In Search of Monsters — Multipolarity

Our unipolar moment may be remembered as the United States’ turn as “king of the hill,” two decades or so between the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rocket rise of China’s economy. What comes next is the open question. Multipolarity is the tentative answer we’re getting at the end of 2022, a spirit of “getting to know you” again, in a new light, as if for the first time.

Unipolarity is “my way or the highway” in practice. George W. Bush virtually spoke it on his way to war in Iraq in 2003. The nations of the world had to decide, he said: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Nearly twenty years later, the nations of the world seem drawn experimentally to multipolarity as an alternative: emphasis on listening, dispersion of power, peace as a victory. Joe Biden and Xi Jinping—off their collision course just a month ago—gave the world a fresh image of adversaries cordially relaxed at their beach resort in Bali, rejecting notions of imminent war over Taiwan. And China’s foreign ministry issued a crisp statement that could put multipolarity on a bumper-sticker; it said, “The world is big enough for the two countries to develop themselves and prosper together.” This radio hour is a multi-polar conversation, with views shaped in Brazil and India. It features Qi’s own Trita Parsi and Sarang Shidore, as well as Harvard Law professor Roberto Unger.

Listen to the full episode here:

Additionally, check out these related resources:

• “The unipolar moment is over. When will the US get it?” – QI Research Associate Samuel Gardner-Bird in Responsible Statecraft, November 15th, 2022.

• “Is America Ready for a Multipolar World?” – QI Online Event, November 14th, 2022.

• “Winning the Majority: A New U.S. Bargain with the Global South” – Quincy Brief from Director of Studies Sarang Shidore, November 10th, 2022.