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UN Periódico Digital
Realigning international order

We begin with the premise that the United States is one of the main actors of international relations. Surely there are also international organizations, multinational companies, NGOs, the recognized role of individuals, and “person to person” contact in the international order. Also, there are small groups that are devoted to deal with national and international regulations to earn money at any price, but that is a separate chapter. All of them are relevant characters in the international system, but countries continue to be the basic unit of this system and therefore it is necessary to pay attention to its evolution, the games, alliances, and balances established between them.

Throughout history empires have come and gone, being immediately substituted by others as the power void does not exist. The international system after WWII was bipolar (a U.S. and Russia standoff), after the Cold War it was unipolar (power being held by the U.S.) and after 9-11, the world became multi-polar. It’s not that there wasn’t a terrorist attack, or that the United States did not receive the blow in its own flesh; the difference lies in that, that day the dominant power was struck in the heart. From there, two other actors began to take relevance, China and Russia, and along with them, other countries turned into emerging powers, like Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS). The economic takeoff of China (with an annual average growth of 9% of its GDP between 2000 and 2020) and the increased political weight of Russia in the international scenario became evident since the beginning of the twenty-first century. After almost a quarter of a century, it seems clear that China and the United States can sit down to talk, at least at the same level.

Therefore, the main feature of the world to come –or inclusively is already here– is the undisputed China leadership. Deng Xiaoping, who headed this country between 1978 and 1997, proposed the “24-character strategy”:  "Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile, and never claim leadership." This strategy also had two other premises: “hide our capabilities and bide our time, make some contributions". 

Now is when we begin to observe the power deployed by China around the world. The Belt and Road Initiative (B&R), is a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to invest in almost 70 countries and internationally is just the tip of the iceberg. Thanks to this project the Asian giant has purchased ports and wills not only in Europe but also in Africa and America, making some fall into its “debt trap” (build infrastructure, the host country contracts debt that cannot be paid immediately with money and they concede management and control of the infrastructure to the Chinese). 

We should not forget that the Chinese currency, the renminbi – the Yuan is the basic unit of the renminbi– is increasingly stronger and in the last two decades, it has been devoted to purchasing a good part of the sovereign debt of many countries, including the United States.

Analysts are currently discussing if this is just an innocent plan to place its products in the world market, to reinforce its might in the regional scenario, or if behind this, it is concealing its imperialist intentions. Perhaps the intention of China is not to conquer the world as Rome did in the Mediterranean; maybe it will restrict only to promoting its positive image for people not to fear purchasing their products. Time will tell. 

What seems out of the question is that China is supporting a parallel multilateral system different from what we already have, headed by the U.S., where the “center empire” would be the undisputed leader. The United Nations, turned transmission belt for the globalist agenda, more than an organ to solve international conflicts is losing moral authority on leaps and bounds and it is very feasible that it will cohabit with another similar organization, but headed by China.

Lastly, this coronavirus crisis will leave us another feature that has been widely published: the digital gap. For some time now some have been talking of the digital transformation of the economy, of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the virtual empire, and in these months we have done the hard transition toward an economy whose main tools are computers and the network of networks, and those who haven’t been able to adapt their job position to the virtual world will stay behind. 

This digital gap is happening everywhere and above all, among countries, as some were better prepared than others. By the way, which world power was better prepared to face this scenario? Suffice to show this data: A Chinese citizen uses his cellphone to pay for anything 12 times more than an American citizen. This transition toward the virtual world will revolutionize education –which doesn’t mean this is for the better— and work, but also entertainment, personal relationships, and inclusively war.



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