The Decay of the World Order As We Know It | A World on the Brink


Dee Smith: Everything is changing everywhere,
and it’s changing faster and faster. It’s hard to keep up, and it’s hard to see
where it’s going. We’ve built the most complex society in history. But increasingly, important parts of it are
failing. And many people now feel that their voices
count for nothing. They become angry or even desperate. There’s conflict all over the world. Extreme political parties are gaining ground. Populism and nationalism are expanding. It feels like we’re living on the brink, but
on the brink of what? I’m Dee Smith. I run a global intelligence company and for
over three decades, I’ve worked in more than 90 countries with leaders in politics and
geopolitics, finance, culture, the military, diplomacy, and the intelligence world. I want to understand why our world has become
so unpredictable, so volatile, and so dangerous, and what this may mean for us and for our
future. In 2017, we find ourselves moving into an
increasingly futuristic and technological society. But as we rush into this unknown future, we
find ourselves increasingly in conflict. Scott Malcomson: Governments, political institutions,
financial institutions are under tremendous pressure and duress right now. Edward Alden: I’m worried about the general
breakdown of global order. Here you really do see a protracted crisis
of public confidence. People do not believe that governments are
able to deliver. DS: We seem to be facing a series of challenges
unlike anything we’ve seen before, and we’re seeing changes that no one anticipated. Roderick Grierson; The East has come West. We now live in a world that’s very much more
exotic than almost anyone had predicted. DS: Our world has never been more connected
or more complex. And yet, across the world, we see people becoming
more tribal, more territorial, and more fearful of outsiders. Jeremi Suri: Globalization has totally redefined
what power means internationally. Unfortunately, our language has not kept up
with the reality. Micah Zenko: The forces that we’ve seen throughout
history of nationalism, of isolationism, of autocracy become more resonant politically. DS: Risk is increasing dramatically, and almost
everyone seems to feel the weight of greater uncertainty. In this mood of panic, political decisions
are increasingly driven by emotion rather than by reason. :I think there’s a disconnect between this
very complex society that we created and our decision-making process. DS: Voters have become disillusioned with
the political establishment, and problems continue to grow in economics, as well as
in politics. Huge sovereign debts have become even greater,
and another recession looms, which in an ever more connected world, can affect both major
powers and emerging nations. Stewart Patrick: They’re sort of sucking off
resources within those countries. There’s just not enough to go around. And those folks are susceptible to a sense
of hopelessness and despair and eventually radicalization. Conflict is spreading across the world, and
conflicts are less contained even as war itself is evolving. The development of hybrid and asymmetrical
warfare have placed real power in the hands of ever smaller groups. Devastating cyber-attacks can now be mounted
by a handful of people. Wars and civil wars continue to displace millions
of people, creating a full-scale crisis in many places. Desperate people flee their countries of birth
in the hope of building a new life or simply escaping death, but many countries do not
want them and their arrival is fueling the rise of nationalism and populism. Virginia Gerrard: Somewhere along the way,
we lost our appreciation for the idea of the common good. DS: Social media has allowed people to connect
in a way they never could before, but it’s also become a tool for ISIS and other extremist
groups to radicalize and recruit new members in a way that would have been inconceivable
even 10 years ago. And the proliferation of communication through
social media, and with it the phenomenon of fake news, means that alternative facts are
often unchallenged. :There is an alarming tendency for people
to have a disregard for the truth. DS: From within this fractured world, new
powers are rising. Nations like China, Russia, the US, Saudi
Arabia, Iran, North Korea are all vying to find their place in a new world disorder. And astonishingly, many military leaders now
look back to the time of the Cold War and the threat of nuclear annihilation as the
simpler, less threatening time. The very fact that they do illustrates just
how complex and dangerous our world has become. SM: To me, this particular period we’re in
right now has that feeling of a bit of whistling past the graveyard. DS: The only certainty is uncertainty. And the dominant emotions are fear and anger. If there’s one thing everyone seems to agree
on, it’s that what we have is not working. So how did we reach this point? What has created this dangerous world we now
live in? These are the questions I want to explore
in this first episode of A World on the Brink. DS: To understand where we are, we first need
to know where we came from. And to do that, we need to go back over 350
years to 1648 and the end of the 30 Years’ War with the birth of the Westphalian order,
a system few have heard about, yet one that still dominates so much of who we are and
what we do today. James Hollifield: It is the basis for the
world in which we have lived since roughly the 17th century. If you asked me why do we have the nation
state system, it’s because of the wars of religion in Europe. By the end of the 30 Years’ War in Europe
in 1648, about a third of the population of Europe had been killed or died of disease
as a result of the wars of religion. So, something had to be done to put an end
to these internecine conflicts. This, of course, was a result of the Protestant
Reformation. Today, we look at the Shia-Sunni split in
the Middle East. And a lot of people draw the direct analogy
with the Reformation in Europe, that you’ve got this unresolvable conflict between two
religious groups. Well, the way the Europeans solved was this
cuius regio, eius religio, which is the Latin term– each prince is going to be able to
decide what the relationship will be between the church and state and religion and politics
in his or her territorial unit, which would of course become the nation state. This was the order. And in a way, it was a cynical order, because
you had created states that were supposed to be– where their territory was supposed
to be inviolable. And you were not supposed to interfere in
the internal affairs of another state. That was supposed to be off limits. And you let those states and those leaders
sort out their own problems and bring peace and stability to their society. So, this is what the Westphalian system was
about. It was about bringing peace and order to societies
that were riven with ideological and religious conflict. And in spite of the cynicism here, it’s a
system that did bring some relative peace and stability. Christen Michel: The idea continued from that
moment all the way until the end of the 1990s when it was replaced by a duty of interfering. In other words, when as for 300 years, you
had this idea that a ruler is the boss at home. A ruler may do whatever they want with their
