The New World Order: An Appraisal — II

Gurmeet Kanwal, Senior Fellow, IDSA


The first part of this article covered recent hypotheses on the New World Order, including Huntington's "Clash of Civilisations", Fukayama's "End of History" and Sakakibara's "End of Progressivism", contours of the post-Cold War emerging world order and strategic trends; the impact of the European security environment on a stable world order, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's (NATO's) eastward expansion and new strategic doctrine; the paradigm changes affecting international security, including wars of interest and conscience, erosion of the nation-state and change in the nature of conflict from inter-state to intra-state, the ongoing mega-media revolution, the rise of ethnic nationalism, Islamic resurgence; and,the emerging trend towards vigorous international interventionism. This, the concluding part of the article, proposes to analyse and evaluate the following salient aspects impinging on the New World Order:

l Relevance of the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement.

l New International Economic Order.

l Emerging Security Environment in the Asia-Pacific Region: US Interests and India's Security Concerns.

l Flashpoints and Pointers to the Future.

Relevance of the United Nations (UN) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)

The First Fifty Years of the United Nations

If longevity and survival are criteria of success, the United Nations Organisation has succeeded admirably. On June 26, 1995, the UN celebrated its 50th anniversary. In contrast, the League of Nations had disintegrated after only 20 years. The UN was established to fulfil a deep longing for peace amongst the people of the world, determination on the part of states to "save suceeding generations from the scourge of war"1 and a firm commitment to create a world order in which fundamental human rights and dignity and the worth of the human person were respected.

The results achieved by a large number of UN oroganisations in many diverse fields of human endeavour, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations International Children's Education Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR), the World Food Programme, and United Nations Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), have been undoubtedly praiseworthy. However, the principal purpose for setting up the United Nations was the maintenance of peace. On this front, the record of the UN has varied from spectacular success in some missions to blameworthy failure in many others. Writing on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the UN, eminent Indian constitutional expert Soli J. Sorabjee took a dim view of the peace-keeping achievements of the UN. He said, "It is generally believed that UN peacekeeping has played a highly constructive role in maintaining international peace and security, as evidenced by the award in 1988 of the Nobel Peace Prize to UN peacekeeping forces. It is difficult to subscribe to this assessment, especially after its failure in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Somalia and Rwanda."2 However, it is inappropriate for Sorabjee to mention only a few recent failures and ignore many signal successes, including those in Iran-Iraq, Namibia, Cambodia, South Africa, EI Salvador, Mozambique and Kuwait.

Reasons for Inadequate Response

A fundamental problem which has dogged UN peace-keeping operations has been the continuing disagreement over the allocation of authority under the UN Charter among the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Secretariat, represented by the secretary general. It is imperative for a proposed UN peace-keeping mission to have clear objectives, ensure voluntary and willing participation, have a workable chain of command, be based on a realistic assessment of what it will cost, have an assured list of contributors and enjoy popular support and media backing The non-assurance or infringement of one or more of these basic ingredients has resulted in the failure of many a mission. The UN Security Council is essentially a political body and its decisions have largely been swayed by political considerations in several cases. The five permanent members of the Security Council have often exercised their veto power to prevent any enforcement action of which they disapprove.

Another major problem has been one of the perpetual inadequacy of resources to implement urgent peace-enforcement resolutions of the Security Council. As rightly pointed out by President Bill Clinton of the US, "We have too often asked our peacekeepers to work miracles while denying them the military and political support required and the modern command and control systems they need to do their job as safely and effectively as possible."3 The increasing demands being made upon the UN are not matched by resources to execute various missions. Unless the G-7 countries are more forthcoming in contributing to ongoing and future UN peace-keeping missions and in liquidating their dues to the UN, the viability of peace-keeping missions will continue to be seriously undermined. Perhaps the largest single defaulter is the US that currently owes more than $ 1 billion in arrears. In a letter to Congressional leaders, a bipartisan group of seven former US secretaries of state recently urged the lawmakers to immediately pay the outstanding American debt to the UN. Expressing their deep concern that America is squandering its moral authority, leadership and influence in the world, the secretaries said: "It is simply unacceptable that the richest nation on earth is also the biggest debtor to the United Nations...Great nations pay their bills".4

An encouraging development in this regard has been the trend towards increasing regional cooperation for peace-keeping. At a time when the UN's peace-keeping efforts have hit a new low (only 14,000 troops are deployed at present, against a peak deployment of 80,000 troops in 17 missions worldwide), regional efforts have come as a shot in the arm for peace-keeping. Of various regional organisations, NATO is fielding approximately 30,000 troops while the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries have deployed about 15,000 troops in some of the trouble spots in the former Soviet republics.5 Africa has established a 15,000-strong regional peace-keeping force called ECOMOG (Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group) to support the besieged government of Sierra Leone. ECOMOG comprises troops from several African countries, including Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Nigeria. It has been reported that some African states are moving towards the creation of a permanent regional peace-keeping force.6 Recently, more than 300 troops from Niger and Benin were deployed in Guinea-Bissau, in addition to 110 peace-keepers already deployed there from Togo, to help ensure a ceasefire between rebels and government forces.7

Exercise Blue Crane, a regional peace-keeping exercise for the Southern African nations, was held in early 1999 under a South African initiative. The exercise was supported by several Western and Third World nations, including India. India, which has participated in 30 of the 46 UN missions so far and has contributed over 50,000 Blue Berets for UN peace-keeping efforts world-wide, has offered to set up a regional training and research institution dedicated to the task of peace-keeping. The proposal was received favourably by a majority of the members from 62 countries who participated in the first regional seminar on UN peace-keeping operations at New Delhi in March 1999. Nepal is planning a peace-keeping exercise some time during 1999 with troops participating from nations in the region as well as Australia and the US.8 All such efforts are bound to gradually lead to greater regional participation in peace-keeping operations and will act as a good substitute for the cash-strapped UN, though the interventions will continue to be approved by the Security Council.

Restructuring for Future Challenges

The UN can be a peace-keeper or a peace-maker only when the major powers agree on the desirability of putting a UN label on their common will, as was witnessed in the Coalition Forces joint action against Iraq in the 1990-91 Gulf War. Unless there is basic re-thinking on the evolution of a polycentric world order, where the threat of, or recourse to, war is not given credence as a viable instrument of policy, the UN cannot be an effective peace-maker. There are, on average, over 50,000 Blue Berets in the service of peace in various parts of the world. The annual cost of UN peace-making operations is approximately US $3,000 million. Some time ago, UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali had proposed the creation of a 5,000-strong permanent UN Security Force, with additional guaranteed standby contributions from the member states, to enable the UN to respond to emerging situations in a reasonable time-frame. However, the idea did not find ready acceptance among the major powers that would be expected to contribute significantly, both monetarily and materially, to the creation of such a force.

In the absence of a standing UN army, the Security Council decision-making apparatus needs to be urgently revamped. There is now an inescapable need to increase the number of permanent members of the UN Security Council. Germany, Japan and India are obvious candidates. The inclusion of Nigeria and Brazil also needs to be considered so as to grant representation to the African and South American continents, respectively. As one of the most populous countries in the world, Indonesia can also stake a deserving claim to permanent membership of the Security Council. This would "further strengthen its capacity and effectiveness and enhance its representative character."9 The UN Declaration, adopted by 185 countries during the 50th anniversary special commemorative session of the UN from October 22 to 24, 1995, called for such restructuring of the UN to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

The document also focusses on development, peace and equality and clarifies that the principle of self-determination is not to be construed as authorising or encouraging any action that would dismember or impair--totally or in part--the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent states, particularly those that conduct themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and provide a government that represents all without any distinction. The declaration called on the international community to act in concert to defeat common threats such as terrorism in all its forms, transnational organised crime, illicit trade in arms and the production, consumption and trafficking of narcotics. Despite the near-unanimous adoption of the 1995 UN Declaration, many countries have repeatedly failed to cooperate with the Security Council in disarmament and non-proliferation and have flouted sanctions imposed by the Security Council with impunity.

