One Year Later: New Threats to World Peace Since September 2001 and New Disputes within the New International Order

By Dr. Lim Yang-Taek
Professor of Economics, Hanyang University


Editor's note: In the September 2001 issue of this journal (which was distributed on September 1st, 2001), I stated my view that "yesterday’s threats were obvious, we knew exactly what the danger was, we knew exactly where it was coming from, and we knew exactly what needed to be done to stop it. But the dangers with which we live today are subtle to the point of insidiousness, so much so that we can — and perhaps have — become blind to them".

In today's age it is obvious that we can no longer afford to linger in blindness or remain comfortably oblivious to the newly-recognized threats to world peace. As citizens of the world it is our responsibility to educate ourselves as to what is truly occurring in various regions around this planet of ours. Relying solely upon the global media is not enough, as we are all aware that what is reported in the nightly news in New York may be far different than that broadcast in Tokyo, which in turn may have a totally different perspective than that seen in Paris, which may be far different than that seen in Riyadh, which may have an entirely different focus than what is broadcast in Buenos Aires, and so on, and so on, around the world. Thus it our responsibility today to keep ourselves apprised of the true status of the global political situation. In the following paper Dr. Lim Yang-Taek explores how the world political order has changed over the past 12 months and how these changes are affecting various regions of the globe. - JP


Part I: The Impact of the 2001 Terrorist Attacks on the International Order and the United States

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were unprecedented acts by non-state agents and the first massive terrorism within the territory of the United States. The attacks on the World Trade Center as a symbol of US economic power and the Pentagon as a symbol of US military power were challenges to the world economic system and the international security system led by the US. The attacks were a challenge to both US hegemony and world strategy. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks which killed some 3000 innocent people was a challenge to the human dignity which is a basic universal value. World denunciation and international anti-terrorism cooperation against the attacks is natural and expected.

Immediately upon the terrorist attacks, the Bush administration declared a new war and started military attacks against Osama Bin Laden -- marked as the prime mover of terrorism -- and the Taliban regime on October 7. This war proceeded in a multinational, plural, multifunctional and multidimensional manner, while approximately 160 countries denunciated terrorism with one united voice and roughly forty countries provided direct or or indirect support. The September 11th terror caused the US and countries around the world to have renewed recognition of security threats.

First, awareness of simultaneous and complex threats is on the incline. International society in the 21st century sees higher possibilities of the spread of international terrorism, international crimes, cyber wars and resource wars, and threats of disputes for separation and independence, ethnic conflicts, racial conflicts, civil war, rebellion and regime collapse.

Second, threats from the spread of massive killing weapons are increasing. Threats from the spread of massive killing weapons such as nuclear arms and biological weapons, and those from the expansion of means of transmission of weapons of mass destruction, such as ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, are become increasingly acute. The awareness that these threats may be made by non-state agents, including unspecified terrorist organizations or global crime organizations is increasing. Also, the expansion of transnational threats, including economic threats, ecological threats and environmental threats is increasingly recognized.

Before the September 11th attacks, the world system had been led and strongly influenced (some would even say controlled) by the US. During the post-World War II period, the US has built up international security systems and a world economic system based on its power (military and economic) and values (democracy and market economy). Building up international security systems into an alliance system based on its power and expanded deterrent value, and developing the world economy into an open and interdependent system, the US has linked, kept and controlled the two international systems. To continue controlling the two systems by using dominant strategy, to some extent the US has focused on preventing the emergence of a power, i.e. a new hegemonic state capable of challenging the US. During the present post-Cold War era, the US has regarded China as a potential challenger.

U.S. strategy has two philosophies: One is offensive realism. This has been traditionally advocated by the Republicans and Pentagon. This philosophy is based on the belief that systemic stability can be maintained by keeping power, hard-line power and hegemony. Also, the philosophy believes that keeping and using the unipolar system by the US is essential for preventing wars and maintaining peace and stability.

The other philosophy is defensive realism. This has been traditionally argued by the Democratic Party and the State Department. This philosophy has the same belief in supremacism as does offensive realism, but it reserves use of hard-line power and emphasizes use of soft power. Defensive realism advocates that we should enjoy peace, stability and welfare by recognizing plural international systems and utilize them for international cooperation, taking advantage of the UN and other international organizations and regimes, and solving international problems through participation, embracement and compromise.

