A new a multi-polar world is dawning on us. This has implications for all corners of the world, but not least for Europe, the cradle of the two world wars. The dominating powers in Europe are US-lead NATO in the military sphere and EU in the economic and political sphere. According to both, all would be well in Europe had it not been for Russia which is a malign power trying to subdue independent countries, sowing confusion and distrust within the EU and threatening the continent with military invasion. They both need to reconsider and think harder if they are serious about conserving a lasting peace in Europa.
Despite many denials, it is clear that the hegemonic US-lead liberal international order is on its way out. What has to come is necessarily a multi-polar world, with the US as one of the heavy players, but one among several. If you have any doubts, just listen to the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, declaring that the US is entering a “tripolar” world. It will be very difficult for the US political and military establishment to accept this bitter reality, and a politician accepting it is facing a risk of political demise. This is probably the reason there is so little debate among US politicians about how the US can find a new place in this new, difficult world.
The new catch-word in international politics is “Rule Based International Order”. The narrative is that this order is being challenged from outside by rogue revisionist countries, principally China, Russia and Iran, and from inside by nationalist and populist politicians (Trump, Brexiters, Orban, Marie Le Pen and the like). There is a call to arms to defend/re-establish this threatened Rule-Based Order. However, if we take a closer look, it becomes obvious that the rules are bent or invented to fit the wanted narrative to the extent that you start doubting whether there are any rules at all.