However, the real cause for concern is the increasing marginalisation of the UN Security Council in decision-making for the enforcement of peace. This has been a perceptible trend throughout the long drawn out enforcement of no-fly zones over Iraq since the termination of the Gulf War in 1991. There have been six conflicts in the last five years, most of them in Africa, in which individual states or regional groups had resorted to the use of force without specific Security Council authorisation. In 1998, the US attacked Afghanistan and Sudan with cruise missiles (some of which even fell on Pakistani territory) in retaliation for Osama Bin Laden's alleged terrorist attacks on US embassies. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed his concern, "The scourge of terrorism cannot be eliminated by unilateral action. I was, therefore, concerned by these actions. Terrorism can only be combated by joint international strategies and action. The UN should take a leading role in such efforts."10 Most recently, nothing has undermined the credibility and the future effectiveness of the UN as much as the blatant bypassing of the Security Council before the commencement of the US-led NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia, ostensibly aimed at resolving the Kosovo crisis. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has expressed his displeasure at "the emergence of the single super power and new regional powers" and "the preference of the willing" to resort to unauthorised force. He said, "Unless the Security Council is restored to its pre-eminent position as the sole source of legitimacy on the use of force, we are on a dangerous path of anarchy... Unless the Security Council can unite around the aim of confronting massive human rights violations and crimes against humanity on the scale of Kosovo, we will betray the very ideals that inspired the founding of the United Nations."11

Echoing a similar view, Mikhail Gorbachev called the Kosovo 'war' "a disgrace to all of us who tried to build a New World Order based on political methods and a strong role for the United Nations Security Council..... Instead, we see NATO itself as supreme arbiter, using military power alone..... It is pure lawlessness and I strongly condemn it."12 K. Subrahmanyam writes: "The UN has been rendered redundant since there is no balance of power left in the world and the entire industrial world, barring a ramshackle Russia, is under US overlordship. If this is not a dangerous international security environment, what is?"13 A.P. Venkateswaran, while condemning the imposition of "an unworkable military settlement on what is essentially a secessionist movement", writes: "At this point of time, it is not possible to make any precise assessment of the damage already done to the standing and prestige of the United Nations by NATO's unauthorised use of force against Yugoslavia. There is no doubt, however, that it will take a long time to restore the earlier confidence reposed in it by members of that world body."14

It is not without significance that the former US secretaries of state wrote to Congressional leaders that as former secretaries they knew at "first hand the importance of the United Nations and its agencies in securing peace, stability and prosperity."15 It emerges quite clearly that in the New World Order, despite its present shaky state, the UN will remain indispensable. If it did not exist, there would be a need to invent it. However, it is a human institution, managed and manipulated by human beings and cannot, therefore, ever be perfect. Shashi Tharoor, executive assistant to the UN secretary general, sees an emerging role for the UN in providing a forum to move the world towards universal human rights, managing transnational territorism, drugs trafficking, money laundering and international crime.16 Concerted effort, tolerance and respect for human dignity can decisively overcome the systemic shortcomings to ensure the coexistence of all the people of the world. The foremost requirement is for the "strong to respect the rights of the weak", as envisioned by President George Bush in 1990.

Relevance of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM): Collective Voice of the Third World

In order to adjust to the post-Cold War power equations and economic globalisation, most of the non-aligned countries, including India, have had to change both the ideological and the operational terms of reference of their foreign policies over the last five years. The challenges of economic want, terrorism, mass migration and crime--all equally permeating global phenomena, unrestrained by national boundaries or governments--have also affected foreign policy choices. Consequently, the NAM, declared immoral by a US secretary of state in the 1960s, is fast losing its raison d'etre. In an article entitled "A Year in the Doldrums", J.N. Dixit wrote, "Multilateral fora like Non-Aligned Movement and G-15 have become progressively irrelevant."17

The 11th NAM summit was held at Cartagena, in Colombia, from October 20 to 18, 1995. It was attended by the heads of state or government from 113 countries. In its concluding document, the summit called for general and universal disarmament. The summit was severely critical of economic conditions being imposed on developing countries, opposed interventionism and called for a joint fight against racism and xenophobia, which have tended to marginalise the Third World. The summit also endorsed the proposal for the expansion of the UN Security Council. The 12th summit was held at Durban in September 1998. Prime Minister Vajpayee stated a week before the Durban Summit that "it is more important than ever to maintain and reinforce NAM's traditional thrust on nuclear disarmament."18

The NAM countries remain united in responding to issues such as nuclear disarmament, steps to combat terrorism and negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The NAM continues to act as the conscience-keeper of the world and undeniably enjoys major clout in the UN and other international fora as the collective voice of the Third World. In as much as this, the movement is definitely relevant even though the two "poles" against which the movement was conceived are no longer in existence.

Nuclear Proliferation and Progress Towards Disarmament

Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons Disarmament

The Reagan-Gorbachev declaration in November 1995 that nuclear war was not winnable and, therefore, should not be initiated, brought the world closer to nuclear disarmament than it had been at any time during the past 45 years. At its summit meeting in January 1992, the UN Security Council had declared that the proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction constitutes a threat to international security. Encouraging developments in 1995 moved the world closer towards limiting nuclear proliferation, arms control and eventual universal disarmament. The then five nuclear weapons states (NWS) agreed to undertake "systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate aim of eliminating these weapons." Since then, non-proliferation has been on the top of the international security agenda, though none of the NWS has put forward any specific plan for genuine nuclear disarmament. However, substantial progress has been made towards lasting peace by the signing of the following treaties and conventions:

l Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT): 174 NPT members unconditionally and indefinitely extended the NPT in May 1995, giving only five nations the right to pursue their nuclear programmes. These are the five declared NWS. India, Israel and Paksitan, "deemed in the western semantic to be 'threshold states' with nuclear capability, are the major non-signatories to the NPT."19 They have held out under immense international pressure. India's principled stand is that the NPT is discriminatory as it divides the world into nuclear haves and have-nots. Pran Chopra of the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, stated that India's overriding concern must be its own security, not the priorities of other countries.20 The hypocrisy of the nuclear states became clear almost as soon as the NPT was signed--both China and France resumed their nuclear tests, inviting global outrage.

l Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC): 157 member countries of the UN signed the CWC at Paris in January 1993. The CWC is arguably the first non-discriminatory step towards disarmament. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been established to verify the process of chemicals weapons disarmament and to oversee implementation of the CWC Treaty. Up to December 1997, 21 countries including China, India, Russia and the US had been inspected.21 The dismantling programme is proving to be rather costly for many countries, particularly Russia. In the case of Russia, Germany and France have come forward to finance dismantling.

l Biological Weapons Convention (BWC): 131 member countries of the UN signed the BWC in 1972. Efforts are underway to improve implementation of this convention, which has been impeded by the lack of effective verification machinery that can guarantee international supervision of compliance by all parties.

