“The New World Order in the Post Cold War Era” – Article Analysis



Prof. Dr. Muzaffer Ercan Yılmaz(2009). The New World Order In The Post-Cold War Era. Akademik Bakış Uluslararası Hakemli Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi, 17,  1-14. 

There is a new system in the world after the Cold War era, and the West, the USA, has the victory. After the end of the Cold War, the “new world system” is being shaped by the victorious side, which is the side led by the USA. This “new world system” is explained in the article from two perspectives, approaches. 

First of those perspectives is the “military-politic” approach. According to this approach, the international system and international relations have changed after the Cold War from an anarchic system to a hierarchical system. This change has happened because of the leadership, massive power in the military of the USA. The United State’s administration made the world hierarchic. Operations which were made in Afghanistan and Iraq that were the locations that far away from the USA’s lands, are good examples of the power and leadership role which the United States have.


The other perspective is the “economic” approach. Unlike the first approach, this approach claims that international relations and international areas are multi-central, not hierarchic or unipolar, because there are many actors like the EU, APEC in the global order together with the USA. In the operations of Iraq and Afghanistan, in the Gulf Crisis, the USA has wanted to share the cost of war with the other coalition partners.

Because of those, the structure of today is the structure in which both hierarchical and multi-central orders are together and grift. Powerful states are on the side of the current status quo. Also with the decrease of importance of ideology after the Cold War and losses which are based on lack of cooperation during the Cold War era push the states to make more cooperation after the Cold War. 

After the Western states and their ideologies had victory in the Cold War, the USA and NATO started to spread their effects to the places, regions which are far away from the borders of the USA and Europe. This situation has limited the efficiency of Russia, and in the article, it was argued that if Russia feels more limited, the bipolar relations between Russia and the West can be a conflict that is drastic.

This article argues that the spreading of Western power and capitalism brings stability and instability together. The hegemonic power of the USA and Western organizations decreases the anarchic structure of international relations and nurtures stability. However, there are criticisms in the undeveloped, developing, or Islamic states that resist and protest to US hegemony and Western, but those are unorganized, multi-central, and messy protests. Sometimes the power of those movements increased, but because of serious power differences between Western states and undeveloped states, those movements ended seriously. 

After the Cold War, human rights have become the legitimacy tool of Western countries. But Eastern countries argue that there are problems with global acceptance of human rights, and human rights should be local because these have strong relations with the cultural images. Also, it was strongly claimed by developed states that human rights are being used by Western countries to make their interventions more legitimate, and it is called a “new colonialism” by developing states.


There are also new threats after the Cold War. One of the most important ones is terrorism. Terrorism is the point which is a defiance of developing countries to the West. Terrorism has no nationality, no front line, and in the international area generally, the states that support terrorist organizations or movements face some sanctions. All of these are the challenges of terrorism and blocks terrorism from reaching obvious success. 

The other important threat which came to the world’s agenda after the Cold War is ethnic conflicts that are in states’ borders. Those conflicts spread faster after the Second World War, but especially after the Cold War, ethnic conflicts became a serious issue that threatened local and international peace. Also, the international community, international organizations were not ready for ethnic disputes because they were organized, prepared for international conflicts, and ethnic conflicts are the topics of local law. 

At the same time, ethnic conflicts are used by states as a political tool, and some states can support some ethnic conflicts to weaken the power of taking diplomatic actions of other states which have conflicts in their borders. These also are the clashes of huge powers. Another reason states’ supports for political minorities are imperialist aims, such as the aim of reaching resources that are located in the lands of minorities. 

After the Cold War, the dispute between West and East started to be transformed into the dispute between North and South. The victory of capitalism and capital mobility is not beneficial for the south because investments are usually gathered in the north. In the south, south countries are so busy with their internal problems, inner turmoils. Also, South countries have debts to northern countries, and because of those debts, they are dependent on the north. 

The international system is becoming more multi-central day by day with the existence and increase of many actors as superpowers such as France, Germany, and China. Those states are rising and competing with the USA’s economic and political power in the global area. 

After the Cold War, the efficiency of international law has increased, but this is not far beyond the cooperation between superpowers. Opposingly the local law, there is no authority, powerful/supranational actor in international law, so the maintaining of international law is based on cooperation between superpowers. However, when the perception of hegemonic power about some rules of international law, international law has no authority to block this. For example, after the 9/11 attacks, the USA has interpreted differently to article 51 of the UN and made interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Cooperations between hegemonic powers even are not enough to compete with the new threats, which are terrorism and ethnic conflicts. Maybe cooperation between superpowers can decrease international conflicts, but already many of those conflicts exist because of disputes and competitions between superpowers. 

Interdependency can increase corporations, but also it is important that whether those corporations are symmetric or asymmetric. Symmetric corporations mean earnings are being shared with the principle of equity, but in asymmetric corporations, there are no equitable sharings. Those asymmetric corporations cause more conflicts, and today, the common idea is that corporations are generally asymmetric. North-South relation is an example of this. The undeveloped South States are dependent on North states. 

To sum up, according to the article, in the future, “low politics” will be more dominant than “high politics.” Because of this, military wars will be replaced by economic wars. War has changed in the Cold War atmosphere, and today threats of peace are not the international conflicts but are the problems that nations cannot or cannot fully control, such as terrorism, ethnic conflict, and economic competition, which its level of drastic increase.

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