The multipolar world. An interview with João Franco


Natella Speranskaya: The collapse of the Soviet Union meant the cancellation of the Yalta system of international relations and the triumph of the single hegemon - the United States, and as a consequence, transformation of the bipolar world order to the unipolar model. Nevertheless, some analysts are still talking about a possible return to the bipolar model. How do you feel about this hypothesis? Is there a likelihood of emergence of a power capable of challenging the global hegemon?


João Franco: I think it is very likely that a multi-polar system emerges in the next years. The weaknesses of the American society are showing day by day, and it can no longer be hidden that the liberal-capitalist system is not the panacea its propagators claimed for so many years. There are two powers that can pose a strategic challenge to America’s hegemony at the moment, and these are Russia and China. Unfortunately Europe, due to the illness of political correctness and masochism of its leadership is a dwarf in the international scene, and will never succeed whilst it maintains a subservient position regarding the United States, its major competitor for raw materials and fuels worldwide, items that Europe needs desperately for the survival of its economy.


Natella Speranskaya: Zbigniew Brzezinski openly admits that the U.S. is gradually losing its influence. Here it is possible to apply the concept of "imperial overstretch", introduced by renowned historian Paul Kennedy. Perhaps, America has faced that, what was previously experienced by the Soviet Union. How do you assess the current state of the U.S.?


João Franco: Brzezinski has made in some of his books a lucid and clear roadmap for the safekeeping of the American hegemonic position, especially in what concerns its relations with Russia, China and Europe, and the dispute over the rich natural resources of the new Republics of Central Asia. Moreover, by its status of former United States National Security Advisor and current membership of the Council on Foreign Relations, he is well aware of the weaknesses and strengths of the USA. The divisions within the American society are multiplying, in part due to the concept of melting pot and permissiveness towards immigration, that serves the interests of the patronage and capitalists whilst millions of American citizens are unemployed and many thousands homeless. The United States suffered major defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan, at a cost of thousands of lives and several trillions of dollars! The indebtedness of the USA is another major problem. American external debt is the biggest in the world and already reaches 95% of GDP, while public debt has surpassed 60% of GDP and counting. All this is accompanied by the loss of confidence in the dollar, nowadays nothing more than a volatile stock of the United States of America. I think there is some risk of implosion due to economical constraints, and let us not forget that was the economy that brought an end to the Soviet Union.


Natella Speranskaya: The loss of global influence of the U.S. means no more, no less, as the end of the unipolar world. But here the question arises as - to which model will happen the transition in the nearest future? On the one hand, we have all the prerequisites for the emergence of the multipolar world, on the other – we face the risk of encountering non-polarity, which would mean a real chaos.


João Franco: I don’t think there will be a risk of a real chaos worldwide, although such situation might emerge here and there. In fact the persistence of chaos is more likely to happen in regions where it already does, like the Middle East and sub-saharian Africa. There is a multitude of States emerging as powers, like Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil, India, South Korea or even Iran, besides traditional powers like Russia and China, that enables us to foresee a multi-polar world in the near future, and at least one of these powers has the strength to maintain the order at the international level.


Natella Speranskaya: The project of "counter-hegemony," developed by Cox, aims to expose the existing order in international relations and raise the rebellion against it. For this, Cox calls for the creation of counter-hegemonic bloc, which will include those political actors who reject the existing hegemony. The basis of the unipolar model imposed by the United States, is a liberal ideology. From this we can conclude that the basis of the multipolar model just the same has to be based on some ideology. Which ideology, in your opinion, can take replace the counter-hegemonic one, capable of uniting a number of political actors who do not agree with the hegemony of the West?


João Franco: Anyone reasonable who walks the streets of the major European cities, or works in a western public school sees clearly where liberalism brought us. Economically, liberalism encouraged exploitation of labor, importation of cheap manpower, delocalization of companies, concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, in the end unemployment and misery. Socially, liberalism is imposing free divorce, banalizing drugs consumption, promoting homosexual “marriages” and wreaking havoc upon the basic structure of societies, the family. Democracy has shown its flaws and its lack of capability to ensure people order and safety. Recently it is also demonstrating that cannot ensure prosperity and employment. Profligacy is not the base of prosperous and solid civilizations, it never was. Some kind of authority and discipline is needed, to assure a viable civilization being it based on an evolian aristocracy founded on hierarchy and traditionalism or some form of authoritarian regime.


Natella Speranskaya: If we project the multipolar model on the economic world map, then we’ll get the coexistence of multiple poles, and at the same time, will create a complete matrix for the emergence of a new economy - outside of Western capitalist discourse. In your opinion, is the concept of “autarky of big spaces”, suggested by List, applicable for this?


João Franco: The “autarky of big spaces” might play an important role in the preservation of world peace, preventing clashes between powers. We are undoubtedly entering the era of big spaces, of civilizations, following Samuel Huntington’s theses. Europe can be one of these big spaces, if it parts with the United States, by its nature a natural competitor and seeks one or several new partners. Besides we can think of the space of NAFTA, of the south American Mercosul, of Russia or Eurasia, of the Muslim world, and so on. The concept of autarky which was applied unsuccessfully or at high social costs to national states, might be employed with good results to vast civilizational spaces.


Natella Speranskaya: We are now on the verge of paradigmatic transition from the unipolar world order model to the multi-polar one, where the actors are no more nation-states, but entire civilizations. Recently in Russia was published a book "Theory of multipolar world," written by the Doctor of Political and Social Sciences, Professor Alexander Dugin. This book lays the theoretical foundation, basis, from which a new historical stage can start, and describes a number of changes both in the foreign policy of nation-states and in today's global economy, which involve a transition to the multipolar model. Of course, this also means the emergence of a new diplomatic language. Do you believe that multipolarity is the natural state of the world and that transition to the multipolar model is inevitable?


João Franco: In a growing complexity world, with over 190 countries, we must assume that global hegemony can’t last forever. I think it can be said that the process of multi-polarization is already taking place, with the strengthening of Russia and China, and the emergence of other powers like India, Brazil, Indonesia or Turkey. The American empire, in particular its economy is already falling back, and is a matter of time before it loses it’s hegemonic position. Moreover, we are assisting the emergence of several civilizational and supra-national powers. We just have to look to what Brazil is doing in South America, China is doing in the Far East of Confucian inspiration or Turkey is doing regarding the Turkish  culture republics of Central Asia. In history we assisted at different poles of culture and development co-existing throughout the globe, something that was deeply affected by the arrival of the modern means of transport and communication, and above all with globalization. The flaws of the capitalism based on speculation might help to produce a significant change in the international scenario, with the loss of influence of the United States and the consolidation of several new axis of power.