Progress on Disarmament

The UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) is making steady progress in achieving transparency in the transfer of technology with military applications and openness in relation to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The UN Register of Conventional Arms is intended as a co-operative exercise in confidence building. However, the CD has been deadlocked since early 1999 following the South African proposal for setting up a committee to "deliberate on practical steps for systematic and progressive efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons." The following treaties and conventions are at present in various stages of negotiation and implementation:

l Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT): Prolonged negotiations on the CTBT led to its successful conclusion in 1996 with India, Pakistan and several other countries refusing to sign this "unequal treaty". An "entry-into-force" clause has made the signing of the treaty by India, Pakistan and some other countries contingent on its becoming international law in September 1999. However, the CTBT is facing serious domestic opposition to its ratification within the US, and the US-led air strikes on Yugoslavia have prompted Russia to review its earlier decision to ratify the treaty. China too is taking its time in ratifying the treaty. K. Subrahmanyam, one of India's leading security analysts and chairman of the National Security Advisory Board of the National Security Council, has expressed the view that India should "seize the initiative to unconditionally sign and ratify the CTBT.... The CTBT is a non-discriminatory, effective restraint agreement... There is no alternative to the CTBT."22 However, this view is not shared by a broad spectrum of security analysts within India.

l Ban on the Production of Fissile Materials: There is widespread consensus on the advisability of imposing a ban on the production of fissile materials without any further convention, given that the existing stockpiles of commercial plutonium exceed the known requirements for the production of energy for domestic and industrial consumption. Serious negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) are yet to begin. Although there are no significant differences of opinion within the CD, the progress of negotiations on the FMCT is bound to be slow. "Obstacles to future talks lie within the scope of the treaty, the inclusion of stockpiled fissile material and the level of intrusiveness within verification."23

Emerging nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) threats include the danger of "back pack" nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists. General Alexander Lebed, former national security adviser to the Russian president, has revealed that a number of RS-115 suitcase atomic bombs, weighing only 30 kg and having an explosive yield of two kilotons, were missing and unaccounted for.24 Perhaps an even greater danger is that of the free availability to the highest bidder of former Russian nuclear scientists who are capable of manufacturing these weapons quickly on behalf of any nation-state or mafia that has the ability to pay. "Some of these criminal groups are known to operate with financial resources that could be compared to the national budgets of some countries." It is quite possible that WMD, which include nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological weapons, are even now being assembled by some terrorist groups somewhere in Latin America, West Asia or South-East Asia.

A new presidential directive, issued by President Bill Clinton, has stipulated that the aim of nuclear deterrence should be to deter the use of nuclear weapons against US forces or its allies by threatening a devastating reasponse.25 It has also specified that the US will consider using nuclear weapons against attackers who hit American forces with chemical or biological weapons.26 This is a radical departure from the nuclear deterrence theory that has evolved over the last fifty years and has replaced the obviously irrational dictum that the US must be prepared to fight a prolonged nuclear war. The new policy is possibly a fallout of the worry that an all-out nuclear war has been replaced by concerns that a future adversary such as Iraq may use chemical or biological weapons against US forces. Notwithstanding the motivation, the new policy is a clear step forward in legitimising the use of nuclear weapons in future conflicts and is likely to lead to greater proliferation as other nations scramble to follow the US example. It is also a retrograde step in what has become a primarily Third World struggle for total universal nuclear disarmament.

Another emerging threat is from the proliferation of ballistic missiles. Despite the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the number of missile producing countries is continuing to increase at an almost exponential rate. While North Korea and Pakistan have been proceeding down the road to the acquistion of ballistic missiles for many years, Iran is the latest entrant in the field. Iran successfully test fired a 1,300 km range IRBM, capable of hitting "Israel, Saudi Arabia, most of Turkey and a tip of Russia", in July 1998, as per a report in the NewYork Times purported to have been leaked by a US Administration official.27 The proliferation of cruise missile technology and the increasing availability of complete cruise missile systems at relatively low costs are other major causes for concern. The danger posed by cruise missiles had made cruise defence a "key part of the US Department of Defence's multi-billion dollar missile defence initiative."28 Countries such as China, France, Germany, Israel, Russia, South Africa, the UK and the US either have or are developing sophisticated cruise missiles. It is possible to arm cruise missiles with WMD warheads though these cannot carry the same payload weight as ballistic missiles. While ballistic missiles are relatively easy to identify as enemy threats as their trajectories can be extrapolated to the point of launch, cruise missiles pose more of a threat due to their low-level flight over unpredictable routes and because they can be mistaken for friendly aircraft. Some nations are developing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as low-cost alternatives to cruise missiles. Armed UAVs are very difficult to detect and counter and can be ideal terror weapons for rogue states.

Conventional disarmament has so far received little attention from international negotiating bodies. The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) has demonstrated how much can be achieved given the necessary political will. "Advanced producers of armaments are currently developing various types of conventional weapons which, because of their precision, range, destructive power and undetectability, are so dangerous that they may be compared to weapons of mass destruction."29 It is imperative that negotiations are initiated at the earliest to progressively eliminate conventional weapons from the inventories of all nations, particularly those weapons which are extremely destabilising.

Nuclear deterrence clearly still has a long future ahead. Hence, universal nuclear disarmament should remain a primary goal of the international community for a long time to come. In addition to ridding the world of the weapons of mass destruction, the objectives of disarmament will in future shift to the less spectacular, but potentially as destabilising, areas of proliferation, technology transfers and conventional disarmament. "These areas call for the consideration of a whole range of measures, from full-fledged multilaterally agreed norms to less formal arrangements such as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), as well as specific mechanisms of preventive diplomacy, such as confidence building measures."30

New International Economic Order

Economic Interdependence

The end of the Cold War has profoundly altered the character of inter-state relations. It is widely believed that the basic considerations that underpinned friendships in the bipolar world are no longer relevant. Adherence to common principles rather than pursuit of the same strategic goals, and economic interests rather than political ones, are today more likely to be factors in relations between states. According to Adrian Berry, "Politics will become an increasingly insignificant human activity."31 Economic interdependence is now the hallmark of foreign relations in the free market economic policies environment. Competition for markets rather than for spheres of influence now dominates strategic planning and national policies. Trade is the new instrument of power and Trade Wars rather than Cold Wars are likely to gain currency in the future.32 However, not everyone agrees that economic power will be the dominant element of power in the coming decades. Charles Krauthammer is firm in his belief that "the notion that economic power inevitably translates into geopolitical influence is a materialist illusion. Economic power is a necessary condition for great power status. But it certainly is not sufficient."33 What is indisputable is that commerce and trade can grow and flourish only in a stable and peaceful international security environment. As such, while the new international economic order is positively shaping the New World Order, it is, at the same time, conforming to the New World Order and adapting to it.

The Bretton Woods Agreement: The economic contours of the post-World War II era were set by a system devised at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in 1949. In Major General Banerjee's words, "It created the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. The system of fixed exchange rates based on the gold standard and a world economic system dominated by the USA was part of this design. It lasted over a quarter of a century but got eroded by the early 1970s."34 The rise of Germany and Japan as economic powers, the oil crises of the 1970s, the economies, the emergence of the Information Revolution and a host of other factors contributed to the disintegration of the prevailing economic order.

Information Revolution

Spectacular advances in information technology over the last decade are changing the whole nature of political governance and its relation to commerce. Indeed, commerce itself has been materially affected by the arrival of the information superhighway, the Internet, the impact of multi-media on marketing and direct sales, and the far-reaching advances in telecommunications technology which have turned the world into a global village virtually overnight. Gajendra Upadhyay declared 1996 as the year of Internet.35 Pawan K. Ruia writes: "The nation-state is about to become a casualty of the Information Revolution."36 In a speech at a global conference on trade and investment, held at Bombay on January 16-17, 1996, Dr. Manmohan Singh, India's finance minister, echoed a similar sentiment when he stated, "The world around us is changing rapidly with revolutions in transport, communication and information technology helping create a New World Order where national frontiers are becoming less and less a barrier to the movement of goods and investment."37

Hailed as visionaries for their article in the July 1997 issue of Wired, Peter Schwartz and Peter Leyden say that the world is "not on the brink of inter-human strife and environmental holocaust. Rather, the stage is set for an economic boom of fascinating proportions. One which will see the world economy double every 12 years."38 Getting "networked" will kick-start this boom. The Internet is the newly anointed God of universal empowerment. By encouraging openness, greater tolerance, respect for diversity, wider participation, smarter thinking and approval of change, the Internet is gradually moving people towards the "one people, one planet" point of evolution.