Until September 11th 2001, the Bush administration had tried to lead the world system by using a dominant strategy based on offensive realism. Bush's leading strategists self-claimed that the US is a benevolent hegemonic state, a sole super-power equipped with power and virtues and a hegemonic state accepted and supported voluntarily by other countries.

On the other hand, there were highly critical voices against this argument. Critics say that the US seeks a unilateral globalism, which means a regression to global unilateralism, and that US arguments are arrogant and illusionary. They also condemn the US as a biased hegemonic state, even a mercenary hegemonic state.

It is said that US hegemony does not seek the overall interest of international society but only US interests. The US is under attack for having indifference to the global issues such as population growth, starvation, poverty and the environment. The absolute rule of the US in the IMF, World Bank and WTO, US rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Conference and unpaid contributions to the UN (a part of it paid after September 11) are examples of targets of criticism toward the United States.

The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 were a challenge to the international order led by the US. US hegemony and dominant strategy did not prevent the terrorism. Recognizing this, the Bush administration started to look for a new world order based on anti-terrorism.

While the US is expected to continue its dominant strategy, the strategy will be implemented by an accompanying shift from offensive realism to defensive realism. This shift has already begun. Considering the September 11 terror as a momentum for establishing mankind-wide identity and unity, the Bush administration seeks a new world order through international solidarity and cooperation. Launching joint military operations with the UK, and building up an anti-terrorist united front comprising about 160 countries including the EU, NATO, Russia, China and Japan, the Bush administration is shaping a new world order based on anti-terrorist military action and anti-terrorism backed by direct and indirect military support for about 40 countries.

Also, the world economic powers are increasing joint counteraction for world economic stability. G7 has joint measures for supplying liquidity for world economic stability and reducing interest rates. Also, each country vigorously implements policies for economic stability. In addition, as a part of anti-terrorist efforts, the UN and many countries, including the G7 powers, have taken the action to freeze terrorist-related assets and taken other actions to prevent or reduce terrorism.

In the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks the effects thereof, we still face the still-unresolved problems and challenges first brought on in the early 1990's by the collapse of communism. Today, rather than facing a rigid and singular background for dispute -- that between the Soviet-led communist bloc and the US-led capitalist bloc -- the reasons for and causes of international disputes have been fractionalized into a worldwide smattering of varied disputes, most having no straightforward means of intervention or solution.


Part II: New Disputes within the New International Order


I. Introduction


As is known, the cold war period, which continued for 45 years after the end of World War II, has been witness to various historical dramas: the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the US-USSR Malta Talks (between the former US President George Bush and the Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev) in December 1989, and the collapse of the USSR in September 1991. Afterward, the international political order has experienced three fundamental changes:


First, the bipolar system which was divided between and ruled by the two powers, i.e. the US and the former USSR, collapsed. The world system is now led by a single superpower, that of course being the US, and has changed into a new system where emerging powers such as China, Japan and the EU have each established their own strong presence.


Second, ideological confrontation has shifted to economic confrontation. After the extreme conflict between capitalism and socialism ended, new conflicts over economic gains between states or regions have become increasingly prominent.


Third, globalization following the period of liberalization has come to the fore. Conceptual demarcation of borders or territories is diluted and the entire world is changing into a single large community.


Figure 1: Changes in the International Political Order

The collapse of the Bipolar System and Emergence of the New World Order


As the bipolar system collapsed, the international political order has developed a very special power structure where a single superpower, the US, and many secondary powers showing lower national strength, have mixed presences. Japan has suffered from economic recession for about ten years, despite its considerable economic power, and had a weaker military power than any other countries of comparable financial strength. Due to its internal conflicts over economic reform Russia has no capacity to deter US dominance. China focuses on sustained growth via economic reform, although it is expected to become the most powerful force secondary to the United States. The European countries cannot individually offer a political challenge to the US, and there are still many obstacles to overcome in the complete realization of their unity.


Consequently, international political order has been led hegemonically by the US for the last ten years, and most of the powerful countries have admitted tacitly or overtly cooperated with US hegemony.