people– persecute their people, kill their people, and then so on. And other rulers, other governments, and so
on had no reason or no motive to interfere. I think this concept more or less died at
Auschwitz. DS: Auschwitz became a symbol of the horrors
that can be visited by sovereign Westphalian states on their own citizens. So, the Western victors of the Second World
War, led by the US, resolved to create a new system to prevent such conflicts and horrors
from ever happening again. It was a system that served their self-interest,
but it was also one driven by the desire to make the world a better place. This system was called the liberal international
order. Its origins lie in the Latin word liber, meaning
free, to refer to political and economic freedom rather than autocracy and to the unimpeded
movement of capital. Today, it is also referred to as the rules-based
international order, which actually may be a more accurate name for it, because the idea
was to create a system of shared rules to which everyone subscribed and which could
limit or even end economic and military confrontation. Edward Alden: There were a specific set of
lessons learned in the aftermath of the protectionist legislation the 1920s, quotas on immigration,
and tariffs on traded goods, the Great Depression, and World War II. And that lesson was, we’re better off as a
planet cooperating solving problems than we are trying beggar-thy-neighbor sorts of policies. And so I think what we saw in the wake of
the war was probably the most successful institution building effort on a global scale in history. Micah Zenko: It’s the belief that there are
a series of binding rules and constraints that are formal and normative between states
and the international system, a primarily state to state interaction. And it’s things that allows the flows of capital,
data, human beings, trade to go across the world. Americans like to tell ourselves that the
global international order was formed with a series of agreements after World War II
in San Francisco with the creation of United Nations and that the point of that was to
spread democracy, markets, and well-being throughout the world. Of course, those were always competing interests. At the time, the United States was reducing
the perception of communist threats in lots of governments. And so, where that contrasted with democracy
promotion, democracy promotion took a backseat. Scott Malcomson: When people talk about the
liberal international order, they’re really talking about two things. One of which is pretty real, one of which
I think is a good deal less real. The one that’s pretty real is the post-World
War II 1945 system with the Bretton Woods institutions, like the International Monetary
Fund, setting up of the United Nations in San Francisco, agreeing on who’s on the Security
Council and who isn’t and its powers, and those institutions dominated by particular
Western powers. However, that system did not really take hold
particularly. And this is where I think some of the conversation
today about the liberal international system is a little bit misplaced. I mean, the structures were put into place
in 1945, but they didn’t really take hold particularly. UN Security Council, for example, has five
veto powers– Britain, France, China, Russia, and the United States. China, at that time, was represented by the
Republic of China. That is to say, the Security Council had four
Western powers in essence, and Russia on the other side. That’s no one’s idea of a rational order or
even a liberal one. It’s largely a coincidental order. MZ: It was the countries that won World War
II still have veto power on the Security Council, which is a tremendous power. Because if you want UN mandate for a military
intervention, for example, you can go to the Security Council and get them to approve your
military intervention. But the problem is, the world does not just
consist of the people who won World War II at the time. And so people have talked about reforming
the Security Council, either removing the veto for the five permanent members of the
Security Council for things like genocide or mass atrocities or introducing a permanent
seat for rotating members of the African Union, or Brazil, or India, or other rising powers,
because it was frozen in time in 1945. It is not representative of the world today. And when it becomes less and less representative
of the power dynamics in the world, it has less authority. DS: Just after the end of the Second World
War in 1945, the period of the Cold War began. The two global superpowers were the United
States and the Soviet Union. And for more than 40 years, they maintained
a tense and uneasy peace. However, all of this changed starting in 1989
with the fall of the Berlin Wall and culminated in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Suddenly, things looked very different. At this point, it looked like the West had
won. CM: There was this optimism about the future
of a world. We were living through a revolution in the
with globalization, the internet, the spread of democracy, all these good things. EA: It looked like the US was on top of a
world. It was the strongest economy. Its major competitor, the Soviet Union, had
fallen apart. The Washington Consensus about the way to
run global economies, free trade, private markets was everywhere. DS: The rise and dominance of the United States
continued for the next 10 years. MZ: 1997 was the height of what they called
the unipolar moment. This was when the United States was the unquestioned
predominant power throughout the globe. It’s a reach of military alliances, bases,
friends, allies, no near peer competitors at the time, in the case of China or Russia. Russia, at the time, was a very weakened country
demographically militarily, economically. SM: If you look at the globe, if you look
at it in terms of overall global population or even productive capacity now, not most
but a lot of the main players, China most spectacularly, never really entered into the
liberal international order in the first place. MZ: At the end of the Cold War, certainly
Russia and China were upset with the unipolar moment, where the United States was the predominant
global actor and had the greatest amount of power, had the greatest amount of military
access, had the greatest number of partners and alliances throughout the world. They care about events in their quote, “political
sphere,” which is the countries that surround them or are near to them, countries that they
might have historical connections to. And they didn’t like that the United States,
both militarily, politically, economically, were what they were perceived as interfering
in their own sphere of influence. So I think the Chinese and the Russians in
particular wanted to push back against the United States at that moment. They used the tools of the global international
order to do so, just as the US uses the tools of the global international order to achieve
its own effect. DS: At the height this unipolar moment, there
were three major schools of thought in US foreign policy– the liberal internationalist,
the neoconservative, and the realist. Stewart Patrick: For liberal internationalists,
it’s not simply enough that countries behave themselves in terms of their interactions
with one another. It’s also important as to what their actual
regime type is. Liberal internationalists, in their hearts,
believe that you’re only really legitimate if your country is a democracy that’s based