Emerging Economic Environment

Capital has become truly international and can now move across continents with amazing alacrity in search of the best avenues for future profits. "Global investments are growing phenomenally and are driving domestic structural changes."39 Major General Banerjee has identified three characteristics in the international economic environment, which in his view have acquired primary importance. "First, the centrality of economics and economic management in domestic politics. Second, a recognition that international trade is essential to national economic development. Lastly, simultaneous with attempting to find global solutions to trade problems, are efforts at safeguarding national economic interests."40

Government policies the world over have been affected by the winds of change sweeping across the oceans of trade and commerce. The urgency of economic development, dictated by the need to meet the growing aspirations of the people, is dominating government policy making efforts. Even the centrally controlled economies of the erstwhile Communist states are succumbing to the pressures of the marketplace. Public sector undertakings, which once occupied the commanding heights of the economy in many countries, are being privatised faster than the market can absorb them. Globalisation, liberalisation and free market economic reforms are the new buzzwords. Government interference in money markets and foreign exchange regulation is being criticised. "Less is more" is the prevailing catch phrase. Dr. Manmohan Singh also feels, "The role of the state needs to be re-defined to limit its efforts to social responsibilities, leaving entrepreneurial decisions to the boardrooms subject to prudential supervision. In the next five years, industrial licensing in the country will cease to exist and gradually the consumer goods sector will have to be opened up."41

Thomas Friedman has defined globalisation as "the integration of finance, markets, nation-states and technologies to a degree never witnessed before—in a way that is enabling individuals, corporations and nation-states to reach around the world further, faster, deeper and cheaper than ever before, and in a way that is producing a powerful backlash from those brutalised or left behind."42 Globalisation's driving idea is free market capitalism. Its rules revolve around opening, deregulating and privatising the economy. Schumpeter has expressed the view that "the essence of capitalism is creative destruction..... Only the paranoid survive." Although still in a nascent stage, some of the new business paradigms of the era of globalisation can be clearly identified to be indicators of the general trend. These are as under:

l Large Transnational Corporations (TNCs) are relocating their manufacturing and warehousing facilities to places where skilled labour and land are cheaply available and regulation is the least.

l Global companies are setting themselves up as "virtual" enterprises, at the hub of loosely knit alliances of local companies, all linked together by global networks, both electronic and human.43

l Ruia quotes management guru Peter Drucker to state, "Humanity is polarising into two employment categories: the intellectual, cultural and business elite (the mobile and independent knowledge workers), and the rest (the immobile and dependent service workers)."44

l The slow redistribution of wealth that has taken place over the last few centuries, is now being rapidly reversed with the emergence of a new wealthy elite.

l With the advent of networked computers, the workplace of "knowledge workers", such as software programmers, mediapersons and financial analysts, is gradually shifting to home offices. The concept of "small office/home office" is fast gaining currency.

l There is an increasing shift away from manufacturing to service industries in employment generation as manufacturing processes become more and more robotics-intensive.

Regional Economic Groupings

The changes in economic policy are closely linked with the changes that took place in the political scenario during the 1980s and the early 1990s. From Margaret Thatcher's free market policies and Reagan's supply side economics in the West to Deng Xiaoping's "socialist market economy" in the East, deregulation has transformed the world's economy.45 There is an increasing trend towards forming regional economic and trade groupings, as evidenced by the European Union, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in North America, MERCOSUR (South American Common Market) in South America, Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in South East Asia, South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA) in South Asia, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) for the Pacific rim countries and the Indian Ocean Rim Block (IORB), the proposed economic group for the Indian Ocean rim countries in Asia and Africa. Benazir Bhutto has called for a South Asian Free Economic Zone on the pattern of the European Community, to be eventually enlarged into an Asian Free Economic Zone that would include China.46 All these groupings are based on preferential trade agreements and mutually agreed tariffs and are leading to an unprecedented increase in regional trade. Obviously, the exclusion of some contiguous countries and groups will eventually result in heightened trade tensions in the future.

Regional economic groupings are likely to have a profound long-term impact on the future of the nation-state. Some thinkers are of the view that the future belongs to "region-states" based on economic rather then political borders. Kenichi Ohmae, a Japanese scholar and management consultant, expresses the view, "Traditional nation-states have become unnatural, even impossible, business units in a global economy. 'Region states' are more relevant. What defines them is not the location of their political borders but the fact that they are the right size and scale to be true, natural business units in today's global economy. Theirs are the borders--and connections--that matter in a borderless world."47 In an interview with George Skaria, Kenichi Ohmae attributed his conviction about a borderless future world to the free movement of four essentials. "What is happening now --in particular over the last ten years, when the new industrial society called the networked society has taken root--is that the four great forces of corporations, capital, communication and citizens, can all freely criss-cross national borders."48 The greatest weakness in Ohmae's argument about the reality of a borderless global economy is that he assumes an identity of interests between what he terms are the four Is (investment, industry, information technology and individual consumer). Such an identity of interests is increasingly under pressure from protectionist trade policies and calls for fair trade. Ashok Upadhyay calls Ohmae's hypothesis "deeply flawed" and dubs it a "rhetoric of hope more than the delineation of reality."49 However, it is now being gradually accepted that artificial national barriers must not be created and free international trade must be allowed to flourish unfettered.

From GATT to WTO

On January 1, 1995, the 47-year-old General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the global trade watchdog which was both an agreement and an organisation, slipped into history and was replaced by the World Trade Organisation (WTO): 125 countries had agreed to the setting up of WTO at the Marrakesh conference in April 1994. The WTO envisages a one-third general reduction in tariffs to enable the multilateral opening up of markets of the member countries. A substantial, possibly 9 to 10 per cent, growth in world trade is visualised over the next 10 years. The world community anticipates an additional global income gain of approximately US $ 500 billion annually. The low-income developing countries are expected to gain relatively more than the rich countries.50 However, many member countries are likely to continue to set up barriers to the entry of foreign goods and services, defeating the very purpose of the establishment of the WTO. So far, the WTO has been a firm multilateral watchdog in checking the grant of excessive subsidies and incentives by various governments and has frowned upon the levying of unjustifiable anti-dumping duties. The dramatic stand-off between the US and Japan regarding Japanese protection for its automobile industry and the recent "banana wars" between Europe and the US, are cases in point. China is still to be admitted to the WTO.

Impact of Free Trade and Deregulation

The free flow of funds, combined with deregulation and minimum governmental intervention and controls, is likely to encourage misuse and violation of laid down norms. The factor of excessive risk in money markets and the resultant financial meltdown that may occur, as happened in the case of the South-East Asian countries recently, will also have to be contended with. Some of these problems had also become apparent in the Mexican balance of payments crisis and the subsequent US sponsored recovery, the Barings Bank collapse engineered by a rogue trader and the loss of US $ 1.1 billion by Daiwa Bank of Japan in speculative bonds trading, all in 1995. It is perhaps providential that China did not succumb to the "Asian Flu" that afflicted most of South- East Asia and South Korea. If it had, the consequences would have been disastrous for the world economy. Clearly, the world is in for more such shocks on the financial front and it is axiomatic that financial turbulence invariably leads to political and social instability. Social turbulence can well result in the eruption of popular anger with the ruling elites, particularly where cronycapitalism is still practised, and widespread social disturbances are but a short step away from the economic problem spilling across national frontiers and threatening regional and international security.

