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Research Report

Global security in a multipolar world

Feng Zhongping
Robert Hutchings
Radha Kumar
Elizabeth Sidiropoulos
Paulo Wrobel
Andrei Zagorski
Edited by Luis Peral
Álvaro de Vasconcelos
Copyright Date: Oct. 1, 2009
Pages: 140
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 5-14)
    Álvaro de Vasconcelos

    This is the second Chaillot Paper in a series exploring the various strands of a global topic: multilateralising multipolarity. Through the essays collected in the first study,¹ we set out to assess the scope of change in the international system and how EU action could best be suited to bringing about a multilateral order. After the fall of the Berlin Wall brought about the end of bipolarity, the world has changed no less dramatically since the 1990s witnessed the Balkan wars and the first EU military crisis-management operations. Basically, the post-Cold War ‘unipolar’ world turned ‘multipolar’, and as a result...

  2. (pp. 15-30)
    Paulo Wrobel

    At the dawn of the 21st century, Brazil is a nation whose decision makers seem to believe that it is on course to realise its potential to become one of the big players in world affairs. Given its sheer size, population, aspirations and economic might, both real and potential, Brazil is on the path to fulfilling a sort of ‘manifest destiny’, that of a great power. There is a saying that is often cited in Brazil in a self-deprecating manner: ‘Brazil is the country of the future and it will always be’. It reflects the tension between a selfimage of...

  3. (pp. 31-48)

    Against the backdrop of today’s intensive globalisation and regionalisation, China has since the 1990s developed a set of concepts and proposals for national, regional and international security. It has abandoned the cold war mentality and adapted its thinking on security towards an emphasis on mutual trust and benefit, equality and cooperation. China is committed to the international efforts to build a common security regime, prevent war and conflicts, and enhance United Nations peacekeeping.

    Traditional and non-traditional threats have complicated the international security landscape in regions throughout the world. In the field of traditional security, China engages in bilateral and multilateral...

  4. (pp. 49-66)
    Radha Kumar

    Over the past decade, leading members of the international community – the United States and the European Union as well as regional organisations such as the Association of South-East Asian Nations and the African Union – have welcomed, indeed sought, India’s leadership, especially in matters of peace and security. With its rapid economic growth and established democracy, India was seen as a force for stability in a volatile region. But India’s reluctance to take on such a role led many to conclude that the country’s policy community did not want to abandon its cold war isolationism. India, they thought, was...

  5. (pp. 67-85)
    Andrei Zagorski

    The official Russian foreign policy doctrine, as it has evolved over the past several years, tends to view the world as in a transition from the bipolar confrontation of the cold war and a short period of attempted but failed US domination, moving towards a more diverse landscape based on a changing distribution of power. With the new world economic and politican centres, the West is gradually losing its monopoly on the setting of universal standards and values. The rising powers are claiming a greater say in determining the rules of the game. Particularly the current economic crisis has boosted...

  6. (pp. 85-102)
    Elizabeth Sidiropoulos

    Since 1994, with the end of apartheid and South Africa’s return to the community of nations, the country has taken its role on the global stage very seriously. Although its primary focus has been on African issues, South Africa has also engaged on global issues in multilateral forums. It is convinced of the importance of multilateralism in dealing with global issues and has sought to play an active role in international organisations – notably in negotiating the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (APM or Ottawa Convention)...

  7. (pp. 103-120)
    Robert Hutchings

    We are in the midst of the most profound flux in world affairs since the creation of the Western alliance system in the late 1940s. The collapse of the cold war order, the rise of China and India as global powers, and the advent of novel transnational challenges have all combined to introduce new uncertainties into the global system. Seemingly unconnected, sudden events – the global financial crisis of 2008-09, the spread of swine flu, the rise in the price of oil to $140 per barrel, the breakdown of transatlantic solidarity over Iraq, the effects of the Indian Ocean tsunami...

  8. (pp. 121-132)
    Luis Peral

    Security doctrines tend to converge as globalisation deepens. It is only natural that national views on international or ‘external’ threats to the state take shape along the same lines when the global dimension of major problems becomes apparent. This is particularly the case for countries that are competing to achieve and maintain regional or international hegemonic status, a group that has become considerably larger in the past two decades. The chapters in this book analyse the current approaches to security of six of the most relevant players in international relations today: Brazil, China, India, Russia, South Africa and the United...