Examples of US hegemony in terms of the military and security include the Gulf War and the war in Afghanistan. When the Saddam Hussein-led Iraq invaded Kuwait, nearly all countries under US leadership, including Russia, reacted against the Iraqi invasion, and the US succeeded in maintaining international political order. Also, after the terrorist attacks on USA on September 11, 2001, almost all countries joined the US in the war in Afghanistan.


On the other hand, US leadership came to the fore in economic terms, causing the dramatic signing of the Uruguay Roundtable talks. Strong US leadership played central role in creating a new international economic order, the World Trade Organization (WTO) in early 1995.


As such, under the new world order led by the US, conflicts in areas of past dispute appeared to be solved and a peaceful climate appeared to become established. For instance, Israel and the PLO, and Israel and the Arab states such as Jordan signed their respective peace treaties.


However, peace on the Korean peninsula seems to be remote. This thought is justified by the following summary of events: In February 1993, North Korea seceded from the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) in response to the IAEA's decision for special inspections of nuclear arms in the country, and thereafter Pyongyang and Washington held an official meeting in New York in March 1993.)[1]


Then, US President Bill Clinton wrote a letter dated October 20, 1994 to Kim Jung-Il stating that the US would raise the funds necessary to provide a light-water reactor and thereby guaranteeing substitutive energy for North Korea, and would implement measures for performing such proposals. Under the background of Bill Clinton's letter as cited above, North Korea and the US signed a basic agreement in Geneva on October 21, 1994. As North Korea prepared to launch a second artificial satellite (long-term missile) and a Daepodong missile after the launching its first artificial satellite ‘Gwangmyongsung 1’ on August 31, 1998, North Korea and the US held a meeting from March 8-15, 1999 in New York. During these talks, the two countries agreed on the revisit to underground facilities in Gumchang-ri, the indemnification for North Korea's electricity loss caused by delays in constructing the light water reactor in Shinpo, and deletion of North Korea from the list of terror supporting countries. In September 1999, North Korea and the US held talks in Berlin under the common interests constituting North Korea's practical attitude toward economic benefit and US deterrence of threats in Northeast Asia.


As shown clearly by the terrorist attacks on the US on September 11, 2001, the anti-terrorist war in Afghanistan, and Bush's reference to the 'axis of evil' (January 29 2000), security on the Korean peninsula is touch-and-go.


From Ideological Conflict to Economic Conflict


The second change in the international political order is the shift from ideological confrontation to economic conflict. As capitalism won the extreme ideological war between capitalism and socialism in the cold war period, the main factor of conflict in international politics changed from ideology or ideas to economic interests.


The Western countries have shown an ever-increasing willingness to enter into conflicts when economic interests are concerned; this is in contrast to the former display of considerable unity against their common threat, i.e. the former USSR, in the past. The US and Japan were involved in an economic conflict so serious that the two nations appeared to be on the verge of engaging in a trade war over the trade imbalance and the opening of markets. On the other hand, the US and the EU had serious conflicts over the agricultural subsidies at the Uruguay Roundtable discussions. In this context, trade conflicts between the EU and Japan, and between US-EU and Asian NICs such as Korea and China, are ever increasing.


The conflicts over economic issues between states are developing into a form of regionalism, and thereby, economic blocs such as the EU, NAFTA, APEC and EAEC have developed.


Liberalization and Globalization


The third change in the international political order constitutes liberalization and globalization. The end of the Cold War brought about liberalization in the international political order. As the former USSR collapsed, most of the communist countries abandoned their old planned-economy concepts and adopted a market economy. Also, existing capitalist countries joined the liberalization wave via market opening, trade barrier lifting and deregulation. This liberalization trend has facilitated the epoch-making IT development and cross-border interchanges, thereby diluting the traditional concept of international borders and bringing about globalization, the end result of which means that the entire world develops into a single large community.


Globalization means that all fields in politics, economics and society -- particularly finance, production, technology, culture, environment and national security -- are organized on a worldwide scale beyond national borders. The meaning of globalization can be understood as follows, in the two opposing terms of competition and cooperation:


First, unlimited competition between states or regions has come to the fore, requiring enterprises to develop globalization strategies for their survival.


Second, common issues faced by the entire world, i.e. global environmental issues (global warming, destruction of the ozone layer, exhaustion of resources, etc.) and the necessity to establish a world trade order, are increasingly gaining in recognition and acceptance, and the necessity for worldwide cooperation for developing solution to these problems is ever-increasing.


