CSS Special 2023 Solved Essays | Unipolar, Bipolar or Multipolar: New Direction of the World
Ammar Hashmi, a Sir Syed Kazim Ali student, has attempted the CSS Special 2023 essay “Unipolar, Bipolar or Multipolar: New Direction of the World” on the given pattern, which Sir Syed Kazim Ali teaches his students. Sir Syed Kazim Ali has been Pakistan’s top English writing and CSS, PMS essay and precis coach with the highest success rate of his students. The essay is uploaded to help other competitive aspirants learn and practice essay writing techniques and patterns to qualify for the essay paper.
- ✓Although for decades, the world has seen the bipolar and then the unipolar system, in the contemporary world, both these systems have become obsolete and are now being replaced by a multipolar system because the multipolar system provides a new direction to the world in terms of political, economic, technological, and cultural domain.
2- Understanding the terms unipolar, bipolar, and multipolar
3- Historical context of unipolar, bipolar, and multipolar systems
4- What are the factors that are making the world multipolar?
5- How has a multipolar world provided a new direction to the world?
- ✓ Political front
- Reduced likelihood of hegemonic conflicts
- Proxy wars are during the Cold War era of bipolarity.
- Unilateral invasions and aggressions, as in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., during unipolarity
- A regional organization bringing regional stability
- European Union is the best example in this regard.
- Multipolarity helps in conflict resolution through diplomacy
- Iran-Saudi conflict resolution brokered by China
- Reduced likelihood of hegemonic conflicts
- ✓ Economic front
- Creating regional economic integration
- BRI, B3W, and IMEEC are such examples
- Benefitting the Low-and-Middle-income countries through trade and investment
- BRI provided Pakistan with much-needed FDI in various sectors
- Market opportunities and economic growth
- China being the manufacturing hub, opened new economic horizons
- Reduced economic coercion
- Evident from the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal)
- A helping hand during extreme economic meltdown
- IFIs including IMF, WB, ADB, etc.
- Creating regional economic integration
- ✓ Technological front
- Sprawl of technology throughout the world instead of limitation
- The decision of the US to provide Australia Nuclear powered submarines as a historic technology transfer deal in the last 75 years by the US under the umbrella of AUKUS
- Competition reaping benefits for consumers
- The automobile hegemony of the West was challenged by Chinese and Korean players.
- Tussles between Samsung and Apple compelled both to create superior products, ultimately benefitting consumers.
- Opening doors for researchers from across the globe and joint projects.
- The International Space Station (ISS) is the best example of a joint venture.
- Increased investments in innovation and technology development
- Artificial intelligence and 5G technology are the leading examples.
- Sprawl of technology throughout the world instead of limitation
- ✓ Cultural front
- Preservation of cultural heritage sites
- The Great Wall of China
- Indus Valley civilization of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa
- Cultural exchange and global tourism exerting soft power
- According to UNWTO, international tourists reaching 1.4 billion in 2018, with Spain, as an epicentre of cultural heritage, receiving above 80 million tourists
- Global events and festivals leading to showcasing one’s culture in front of the world
- The London Olympics of 2012 showcased British culture
- FIFA World Cup 2022 showcasing Qatar’s Culture and traditions
- Cricket World Cup 2023 showcasing India’s culture
- Promotion of cultural diplomacy
- The presence of the British Council in more than 100 countries promoting British education and enhancing international relationship
- Preservation of cultural heritage sites
6- How unipolar and bipolar systems are no longer relevant in the contemporary world?