on the consent of the governed. Neoconservatism is a brand of American internationalism
that has some things in common with liberal internationalist in that it believes in democratic
governance and that countries around the world should be democracies, and actually thinks
that if countries aren’t democracies, it’s going to be hard to get along with them. The difference with neoconservatives is that
they believe that democracy should not simply be modeled. It shouldn’t even simply be promoted, but
in many cases, it can be imposed. Realists believe that the United States foreign
policy should be geared strongly towards the pursuit of American interests, defined quite
narrowly in material terms. They’re much less interested in promoting
American values, including democracy, including human rights around the world, than in ensuring
that the major centers of world power have stable relationships with one another. CM: When the Soviet Union collapsed, then
the democracy said, well, we can now interfere anywhere in the world, because we have the
power to interfere in the world and we have a moral authority to do it. And that concept evolved in a way that is,
of course, limited by the power of interference. So, where it is easy and it seems riskless
to interfere, then democratic nations, so-called democratic nations, powerful nations, did
interfere. They did in Iraq. They did in Afghanistan. They did in Libya. DS: In the US and Europe, in the post-war
era, even die hard will still believe that all nations should and ultimately would be
members of the liberal international order. But if you create a membership-based system,
you always have non-members, those who are excluded or those who choose to exclude themselves. The children dressed up, eager, anticipating,
all except Chief Mickey Miller. Edward Goldberg: Russia is a great example
of this, that has nothing to lose by destabilizing the system. In fact, we could even say Russia is the one
major country not part of the global order system. Russia became– when the wall fell, Russia
had one major product to sell to the world, energy. Helima Croft: Think about what happened when
the wall came down in ’89. People thought, this is it. And now we have– we’re talking once again
about the Russian foreign policy, aggression, their hybrid warfare. I mean, what I think is so interesting is
that now I think a lot of people more senior in the defense establishment and the intelligence
community almost long for the Cold War. They long for when you’re dealing with a Russian
adversary with defined rules of the road. I mean, I think what’s so interesting about
Vladimir Putin is that he’s essentially been far savvier in finding new ways to project
power and influence, and we’re playing catch up with him. Samuel Cherap: In terms of Russia’s relations
with the West, the story is a very complicated one. In 1997, as it happens, the NATO Russia Founding
Act was signed. And there was a sense that Russia and NATO
were overcoming their historical differences and perhaps even forging a new kind of relationship. But today, we’re back to NATO’s primary mission
being defined as deterring Russia, Russia having invaded one of its sovereign neighbor. I mean, the story of how we got here from
there is a complicated one. A lot of it has to do with a failed attempt
to make that relationship work on both sides and of course, the leadership of Vladimir
Putin who took the country in a direction that we in 1997 probably couldn’t have foreseen. At the time, if you recall, Yeltsin was president. He himself was in poor health. The country was increasingly becoming an oligarchy,
as it was called back then. And Putin came to power and in the beginning,
largely represented a broader elite consensus that something needed to be done to rein in
the chaos. And he initially did rein in the chaos. And then, I think, reined in too far, to the
point now where we have a degree of over-centralization and assertion of the state beyond that which
is healthy for Russia’s politics and economy. DS: The end of the Cold War ushered in an
age of economic, political, and social integration, where nations had the right to intervene in
order to stop human rights violations in other countries. This was named in international law as the
responsibility to protect. It was the age of the liberal international
order, and some people said it was the end of history, but things did not progress as
expected. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse
of the Soviet Union were the beginning of this era. The 9/11 attacks were the beginning of its
end. Mohammad Bazzi: From 2001 onward, the United
States getting involved in two very costly and long wars in Afghanistan and then in Iraq–
The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other
lands. And we’re feeling the after effects of those
two wars in so much of the world. SP: What we’ve seen over the past two decades
is a return of a lot of doubt about the global economy, a lot of disappointment with where
growth is going but also a lot of fear about the resurgence of geopolitical competition
that we thought had been over when the Cold War finished. HC: What has been something that 2016 has
shown us is, again, not everybody thinks the way you do. And people who are left behind, if you do
not seriously think about how these communities feel, then you get surprised with election
events. Andrew Solomon: The most immediate answer
would be the surge of populism that’s come along, but I would also point to the rise
of information and information technology on the internet. Each time there’s been a revolution in technologies
of communication, a certain amount of chaos has followed. After the invention of the printing press
came the great religious wars in Europe. After the invention of broadcast media became
the dictatorships of Hitler and Stalin. And after the development of the internet
has come some degree of social decay, because I think we don’t yet know how to interpret
or how to control the enormous amount of information we’re now receiving. Lord Robert Mair: Well, social media as we
know it today didn’t exist. And that’s, I think, very much changed the–
changed a great deal in the way the world operates, both politically, both in business. It poses all sorts of threats as well. So, I think that’s the biggest change. JS: We’ve entered a world today that’s very
polarized and where it does appear that little bits, few, almost statistically insignificant
numbers of votes can turn us from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump, right? Or Marine Le Pen to Emmanuel Macron, right? So it does appear at some times that we’re
at this sort of edge of one side or the other, and it’s either or rather than consensus building. And there seems to be an absence of consensus
building. CM: Suddenly we realize in 2017 that there
is a counter revolution. And this is to be expected. I mean, every revolution brings about a step
backward. The idea that we can live through change without
pain is something that really never existed in history. We have been wired to resist change. When you were in a tribe in a very precarious
situation, you knew what animals were predators, you knew where drinkable water was, and you
didn’t want to change that, so you followed tradition. You obeyed the elders. And change was a risk. And it’s only recently with modernity that