II. The Background, Characteristics and Types of New International Disputes


The new changes stated in the international political order have brought about an epoch-making change in the type of international disputes we witness today. In the past Cold War period, international disputes were generally in the form of either ideological conflicts between the East and the West, or were class conflicts; recent international disputes, however, have taken the form of national conflicts, tribal conflicts or religious conflicts. Prominent examples include the Bosnian War, the Rwandan War and the Russian invasion of Chechnya. In a sense, the recent war in Afghanistan led by the US and the western countries may be classified into new type of international dispute.


1.  Examples of New International Disputes


The backgrounds or fundamental reasons behind the new form of international disputes is that national, tribal or religious conflicts which had been previously forcibly suppressed under the past communist or authoritarian dictatorships colored by socialist ideology have exploded again in the environment of the newly emerged freedom and democracy after the end of the Cold War. Concretely, looking at the aforementioned new international disputes, we can classify their causes case by case as follows:


The Bosnian War


Regional and racial conflicts between the Serbs and the Croatians, and between the Serbs and the Muslims, which were suppressed under the communist government of the former Yugoslavia, started to explode in 1992 after the collapse of the former USSR and the birth of liberalization in Yugoslavia. Military conflicts which have continued for more than three years remain unresolved, and have developed into the on-going war between the Serbs and the Muslims in Bosnia, and between Croatian official troops and the Serbs.


With no end in sight, the war between the Muslims and the Serbs in Bosnia continues, and the official Croatian troops have increased their attacks on the Serbs.


The Rwandan War


After the Cold War, the Rwandan government tried to end the antagonism and conflict between the Tutsis (minority) and Hutus (majority), which had continued since the time of Belgium's colonial rule, and sought a compromise between the two factions. In the meantime, Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana (Hutu leader) died suddenly, causing a power vacuum. Then, hard-lined Hutus opposed to the compromise began a program of genocide against the Tutsis, followed by a outright civil war between the Tutsis and the Hutus. At present, the Tutsis have regained governmental power, and even rather recently, the Tutsi government army has killed many Hutu refugees.


The Rwandan war appeared to be finished, but then Tutsi government troops killed more than 8,000 Hutu refugees in the Kibeho refugee camp, horrifying the world. In the future, the Rwandan war may extend into Uganda, Tanzania, Zaire and Brundi, where Hutu refugee camps are found.


The Russian Invasion of Chechnya


The Chechens, which were one of the ethnic minorities desiring liberation from the former USSR (and since the demise of the USSR, its liberation from Russia), declared the independence of the Chechen Republic (under the President Dudayev) in 1991 in the aftermath of the collapse of former Soviet Union. However, Russia opposed this independence sent in the Russian army in January 1995. The Russian army managed to conquer the Chechen capital of Grozni after a series of difficult battles, but the Chechen military did not surrender and the war continues.


The Chechen situation appears to be resolved for the moment. But the war is not over yet. Moreover, the Chechen war has had large aftereffects on Russia, and it may even serve as a fuse exploding the conflicts between other ethnic minorities in Russia in areas such as Ossetia, Daghestan and Tajikistan.


On the other hand, national and religious conflicts still continue in other areas. There are other similar conflicts in the world as the Kurds struggle for liberation from Iraq and Turkey, and as conflicts between the Tamils and the Shinals in Sri Lanka, and conflicts among various factions in Myanmar continue, although they do not attract the world press.


2. Types and Characteristics of New International Disputes


The most prominent reasons why the new international disputes have emerged are found in the following potential conflicts as well as in the above-cited national or religious conflicts:


First, capitalist countries routinely engage in conflict over economic interests. The US- Japan, US-EU, US-China, Japan-EU, Korea-US, and Korea-Japan trade conflicts are examples.


Second, conflicts between countries (especially between the developed countries and the developing countries) are expected as a part of the cost allocation in the worldwide cooperation in maintaining NPT, preserving the earth's environment, maintaining the WTO and free trade, and stabilizing the international currency rates.


Third, after the Cold War, there have been conflicts caused by international terrorism by hard-lined ethnic minorities (mainly in the Middle East) dissatisfied with new world order led by the US. Because of this terrorism, military conflicts between powers such as the US and various ethnic minorities are likely to occur.


