The obsession with changing world orders and premature assumptions that the world is in flux is endemic to the human character.
In this sense, we have never stopped being millenarian, hoping that somewhere along the line, the true order of things will stand before us, crystal clear and optimistic. Two significant events have and are taking place: the concluded US presidential elections, and the 18th Communist Party Congress in China. Several other states in the Northeast Asian region, notably South Korea and Japan, will also see transitions in their leaderships over the next six months. The urge is then to speculate if these might actually change the contours of power, if at all.
In 1991, US President George H.W. Bush spoke of a “New World Order,” buttressed by the nonsensical claims of Francis Fukuyama that history had ended with the triumph of liberal capitalism. With the end of the Cold War, the tedium of peace would set in, until the butcheries of Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia muddied the idyll. In 2000, it was again assumed that a world of peace would descend upon the earth, only for this vision to be marred a year later by acts of spectacular violence when planes flew into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. The language of fundamentalism and weapons proliferation replaced the language of hope, creating a new collection of concerned powers keen on preventing others from acquiring nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.