetence he shows is explosive in the new growing global disorder. The evident substitution of legitimate and impotent power centers with unknown yet powerful centers makes urgent a reformation of the organisms to which the defense of the world order was handed by the ending of World War II.
*Editor’s note: This quotation, accurately translated, could not be verified.