Emerging Security Environment in the Asia-Pacific Region: US Interests and India's Security Concerns

Asia-Pacific: A 21st Century Behemoth

The Asia-Pacific and South-East Asian regions are currently the most economically dynamic regions in the world. Asia's recent growth rates have outpaced those of the rest of the world. Asia is rapidly heading towards economic leadership status in the 21st century. "By all accounts, the 21st century must surely be that of the Asia-Pacific."51 John Naisbitt, of "Megatrends" fame, has concluded that, "Sooner than anyone suspects, Asia will emerge as the new locomotive of the world--for markets as well as ideas."52 Asia is also an area of strategic uncertainty, a tense security environment and has immense concentrations of military power. Many of the largest armies of the world belong to nations of the Asia-Pacific region. These include the five nuclear powers and a few nuclear-capable threshold states. The regional security environment is plagued by long-standing boundary and ideological disputes. In order to sustain further economic growth, it is imperative that a stable political and security environment continues to prevail in the area.

US Security Interests in the Asia-Pacific Region

The US has been the pre-eminent Pacific power since World War II. History, geography and demography make the US almost an integral part of the region. The US has a stake in maintaining the alliance structure in Asia as a foundation of regional stability and for promoting American influence on key issues. US trade with the Asia-Pacific region totalled over US $ 374 billion in 1993. An increasing number of Americans trace their ancestory to this region. The long history of close American cultural, economic and security ties to the Asia-Pacific region reflects fundamental US interests. The US sees its role of a force for regional security as central to the stability of the region. However, this perception is not shared by many Asian nations. Many analysts are also questioning the legitimacy of declared US interests and its capability to sustain these in Asia. Quoting a report entitled " A US Strategy for the Asia-Pacific" published in The Adelphi Paper by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, on January 25, 1996, Edith M. Lederer writes, "Some time in the not too distant future, the United States will no longer be in a position to guarantee the stability of the Asia-Pacific by its unilateral actions and forward military presence. The Asian region is becoming too powerful to be either contained or controlled by the United States."53

US Security Strategy: During the Cold War, the policy of containing the Soviet Union and Communism had driven almost every aspect of US security thinking, planning and action. In the post-Cold War era, the US National Security Strategy focusses on new threats and new opportunities. Its central goals are to enhance security by maintaining a strong defence capability and promoting cooperative security measures, to open foreign markets and spur economic growth and to promote democracy abroad. Within this broad strategic context, specific US security objectives in the Asia-Pacific region are as under:54

l Strengthen bilateral partnership with Japan to promote regional and global security.

l Maintain a strong defence commitment to, and ties with, South Korea, in order to deter aggresssion and preserve peace on the Korean Peninsula.

l Work closely with Australia to pursue mutual security objectives.

l Engage China and support its constructive integration into the international community.

l Work with Russia to develop mutually advantageous approaches that enhance regional stability.

l Contribute to maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait.

l Work with ASEAN to explore new cooperative security approaches through the ASEAN Regional Forum.

l Prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and work to halt the flow of narcotics.

US Military Strategy: The US expects to meet its security objectives in the region by a three cornered military strategy of forward presence, power projection and force reconstitution. In the Indian Ocean region, too, the US has similar security concerns and interests. In the words of William Perry, the erstwhile US secretary of defence, "We share an interest in the security and stability of the Indian Ocean region. We also share an interest in the stability of the Persian Gulf region. And we share an economic and a political interest in a stable and economically open Southeast Asia and Western Pacific region."55

Security Environment in South and South-East Asia

Importance of India as a Regional Power: Like those of the Pacific rim countries, the economies of some of the South Asian and ASEAN nations are also growing by leaps and bounds. The geo-strategic importance of the Indian Ocean, with a major international shipping lane passing through the Malacca Straits, is well known. The Spratly Islands dispute in the South China Sea is a recent destabilising flashpoint. Many of the countries in the region have been historically politically unstable. The rise of ethnic aspirations is also adding to the regional tensions. In such a security scenario, Australia and India are the only two nations which are capable of providing long-term stability and ensuring peace in the region. India, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US $ 1.17 trillion, now has the sixth largest economy in the world. This is expected to grow in a few years to the fourth largest.56 Though not a part of South-East Asia, India shares a maritime neighbourhood with it and has a considerable stake in the economic and strategic environment in the region.

Till a few years ago, India was viewed with suspicion by most of the ASEAN countries. However, this is no longer so. J.N. Mak, a research fellow at the Malaysian Institute for Maritime Affairs, Kuala Lumpur, writes, "While ASEAN was worried about the expansion of the Indian Navy in the mid-1990s, that fear has receded with the realisation that New Delhi's strategic preoccupations lie to the West and North of the sub-continent, particularly after the break up of the Soviet Union. There is general realisation in Southeast Asia that India's 'Indira Doctrine' ends where the Malacca Straits begin."57

With a growing understanding of mutual security needs and economic interests, Australian perceptions of India's influence have undergone a change in recent years. Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans wrote some time ago, "India's capacity to project power into Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean is considerable. But that should be understood as a function of the assets needed to protect a 7,500-kilometre coastline and to guard against possible threats from the North, rather than being perceived as a direct security threat to the neighbours. To the extent that the Southeast Asian nations sometimes express concern about India's capability, they also do so about Japan and China."58

India: A Full Dialogue Partner of ASEAN: In mid-December 1995, India was accepted as a "full dialogue partner" by ASEAN, a significant upgrade from its previous position as a "sectoral partner". It would perhaps not be premature to state that the next logical step for India is to seek "observer" status, prior to its application for full membership of ASEAN. This will lead to greater understanding of mutual security perceptions while facilitating a quantum jump in trade for India's growing economy. According to K.N. Daruwalla, "The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) holds institutionalised dialogue with a dozen other countries, including consultative partners and observers."59 India is now a member of the ARF and can participate in all security-related discussions. Closer ties with ASEAN, (which in the words of Ajit Singh, its secretary general. "is, with its growing dynamism, turning into a force to be reckoned with")60 are an economic investment for India and will be a positive development for the security and stability of the region.

Indo-Pakistan Imbroglio: The security environment in the Southern Asian region continues to be unstable. In fact, this area is ofen described as the oldest flashpoint in post-World War II history. While the Kashmir issue is central to Indo-Pakistan relations, the demonstrated nuclear capability of both the countries and their unwillingness to sign the NPT and the CTBT have been causing international concern. The Brown waiver to the Pressler Amendment, signed into law by President Bill Clinton on January 27, 1996, further vitiated the atmosphere for peace and is bound to lead to a new race on the Indian subcontinent. With Karachi continuing to be wracked by terrorism, fissiparous tendencies are coming to the fore in Pakistan. India is not too far behind, with no solution in sight to the Pakistan-sponsored insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and many decades-old insurgencies in some of the north-eastern states. Ethnic movements in Assam, the hill districts of Uttar Pradesh, the Jharkhand region of Bihar and a Peoples' War Group Naxalite-type militancy in the Telegana region of Andhra Pradesh have also been simmering for some time. Communal disturbances have acquired a stubborn permanence and political parties are ever willing to exploit religion for myopic electoral gains.

