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The Impacts of a MultiPolar World
As we move towards a new world order (the multipolar world) and the USA's hegemony is
threatened by the BRIC's tensions are likely to rise and create a clash of cultures.
Despite globalisation there are at least four cultural world views American corporate
capitalism, European liberalism, Chinese Confucianism and the Islamic world. In the Muslim
world the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, with its opposition to the `moral corruption of
the west' has created huge tensions and as China develops, demands for Europeanstyle
freedoms may grow.
The USA dominates global foreign policy, but its `war on terror' (post 9/11 world)
brings it into conflict with the Islamic world and potentially the oil rich Gulf States.
Islamic terrorism is most often directed against the USA, although it is questionable
whether terrorism is motivated by a dislike of American culture. It is more likely to
be directed against American military and political actions.
China and Russia tend to support Iran and opposed the two gulf wars, where as the
USA strongly opposes Iran's nuclear ambitions.
There is an increased risk of an arms race, possibly a nuclear one, in the Middle East
and East Asia if tensions and conflict in those regions cannot be resolved.
China and India have a disputed border as their spheres of influence overlap creating
Resources Nationalism `Peak Oil'
Global economic growth and globalisation places an increased pressure on natural
resources (land, water and fossil fuels) this will increase resource nationalism
therefore conflict over resources is very likely e.g. there is already a `war of words'
over the 90 billion barrels of oil in the Arctic which could quickly become the new cold
war. Superpowers and emerging powers will squabble over resources as we get
closer to `peak oil'.
There is conflict over the South China Sea due to its oil reserves India, China,
Japan and Vietnam all claim it's theirs.
The energy superpowers (Russia and the Gulf States) increasingly challenge the
political and economic order using their resources as `political weapons'.
The Global Shift
In the USA a painful period of economic restructuring is likely to take place for some
The rise of the BRIC's will create the global shift of different industries e.g. the car
industry in 2002 car sales in China were just 3 million but by 2009 sales exploded to
11 million, beating the 10 million sold in the US. Two of the `Detroit Three' (Chrysler
and GM) went bankrupt in 2009 this has lead to a huge out migration of the car
industry to "Chindia" e.g. Jaguar is now Indian and SAAB is now Chinese.
The EU and the USA need to get used to competition from the emerging powers.
The Climate Agenda
Climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009 showed that the USA,
EU and the BRICs do not share the same views on environmental issues which have
potential to sour international relations.
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