Is American world order over?

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By Arslan Hyder

 

Locke’s ideas of cooperation in state of nature for mutual benefit were taken seriously by the Americans. They proved that it wasn’t just a talk. Foundation of a nation on basis of universal ideas of common good was a real achievement. The proponents of liberal ideas wanted to expand such design to the states. It was a real challenge,

If autonomous individuals could come to cooperation to avert the dangers of state of nature for common good then couldn’t autonomous states do the same? It was a hard question to answer. The answer came slowly and gradually from trial and error thesis over the period of time. The answer to the question for cooperation came in shape of common interests of the state. The rules of engagement were set to promote a world order based on mutual cooperation where zero sum mentality replaced positive sum game. It took almost a century to take firm foundation.

Over the period of time the rules of engagement were revised to keep the order workable both for the US and the world. The continuous engagement between the states created relationships – first a functional, then institutional and at some time even heart felt.  Pointing some contemporary events conventional intellectuals are of the view that both the order has come to its end. Looking things differently it seems evident that the order has offered more benefits than its drawbacks and in state of nature the alternatives to the order have disastrous repercussions. Now that most of the states have embraced the order it is difficult to replace it. Although, the order and hegemon seem to be in crises but the end of the order is a far cry. History is evident of the truth that the order was challenged earlier and at that time the competitor was a Marxist. It came victorious as the challenger surrendered.

Now, the history repeats itself. A new challenger is here. There are contrasting differences between the hegemon and the challenger. Hegemon runs his business on cooperation. Rules of engagement, alliances and equal partnership are at the heart of its strength. On the other hand challenger relies in totalitarian style of engagement and bossy alliances and partnerships. Keeping all that in view, it can be said that the order needs a redefinition of rules of engagement as done earlier to keep it in business. The transitional Phase would eventually be replaced by the same order though in a redefined manner. After all love is not for sale.

 

The writer is an anthropologist cum research analyst and founder of Born Human FOUNDATION Sindh