Tensions Among the Neighbours: There are seething undercurrents of tension in Tibet due to China's strong-arm tactics. The military junta in Myanmar continues to suppress stirrings for democracy and is facing a potent military threat from the Karen rebels. The Sri Lanka government has won a short-term reprieve in its ongoing campaign against stubborn resistance from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Tamil militant organisation. Bangladesh is in the throes of a see-saw political battle between two seemingly irreconcilable lines of approach. Nepal has yet to find political maturity in its transition to a democracy, though the May 1999 parliamentary election has for the first time produced a verdict that is favourable for stability. Bhutan is saddled with a refugee problem that may snowball into a rebellion. India needs to pay more attention to its immediate neighbourhood and should endeavour to play a more benevolent role within the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) if it wishes to overcome the suspicions of its smaller neighbours.61 Further west, the situation in Afghanistan continues to be grim, even though the Taliban has made major gains in its strident march towards controlling the whole of Afghanistan by capturing and managing to hold on to Kabul. Iran is still to recover fully from its long brush with Islamic fundamentalism. The Central Asian Republics, still in the process of consolidating their new-found freedom, are currently stable. However, with Islamic fundamentalism knocking at their doorstep, this stability may not be long lasting.

Framework for Dealing with Emerging Situations

In the prevailing security environment, it is of the utmost importance that viable confidence building measures are instituted immediately to prevent the breakout of another war in Southern Asia, even if it is accepted to be unlikely, given that both India and Pakistan are now "states with nuclear weapons". An institutionalised framework for the analysis of threats, the formulation of strategy, the identification of diplomatic and military objectives and crisis management, needs to be evolved, tested in the crucible of reality and refined for long-term utilisation. The National Security Council constituted by the Vajpayee government, with both policy making and supervisory roles, is likely to meet the requirement, provided it meets regularly and devotes time and energy to major issues of consequence. Its Secretariat and the National Security Advisory Board will need to have an inter-disciplinary organisation and approach and will have to be given the necessary infrastructure and political backing if they are to be effective in analysing threats and challenges and presenting considered policy options.

Flashpoints and Pointers to the Future

Flashpoints Across the World

The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in many local conflicts. Breakaway Abkhazia threatened Georgia, there was immense tension in Estonia, Tajikistan was embroiled in a civil war, Moldova formed its own army and there were clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Chechnya threatened to break away. The National Defence Foundation, a private American group, has estimated that the world suffered a record 71 "little wars" in 1995.62 The list includes conflicts with "high levels of organised violence between states, or between contending groups within a state or with high levels of political or social tension likely to erupt into violence."63 The foundation added 12 countries to its list of "flashpoints" across the world and dropped eight at the end of 1995. While several major conflicts, including those in Bosnia, Angola, Nicaragua, Northern Ireland and Cambodia subsided somewhat, many others continued to rage relentlessly. Among these are conflicts in Afghanistan, Somalia, Rwanda, Chechnya, Sri Lanka, Karachi in Pakistan and Kashmir in India.

It is virtually impossible to maintain authentic records of the number of dead from the numerous civil wars, ethnic rivalries, terrorist strikes, border clashes, drug violence, lingering insurgencies and other scattered conflicts. Clearly, the world is a long way off from even a semblance of lasting peace. Strife and conflict are likely to persist in the years ahead and may worsen in scale and quantity if adequate measures are not instituted to check the unbridled proliferation of potentially explosive situations.

Pointers to the Future

The major dangers emerging in the post-Cold War era and threatening global security, are as under.

l The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical and biological (NBC) weapons. Some of these are likely to fall into the hands of terrorist groups and rogue governments.

l The rise of religious fundamentalism, particularly Islamic fundamentalism. "Strategists of US foreign policy believe that, with the demise of the Soviet Union and the disintegration of international Communism, Islamic fundamentalism remains the sole adversary of Western democratic values."64

l Spreading violence related to ethnic nationalism, racial disparities, militant trade unionism and food riots in famine affected countries. The recent violence in the Balkans, with all its atrocities, mass rapes and Nazi-like "ethnic cleansing", is a possible model for other such conflicts still to erupt.

l Organised crime, including transnational crime and the criminalisation of politics.

l Terrorism, including state-sponsored terrorism. With the proliferation of nuclear weapons consequent to the break-up of the Soviet Union, even nuclear terrorism looms large on the world's security horizon.

l The free availability and the unchecked spread of light weapons, including small arms such as Kalashnikov rifles, rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) like the Stinger and SAM-7, and RDX-type explosives. Reportedly, 55 million Kalashnikovs have so far been sold in the open market.65

l The unprecedented proliferation of "landmines". As per a UN report, there are approximately 110 million landmines in 69 countries.66

l Human rights violations. The international community is no longer willing to accept state-sponsored violation of human rights. Of course, double standards continue to be applied, as witnessed in the US-led NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia that began in March 1999, while similar ethnic cleansing of the Kurds in Turkey goes unpunished. According to Charles H. Norchi, executive director of the New York-based International League for Human Rights, "We are entering a phase of the psycho-social evolution of our species in which human rights must be viewed as being at stake in every interaction and decision."67

l Narco-terrorism and the nexus between drug lords and politicians. The drug barons have proved their ability to conduct their own private wars in the Central American republics and to run their own de facto governments. Their activities are potentially a major destabilising influence.

l Environmental degradation and the wilful neglect of, and damage to, sensitive ecological systems.

l The scarcity of essential resources such as oil and water. A future oil crisis is likely to lead to trade and economic sanctions and even general war. According to a report of the World Bank, the scarcity of water is likely to be a major cause of the wars of the 21st centuy due to a manifold increase in the demand for this finite resource.68

Making Peace in the New Global System

While nation-states are losing their "monopoly of violence", some military units, such as in Russia, have broken free of central government control and have reportedly come under the de facto control of local business interests.69 Others, as in the drug regions, "may sell out to criminal syndicates, work for ethnic or religious movements or operate independently of any external authority."70 It is obvious that innovative peace-forms are required to deal with the new threats. "With a world fast dividing itself into First, Second and Third Wave civilisations, three distinctly different forms of warfare need to be averted or limited. Each may require a different set of responses from peacemakers or peacekeepers."71

Strategies for Peace: The following should be considered to avert and limit the possibility of future conflict from threatening international peace and security.

l As the foremost threat to world peace is from the proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction, the overall strategy for future peace must be "denying, disarming and defending."72 There is no alternative to denying high technology to rogue states (to be defined by the UN), confronting and deterring them from producing or acquiring weapons of mass destruction and, if necessary, disarming those that brandish or use such weapons. However, this can only be an interim measure until universal nuclear disarmament can be achieved. But for this to happen, a new consensus would have to emerge for collective decision making and concerted action among the leading world powers. The ideal forum for such action is the UN Security Council. This would need to be enlarged, strengthened and given additional powers for the enforcement of its decisions. Since a permanent UN peace-keeping force appears to be unacceptable to the major powers, a specified force could be earmarked within each member country and the Security Council could have a lien on it.

l The UN dinosaur must transform itself from its present bureaucratic self to a more responsive and flexible organsation, capable of representing nation-states as well as various other centres of global power such as business conglomerates and non-profit non-governmental organisations(NGOs).

l The handling of the ongoing Balkans conflict and ethnic crisis has highlighted major lessons for the international community. The present UN-imposed peace is at best tenuous and does not have the backing of participation by consent of many of the members of the European Union. Such conflict termination agreements should be best negotiated on a regional basis and all the warring parties must be willing participants. Their participation can be ensured only if the negotiations are preceded by viable confidence building measures being instituted well in advance so that the negotiations carry a reasonable degree of credibility. Also, the least common denominator for a lasting resolution of the problem can be found only if the regional neighbours forsake their short-term peripheral interests for the long-term gains of peace and stability.