we have given change a very positive connotation. Innovation is good, and we equated it with
progress. Roderick Grierson: Whether I were in the United
States or the United Kingdom, the East has come West. We now live in a world that’s very much more
exotic than almost anyone had predicted 30 or 40 years ago. And as a result, although it’s very exciting
for a lot of us, it’s also very disconcerting and very confusing for a great many other
people. And I think it’s confusing both for the people
who find themselves living amongst people who would have been strangers only a few decades
ago. It’s also very confusing for the strangers
themselves. AS: I think there is a growing awareness of
terrible social inequality or financial inequality, that the rich have gotten richer and the poor
have gotten poorer. And the rich are very defensive about the
wealth they’ve received, which has earned them so much hatred from others, and the others
are angry about that same wealth that the elites have received. I think that’s one large source of it. But I also think that people are overwhelmed
by the narrative of globalism and by the sense that their narrowly defined identities have
to open up and expand and become more capacious and more inclusive. And a lot of people, whether they are rich
or poor, perceive themselves as belonging to a demographic that had more power in some
previous era and has less power now. JS: The way ideas spread, especially through
social media, but even through traditional media now, there is a premium on being the
most extreme voice. And that’s simply because of saturation. There’s so much out there, that how do you
get heard? You get heard by being the most extreme, sometimes
being the most outrageous. And this has been the story of the entertainment
industry for the last 10 years. It’s now become the story of politics. DS: We live in a world geopolitically based
on two systems– the 350-year-old Westphalian order and the reformist 20th century liberal
international order. Together, these two systems still define much
of our political and economic reality. But today, in the early 21st century, we have
to ask ourselves, are they still fit for purpose? As our hyperconnected digital world breaks
down more and more borders, we’re seeing that technological progress has set in motion forces
that are eroding these two fundamental principles. In the face of these challenges, we start
to see nations retreat from the existing concepts of world order. MZ: The so-called retreat of the state has
been a reality for decades now, because multinational corporations, the flows of trillions of dollars
of wealth daily, the ability of firms to have a tremendous impact in terms of their long-term
capital investments– I mean, they can restructure governments. Again, if you want to be a participant in
the globalized society, you have to be willing to accept some of this. And this is disruptive to a lot of different
societies. This is disruptive to the United States. It’s disruptive to lots of the developing
world. Admiral Patrick Walsh (Ret.): There’s fatigue,
a fatigue associated with the unipolar moment that the United States had, and with that,
an expectation that there is going to be some sort of return on that rather than re-engagement. And so, I think there was a series of promises
made to the American people, where they expected to see some sort of peace dividend with the
demise of the Soviet Union. They expected to see their sons and daughters
come home rather than to deploy overseas and risk their lives for nation states that were
crumbling, institutions that were failing. DS: The articles of faith of many nations
have been challenged. For example, it was an article of faith of
the West that their liberal international order would make the world more peaceful and
more stable by bringing nations into the global market economy. It was an article of faith of the Chinese
that communism was the path that they would follow. Both were wrong. EA: If you look in particular– the growth
of China, China went from being a very small player in world markets at the end of the
20th century to now being the largest economy in the world on paper, the biggest or the
second biggest exporter depending on what year you’re measuring, running an enormous
trade surplus with the United States. I also think there’s been something of a loss
of confidence. The 2008 financial crisis, the very deep recession
that followed, I think, really shook the faith that a lot of Americans had that they had
kind of figured out business cycles, they’d mastered management of the economy in a way
that would prevent a crisis of that depth. And then you throw in the security side on
top of it. The 9/11 attacks, which were a horrific loss
of life and something that the United States hadn’t experienced on its own soil since the
Civil War. And then the less than successful wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq that followed. So you’ve just had a series of things that
I really think has shaken confidence, both within the United States and the confidence
that the rest of the world has in the United States. MB: I think for the US, it had a lot to do
with this idea of exporting liberal and democratic values to the parts of the world. And certainly, we’ve seen that play out in
places the US has invaded, like Afghanistan and Iraq, most recently, where part of the
project has been to impose or plant liberal institutions or liberalized and democratic
institutions. Where I think it’s failed to a large part
is it didn’t account for the kind of damage and institutional erosion that these wars
would create in these countries. MZ: And if you look at terrorism, it has grown
significantly at least since– in 2002, there were less than 800 terrorist deaths throughout
the world. Last year, there were almost 15,000. A lot of these are in three specific countries–
Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria. And this is one of the things we know, is
civil wars are the fuel and the manufacturing base of terrorism, which is why it’s so critical
to try to bring a resolution to civil wars, because they’re so destabilizing, both to
the countries where they exist but also the whole entire surrounding regions. DS: The rise in nationalism and the growing
threat of war and conflict have resulted in nations around the world retreating from internationalism,
increasingly moving away from the collaborative global order. APW: One of the challenges associated with
trying to take a step back is the vacuum in leadership that that creates. And what we have learned from the process
of that is that nations can now reach out and touch us in ways that we never expected
before. SP: And what we found is over time, some of
these places that are in a sense a vacuum of power end up being places where conflict
gets drawn in, where they break down into conflict. And then to some degree, they export that
instability elsewhere. And we’ve seen that in some of these countries
becoming safe havens for terrorism, for instance. In other cases, they’ve incubated or facilitated
the spread of global diseases. DS: It seemed to many of us that our power
has been diminished, that we have less than we did, or at least less than we feel we should. Populations in every society are now so much
bigger and so much more diverse than they were just two or three generations ago. It’s all too easy to feel that something is
