Roaring Twenties and Cold War 2.0
January 13, 2020
By Thomas A. Tass
Since the end of the Cold War 1.0 in 1989, the creation of a new global model began to evolve. After thirty years the new paradigm morphed into an unpredictable and challenging multi polar world. Transnational liberalism which emerged in 1989 was the catalyst for the creation of new regional power centers. China, Russia, and the European Union are now regional competitors of the United States.
Excitement surrounding the end of Cold War 1.0 started to wain in mid-nineties. Excessive exuberance for open borders policies and the end of traditional national sovereignty concepts produced positive as well as negative effects on various communities in Europe.
Liberal philosophies of free trade and the often misunderstood and exploited concepts of multiculturalism combined with identity politics grew exponentially. The process over three decades created an environment that was unimaginable in 1989. It was a messy process that engineered the end of the Cold War 1.0 and coincidentally that same messy process created fertile ground on which populist governments came to power. In parallel to that process, a multi polar world evolved displacing the America centric world of 1989.
Classic liberalism believes that society is no more than the sum of its individual members. However, the liberalism of post 1989 gave birth to a plethora of identity groups that now demand to be recognized as equals in every venue. These groups exist at the sub sovereign level and have no fear of competing at the international arena.
The unbridled expectations of western liberals for a uni polar world run by the United States lasted until the end of the century. The rising powers of China, Russia and the EU are viewed as mutually hostile commercial and military rivals. A hoped for classic liberal world order has after 30 years turned out to be neither liberal nor orderly.
The America centric world failed to appreciate the rising aspirations for power in Europe and Asia. Moreover, border tensions between Russia and Europe that appeared to have evaporated in 1989 have returned with the elimination of buffer states along the frontier Russia and Europe. Front-line frictions that existed with the introduction of the iron curtain during Cold War 1.0 have returned as alliances such as NATO have pushed their forces up to the border with rival Russia.
Add to this multi polar world is the dysfunctional states such as Venezuela, Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea and other failed states that orbit around three very different economic, military and social spheres.
In a multi polar world post-World War 2 transnational institutions such as the United Nations have become as impotent as the ill-fated League of Nations. It is viewed by even the softest critics as little more than an expensive talking shop offering little worth to both friends and foes.
There is no doubt as to the existence of a new world order. However, it is not the one shrouded in conspiracy or the one that was envisaged by classic western liberals in 1989. The new world order is in full view and it is a multi-polar model.
The management of the multi polar model is a global challenge that is much more worrisome to this writer than Climate Change could ever be. The multi polar world is the oft mentioned military industrial complex on steroids and that should scare the hell out of anyone that understands the how it has been embraced by the players in this multi polar world.
The terrible reality is that military supremacy is a key component of the players.
One must wonder what will happen going forward when the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963 has expired. The 1967 Outer space Treaty is dead. The SALT treaty and the Ballistic Missile Treaty has expired. The START treaty expires in 2021. Open Skies is no longer functional.
In the meantime, there has been an explosion of “think tanks” around the world created by various stakeholders from both left and right which is frankly no more useful than the U.N. Leaders in the multi polar world spend a lot of energy trying to destabilize each other. This toxic policy approach legitimizes their efforts to intercede in various parts of the world through proxy players. This is exhibited in the middle east every day.
Chinese economic expansionism around the world has been well documented. Russian military expansion in the middle east is well documented. American military modernization has been well documented. The world is altering it political shape much faster than most people can imagine.
What is curious is the approach of western liberals who were against Cold War 1.0. and who are now indifferent to the events that is shaping the world. Over the past decade this group has seemingly decided to support its sequel Cold War 2.0. Western liberalism today is less interested in expanding democracy and economic transparency than they are in supporting global corporatism. Perhaps it is because global corporatism is making them wealthy.
So, we have entered the roaring twenties.
The last time the world experienced the roaring twenties things did not turn out so well.
Thomas A. Tass
January 25, 2020