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The American World Order: Beginning of the End?

Prafulla Ketkar

Prafulla KetkarSep 13, 2021, 01:20 PM IST

The American World Order: Beginning of the End?

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” —President John F. Kennedy, inaugural address,  January 20, 1961


Whether we like it or not, the post-World War II world order has been the US-led World order. “The United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace,” declared the then Secretary Of State George C. Marshall in his address at Harvard University on June 5, 1947. Popularly known as the Marshall Plan, after the detonation of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was also an indication of arrival of the new superpower on the world stage.  Since then, whether international organisations, peace and stability or the general rules of trade negotiations, American stamp  was everywhere.  

The Taliban takeover of Kabul has obviously been raising questions about the possible  American decline. 

Firstly, after fighting the so-called ‘War on Terror’ for two decades, the US had to rush out of Afghanistan unceremoniously, giving a free hand to the most wanted terrorists to form the Government. More than the withdrawal, the way it was executed, was certainly not superpower like. In the darkness, leaving the unprepared Afghan national forces behind, American forces literally fled the ground. For the last twenty years, inability to deal with the menace of Islamic Jihadism, seems to be the only evident conclusion of the ‘War on Terror’. After choosing Pakistan as an ally in this war, no better result could be expected. The deal inked with the Taliban itself was a sign of failure and now the manner in which deal has been executed has given a major dent to the US status as a super-power.  

The United Nations system has designated Al-Qaida and Taliban as ‘terror outfits’. Out of thirty-three, seventeen of the ministers in the Taliban interim Government are designated terrorists either by UN or US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). There cannot be a worse slap on the face of a super power when it is forced to engage with those designated as ‘terrorists’. The Taliban actions are known to all and one should not expect much to change on the ground. Free speech, women’s rights and democratic principles are anathema to the Sharia based governance model. Since Truman Doctrine of 1947, through which America vouched to “support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures”, at least in policy rhetoric liberal democratic values were the guiding principles, which have taken the harsh beating at the hands of Talibanism.  The hopelessness with which the US-led institutions, including the UN, are watching the Taliban brutalities is another sign of American decline.   

The US system faced severe challenges during the Cold-War, and experienced various setbacks like Vietnam War, but by and large the rules of game remained in American control. China, in connivance with the Islamists, is not only posing an ideological challenge to the ‘democratic world’ espoused by the US but also throwing economic, technological and institutional challenges to the United States. The Sino-American rivalry on all the fronts, including technological and military ones, has become more open and lethal in the post-Covid-19 scenario.  

America is way superior militarily and economically and therefore, many would argue that the declinism is nothing but a Chinese agenda. Still, the new Cold-War is in the offing, is a fact. The US-led world order based on liberal democratic values, however imperfect and rhetorical, had the potential for  everyone to raise a voice. What is emerging as a contender is all the more dangerous, a combination of authoritarian and sectarian ideologies. China eventually may face the same fate as the erstwhile USSR and now the US experienced while muddling in the difficult terrain of Afghanistan. Till then, the world should be braced for a bumpy ride. 

Democracies like Bharat, along with right policies and alliances, have a greater role to play in shaping a truly democratic, multi-polar and peaceful world order.  

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on Sep 13 2021 16:13:29

tibetan lions, taiwaneese tigers, mongolian cheetahs must get money muscle power to push CHING piglets over the great shit wall.

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