America Is Too Scared of the Multipolar World
The Biden administration is striving for a unipolar order that no longer exists.
After the United States moved from the darkness of the Cold War into the pleasant glow of the so-called unipolar moment, a diverse array of scholars, pundits, and world leaders began predicting, yearning for, or actively seeking a return to a multipolar world. Not surprisingly, Russian and Chinese leaders have long expressed a desire for a more multipolar order, as have the leaders of emerging powers such as India or Brazil. More interestingly, so have important U.S. allies. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder warned of the “undeniable danger” of U.S. unilateralism, and former French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine once declared that “the entire foreign policy of France … is aimed at making the world of tomorrow composed of several poles, not just one.” Current French President Emmanuel Macron’s support for European unity and strategic autonomy reveals a similar impulse.
Stephen M. Walt is a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University. Twitter: @stephenwalt
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