The London Conference

Plenary Session Five: Alternative Views on Future World Order

Tuesday 24 October, 1415 – 1515


Session Report

In this session, the panel discussed the uncertain future of the global world order. Hina Rabbani Khar, foreign minister of Pakistan (2011–13), began by discussing how the world order appears from Pakistan’s perspective. In the post-Cold War system, she explained, the values of democracy, justice and fairness have been selectively used. For example, the US has continually served its national interests, as demonstrated by its use of drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan for example, while condemning other countries. She argued that there is a degree of double-standards in the international system when assessing whether countries are abiding, or not abiding, by the rules and regulations. Examining the case of the Iraq war, she explained why she believes the biggest threat to the global order is now the use of proxies that can later become unfriendly terrorist groups. 
Alexey Pushkov, senator and chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs (2011–16) in Russia, argued that the world is in a state of transition from the system it established in Yalta and Potsdam. During this transition, the world is seeing a declining US and an ascending China which is causing insecurity in the Donald Trump administration. The US president’s ‘America First’ policy is a knee-jerk reaction to this new global reality because it is no longer able to hold together the previous world order it helped to design and then police. Pushkov then asserted that he believes there is now a new centre of power forming which gives the world a chance to build a better world order then previously. Where does Russia fit in this new global order? Puskkov answered that the Russian administration is not seeking to replace the US as the leading global superpower, but to be one of the leading global powers that can help to keep the balance of the new world order. 
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, HE Lana Nusseibeh, outlined the role small countries, like the UAE, can play in the shifting global order. She explained why it is important for all countries to be a part of the burden sharing of protecting the world order. The arc of history, she explained, previously tilted towards American exceptionalism but now it is bending towards a pragmatic international system based on legitimacy. However, governments will be faced with a period of intense disruption in the future as long term and short term trends – from populism to globalization to migration to new technologies – will come together. Nusseibeh argued that the existing international order that was inherited post-World War Two, must be preserved – albeit reformed –  in order to address the difficult global challenges ahead. Small countries, like the UAE, she added, can no longer be passengers in the world system but players. 
The panel ended the discussion by exploring the future for international institutions such as the UN, the IMF and the G7, G8 and G20. 


Key Quotes

Hina Rabbani Khar: ‘In the post-Cold War system, the values of democracy, justice and fairness have been selectively used…The biggest threat to the global order is now the use of proxies that can later become unfriendly terrorist groups.’ 
Alexey Pushkov: ‘The world is seeing a declining US and a growing China. Whether you like it or not, this is the new state of affairs. The [old] epoch is over. We now have a chance for a better world order.’ 
‘[Russia] does not want all the world to worship us but we are one of the top powers in the world that can keep the balance of the world order.’
HE Lana Nusseibeh: ‘Governments are struggling around the world to keep up with the expectations of its citizens. Humanity is on the move with more people displaced since World War Two. We have tried to make the system that we inherited from the post-World War Two order work for us. Now that we built the house, the house needs to be preserved.’
‘[Small countries] can no longer be passengers in the global system but players. [The UAE] should have been players a long time ago but we did not understand the game.’
To install this web app on your device, tap and then 'Add to Home Screen'.