Fourth, state existence in crisis. A number of the developing countries which suffered from colonial rule in the past have seen their state existence in crisis due to continued economic failure and civil war after the end of the Cold War. These include North Korea, Rwanda, Haiti, Somalia, Afghanistan, Angola, Mozambique, Myanmar, Sudan, Tajikistan, Zaire and Zambia. Without appropriate international aid to these countries, the seeds of new international conflicts will grow.


Combining these four potential reasons for conflict with national or religious reasons, a total of five types of international conflict are expected. Table 1 compares the five types in terms of their targets, their reasons, their aspects, the expected international response to each, and the areas of probable occurrence.


Table 1. Five Types of Expected International Conflict



Comparing the characteristics of the above-cited international disputes in terms of occurrence area, reason, aspect and international response, leads us to the following Table 2. This second table points out how the aspects and likelihood of successful intervention in international disputes have changed as the reasons and causes of today's disputes have shifted from the rivalry between communism and capitalism to a range of reasons including nationalism, religious conflict, long-held hostilities between nations or factions within nations, economic factors, and trade disputes between capitalist nations.


Table 2.  Compared Characteristics between International Disputes During the Cold War Period and New International Disputes

First, former communist countries or lesser-developed countries, which are located in Eastern Europe or Africa and composed of multi-nations or multi-religions, are the first candidates for international dispute.


Second, new international disputes assume an aspect of much emotional confrontation. These disputes come from long-held national or religious antagonism and hostility, and are contrasted with modern and contemporary wars which broke out in the process of securing national interests. Rather, the new disputes have a very emotional and irrational aspect, similar to that shown in the wars which broke out in medieval Europe.)[2]


Third, the new disputes show indiscriminate cruelty. As mentioned, the new international disputes assume an emotional aspect, leading to the exercise of cruel force. Especially, Rwandan War showed this cruelty to the extreme.


Fourth, it is difficult to respond internationally to the new disputes. Since most of disputes have an aspect of civil war, it is very difficult for the US, Europe or the UN to intervene and hope to cope internationally and effectively with them. When the Rwandan War or the Chechen War broke out, international intervention was not seen. When the Bosnian War broke out, NATO did not play its role well due to the tepid attitude of the US.


III. The Areas Expecting International Disputes


In Asia, military conflicts may occur over the Chinese-Philippine dispute over the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Island, the Russian-Japanese dispute over dominium of four northern islands in the Kuril Island chain, and the territorial rights of Dokdo between Korea and Japan.


1. The Four Northern Islands


The four Northern Islands refer to Etorov, Kunasiri, Shikotan and Havomai, all of which are located north of Hokkaido. The total population and area of the four islands are 4,966 square kilometers and about 24,000 inhabitants. The islands belong to the Sahalin province of Russia.


These four islands are important for Japan and Russia from both military and economic standpoints. For this reason, these islands have made relations between Russia and Japan cold or warm alternately since the end of World War II. This issue was selected as a point of discussion at the Russia-Japan summit held in Krasnoyarsk from October 1-2, 1997.


The Japanese government has demanded that the former Soviet and Russia 'return' the four islands on the condition that it would provide economic aid. Japan puts forth such a demand on the grounds that the four islands have belonged to Japan since the Shimota Treaty, which was signed by Russia and Japan in 1855. After World War II, the San Francisco Peace Treaty (clause c, article 2) judged that Japanese rights and claims to the Kuril Islands shall be abandoned. However, Japan argues that the four islands do not belong to the Kuril Islands. Also, the Japanese government argues that the Yalta Agreement (February 1945) presented by Russia to show the rationale for its possession of the Kuril Islands is void since the agreement was signed secretly without Japanese presence.


In response, Russia disputes Japan's arguments by putting forth the followings: The Kuril Islands were first discovered by Czarist Russia and are Russian territories acquired legally in accordance with the Yalta Agreement (February 1945), the Potsdam Declaration (July 1945) and the San Francisco Treaty (September 1951). Since the four islands belong to the Kuril Islands, the four islands are thus Russian territory.


In the Russia-Japan Moscow Common Declaration issued in November 1998, Russian President Yeltsin and Japanese Prime Minister Obuchi emphasized a "creative partnership matching to strategic and geopolitical interests". At the time, Russia and Japan agreed to cooperate vigorously in the joint development of the four islands. However, the residents of Sahalin province have 'threatened' the Russian government that if the four islands are transferred to Japan against their will, they will fight for their independence.


