Maharashtra State BoardHSC Arts 12th Board Exam
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Multipolarity and Regionalism

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notes

Multipolarity and Regionalism:

This phase primarily saw the rise of China and India, the growing importance of the Indo-Pacific region, and also the rise of Russia under Vladimir Putin. These developments and the growth of regionalism brought in multipolarity in the world order. Regions and regional organizations started to become more important.

 Vladimir Putin is a Russian politician and a former officer of the KGB who has served as President of Russia since 2012, previously holding the position from 1999 until 2008. He was also the Prime Minister of Russia from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012. In May 2012, Vladimir Putin became the fourth president; he was re-elected in March 2018 and inaugurated in May to a six-year term.

The world order was dominated by the United States in the post-cold war era. The American military and economic might was unchallenged during this time. This made it the only superpower. However, economic rise and military capabilities are not the only criteria to become and remain a superpower. It is the amalgamation of both hard power and soft power that shapes a country to become a world power. While hard power relies on coercion, military force, and economic sanctions, soft power includes persuasion, cultural influence, values, and tradition. In recent times, the dominant position of the United States been directly or indirectly challenged. For instance, the economic and regional integration in Europe through the creation of the European Union (EU); the rise of Asia through the presence of China and Japan followed by India in the global world order; the military resurgence of Russia and the growing importance of new regional organizations have come to define a shift from a unipolar to multipolar world order.

China has posed a formidable challenge to the unipolar world led by the United States. China’s rise to global prominence can be attributed to its rapid economic progress since the introduction of market reforms in the mid-1970s under Deng Xiaoping’s leadership. The most dramatic phase of which began only in the 1990s.

China has increased its sphere of influence through its ambitious economic projects such as One Belt One Road and China Pakistan Economic Corridor and aims to create a sphere of influence in Central and East Asian regions. Furthermore, the Chinese opening to Africa shows that their dream goes beyond neighboring countries. Militarily, China is ambitiously building up its naval and air power in order to back up its claims in the South China Sea.

Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a collection of infrastructure projects that are under construction throughout Pakistan since 2013. Originally valued at $6 Billion, the value of CPEC projects is worth $10 Billion as of 2020. CPEC is intended to rapidly upgrade Pakistan's required infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones.

According to official statistics, 20% of CPEC is debt-based finance, while 80% of CPEC are investments in Joint Ventures (JV) enterprise between Pakistan and China, with the project contributing to 40,000 jobs for local Pakistanis and 80,000 jobs for Chinese. Official statistics suggested a return of US$6 billion to 8 billion from taxes per annum such as road and bridge tolls. The total CPEC loan is 6% of Pakistan's GDP, however, the Indian Government has claimed the project a debt-trap. Nevertheless, officials countered that 3.5% of Pakistani GDP per annum is lost due to poor transportation networks, which the CPEC investment aims to remedy leading to added benefits for any lag in Pakistan's growth statistic. Economic analysts have stated tangible benefits of this initiative including an end to the major energy shortages in Pakistan which had previously crippled economic growth.

Russia has made substantial progress in oil and gas production. Russia has emerged as an energy superpower. Economic stability has renewed the sense of national pride leading to military assertiveness in recent times. Russia continues to influence Central and Eastern Europe and it is a founding member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Regionalism in the Post-Cold War Era:

Regionalism is an important issue in international relations. Countries come together to either create or join some regional organizations. These organizations may be based on geographic proximity or on common political, ideological, economic etc. concerns. While geographic linkages are important, sometimes some functional and infrastructural issues become the basis of regional cooperation. These can be in areas like transport and communication, energy, health, etc. The process of regionalism usually begins with a political dialogue amongst the participants. Similar ideological perspectives or economic concerns may help the process of dialogue. Such a dialogue may lead to the creation of an organization. In the 1940s and 1950s, regionalism in Asia and Africa focused on a political dialogue between countries. In Europe, the focus was on economic cooperation. For example, Europe created the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC, 1951), the European Economic Community (EEC, 1957), and the European Atomic Energy Agency (Erratum, 1958). In the 1960s the concept of regional cooperation spread to Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was created in 1967. In the 1960s we saw the growth of regional organizations that focused on economic issues. Some regional organizations like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) focused on security issues.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten countries in Southeast Asia, which promotes and facilitates economic, political, military, educational, and sociocultural integration among its members and other countries in Asia.

ASEAN also regularly engages other countries in the Asia Pacific region and beyond. A major partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ASEAN maintains a global network of alliances and dialogue partners and is considered by many as a global powerhouse the central union for cooperation in the Asia Pacific, and a prominent and influential organization. It is involved in numerous international affairs and hosts diplomatic missions throughout the world.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten countries in Southeast Asia that promotes intergovernmental organization and facilitates economic, security, political, military, and sociocultural integration among its members and other countries in Asia.

ASEAN also regularly engages other countries in the Asia Pacific region and beyond. A major partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ASEAN maintains a global network of alliances and dialogue partners and is considered by many as a global powerhouse, the central union for cooperation in the Asia Pacific, and a prominent and influential organization. It is involved in numerous international affairs and hosts diplomatic missions throughout the world regional organizations in the post-cold war era.

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