now slipping through our fingers, and some people have argued that it’s easier for politicians
of any party to exploit our suspicions that this is the case. But it’s important not to assume that the
experiences of the middle classes in the West are universal. Millions of Turks or Indians or Chinese may
feel more powerful and that they are finally beginning to assume their rightful place on
the global stage. MZ: Everybody in the world sees the world
through their own selfish national interests. That is, a sort of realist mindset, in my
belief, that there are a series of goals that are prioritized, that you want to achieve
in the world. And subsequently, you’re going to do what
you can to achieve them. You don’t really care what happens to the
international global order. I mean, the people who actually enforce it,
which are the powerful states in the world, like the United States, like Russia, like
China, they want to shape the global order to meet their own national self-interest,
so that’s always the competition, because you cede some autonomy and sovereignty by
being a participant in this global order. But if you’re a very powerful state, you also
get to shape it. SP: One of the approaches to American foreign
policy that is venerable, but is one that we thought we really had abandoned quite a
long time ago, is isolationism. Despite globalization, there’s been a growing
sense amongst a lot of Americans that we really don’t have as much interest in the sort of
international ventures that we’ve been getting involved in. After Afghanistan, after Iraq, after the global
financial crisis, there is a sense that what’s out there can bring dangers to us. And so there has been a movement– and one
can see this in the 2016 election. And you saw it on both sides of the political
aisle, either in the insurgent candidates, you have Bernie Sanders or in the ultimately
successful nomination and election of Donald Trump– a sense that we’ve been playing the
policeman game for too long. And so whether it’s America first, or it’s
equivalent on the Democratic side, there was a sense of exhaustion and a belief that we
really need to get back to taking care of what we need to do here at home. JH: The Chinese, you have seen, are building
their own version of the World Bank. So they’re starting to create competitive
institutions and frameworks, not necessarily a bad thing, but it shows how we’ve not been
very fast on our feet in terms of redesigning and rethinking institutions, because it’s
very, very hard to do that. HC: I mean, just a couple years ago, people
said, oh my gosh, Putin is on the ropes, reeling under sanctions, taking on too much in Ukraine,
taking on too much with Crimea. He’s a spent force. I look at Vladimir Putin and all I can see
is Russian influence expanding, particularly in my world of oil producing states. I see the Russians striking deals in conflict
zones like Libya. I see the Russians expanding their footprint
in places like Venezuela. I see Russian influence in even Sunni oil
producing states expanding. You have Russia and United Arab Emirates on
the same side in the Libyan conflict. Even though Russia is at odds in terms of
Syria with many of these Sunni Gulf states, they still feel like they can work with Russia. And to me, that is a really different situation
than five years ago. And again, he didn’t use conventional means
to achieve this new power. SC: Basically, what the US and the EU were
able to do is take advantage of the fact that over the years, thanks to US and EU encouragement,
Russia has become integrated into the global economy, in particular the global financial
system. So as a result, we had leverage, right? And that, I think, is a warning to not just
Russia but many other countries. Today, in 2017, I think Russia fears the most,
as far as security threat, the United States. And specifically, the people in charge of
Russia are convinced that the US is out to overthrow the Russian government, to put it
bluntly. DS: Once again, we’re seeing the consequences
of the liberal international order, the implementation of policies that Russia exploited for their
own agenda, and China pursuing new expansionist interests. All our lives were affected by the liberal
international order in ways we don’t realize, and this order, or parts of it at least, may
be in peril. However, to really understand what’s going
on, we need to look at another completely different kind of global order. This could be called the infrastructure global
order, and it’s arguably larger and even more important than the formal liberal international
order. And despite political or economic differences,
religious or ideological warfare, even despite military conflict, this complex and remarkable
system continues to persist and function. It is one of the greatest achievements of
modern society. And how do you know it’s working? Because most of the time, you don’t even notice
it’s there. MZ: There are multiple global orders. And for example, the rules that establish
Maritime trade or transoceanic cables or satellite communications or computer network bandwidth–
all of these things didn’t exist. And a series of norms understandings and formal
rules have arisen over the decades and been reinforced. Most of this is in the private sector. Most of what is the rules-based international
order happens the private sector beneath the awareness of many Americans and many people
in the world. This is things like the international postal
agreement, the International Telegraphic Union. So this is why satellites don’t collide in
space, and why I can pick up a phone in China and call you in the United States and that
signal works perfectly. That’s because of a series of longstanding
and robust agreements and I would say formal agreements and normative understandings of
how the world should work. SP: The emergence of geopolitics really reflects
the fact that countries not only have very conflicting interests at certain times, but
they actually have different visions about the way the world should be organized. So I guess in the final analysis, you have
to think of world order and the infrastructure set up by states to cooperate with each other
as the handmaiden of globalization. Countries have made it possible because they
benefit from it. Ruling regimes have said to themselves, on
balance, this is a good thing. The challenge for all international institutions,
and even more so for domestic governments, is to balance the integration of their country
into the global market in a way that satisfies their own domestic political needs. And in the United States and other democracies,
that means there has to be public support for globalization over the long haul. Otherwise, those countries are going to have
to change the rules about how goods and services and people and financial instruments flow
back and forth across borders. JH: But, clearly we have had a reaction against
globalization. There’s no question about that, whether it’s
migration or trade. And that has spread. It was always there in Europe. It has spread to the United States. Two or three data points do not necessarily
make a trend, as we know, but Brexit, the election of Trump, the pressure that’s been
on Europe and European institutions, that has put in jeopardy what I would call the
