The Middle East: Birth Pains of a New World Order?

Many experts consider the turbulent Middle East events as a clear testimony that a brand new world order is being born. At prestigious Middle East forums, they hold entire panels devoted to this issue. Since any child is born in pains, this circumstance easily explains all the troubles in the region. Is it really so?

We could already observe the contours of this new world order, since we agree that we had to say goodbye to the old one. It includes an increased role of regional countries, which corresponds to the polycentric world model, unauthorized intervention of a list of global and regional actors in the internal affairs of sovereign states, the sanctions chaos, neglecting the international law, ascension of the non-governmental actors. There is also heightened struggle for power and resources, including attempts at reshaping borders, crisis of identities, international institutions, the very nation-state model, using religion in pursuing political goals, including terrorism justification, mass migration etc. 

Middle East: Main Challenges and Risks in 2018
The US as the traditional arbiter in the Middle East is increasingly disengaged from the region. If the lack of stability and reconciliation persists in Syria, Iraq or Libya, ISIS or other radical groups might once again exploit the political vacuum to gain strength.

Under the old order, globalization is usually seen as a universal trend that benefits all members of the world community. Its negative sides are also visible under the new one, and there are tendencies to its limitation. Protectionist measures hinder free trade, sanctions imposed on rivals and competitors are limiting free movement of capitals and technologies, free migration is being restricted with the same sanctions and anti-migration laws, free information and cultural achievements exchange is threatened by discriminatory blacklists. There is also manipulating social networks and media in the wake of hybrid wars. Where are you, all the beautiful theories of a good just world based on universal renunciation of violence, of managing the world community with the help of a concert of states or nations, of the international law triumph, the leading role of international institutions in solving the global problems, respect for the sovereignty of all states, their equal rights and the rights of peoples to decide their destiny?

These new elements of the Middle East reality, which turned into a testing ground of various regime change technologies, punishing the unwanted governments, planting supposedly universal values, domination and extrusion of the rivals, seems to lead not so much to order, but to chaos.

Signs of confusion and chaos disturb us greatly. In some countries, governments control the territory only partly. In others, real power belongs to multinational corporations, occupation forces, criminal and even terrorist structures. In the third ones, there are fierce clashes destroying the values ​​and infrastructure created by generations. 

The fault lines that draw the region’s map are difficult to overcome, and violent conflicts divide people

Socio-political woes prevent the reconciliation – a huge gap between rich and poor, unemployment, diseases, lack of drinking water for a large mass of the population.

To fix the situation, we need a carefully thought-out, based on elite’s consensus and popularly supported reform of regional system of the states – maybe, along with the modification of the rules of the game. Middle East has unlimited natural resources (enough for everyone), a talented population and rich traditions, developed by civilizations succeeded each other for centuries. But any “health-improving reforms” will have to take into account one significant aspect of the of the new world order formation ongoing process (if such an order will be created). It boils down to disaggregating the centers of power in the world. In other words, it is reducing the possibility of hegemony of global centers in the regions and the rise of numerous regional players with their own agenda, so they will try to increasingly dictate their will to weaker players and create zones of their influence. The experience of the Middle East presents convincing examples that prove the validity of this conclusion.

Main Priorities of Russia's Policy in the Middle East
Russia is testing its opportunities to return to the global arena as one of key players.
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.