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Hugo Meijer: “We are witnessing a renegotiation of the international order”


Researcher at the Center for International Relations (CERI) of Sciences Po Paris and Director of the European Initiative for Security Studies, Hugo Meijer works on international security issues and foreign policy, including the reconfiguration of US hegemony through the prism of the Euro-Atlantic alliance system and in the Asia-Pacific since the end of World War II.

Is world peace threatened?

We have witnessed a gradual deterioration in the international strategic environment over the past decade, in part due to more ambitious and assertive foreign policies on the part of China and Russia, and an intensification of their strategic rivalry with United States. In this context, the year 2022 has been marked by the return of interstate warfare and territorial revisionism in Europe – a major turning point for the European security architecture – and, in Asia-Pacific, by growing tensions around Taiwan. and fears of a future invasion by China.

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Furthermore, North Korea’s nuclear program and missile testing continue to impact regional stability in Northeast Asia. But media attention to these issues should not overshadow the conflicts and crises unfolding on other continents, as well as the resulting humanitarian disasters, in Yemen, Syria, Ethiopia, Mali, Cameroon, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Burma or even in Nagorno-Karabakh. The notion of “world peace” therefore masks the reality of a plurality of conflicts located on different continents.

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You mention the tension between China and the United States. Is the world order on the brink of a different kind of cold war?

References to a “new cold war” are, in my view, anachronistic simplifications. The context, the stakes and the methods of the current rivalries are profoundly different. First, since interstate rivalries have existed since the formation of the first premodern states in Mesopotamia around five thousand years ago, it is wrong to associate any interstate rivalry throughout history with a “cold war”. The Cold War was structured around an ideological conflict between two universalist visions of modernity (capitalism and socialism). Today, the Sino-American relationship does not revolve around such a divide. Moreover, unlike the Soviet Union, China is deeply integrated into the global economic system. Finally, virtually no U.S. ally or partner wants to implement a policy of containment (” containment »), as had been the case with the Soviet Union, China often being one of their main economic partners.

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