On the other hand, the US appears to be concerned about the fact that solving the issue of the four islands will mean the normalization of Russia-Japan relations, which will change into a honeymoon between the two countries and allow Japan to take a neutral course without being subject to US influence, and thereby compelling the US government to revise its Asian strategy.


In consideration of the above points, the return of the four islands to Japan will not be as easy as Japan hopes. It is necessary to watch the consolidation of collaboration (India may be included, as the case may be) in regard to the strategy of the encirclement of China, which is led by the US, Japan and Taiwan.


In particular, Japan took economic revenge against China for its exclusion from the bid for the construction of the high-speed rail from Beijing to Shanghai, i.e. implemented safeguard measures[3] against China, reacted strongly against Chinese demands to correct history-distorting Japanese textbooks, and has collaborated energetically with the US in its strategy for encircling China. Therefore, consolidating the US led encirclement of China means that Japanese military force enjoys more room for activities overseas and that the US secures a Chinese military deterrent against Japan.


 2. Diaoyudao


US-Japanese Defense Collaboration Guidelines included the Taiwan Strait in the peripheral sea area in September 1997. It implied that any dispute over the Diaoyudao dominium will develop into a military dispute between China, Taiwan and Japan.)[4]


Diaoyudao (Senkaku Islands) is 200 kilometers to the northeast of Taiwan, and 300 kilometers to the southwest of Okinawa, and is comprised of desert islands, five islands and three rocks. In accordance with the Shimonoseki Treaty (April 17, 1895) after the China-Japan War (August 1894 to March 1895), China transferred these islands to Japan and Japan incorporated them to the Okinawa Ken.


The reason why Japan argues that "Diaoyudao belongs to Japanese territory in terms of history and international law", is based on the fact that the United States occupied the islands during World War II and returned both Okinawa and Diaoyudao to Japan in 1972.


In contrast, China and Taiwan refute this reasoning on the grounds that "US occupation was void under international laws since it was territory invaded by military force." In response to Japan's arguments that it discovered the islands in 1884, Beijing argues that the islands were discovered first by China in 1534.


Chinese arguments over the Diaoyudao dominium got into stride when massive oil resources were found around the islands in 1988. In contrast, Japan has exercised its dominium over the Diaoyudao by occupying the islands and carrying out oil-drilling work around them.


A rightist organization called the 'Japanese Youth Society' constructed a guiding light on Diaoyudao, and dispute over the islands has been at issue again. China and Taiwan protest that the Japanese government is attempting to take the underseas resources around the islands by using this rightist organization's actions, and in effect are establishing a 200-mile economic zone.


However, Beijing and Tokyo avoid vigorous reaction to protect their of economic relations, especially as Chinese entry into the WTO requires Japanese support.


3. Dokdo


In accordance with the 'New Korea-Japan Fishery Pact' effective as of January 1999, Korea's exclusive right to the Dokdo Zone was abandoned; Dokdo is also located in the 'potential zone' managed jointly by Korea and Japan. In support of this, the Korean government approved Japanese 'common rights' to exercise the "right to recommend the preservation and management of marine product resources" and the "right to implement management measures." This was because the Korean government negotiated with Japan by setting Ulrungdo rather than Dokdo as the starting point. This means that the Korean government abandoned its right to exercise the above-cited exclusive rights to the Dokdo Zone.


In the future, we can expect that North Korea and the US, and North Korea and Japan will establish diplomatic relations. This will mean that a new US world strategy in regard to the Northeast Asia will well take shape, which will lead to a new balance of power in the region, and leave peripheral countries (especially the US) with a significantly reduced ability for military constraint.


IV. Conclusion


The purpose of this paper is twofold: (1) to observe the impact of the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 on the international order and the US, and (2) to analyze newly emerging disputes and some possible future disputes within the international order in the aspect of their background, characteristics and types.


Based on the previously described observation and analysis, the author predicts the three changes in the international political order will continue for the time being:


First, international political order will be led by a single superpower, the United States, until the true solidification of the EU is completed or until China establishes a consolidated presence in the international arena after completing its internal economic reform.


