The beginning of the twenty-first century, inaugurated with the terrorist attacks of 9/11 against the United States mainland, marked a milestone in forging a new order, or system, amongst international relations. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union back in 1991 the world was hegemonized by the only superpower that could still be considered as the victor over all other rivals and enemies throughout the twentieth century, the United States. However this planetary hegemony, which implied the right for this country to intervene, either directly or indirectly, in political crises in almost any other country worldwide along with the partners of the Atlantic Alliance, declined in the last fifteen years and it is not utopian to believe that its fate will be that of disappearing within few decades. The reasons of the decline and presumable final fall of the American “empire” is to be found in many causes, but the main cause is perhaps the emerging of new economies, countries and powers. Globalization implied benefits in linking together different peoples and nations, however it also made it possible for underdeveloped or medium-developed countries to gain the skills to emulate and ultimately overtake the developed ones, mainly the USA and the member States of the EU. What the international community is facing today is a shift of power from old holders to newly arrived actors, which once and for all decided to raise up their heads.
Shift of powers in anti-American, or, best to say, in anti-Western key are emerging somehow in all places. First of all in the Islamic world integralist groups and organisations are decided to accomplish the great plan that the first Muslims close to the Prophet Muhammad considered fundamental to accomplish, to free the lands upon which Islam desired control from the dominion of infidels. The Islamic community, especially the Arab nations that embrace Islam, know well their history and can see that the Islamic world was obliged to hold a defensive position facing the “Christian” nations since the decline of the Ottoman empire. Arabs feel as they are the great losers of the present world order, having suffered under the colonization of European States, having lost at the time of their independence the opportunity of forming a pan-Arabian State and most of all having been humiliated by the Zionist movement with the creation, in the heart of the Islamic world, of the State of Israel. If we focus on the so called terroristic organizations we can realize that after all they are fighting a defensive war against infidel intruders or against puppet governments that support infidel States and powers. The reason of the proliferation of jihadist movements is that Islam, the real and integral one, feels that the showdown against its enemies is near and that sooner or later a shift of power will occur from the Western liberal “atheist” democracies to purer and God-fearing political organizations. The strength of Muslim faith relies today mainly in the demographic factor, which makes Islamic countries some of the most populous of the world, and in the strong immigration of Muslim people especially within Western countries in which integralists could act as fifth columns.
Secondly, we can perceive a shift of power in Eurasia, where new countries are combining their strength to counterbalance Western hegemony. First of all, once ending the humbling age of Eltsin, Putin’s Russia has raised up its head and is willing to gain the leadership of the Eurasian continent in the next decades. Russia indeed has everything: natural resources of all kinds, enormous land, sufficient manpower and the strategic position of being a natural connection for the Western and the Eastern world. Russian lands begin in Europe and end in the Pacific Ocean and Russian national interests cover all continents. It is possible to admit that we are living a continuation of the “Great Game” that the Russian empire and the British one fought throughout Eurasia in the nineteenth century, although nowadays the Russian rivals of the game are the United States on one side and the European Union on the other. But Russia is not fighting alone for hegemony in Eurasia: China is her best partner in the pursue of creating this shift of power, realizing that a partnership with Russia is a safe way to obtain a long-term furniture of key natural resources, mandatory for an ever growing economy and population. While the European Union, with Washington’s support, is trying to extend more and more its influence over nations which traditionally were under Russian or Soviet influence (Ukraine, the Baltic area, the Balkans, the Caucasus), Russia is answering trying to confirm once again that these areas are under her control. As we could see in the past years this contraposition between EU and Russia brought to the break out of regional conflicts in several “border” areas: Kosovo, Georgia, Ukraine, etc. It is foreseeable that the victor for hegemony over Eurasia will be Russia, and this is due to the fact of its inner strength and autonomy, to the clear weakness of the EU and skepticism towards her amongst her very citizens, to the key alliance with strong actors like China and less strong but still regionally important like Kazakhstan, Belarus, Serbia, etc.
Moreover, we can see that a shift of political power implies also a shift of economic one. How can it be that the strongest economy of the world, the American, is also the most highly indebted? A country cannot base its existence on ever growing public debt. On the contrary, other countries like China prefer to count on economic savings and sustaining of foreign sovereign debts. New economies are growing faster than expected: Russia, China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Iran. The developing of these so called BRIC countries will clearly imply a resizing of the American economic might: this could lead to the end of the role of the US dollar as main currency used for economic transactions and to the obsolescence of the international financial institutions headed by American capitals (World Bank, International Monetary Fund) which may be soon substituted with others entirely funded by BRIC economies.
In conclusion we can say that international relations are facing a real revolution. The decline of the unipolar world hegemonized by the United States and its NATO allies seems to be not only possible, but already a concrete matter of fact. It is clear enough that our world is running faster and faster towards a multipolar community in which strong or medium powers are gaining a regional control, or best to say a pan-regional control, on which they can act as only leaders. In other words Haushofer’s geopolitical vision is closer today than ever, but if at his time the plan failed for the results of the second world war, today no superpower is sufficiently strong for avoiding its success.