Changing International Political Scenario: From a Unipolar to a Multipolar World

What is the current International Scenario?
Are we a unipolar world?
Or are we a multi-polar world?
Is there a shift or change in global politics?

All these questions are very prominent amongst international political thinkers these days. The change in the global world order is slowly and gradually coming in the light of the global community. After the end of the Second World War the global community witnessed a bipolar world. It was ideologically divided into two power blocs of capitalist USA and communist USSR (erstwhile) as the superpowers and their allies.

A situation of cold war had engulfed the international political world. However, after the disintegration of erstwhile USSR in 1991 the entire global scenario shifted focus from a bipolar world to a unipolar world with USA as the hegemonic power. A unipolar world is an international scenario where there is only one superpower and in this case it was USA.

However, the global community is again witnessing slow and gradual but prominent signs of change in the international political system. The world is slowly and gradually changing from a unipolar world to a multipolar world, where there are numerous centers of power. Even though it is a subtle process and USA still holds a superior status yet the process of change has already taken the first step. It is only a matter of time and international circumstances, which will finally change the world from a unipolar one to a multipiolar one.

Alternate centers of power have been developed in the world and they are slowly and gradually acquiring more and more power. EU i.e. European Union; ASEAN- Association of South East Asian countries; SAARC- South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation; BRICS- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, are the organizations, which are slowly and gradually gaining more and more influence in the international scenario.

India, China, Russia, Japan and Germany are considered some of the growing influential countries in the world order today. Even US President Barack Obama said that, “the country he inherits will no longer be able to call the shots alone, as its power over an increasingly Multi-polar world begins to wane” (2025: The End of US dominance 2008).

The changing economic conditions and trade relations are one of the few reasons for shift in the international scenario. China is one of the leading traders of the world while Japan is a growing technological country. India on the other hand has been considered as a strong ally in south Asian countries as well as its role as a sort of spokesperson for the third world nations.

India was also one of the leading founders of NAM (Non Align Movement) and is still a democratic country unlike its peers since its independence. Brazil on the other hand is a well developed agricultural and mining country with a good service sector; While European Union is very strong regional organization, which in way has control over entire Europe.
The economic condition of the world is one of the most prominent reasons for the shift. The recent recessions and downfall in the American economy further added salt to the wound.

Countries like China and Russia agreed to expand their currencies in the bilateral trades so as to reduce the dependence on US dollar. A multipolar world would thus in a way benefit the international economic order as it would work towards providing financial stability to the world by reducing the effect of downfall of the US dollar. Even the World Bank agrees that countries like India and China provide a basis for global growth.

Common international problems like environment issues, economic downfalls, terrorism also add to the fact of reducing gaps between the international issues thus giving them a common ground. Global governance and multilateralism would also strengthen the concept of a multipolar world and conferences like G20 are a step towards it.

Hence it can be concluded that even though the world today is not completely multi polar, it also not completely unipolar either. USA is slowly and gradually losing its title of the hegemonic power and alternate centers of powers are being developed in the world. The world is slowly shifting its focus towards an International scenario where there are a number of ruling powers rather than one or two. India, China and Russia are among the leading powers to bring about this concept of change in the international order and challenge the supremacy of USA and its allies.

Aarshi Dua