US President Donald Trump has set in motion a Constitutional crisis by circumventing the legislative process and declaring a premeditated national emergency in order to fund a barrier along the US-Mexican border that he deems vital to US national security. The development further escalates the political dysfunction the world’s most influential and wealthiest nation already faces. Given the record-breaking debt being accrued by the United States, the future of the US economy and America’s power is threatened. Coupled with the ripple effects of the looming Brexit and civil unrest across Europe, the West is losing its ability to lead at home and on the global stage. Although many would hail this shift as a victory for those dominated by Western meddling, alternative world leaders like Russia and China are unprepared to take on the full responsibility of global governance while their leaders are far more self-serving and far less concerned about the welfare of foreign populations than their democratic contemporaries. A lack of global governance may sound like an even better alternative, but the modern world order benefits from the security and stability provided by world powers.
The International Community is struggling to respond to a growing number of crises around the globe. It is true that world leaders have not been able to tackle issues like growing economic inequality, climate change, armed conflict, and terrorism. In Syria, for example, foreign intervention on both sides has helped prolong a raging civil war while only managing to disperse the terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State. The defeat of the Islamic State will create a vacuum for rival groups to fill, unless Syrian forces and regional powers can somehow overcome their historic, cultural divisions to secure the Syria territory instead of undermining each other through their support of extremist groups, political unrest, and armed conflict. Surviving members of the Islamic State, particularly those actually driven by ideology, are also likely to simply disperse as they are forced to give up territorial control of their so-called caliphate, thus they will remain a threat. The security situation in the Middle East is, however, more of a tertiary threat to global security. The many issues that have long plagued Africa and Latin America are also fostering crises with serious implications to the Peoples of these regions and the world, yet they do not necessarily constitute an imminent or systematic threat to Westerners
It is clear that world powers have failed to address and resolve major issues across the global that have blossomed into devastating crises. It is easy to conclude the world derives few meaningful benefits from the efforts of world powers to institute global governance. It is easy to believe international governance simply empowers the leaders of the world’s most powerful countries to suppress and exploit the weaker governments and Peoples of less affluent nations. For many living in the developed world, particularly the US, participation in international governing institutions like the United Nations offers no real benefit for them at tremendous costs. The systemic threat of issues like terrorism and political instability to the International Community are real, but their potential to have a meaningful impact on world powers is small. Events, such as the September 11th terrorist attacks, provoked major reactions, yet high-cost counter-terrorism efforts in the Middle East have soured Western appetites for intervention, especially since their results have only provided temporary security gains. Consequently, governance of the International Community by relatively stable world powers could become a thing of the past. If the lack of a world order before European powers globalized the world offers any insights, it may not be possible to maintain a global society. In turn, the existence of modern weapons and armies, for example, represent systematic threats to global security that could devastate all nations and Peoples in such a future.
There are, of course, many possibilities and many uncertainties. Worst-case-scenarios are not likely to come to fruition, but even less desirable outcomes are best avoided. Unlike the threat of unchecked globalized terrorism, conflicts between powerful armies with nuclear arsenals do represent imminent, systemic threats to the nations and Peoples of the world, including those in the West. Although the long-term rivalry and recurring armed conflicts between India and Pakistan are nothing new, the latest exchange between the Indian military and the Pakistani military raises many serious concerns in an era of global crises and decline of global governance. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered retaliatory measures against Pakistan following an attack by Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad in the disputed territory of Kashmir. Forty-forty Indian paramilitary police were killed. India blames Pakistan for allegedly supporting the terrorist group. Given the nuclear arsenals of these nations, the sizes of their militarizes, and their population densities, coupled with their cultural differences and proximity to areas defined by tension, the events could serve as a flashpoint for a global conflict.
An unchecked conflict between India and Pakistan would inevitability entangle China and Afghanistan while opening a corridor for terrorism between the already unstable Middle East and Asia, which suffers from growing social unrest thanks to unresponsive and oppressive governance. Given the raw hatred shared by the parties involved in the conflict, as well as their neighbors, the Indian and Pakistani conflict could easily spiral out of control without some sort of trusted mediator working to deescalate the conflict. Absent some semblance of global governance and willingness of world powers to intervene, a conflict between India and Pakistan could quickly lead to a devastating world war. Thanks to modern arms, including nuclear weapons, the world may not be able to survive a modern world war. The current bout of armed conflict between India and Pakistan is likely to be resolved before it results in a total war between the two rivals. Unfortunately, a collapse of global governance by world powers due to their increasing unwillingness and inability to provide proper governance in their own lands means there will be fewer parties able to intervene in conflicts like the one between India and Pakistan. The ultimate failure to continually contain skirmish between two these military powers would spark a global conflict that would threaten the whole International Community.
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