- Inadequacy in addressing transnational threats
- Paradigm shifts in the economic and trade dynamics
- Changing dynamics of military power
- Rise of regional power centres
7- Critical Analysis
In every era, the world has remained dominated by some announced or unannounced world orders. These world orders manoeuvre the states around the globe and regulate global politics and the global economy. However, historians and researchers have created three central systems to define the world order. These are unipolar, bipolar, and multipolar world orders, and the world has witnessed all these in the last 100 years. Undoubtedly, every system has its drawbacks as well as its advantages, but after critically dissecting all these, the multipolar system is the one that gives a new direction to the world. In terms of the political domain, the multipolar system reduces the likelihood of hegemonic wars and helps resolve conflicts through diplomacy, as evidenced by the historic Saudi-Iran conflict resolution. On the economic front, multipolarity is boosting regional economic integration and is assisting the low-and-middle-income countries to grow their share in international trade and attract the much-needed FDI. On the technological front, the sprawl of technology across the globe and increased investments in emerging technologies and their research are also due to multipolarity. Additionally, on the cultural front, preservation of cultural heritage sites, promotion of global tourism, and cultural diplomacy are the results of multipolarity. To sum up, the world is rapidly moving from unipolarity to multipolarity and multipolarity, providing a new direction to the world; it is pertinent for countries to reap the benefits of changing world order by aligning with those countries who have a long-term plan in this regard. This essay explains how multipolarity provides a new direction to the world in the economic, political, technological, and cultural domains and states how unipolar and bipolar systems are no longer relevant in the contemporary world.
Unipolar, as the name describes, is a single hegemon in the world that makes all the global policies and manoeuvres the world according to its aspirations. Its best example is the United States after the end of the Cold War with the disintegration of the USSR in 1991. Second, a bipolar system is one in which the world is divided into poles, and almost every country supports one of them. Its best example lies in the period of the Cold War started after the conclusion of World War 2 in 1945. Third, a multipolar system is one in which the power of say in global affairs is held by multiple states. The world before and after World War 1 was multipolar, with power divided among various states across the globe.
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In terms of historical context, the pre-WW1 era and the post-WW1 time are labelled as the era of multipolarity, with power divided among European countries, USA, USSR, Japan, etc. But, after the conclusion of WW2, the multipolar system shifted into a bipolar system with the USA and USSR standing at the opposite poles. With this development on the global stage, the next 45 years are labelled as the era of the Cold War. In these years, both the global hegemons fought various proxy wars, and at one point, they almost went to a full-scale war, i.e., after the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. The era of the Cold War is known as the era of the bipolar world. After the disintegration of the USSR in 1991, the bipolar system came to an end and ushered in the form of the US emerging as a sole hegemon and a unipolar power. Since then, the US enjoyed the status of being the sole hegemon, and he used his powers to show aggression against various states like Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. But, in the contemporary world, the unipolarity of the US is being challenged by various emerging powers like the resurgent Russia, proactive China, assertive India, and a unified GCC. Moreover, due to these rising powers, the unipolarity is on the verge of being shifted to multipolarity, with China and the GCC countries playing an active role in global politics and successful conflict resolution.
Irrespective of these emerging powers, there are various other factors that are actively responsible for taking the world towards a multipolar system. The first among these factors is the transnational threats faced by various states across the globe. These threats include climate change, terrorism, and pandemics which require a coordinated international approach, due to which multipolarity is the way to go. Second, modern economics and changing trade dynamics around the globe are now not limited to one or two countries. Thus, multipolarity is the way forward. Third, the shift in military power across the globe is evident and overpowered by technological advancements due to which the military power is no longer centralized in one or two countries. Last but not significant, the rise of regional powers and organizations like the European Union, ASEAN, SAARC, etc., has gained significant importance in resolving the looming regional issues. Thus, proving the stance that the world is moving towards multipolarity.
In terms of the political domain, a multipolar world provides a new direction to the world as it reduces the likelihood of hegemonic conflicts. As there will not be a single hegemon, thus, it will curb the aggressive aims of some states, as evident from the era of bipolarity when the US and USSR were deeply involved in proxy wars against each other. Also, after the conclusion of the Cold War, the US rose as a sole hegemon and undertook unilateral invasions in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., showing the instability in global politics during the unipolar system. Thus, the multipolar system reduces the chances of hegemonic wars and is the most stable among the three systems.
Moreover, multipolarity gives birth to regional organizations like the EU, SAARC, GCC, etc. These organizations have the capability of transforming the entire region. Due to the unity of the states on economic as well as political fronts, they undergo inclusive policy-making to overcome the menace of political instability across the countries. In this regard, the EU is the best example that has achieved political stability through the creation of a unified parliament. Thus, for political stability in different regions, multipolarity provides a new direction.