liberal internationalist order that we’ve all come to know and some love and some hate. Robert Jordan: Well, I think we’ve seen a
decline of the nation state system, particularly in the Middle East. We’ve seen a rise of nationalism in Europe
and in America now. No one would have dreamed of Brexit 20 years
ago. I think we are seeing maybe an empowerment
of less institutionalized figures in a way that is creating a sense of chaos in the world
right now that I don’t think we quite saw 20 years ago. EA: We really are still educating people for
an old sort of economy in which you train for a particular career, be it an auto mechanic
or a university professor, and you figure you’re going to do that for the rest of your
life. And that’s less and less true. People have multiple careers now, and I think
we need to have an educational system that reflects that. RJ: The institutions have really not kept
up with the interest of the people. In Europe, we’ve seen an over-bureaucratized
EU. We’ve seen a lessening of individual states’
freedoms. We see regulation without accountability. We see businesses being interfered with. In the United States, I think we have seen
also a failure of our institutions. Congress has failed to do much at all in the
last 20 years. We’ve seen presidents struggle to maintain
their authority, to maintain their effectiveness. We’ve seen increasing numbers of scandals
and a polarized society that is only listening to other people who agree with themselves. RG: I hope we don’t have to learn again the
lesson that wars are too horrible to be fought. So we are adrift in the midst of political
leaders who are, in effect, children who lack the imagination to understand how ghastly
it can be but who are very keen to pose on the world stage as heroes and men of vigor. And I think the temptation for people to do
that is all the greater if they have no knowledge of war. It’s not just that they’re ignorant of the
horrors. I think this is a problem with Tony Blair. I think it’s a problem with Donald Trump perhaps. I think it’s a problem with many political
leaders. They want to be seen as leaders of their nations
in a time of war. MB: I think where the US makes a mistake in
trying to impose this democratic order is often– it’s less about any native parts of
the system or rejections of democracy or democratic ideals. I think it’s about not having institutions
in place that would allow a democratic system to flourish and that would allow democratic
institutions to take hold. One really good example is the rule of law
in places like certainly Iraq and Syria, even in Turkey– in many countries where the institutions
aren’t entirely there for a real system of rule of law to exist. And then you get into attempts at trying to
push elections through, and often you gear the system toward strongmen and autocratic
leaders emerging. I think we’re at a moment of transition right
now. And we’re in a moment of transition not from
one order to another, but when there are multiple orders at work at the same time, and we’re
figuring out what is going to be the new synthesis of these orders. The international system is never pure. It’s never one thing or another. JS: Nothing’s pure, right? The United States is not a pure democracy,
right? So there is a liberal international order
that’s alive and well out there today, which involves attention to human rights, for example,
institutions like the World Trade Organization and others that work very well. The use of the dollar as a de facto world
currency, right? Those are all examples of a liberal international
order that was built after World War II that is surviving in a very strong way. At the same time, we have an emerging, I would
say, a regional order, set of different regions that are develop their own– they’re developing
their own autarchic systems. The Chinese are building this in Asia. You can see this in development around Russia,
and you can see this around Turkey and other places like that, what we might call trading
blocks, another form of empire for the 21st century. That’s emerging before our eyes. And then we also see a lot of sub-state actors
who are becoming more and more powerful. And that’s what I would call a really illiberal
order that’s out there. And so these are all in competition right
now. And the story of the next 10 years is going
to be how these different orders learn to adjust to one another. There will be elements of all three that will
survive, but the new order will be some combination thereof. And that’s the opportunity for the United
States to be in the role of agenda setting for what that new order will look like. Institutions are more complex and difficult
to understand than ever before. And they’re so big. At times, no one is actually in control. It’s a fair question to ask, who really runs
the Chinese government? It’s a fair question to ask, who really understands
technology today? I don’t think the solution is to try to become
a Luddite and close our eyes to all this, or move back into small communities necessarily. The solution is to do what every generation
has done– reinvent our institutions to manage these new problems. This is what progressives did in Europe, in
the United States, in reinventing institutions in the early 20th century. One of the problems many of our governments
have is they have inherited creaking old governing institutions. And again, it’s not about having more or less
government. It’s about reforming government to match the
needs of the world we have today. JH: Sure, there are problems with this system. And if you want to change it and reform it,
that’s a very good thing. But if you are going to throw it out, you
better have a pretty good idea of what you want to put in its place. Because it is what we got. It has helped to bring about a more peaceful
and prosperous world, and you can’t just snap your finger and change that. That to me is a recipe for disaster. DS: Among many other things, the liberal international
order hangs in the balance and with it, perhaps the future of our civilization. We love to tell ourselves stories to make
sense of the world, and some of these stories become the defining narratives of their age. We in the West wrote the defining narratives
of the last half of the 20th century. It’s one that started in the 17th century
with the Westphalian order and culminated in the liberal international order and globalization. This was a compelling vision of a democratic
world, a world living, working, and trading together based on economic and social principles
that we believed would work. But as the rate of change accelerates and
as the world becomes more complex, we’ve begun to realize that these systems might not be
working so well anymore. And this doubt is occurring even here in the
West in the very places where the narrative was forged. So if the lands that invented the system can’t
agree on what it should be, how it should function, and what it should become in the
future, what does that tell us? If we’re moving away from the Westphalian
and liberal international orders, where are we going? Do we have a viable alternative? What would a world without globalization look
like? And ultimately, is all this change going to
make us any happier? In the next episode, we’re going to look at
arguably the greatest force for change in our world today, one that has pulled a billion
people out of poverty but is also plunging nations into political chaos– globalization.