Second, economic issues will become increasingly important in international relations. Therefore, the future international political system will be led by 'low politics' related to economic issues, rather than by 'high politics' related to military and defense issues.


Third, globalization will accelerate at ever-faster rate. On the one hand, fiercer competition will be seen between regions, states and firms. On the other hand, it will become more important for the world as a community to collaborate to provide international public benefits, such as international order keeping and environmental protection.


Since the current international political order led by the US is less rigid than that of the Cold War period, new types of international disputes developing from suppressed national, tribal or religious conflicts will continue to rise. This type of international dispute is highly likely to spread increasingly into other areas until a tighter-textured new world order is established.


Economic security of nations will determine the state of national and global peace. During the Cold War, security factors had a dominant influence over economic considerations. The world after the Cold War has shown the triumph of consumerism everywhere. The world may witness a peculiar kind of economic war in the twenty-first century, where the forces are going to be international currencies and/or interest rates, stock exchanges and business conglomerates. A nation-state defeated in such an economic war may face total collapse.


Economic prosperity and globalization may increasingly make national boundaries redundant. But chances of war cannot be discounted, because economic crisis in a certain region may bring out the destructive forces of ethno-nationalism, religious obscurantism, etc.


In retrospect, it seems that peace and war have gone together in history. Peace is the outgrowth of war, as much as war is the outgrowth of peace. Forces of integration and disintegration will continue to be at work. In the process, many issues (regional or global) may occur, some being resolved and while others remain unresolved despite intervention. Transnational crime syndicates, nexus between the drugs traffickers, terrorists and weapons dealers will pose a very serious challenge to national as well as global peace.


The new century requires a new concept of “globalization” under which individual interest (value) is harmonized from social interest (value) and one country (culture) is mutually dependent upon another country (culture) under a generally acceptable set of Global Standards. This is the mission for many intellectual groups, e.g., the BWW Society and the Institute for the Advancement of Positive Global Solutions to derive such a set of Global Standards from homogeneous cultures for a peaceful and equitable Global Society.





1. Lim, Yang-Taek, Asia: Reflections on the Past and Challenges for the Future, Mail Daily Newspaper in Seoul, in January 1999.


2. Monthly Jung-ang, “Political Situation in the Northeast Asia and Korea, and Dokdo's uneasy future”, August 2001, pp. 200-209.


Dr. Lim is a frequent contributor to this journal and is tremendously active in seeking a lasting solution to the lingering threat to peace in his homeland. For related articles by Dr. Lim, refer to "A New Proposal for a Northeast Peace City on the Korean Peninsula" and "A New Proposal for Korea's Reunification." In August 2002 Dr. Lim became the first recipient of the BWW Society Global Solutions Prize, which was awarded to him at the 2002 International Congress in Saint Germain-en-Laye, France for his tireless efforts to achieve peace and security on the Korean peninsula.

1 The North Korea-USA common statement issued on June 11, 1993 is summarized as follows: First, both countries shall neither attack nor threaten each other by the use of force, including nuclear weapons (This means a conclusion of the North Korea-US peace treaty for normalizing relations.) Second, both countries shall recognize mutual self-independence without interfering in the internal affairs (This means that the US abandons its strategy for ruling the Korean peninsula). Third, the US supports peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula (This means that the US supports North Korea's reunification policy based on federation system).

2 Many wars broke out in the Europe. These include Trojan War (B.C. 1200), the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens (B.C. 431-404), the Gallia (presently France and northern Italy) War (B.C. 58-51), the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453), the Defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588), the Thirty Years' War between Catholics and Protestants over the Reformation (1618-1648), the First, Second and Third Wars between the Netherlands and England (1652-1654), the Napoleonic Wars (1800-1871), the Prussian-Austria War (1866), the Franco-Prussian War for German Unification (1870-1871), the First World War (1914-1918) and World War II. Each of these wars drove Europe into a blazing inferno. Going not that far back into European history, Europe is not a union but a blazing inferno, i.e. Blood Sea. As such, there is a proverb regarding a marital quarrel, "a European war broke out."

3 Japan suspended the import of Chinese sedge, green onions and shiitake mushrooms for six months. In retaliation for this, China imposed high duties on Japanese automobiles, air conditioners and cellular phones.

4 Lim Yang-Taek, Ibid, pp. 587588.


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