In addition, a multipolar system ensures the resolution of conflicts through diplomacy. As there are more than two stakeholders in a multipolar world, and the conflicts between two states can significantly impact their political and economic interests. Thus, to safeguard their wider interests, various prominent states as well as the regional organizations tend to end conflicts between the two sides. This is evident from the diplomatic resolution of the long-standing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, brokered by China, proving that multipolarity can help resolve conflicts without armed struggle through diplomacy.
Furthermore, on the economic front, multipolarity enables states to foster economic integration with each other. This enables both developing as well as developed countries to work closely and overcome their economic challenges. BRI, B3W, and now the IMEEC are the best examples of economic integration. Also, organizations like BRICS have been expanding their economic connectivity by trading with each other in their local currencies, thus, countering the dollar as a sole hegemon in international trade.
Moreover, multipolarity benefits not only the developed countries but also the low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) through direct trade, transit trade fees, and foreign direct investments. The best example in this regard is CPEC (a premium project under BRI). It brought much-needed FDI for Pakistan, pulling it out of its economic crisis. Also, Pakistan earns billions through the Afghan transit trade. Thus, multipolarity is the key to economic development, especially in LMICs.
Additionally, multipolarity offers market opportunities for economic growth. In a unipolar or bipolar world, there are fewer markets for both buyers and sellers or manufacturers. The major reason is the control of hegemons over the global markets. But, in a multipolar world, there are diverse marketplaces which provide significant economic opportunities. China is the best example in this regard that broke the monopoly of American products in the global markets. Now, India has also joined the race of manufacturing, further challenging the monopolies in the marketplaces. Thus, providing better and cheaper alternatives to the consumers and diversifying their available choices.
In addition, in a multipolar system, it is almost impossible to exert economic coercion on any country unilaterally as in a unipolar or a bipolar world. The US did so during its period of unipolarity by imposing financial restrictions on various countries. But, in the contemporary multipolar world, no country, not even the US, can do so. This is evident from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (or Iran nuclear deal) when the US aimed at financial sanctions but couldn’t do so due to international pressure of the multipolar world. Thus, a multipolar world can protect countries from economic coercion by powerful rival states.
Also, in a multipolar world, various international financial organizations contribute to pulling a country out of the menace of extreme economic meltdown. These include IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, etc. These institutes provide a helping hand to developing countries with extreme economic problems like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc. They inject the much-needed foreign exchange that helps these countries to avoid a sovereign default. However, in a bipolar or unipolar world, financially strong countries leverage the funds based on their political motives. Thus, for economic stability, a multipolar world is the go-to place.
Furthermore, in the technological domain, multipolarity helps in the sprawl of technology across the globe. However, unipolarity and bipolarity restrict the technology-sharing mechanism to maintain their hegemony over the world. The technology sharing is evident from the decision of the US to provide multiple nuclear-powered submarines to Australia as a historic technology transfer deal in the last 75 years by the US under the umbrella of AUKUS. Thus, to secure political or economic interests, a multipolar world boosts technology sharing among states.
Moreover, as the multipolar world opens new marketplaces, the competition among the brands also increases significantly. This is evident from the tussle between Samsung and Apple as both try to overpower each other in the tech race. Also, the Chinese and Korean automobile makers are giving a tough time to Western manufacturers. This competition reaps benefits for the consumers as every brand tries to gain more and more customers, providing discounts and various lucrative offers to the customers. Thus, multipolarity enables customers to get access to superior products with cheaper prices as monopolies get a hit.
Additionally, multipolarity compels the countries to open doors for researchers from across the globe and undergo joint projects. This is also a way of technology sharing among the states and enhancing cooperation with each other. In this regard, the International Space Station (ISS) is the best example of a joint venture of various countries. Thus, multipolarity can boost tech education and its implementation in the contemporary world.
Also, the multipolar world promotes increased investments in innovation and technology development. As every other thing in the contemporary world is getting overly dependent on technology, the need for technology is ever high, especially the modern technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G internet technology. Thus, in a multipolar world, every other country will try to boost its situation of technology to stay relevant in the highly globalized world.
