The Age of Nonpolarity
According to Richard Haass, the world is moving from a unipolar system (a system where one country dominates militarily, culturally, and economically) to a nonpolar system, where power is concentrated in various actors, and where no state dominates. If what Haass claims is true, this carries with it many implications to the US, considering that they were the dominating country in the previous unipolar system. Haass references the fact that US power has been diminishing in relation to other countries in terms of economic, political, and cultural influence. He also examines the rise of emerging powers, which see their influence being limited due to their own limitations (China’s issue of high population and high poverty) and the emergence of other actors (NGO’s, terrorist groups, militias, etc.) that exert considerable power, as proof that international relations is moving away from a unipolar system and towards a nonpolar system. A complete shift towards a nonpolar system is debatable; rather I see the system is currently in a transitional stage, where the United States is positioned as possessing far greater power and influence than any other institution or individual (be it a non-governmental organization, nation-state, politician, etc.), but are constantly faced with changes and trends that challenge its power and authority, such as globalization.
Before discussing any further whether or not international relations is undergoing a change, an analysis of what nonpolarity is, as well as the distinction between this systems and others, must be made. An analysis of what the implications for the US is essential as well. Nonpolarity is basically a state where a nation does not hold a monopoly over power and influence; rather, power is concentrated within various actors such as NGO’s, political leaders, corporations, etc. Also, the power that each individual actor can leverage varies. This differs from multipolarity, a system where several...
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