Will Increasing ‘Multipolarity’ destabilize the international order?- A Critical Review Student Name:
This paper provides authors understanding towards the concept of ‘Multipolarity’, followed by a critical review of whether it will lead to the destabilization of international order. Followed by situating the concept with of Multipolarity within the theoretical framework, a general definition of Multipolarity is provided. Then a critical review is conducted by applying the conceptual and empirical evidence.
Definition and Concept of ‘Multipolarity’
Even there are various definitions of ‘Multipolarity’. In order to understand the concept of ‘Multipolarity’, the concept of ‘Polarity’ should be analysed first. It is widely accepted that different forms of ‘Polarity’ refer to different stages in which the power and authority is distributed in the world (Burchill et al., 2013; Onuf, 2012; Klotz, 1999). There are different forms of the ‘Polarity’, for example, unipolarity, bipolarity, multipolarity, and nonpolarity, depending on the distribution of the power. The ‘Multipolarity’ is defined as a form of distribution of international order where there exists more than two counties or regions that have similar or equivalent political, economic, or social power and influence (Jervis, 2009; Gowa, 1989; Ikenberry, 2009).
In the framework of realist in international relations, which is based on Political Groupism, International anarchy, and Power politics, the ‘Multipolarity’ can be situated as three or more blocs of the distribution of the power (Goodin, 2010). In the framework of liberal realism, or in other words, the English school of international relations theory, the ‘Multipolarity’ can be viewed as the existence of different international levels, based on the anarchy in the world (Buzan, 2004). While for the constructivism in international relations, the ‘Multipolarity’ can be treated and viewed as different distributions caused by the historical or social construction, rather than the consequences of human nature (Jackson and Nexon, 2002).
Based on those different frames, by applying the theoretical lens, the claim that “Increasing ‘Multipolarity’ destabilize the international order” will be further studied. It appears so far that there is agreement of the polarity after the WWII is unipolar, where the United States remains the superpower of the world, and other counties, like UK, Russia, and China cannot offer the same impact that the United States offers. However, will increasing ‘Multipolarity’ necessary lead to the destabilization of international order?
Understanding the Implications and Argument
If the framework of realist approached is adopted, then it can be interpreted that three of more blocs of powers will exist, and according to the claim, the raise from unipolar to multipolarity will lead to the destabilization of international order. However, this might not be the case. It can be easily argued that it is because of the mulitipolarity that leads to the development, instead of the destabilization of international order. For example, it is because the raise of Four Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan) that leads to the development of East Asia in 1970s. As those four regions became more and more powerful, the international order in the Ease Asia actually became way better than before (Castells, 1991).
On the other hand, if the framework of liberal realism is adopted in order to understand the claim, then it can be interpreted that the existence of different international levels, based on the anarchy will lead to destabilization of international order. However, it might also not be the case since different international levels, for example, South to North, Developed Countries to Developing Countries might not necessary lead to destabilization of international order. Of course, some political, economic, cultural, and even military conflict are based on the different levels in the international order, like Middle East War and the raise of WFTO Pacific. However, I will argue that because the existence of those different levels that will lead to the stabilization of the international order. For example, because of the emerging Chinese e-commmerce, the United States will be replaced as the biggest market for on-line shipping. Thus, the raise of China can provide more stabilization of the international order since more competition will advances the level of development and warfare of people.
Lastly, if constructivism in international relations is adopted as the lens, then it can be interpreted that historical or social construction of ‘Multipolarity’ will lead to the destabilization of international order. I only cannot agree on that because the historical or social construction might not necessarily lead to the destabilization of international order. For example, we can argue that the historical construction of ‘Multipolarity’, i.e., the raise of developing counties that will actually lead to better world due to a more balanced social, economic, and political development from the developing countries.
Some researchers from classical realist claimed that the Multipolarity will actually increase the stability of international order. For example, Morgenthau (2014) in the book suggests that the Multipolarity is more stable than other forms of polarity like bipolar systems. Carr et al. (1964) also has similar results from the research. Based on the discussion above, I disagree with the claim that increasing ‘Multipolarity’ destabilize the international order. In sum, based on those theoretical lenses and practical examples, it is the ‘Multipolarity’ that can lead to the potential stability, development, and better international order. In my opinion, similar to the competition in the economic market where monopoly exists, the multipolarty will lead to better competition in the international relations as well because there are more than three superpowers exist. It is the multipolarty that can help maintain the balance of power, rather than other reasons. The raise of new superpower like BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will ultimately lead to a more balanced intentional order.