Moreover, in the cultural domain, a multipolar world promotes the preservation of cultural heritage sites across the globe. Unlike the unipolar or bipolar world in which the hegemons want to preserve their culture and destroy others, a multipolar system enables every community and state to safeguard the essence of diminishing cultures. Some significant examples include the Great Wall of China, the pyramids of Egypt, and the Indus Valley civilization of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa in Pakistan. Thus, multipolarity promotes cultural inclusivity across the globe.
Furthermore, multipolarity promotes cultural exchange programs and global tourism exerting. These, in turn, promote the cultures and enable people to co-exist with those unlike them. Also, this is a way of exerting soft power in a multipolar world. According to UNWTO, international tourists reached 1.4 billion in 2018, with Spain, as an epicentre of cultural heritage, receiving above 80 million tourists. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also on a similar path by boosting tourism. Thus, multipolarity boosts cultural exchanges, which significantly alter the international outlook of the states around the globe.
In addition, global events, a result of multipolarity, showcase the host’s culture as well as traditions in front of the world. This also helps in the promotion of a soft image of the country. It is evident from various instances like the London Olympics of 2012, which showcased British culture, the FIFA world cup 2022, which showcased Qatar’s culture and traditions, and now the Cricket World Cup 2023, which showcased India’s culture. Thus, multipolarity provides a new direction to the cultures across the globe.
Also, multipolarity promotes cultural diplomacy across the globe. Unlike the unipolar and bipolar hegemons, which don’t allow any other culture to dominate theirs, a multipolar world provides space for every culture to present itself and let cultural diplomacy work. In this regard, the British Council is present in more than 100 countries, promoting British education and enhancing international relationships with those countries. Thus, multipolarity fosters cultural diplomacy among states regardless of other differences.
On the other hand, there are various factors that show how unipolar and bipolar systems are no longer relevant in the contemporary world. First, the world is facing multiple transnational threats like terrorism, climate change, and pandemics. With one of two global hegemons, it is impossible to deal with their menace. The whole world has been fighting terrorism for the past 23 years, but still, it hasn’t succeeded in curtailing it fully. Thus, it shows that unipolar and bipolar systems are insufficient for the contemporary world.
Second, as the world is becoming highly globalized, it is undergoing paradigm shifts in economic activity and trade dynamics. Now, economic power and international trade are not centralized in only one or two countries; rather, it is now spread across various countries like the US, China, India, etc. Thus, this economic decentralization shows that unipolar and bipolar systems are unable to perform in the current era.
Third, along with other aspects, the military power dynamics are also changing rapidly. With the advancements in technology, every other country is producing its own weapons after extensive research. In this aspect, too, the military power has gone beyond the control of one or two countries representing that unipolar and bipolar system has become obsolete nowadays.
Last, with the rise of regional powers and organizations like the European Union, ASEAN, SAARC, and BRICS, the global hegemony of a few states is diminishing as most of the regional conflicts are now being settled at the regional level through these organizations. Also, these organizations are uniting the regions not only politically but also economically. Thus, making the unipolar and bipolar systems irrelevant in today’s world.
After an insightful investigation, it is clear that multipolarity is the only system that gives a new direction to the world. With the completion of the transition from a unipolar system to a multipolar system, the world would notice significant positive impacts in almost all aspects. However, the world should be ready to overcome the challenges posed by a multipolar world. Moreover, all the stakeholders should pay heed to constructive work in terms of economy and global politics to avoid the eruption of another World War or any other global conflict, as both World Wars have taken place during a multipolar system.
In short, the multipolar system overpowers the unipolar as well as the bipolar system in almost all aspects. For example, in the political domain, it reduces the probability of hegemonic wars and helps in the resolution of conflicts through diplomacy. Moreover, on the economic front, it creates regional economic integration and reduces the chances of unilateral economic coercion. Furthermore, in the technological domain, the sprawl of technology and increased investments in emerging technologies and joint ventures is a result of multipolarity. Additionally, in the cultural domain, the preservation of cultural heritage sites and the exertion of soft power through cultural tourism is made possible due to multipolarity. As with every passing day, the world is heading towards the completion of the transition from a unipolar to a multipolar world. Thus, the major stakeholders in global policymaking should utilize this opportunity in a positive manner to reap the maximum benefits of it in all aspects. By paying heed to such inevitable international issues with urgency, the world can undergo lasting stability in all aspects with multipolarity.
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