100 thoughts on “The Decay of the World Order As We Know It | A World on the Brink

  1. Give the gift of Real Vision to yourself or someone you know for only $99 (regularly $180) from now until the end of the year: https://rvtv.io/YTGIFT

  2. They scramble to understand how it all went wrong. We can tell you. At the very top of this power structure is such foul exploitive criminal corruption that greedily harvests everything. It believes it is above all laws and takes or traffics any resource it wants. Everything is a resource. Humans are a resource and we are being devastated as the rest of nature. To hear they have failed is music to my ears.

  3. Fearmongering will always get clicks and likes from fools, the 1 % need that fear to keep people voting for the deep state.

  4. People and nations refuse to be dissolved in the one world globalist agenda. There, I just saved you 50 minutes of your life. You're welcome.

  5. Very disappointed in this Globalist propaganda video. The big money people behind this channel cannot get richer if the common citizens stop sending their kids off to senseless wars.

  6. unbelievable that some american would think cnn is isis. if anything cnn is fake news not isis. the education system is a failure.

  7. I looked at the show from the start to it's end. It is my understanding these people, all of them are pure globalists, they have made a very slick presentation of ideas that cry out; the world needs a one world government to solve the present and future world problems. They are presenting their hopes/dreams in a finely crafted piece of propaganda. I found it disturbing that these people who are so tuned into world affairs would make these comments. Note one example of these slick comments concerning the 911 attacks, knowing full well that it was the US Governments CIA that was behind it. Look at the presentations made by the Architect and Engineers for 911 Truth. These comments will more then likely never be allowed to be posted on this comment board.

  8. Around 35:00 they talk about Russia and China as Expansionist powers, and WHO signed Free Trade Agreements and convinced us it was a great idea to outsource literally every job possible to China?

    People like the ones making this video, rich suits with something to gain.

  9. These guys want us to put them in charge to do "The Right Thing" as they interpret it. Look at the State of Virginia where the Governor and legislature got a Democratic majority at the last election and have decided to toss out the United States Constitution's Second Amendment and take the human right to keep and bear arms for self protection away from the people. The citizens living in rural counties where a firearm is a tool to handle predators or protect your property from criminals because there is little protection offered by the police are having their local county government declare that the government in the Big City of Richmond cannot be allowed to tell citizens living far from cities how to live.
    Big city politicians elected by citizens living in the big cities must be restricted to making laws that apply only to big cities or there will be problems!

  10. 44:00 These stuffed shirts talk about War, they know NOTHING of war, the war against the middle class in the United States has been ongoing for decades.

    Entire SWATHS of the United States have been rendered Economically Uninhabitable thru the elites undeclared Economic War on the Middle Class that they still have not recovered from.

    The Rust Belt, the hundreds of thousands of small towns all across America that don't even have internet nor will banks finance a house loan because they are tasked with policies that PUSH everyone into crowded underfunded, polluted, surveilance controlled, over-priced cities, where they can watch and observe the populace.

  11. At 45:00 he brings up the Rule of Law in Iraq and Syria, how ANYONE working in the US Financial industry can talk about the lack of RULE OF LAW in another country after what the banksters got away with and continue to get away with speaks to how much of a propaganda piece this really is.

  12. You heard it right, The "Liberal International Order" academic elites hired at the behest of The "International Elite Financial Few" to usher in the "Modern Feudal" system. MO=Fear, Greed, Conquer, Divide/ catylist=Global Warming

  13. When we forget that 9/11 was an inside job, we forget how we got into these wars, how the deep state has taken control of our foreign policy.

  14. Globalization benefits the strong and victimize the weak. Of course the strong West defend the status quo and resist changes. Changes will come until greed is no more…

  15. There's no disconnect… Political figures are above the law. Living without morse. Stealing from the people. Our government is outa control talk about that…

  16. Ego, the way we see ourselves. That's the goal of power. There will need to be a change in "the goal" of power.

    The U.S. treats others according to its image, goals, values, "ego". Others countries act in kind in their interest. Power becomes the only real value of a country.

    The value system, pure ego, will need to include at minimum a balance of inclusionary potential gains and losses. If not, we'll have endless W.A.R. "We Are Right." Currency wars will keep turning to trade wars that threatens to turn to kinetic war. It's not cute! Due to weapon advancements it WILL be the end of us.

  17. This video is a nice Globalist-Neo-Lib overview of the world at the end of 2016. There is also a large dose of Russophobia and ignorance of the Eurasian Block here. A massive error in this presentation is the failure to recognize that the general level of international violence is much lower now than in many decades in the past. And here at home, if you think we have a lot of domestic strife now, try the streets of our biggest cities from 1965 to 1969, bloodied by race riots and anti-war demonstrations, etc. Our NYC elites need to chill out and go with the flow……. We (USA) no longer are the boss of this planet. Get over it!

  18. Not enough time has elapsed to identify which trading and info blocs based on regions, culture and hegamonic power will be successful.

  19. Real Vision Finance + Aren't all countries just puppets for the family in power for over 2 hundred years? You know the Roughchilds?

  20. A very thought provoking video. I think though that the trend is clear. With too many in the West who have become losers in the last generation, with just the 1% benefitting, and the remainder of the West's wealth being directed to China, India and others, the Western polity will become increasingly disengaged and eventually rebellious. If the Western elite want to keep something of the society that gave them such great wealth, they need to work out how they can help the average Joe to start turning their life around. Even if that is at the expense of the Chinese and Indian middle class. It's time for the 1% to side with the tribe or lose their place in the sun.

  21. Globalism must die. Tyrants, despots and criminal cartels must not be allowed to rule the world. And the West MUST do something about it NOW.

  22. So disappointed Real Vision would engage in the dissemination of such blatant pro-globalist, neoliberal propaganda. Utter garbage.

