Has Qualitative Change in International Relations Happened or Not?

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Has Qualitative Change in International Relations Happened or Not? — Global Thinking on the Topic “Three Posts” of the Munich Security Conference


WANG Yusheng

“Post-Truth, Post-West, Post-Order” (hereinafter referred to as “Three Posts”) was the topic of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) held in February 2017.


Some comments of the West suggested that this topic reflected anxiety and introspection in old developed countries (especially among the sensitive elite class) over international situation and order and so-called “political correctness”.


It has been pointed out that in the new century, the quantitative change of the times is accelerating, and that the balance of international powers is undergoing historical changes. Nowadays the United States is like a withering flower, struggling to retain its beauty in spring. These opinions are realistic since changes always progress from quantity to quality.


International situation has greatly changed in the last year, which can be described as “riotous clouds sweeping past swiftly”, featuring “disorder”, “change” and “governance”.


Serious disorder entails “great change”. Change” always absolutely and ubiquitously exists. Last year, the change of the times seemed to reach a “critical point”. The black swan phenomena of Duterte and Trump were no accidental but rather indicated that the times were striding towards “qualitative change”. The BRICS leaders call for a fairer and more rational international political and economic order indicated that the order established by the US is failing. Apparently “great change” reflects characteristics of the times and basically concerns the general direction of the change in our times.


While “serious disorder” demands “great change”, “great change” also requires “strong governance”. Such is the law of social development. In the age of chaos and turbulence, people desire for good governance. They think about and explore new ways to get along with others in hope of building a world of security and harmony.


“Global governance” is a systematic project which requires top-level design from the perspectives of strategy and social development.


First, an explicit agreement, or at least acknowledgement, shall be reached on the “Three Posts” topic of the MSC. “Post-Truth” means that so-called “political correctness” in old developed countries is a pseudo-proposition. The values under the name of “political correctness” are absolutely not universally applicable. The implication of “Post-West” is self-evident. Although the G7 countries still have influence, they cannot arbitrarily deal with world affairs but have to consult with emerging economies such as the BRICS. As for “Post-Order”, if “order” refers to the order under the spirit of the UN Charter, it must be kept and maintained (and if necessary, developed and revised). However, if “order” refers to the distorted order (as George W. Bush once said, “The authority of the US is higher than that of the UN”), it must be abandoned. The Joint Statement of the first BRIC Summit in June 2009 clearly supported the central position of the UN in international affairs.


Second, a “prescription” made by the collective wisdoms give strategic guidance to “global governance”. In this respect, Hangzhou Consensus reached at the 2016 G20 Hangzhou Summit distinctly reflects the objective requirement of global governance. It proposed “work in the spirit of partnership to promote mutual help and win-win cooperation and follow the principle of joint consultation, extensive participation and shared benefits”, opposed to trade and investment protectionism and upheld inclusiveness and interconnection,


Third, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) reached an agreement in 2001 advocatingmutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultations, respect for cultural diversity and to seek common development”. It’s called “Shanghai Spirit” because of its birthplace Shanghai. The spirit belongs to both China and SCO. It not only conforms to the trend of the times but also provides a reference for “global governance”.


Last but not least, “Three Posts” and “global governance” need public goods and wisdom. China does not compete for the title of “world leader”, but is willing to cooperate with other countries by offering its wisdom and proposals. Currently what China presents are the concept of “Community of Common Destiny” and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

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