Report: Populism, rising powers making global order "alarmingly weak"

Growing populism in Western nations and the rise of developing powers are causing a shift in the "alarmingly weak" global order, according to a security think tank.

"Rising populism and intractable conflict shook the international system [over the past year]," the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said in an annual review.

"Worldwide dissatisfaction with ruling elites and resistance to globalization appeared to reach a crescendo," the IISS said, adding that "wars across the Middle East showed little sign of abating."

The report highlighted "the increasing assertiveness and military capabilities" of China and Russia, bringing a growing risk of conflict between major powers.

"The underpinnings of geopolitics have splintered so much in the past year that the foundations of global order appear alarmingly weak," John Chipman, head of the IISS, said in an introduction to the report.

"The politics of parochialism now mix with the instincts of nationalism, and both clash with the cosmopolitan world order so carefully constructed by the technocrats of the late 20th century," Chipman said.

Chipman expects "a frantic drive by major powers in all regions to set new rules of the game and revive old ones" over the next 12 months.

The likely result is a "grinding of the geopolitical tectonic plates, with no geopolitical settlement in the offing," he said.

The IISS Strategic Survey said Britain's vote to leave the European Union "promises to change the EU as much as it will change the UK's relationship with the Union."

International negotiations on bilateral and regional free-trade deals also pose a "potential challenge to the Bretton Woods [international monetary] system for the first time in its history," the report said.

It said a key geopolitical trend over the last year was the "renationalization of conflict management" as Russia's involvement in Syria, China's assertion in the South China Sea, and intervention in Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates reflected a "go it alone approach."

"Multiple strategic earthquakes have created a situation in which world leaders are in a constant state of crisis control," Chipman said.

"The institutions that have been created to contain crises are being bypassed or have shown themselves incapable, with the result that conflict management has been renationalized."

Last update: Tue, 27/09/2016 - 21:09
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