  23. Watch out for videos such as this that consistently refer to 'they them us we' without citing detailed people or organizations. This video is designed to implement emotional distress on the mildly educated and below. Wise up, and recognize through education comes recognition of bias.

  24. The Decay of the World Order is just what this world needs. People's eyes and minds are opening wider every day. We are on to 'em.

  25. Could only get through 5 minutes of this purely FUD garbage. There's some smoke in the kitchen and they would call it a forest fire.

  26. Sad that this channel is not capable of being objective. I used to enjoy watching this channels content if Real Vision keep pushing propoganda I will unsubscribe! Please maintain objectivity.

  27. The people fearful now are the Davos set and technocratic elitists who controlled the world order for the past several decades…creating unnecessary wars, arbitraging labor and environmental standards to benefit themselves . Unlike them, I'm hopeful for the future bc their propaganda is less likely to work. The hubris of neoliberal internationalism to regime-change and democratize the world into a global utopia where people are just cogs in an economic machine was always going to be smacked down by Realism & sovereignty.

  28. I have not yet watched this but you immediately are suspected to be a form of propaganda with an agenda…..checking for inclusion or exclusion of facts…with more to say..please standby…ps- knowledge now exists within the agenda of nationalism..scary heh??

  29. Why is the world falling apart? Because of people like him mucking around in other peoples countries and trying to destabilize nations by weaponizing mass immigration with groups who will never assimilate.

  30. When did real Vision Financial turn into the History Channel talking about like Ancient Aliens, this is the financial equivalent to that

  31. Now i know why real vision was providing true world economy quality content before. Those who are in control wants the system to fall so they are showing us now how they destroyed it in the first place. They want us to fight for them to further take their agenda.

  32. The United Nations was set up so that the Internationalist Powers could control all nations. But to set it up they FIRST had to destroy the genuine power structure based on a more just and democratic system which had been set up, the LEAGUE OF NATIONS in Switzerland. The UN naturally had to be located in the centre of Internationalism in the United States.

  33. If the people of any nation are not happy with their leaders it's THEIR RESPONSIBILITY to replace them with better leaders. There are no other people in the world who can take over that responsibility. No, not even the United States NOR the Internationalists.

  34. Glad to see the comment section isn't buying any of this. Also don't conflate Globalism (One world governance) and Globalisation (Free Trade). Nationalist states can still participate in global trade without joining a one world order.

  35. "With the rises of Populism there seems to be a lack of consensus emerging." Huh? Populism = Popular = Democracy. I think the Globalists in this vid meant to say a "lack of consent" to be managed and controlled by their ilk…
    Hear that? The sound of Ivory Towers trembling as the Populist Tsunami rumbles accross the Land…

  36. is this a Hollywood analysis of the world 🤣🤣 did you ever live in another time no. Its always been the same my friends.

  37. Fake news are something we see at CNN and NBC, the proliferation of alternative news sources is what have allowed these fake new sources to be challenged. ISIS is simply Islam made manifest and the rise of nationalism the result of the reawakening consciousness of the people of the west. The rejection of complacency.

  38. It’s very simple. The world has gradually become less rational over the past 5 decades, but when western countries became so irrational that they made the relationship of a man and woman equal, the same as two men. I believe this simple act of forcing insanity on those living in the west has created the upheaval of the explosion of the political right.

  39. Globalists assumed they couldn't work with nationalists. Now they will HAVE TO. What we will see will be the fall of big institutions like the EU, the UN and such similar organizations that have been compromised for year. The UN stopped being relevant when they supported actual Terrorists like Mandela and taking bribes to ignore the sovereignty of Hong-Kong and Taiwan which this channel covered as well. The enemy isn't Nationalism or International diplomacy… It's corrupt bureaucrats.

  40. Life has never been better. When the Roman Empire fell the world blossomed without the oppression. We need less world order and more freedom. This is very biased and based on "feelies" not facts. Seems like liberal propaganda.

  41. The real reason were on the brink….debasement of currencies by corrupted governments and central banks. Low interest rates that create unnatural economic over-stimulus. The cherry on top is manipulation of commodities and energy (oil).

  42. On the brink of what you ask? Fine I’ll answer, throwing off the yoke of the globalist elite who have gutted our heartland. Your day is OVER, we are no longer asleep and will tear down your power and return it to the service of the people and our constitution.

  43. The direction of this video is clear within the introduction. The world order globalist are under threat. The smell of fear stinks up the rest of the video. Ongoing fear mongering is disgusting.

  44. 'a world on the brink' aka globalists not getting their way so they turn into whiny little sjw's and use fear mongering to get populations to comply.

    Yeah, we've heard that record too many times now. Mm

  45. In fact, the USA and the West, in general, have never accounted for the speed and cost of change to the countries and societies they were interfering in. If they had, they would not have started or supported the many wars they were involved in after WWll and even before. Looking after the own population is the first task and first object of any legitimate government. Going beyond that will create wars and chaos and so far there is no uniform international order anybody adheres to. Simply changing the institutions will not bring this about. I refer to the impotency of the UN and EU.

  46. Mr Smith. Your question on why the world has evolved to what it is now today. Many of these pluralism was a direct consequence of the West (led by US) to expand imperialism, exacerbating the conflicts already existed among nations, religious sects and widening gap between the have and have not.

  47. It would be a bit less biased by letting Russian, Chinese, Indian, etc. desicion makers express their views directly instead of being told by Analysts from Western institutions what they think these powers are thinking and/or doing. Otherwise a great format.

  48. Interesting commentary on the rise of various forms of governments and centralized power globally, but very little thought or commentary on the fall of individualism and personal sovereignty which gave us so much of what is now being lost.

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