l Among the coherent knowledge strategies for peace is the concept of transparency. The open availability of military information would reduce suspicion and give all sides ample warning of threatening developments. US President Dwight Eisenhower first made this "Open Skies" proposal to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at a summit meeting on July 21, 1955. Rejected outright at that time, it is an idea whose time has come. "The exchange of data, information and knowledge in a world increasingly marked by regional arms races, is clearly a Third Wave tool for peace."73

l There is a need to officially track arms exports and transfers across the world. The UN Register of Conventional Arms is a proposal that further indicates that due recognition is now being given to the importance of gathering information in an organised manner for the maintenance of peace, even though the most dangerous arms transfers are the ones least likely to be reported. A case can be made out for the imposition of trade sanctions against, and a cut in international aid to, rogue nations that do not report arms transfers to the UN.

l The disintegration of Yugoslavia, it is now commonly accepted, begun as a media war orchestrated by vested interests. There is an inescapable need to devise viable media strategies to counter campaigns of hatred in the future to prevent them from escalating into full-blown conflicts. This is a responsibility that all member states of the UN must share and finance.

l Poverty is no friend of peace and wide access to information, technology and communications is a precondition for sustained economic development. In the interest of global security and in their own long-term economic interest, it is imperative for the developed nations of the West to provide this access to people in the under-developed nations, lest large numbers of them become "immigrants, refugees or pensioners of the West".74

l A large number of transnational NGOs, such as Greenpeace, are springing up every year. They play an increasingly active role in the management of the world system and include a host of transnational political movements as well. A concerted endeavour needs to be made to marshal the political clout, goodwill and vast resources of these NGOs for the cause of world peace and stability. The present policy of most governments of keeping NGOs at arms length or treating them as being of nuisance value, to be suffered silently, will only result in making them even more rabidly anti-establishment.

l Organised transnational crime; drug trafficking; terrorism, including nuclear, religious and narco terrorism; burgeoning industrial and information espionage; large-scale financial frauds and the growing flesh and pornography trade, all of them potentially destabilising influences, require sophisticated international policing, access to real-time intelligence and the maintenance of voluminous records. There is an immediate need to establish an international police infrastructure, on the lines of Interpol, but with the freedom to operate across national borders and the authority to investigate suspicious circumstances and activities in conjunction with the local police forces.


Graham Greene once wrote that there always comes a moment in time when a door opens and lets the future in. The end of the Cold War has opened such a door. The future that comes in could be a future of continuing conflict or it could be one of peaceful coexistence and lasting international stability where mankind could develop and flourish to reach a higher and as yet unattainable plane of existence.

The French Writer Alain Minc, in his book on what he calls The New Middle Ages, suggests that if the First Millennium is characterised as the time of the Great Fear of the Last Judgement, as foretold in the Book of Revelations, the Second Millennium is likely to be that of the Great Disorder, as the iron disciplines of the Cold War fade from memory and the danse macabre of long-suppressed nationalisms takes their place. It is difficult to exactly qualify the type of transition that is taking place from the post-World War II era to the present post-Cold War world. A period dominated by one overriding threat, but no real risk, has been succeeded by one full of risks, but without any commanding threat.

Numerous scholars, diplomats, politicians, journalists, generals, admirals and marshals, management gurus, economists and philosophers have attempted to come to grips with the emerging contours of the New World Order. Many hypotheses and postulations have been advanced, analysed, commented upon and criticised. While Fukayama has called it the "End Of History", Huntington foresees a "Clash of Civilisations". Krauthammer revels in the "Unipolar Moment". Sakakibara terms it the "End of Progressivism", Ohmae prefers to see it as the "End of the Nation-State" and the Tofflers argue that it is the "End of Equilibrium" (Not History)". They classify the present world into the distinct and potentially clashing super-civilisations--First Wave agrarianism, Second Wave industrialism and the emerging Third Wave post-modern civilisation.

As the world stands poised at the brink of a new millennium, the geo-political, geo-strategic and geo-economic reality is too complex to be explained by any one overriding premise. Ohmae, the dreamer, fails to explain the world of Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda or even present day Russia. Huntington and Fukayama have no rational explanation for the phenomenal rise of the "Asian Tiger" economies, actively guided and supported by their governments. Clearly there are forces at work that are knocking down borders, creating a truly global marketplace, governed purely by market-driven needs and the profit motive and not by ideology or culture. Economic might is increasingly becoming the foremost determinant of global power.

The dead weight of the past and the misery of the present are formidable obstacles to arriving at rational conclusions for the future. The unexciting, but probably justifiable conclusion, would be that while the nation-state will remain the dominant political force for the foreseeable future, regional integration and rapid economic developments are the best means of calming the explosive tendencies towards ethnic nationalisms, which are threatening to rip the fabric of international security.

Nineteen ninety-five was perhaps the best year for peace since the end of the Cold War. It saw the conclusion of an apparently durable peace settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, supported by many of the Arab countries. A settlement between the Syrians and the Israelis also appears to be within sight, now that General Ehud Barak, cast in the Begin mould, appears set to head the new Israeli government. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Sinn Fein have decided to forsake violence and negotiate a lasting peace in Northern Ireland. The Serb-Muslim-Croat imbroglio in Bosnia-Herzegovina has also graduated to the stage of a negotiated though tenuous truce, although none of the warring factions appears to be particularly satisfied with the terms of the accord. The Korean re-unification talks have made tangible progress. Russia has been admitted to the Council of Europe. The stand-off between China and Taiwan, which had risen to an alarming level of tension, has subsided for the time being. The NPT was endorsed unconditionally and extended indefinitely, though this was considered a retrograde step by countries such as India. The CTBT was approved by the world community and is expected to enter into force in September 1999. It is, of course, doubtful whether India and Pakistan will sign the treaty before September 1999. The WTO came into being and quickly asserted its authority to act in the interest of resolving thorny issues afflicting world trade.

The major achievements since the end of the Cold War are indicative of the maturity and resolve of the world community to act collectively for the common good of maintaining international peace and stability. Massive diplomatic exercises are currently underway to institute confidence building measures for the ultimate resolution of the pending conflict situations. Comprehensive collective security arrangements are being sponsored on a regional basis. However, on the other hand, nations are still to rise above partisan political considerations and narrow trade and economic goals. Many countries continue to support and actively encourage insurgencies and terrorism across their borders and turn a blind eye to drug mafias operating under their benevolent patronage.

For the present moment, the US remains the sole superpower and is at the centre of a unipolar world. This situation is likely to obtain for at least another ten years before a polycentric world order replaces the present flawed regime. Hence, the US view of the world will continue to remain significant, even if it is not entirely palatable. The US continues to view the geo-strategic environment in terms of "the West and the rest". Instead of piling up armaments against unspecified contingencies, the US needs to move psychologically out of the Cold War syndrome. Otherwise, any New World Order it may wish to proclaim will remain fatally flawed. The West's next confrontation may come from the Islamic world. Challenges to its unbridled economic power will, in all probability, come from the Asian countries, in general, and China and the Tiger economies, in particular.

As India stands at the threshold of a new century, it has embarked on a path that will secure for all its citizens a bright and honourable future, secure "politically, economically and even ideologically." India's effort to usher in "economic and social change within a pluralistic and democratic framework, is an unprecedented and audacious experiment." There is no reason why India should not be at the forefront of the coming "Asian Century".

The world is transiting through a fantastic moment of history. British historian G.M. Trevelyan's maxim that the "law of the universe is progress, evolution and perpetual change", appears to be holding true. Hidden behind the fashionable gloom are several "tremendously positive and humanising changes on the planet." The economic miracle in the offing is likely to raise approximately a billion people from the pit of poverty to a reasonable level of existence. Even though 50,000 to 60,000 nuclear warheads have been produced since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some basic human survial instinct has "repeatedly stayed the finger that might have pushed the button." A complex new global system, "made up of regions, corporations, NGOs and political movements, all contending, all with different interests, all reflecting degrees of inter-activity", is emerging. The prognosis for the future is hope, rather than despair and the triumph of mankind rather than holocaust or disaster. Matthew Arnold's famous cry of hopelessness: "We are wandering between two worlds/One dead, the other unable to be born," appears to be too pessimistic and out of tune with mankind's instinct for survival. Clearly, Armageddon is still many centuries away.



