العربية

In what ways are power alternatives and lines of competition and conflict heading?

Dr. Tarek Fahmy

The world is moving towards a new phase of regional and international interactions, a phase that is different in its form of what existed for many years in the post-Cold War Period. Security and strategic arrangements Israel is planning to make in light of the developments in the Gaza Strip will serve as a strategy for dealing with the region’s other conflicts in the future, through employing force to resolve these conflicts, and in light of the current state of instability and fluid security, this Israeli strategy may lead to the conflict expanding to other areas, in Iraq, Syria, or even within the West Bank, in addition to the countries of the South and in the contact zones.

This will coincide with (or rather lead to) the rise of the role of armed non-state actors, as evidenced by the nature of the current movements of the Houthis and movements such as Hamas and Jihad, who may play pivotal roles, whether in settling or escalating conflicts, as well as the increasing focus on rebuilding new military alliances, as the United States did when it announced the formation of a new security system in the Red Sea region to confront Houthi attacks on ships.

These regional conflicts are pursued in light of a global context characterized by the clear absence of the role of international regulation and its ineffectiveness, which was evident in the war in Ukraine and the war in Gaza, where the role of the Security Council declined and became part of the problem and not the solution, amid the ability of major powers to disable any proposed solution by using the veto. What’s more, the Security Council has become a clear indicator of the shift in the structure of the international system towards a multipolar system, which will lead to more confrontations and conflicts.

It seems that the United States has become less interested in setting rules to govern the world, or in being the sole dominant international power, the architect of trade and economics in the world, or even the sustainer of global values, despite the state of competition that the United States seeks to win. This US orientation is taking place – if we may say so – based on the perception that other countries and powers are becoming more powerful, and increasingly able to ignore rules that are not consistent with their interests, including American ones.

One of the most prominent indicators of this is the complex nature of various conflicts, including in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as its trend towards building new policies regarding its movements in the Security Council and the United Nations, as Washington has become more interested in mobilizing stances on every issue or topic presented, in an attempt to limit the Chinese and Russian roles, through new mechanisms, that might include the call for or adopting what is being proposed regarding the restructuring of a number of international institutions and organizations, in a way that ensures its political and diplomatic hegemony.

These American moves may lead to several consequences that will include all parties and regions, and we may witness in the coming years a redistribution of areas of influence among the major powers, according to politics and power, and the usual political and strategic connections. With regard to relations between international poles, it is important to point out that the United States is still testing a new framework for its relations with both Russia and China, combining direct and indirect measures, with an increasing focus on the American presence economically and strategically through a series of understandings and agreements with close allies and partners, such as Britain, Australia, and Japan. The effects of these movements and the turbulent global context will extend to other issues, including the US elections, the future of NATO, and Russian efforts to strengthen the role of the CSTO.

Despite this American perception or international reality, the United States still maintains the most important security role in the world, and hopes to remain so at least during the next decade, but that may not apply to its economic roles and dominance, and it will then become – as well as the western economic systems – just one of many global economic powers.

The foregoing indicates that significant changes will occur on  global as well as regional levels, as there is a transition from relying on the dominant side – whether regionally or internationally – to resolve or mitigate conflicts, to trying to impose options and protect interests using force, as well as the increasing complexity of current international conflicts, and the lack of tangible solutions to deal with them decisively, we might even see the emergence of new conflicts as a result of a volatile and competitive global environment, so that this environment becomes very similar to what was happening during the Cold War.

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