1. From the Preamble to the United Nations Charter.

2. Soli J. Sorabjee, "The United Nations at 50", Span, September 1995.

3. From a speech by President Bill Clinton of the US during his address to the UN General Assembly on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the UN in June 1995.

4. Ramesh Chandran, "Great Nations Pay Their Bills, say Former Officials", Times of India, March 23, 1999.

5. Thalif Deen, "UN Seeks Boost in Peacekeeping from NATO", Jane's Defence Weekly, March 31, 1999.

6. Thalif Deen, "Africa Progressing with Plan for Regional Force of Peacekeepers", Jane's Defence Weekly, April 7, 1999.

7. "Peacekeeping Troops in Guinea-Bissau", Jane's Defence Weekly, February 10, 1999.

8. Robert Karniol, "Bangladesh and Nepal to Support Peacekeeping Bid", Jane's Defence Weekly, March 10, 1999.

9. K.Subrahmanyam, "Bury the Past With the UN Declaration", Times of India, November 2, 1995.

10. Siddharth Varadarajan, "Strong and Fresh Kofi", Times of India, October12, 1998.

11. "US, Allies Draw Flak fom Kofi Annan", Hindustan times, May 20, 1999.

12. "NATO War a Sign of Collapsing World Order", Hindustan Times, May 13, 1999.

13. K.Subramanyam, "Clear and Present Danger: US Path to Unipolar Hegemony", Times of India, May 3, 1999.

14. A.P. Venkateswaran, "Arrogance of Power", Hindustan Times, April 1, 1999.

15. Chandran, n.4.

16. Ashley D' Mello, "There are Other Poles of Influence in the UN than the US", Times of India, July 31, 1998.

17. J.N. Dixit, "A Year in the Doldrums", Outlook, January 3, 1996.

18. "Vajapyee Sees Enhanced Role for NAM", Observer of Business and Politics, August 27, 1998.

19. C. Uday Bhaskar, "India's Nuclear Yeti", Times of India, December 24,, 1995.

20. Pran Chopra, "India and the Bomb", Times of India, January 19, 1996.

21. Prakash Nanda, "Make the World Free of Chemical Weapons", interview with Jose Mauricio Bustani, director general, OPCW, Times of India, December 8, 1997.

22. K. Subrahmanyam, "CTBT: Seize the Opportunity", Economic Times, September 11, 1998.

23. Alison Clayton, "Deadlock on Disarmament", Jane's Defence Weekly, February 3, 1999.

24. K. Subrahmanyam, "Bomb in a Box: A Clear and Present Danger", Times of India, December 1, 1997.

25. K. Subrahmanyam, "Nuclear U-Turn", Economic Times, December 12, 1997.

26. John Diamond, "US May go Nuclear Against Chemical, Biological Attackers", Times of India, December 12, 1997.

27. "Iran Test-Fires IRBM, Says NYT", Times of India, July 24, 1998.

28. Bryan Bender, "Cruise Control", Jane's Defence Weekly, July 22, 1998.

29. Jorge Morales Pedraza, "Disarmament After Bipolarism: A Programme for the 1990s", Strategic Digest, August 1995, p.1049.

30. Rogelio F. Pfirter, "Disarmament: Still a Primary Task of the International Community", Strategic Digest, August 1995, p. 1043.

31. Adrian Berry, The Next 500 Years--Life in the Coming Millennium (London: Headline Book Publishing, 1995), p.253.

32. O.P. Khanna, ed., "From Cold Wars to Trade Wars", Competition Master, September 1995.

33. Charles Krauthammer, "The Unipolar Moment", Foreign Affairs, Summer 1991, pp.23-24.

34. Major General Dipankar Banerjee, "An Emerging World Order", U.S.I. Journal, January-March 1994, p.41.

35. Gajendra Upadhyay, "Will 1996 be the Year of Internet?" Business World, January 24- February 6, 1996, pp. 144-145.

36. Pawan K. Ruia, "The Globalisation Paradox", The Economic Times, September 25, 1995.

37. "FM Rules Out Capital Account Convertibility", Times of India, January 17, 1996.

38. "Optimism Reigns" (World Economy), A&M, April 1-15, 1998.

39. Banerjee, n. 13, p.46.

40. Ibid., p. 46.

41. D'Mello, n. 16.

42. Thomas Friedman, "Globalisation is Here, Like it or Not", Times of India, April 5, 1999. (Excerpted from The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman, to be published by Harper-Collins).

43. Chandran. n.4.

44. Ibid.

45. Robert Solomon, The Transformation of the World Economy, 1980-93, (London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1995).

46. Benazir Bhutto, "A New Star Rises: Economic Union of South Asian States", Times of India, March 19, 1999. (Excerpted from the introductory remarks at the Quaid-e-Azam Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Commemoration Lecture, March 8, 1999, Karachi.)

47. Kenichi Ohmae, The End of the Nation State - The Rise of Regional Economics (London: Harper Collins, 1995), p.5.

48. George Skaria, interview with Kenichi Ohmae entitled "We Are Not Interested in India", Business Today, November 22-December 6, 1995, pp.86-91.

49. Ashok Upadhyay, "Things Fall Apart But the Centre Is Holding", Business India, October 23-Novemebr 5, 1995, pp.54-56.

50. O.P. Khanna, ed., "General Studies", Competition Master, November 1995.

51. Banerjee, n.13, p.46.

52. John Naisbitt, Megatrends: The Eight Asian Megatrends that are Changing the World, (New York: Nicholas Brealy Publishing, 1995).

53. Edith M. Lederer, "Asia Becoming Too Powerful to be Controlled by US: Report", Times of India, January 28, 1996.

54. "United States Security Strategy for the East Asia-Pacific Region", Department of Defence, Washington, February 1995, pp.1-7.

55. William J. Perry, "U.S. Perception of Global Security", U.S.I. Journal, January-March 1995, p.4.

56. T.V. Parasuram, "India 6th Largest Economy", Times of India, January 3, 1996.

57. J.N. Mak, "ASEAN Maritime Insecurity: Contingency Planning in an Uncertain World", Defence '95, (an International Defence Review annual publication) p.61.

58. Gareth Evans, "Security in the Asia-Pacific Region", Defence '95, pp. 53-54.

59. K.N. Daruwalla, "Eastward Ho!" The Economic Times, August 5, 1995.

60. Ravi Velloor, "New Kid on the Regional Block'," Business World, January 10-23, 1996, p.116.

61. Shekhar Gupta, "India Redefines its Role", Adelphi Paper 293, (London: Oxford University Press, 1995, p.64.

62. David Briscoe, "1995 Witnessed 71 'Little Wars", Times of India, January 3, 1996.

63. Ibid.

64. M. Basheer Hussain, "Myth and Reality of Islamic Fundamentalism", Deccan Herald, January 15, 1996.

65. Dinesh Kumar, "Light Weapons are Taking a Heavy Toll", Times of India, January 19, 1996.

66. "Death Lurks Underneath for UN Peacekeepers", Indian Express, January 19, 1996.

67. Charles H. Norchi, "Human Rights in the Post-Cold War Era", Span, September 1995.

68. O.P. Khanna, ed., "Next Wars Will be Over Water", Competition Master, October 1995.

69. Alvin Toffler, and Heidi Toffler, War and Anti-War: Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century (London: Warner Books, 1994) p. 299.

70. Ibid.

71. Ibid., p. 300.

72. n.12, p.32.

73. Solomon, n.45, p.306.

74. Ibid., pp. 316-317.