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The enigma of global power dynamics

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Global shifting power dynamic” refers to the changes and shifts happen in the distribution of influence and power among countries on a global scale. Shifting power dynamics identifies that power relations between states can vary at different times. Some factors involved in this shift are economic growth, political shifts, military capabilities, technological elevations, and shifts in alliances. Understanding the concepts of polarity and power politics is more complex and miscellaneous than it seems. Is Unipolarity is reversed back to bipolarity and multipolarity is a newly emerged debate around the globe which is constant after disintegration of the USSR after Cold War. There is a transition and alteration happening in the international system. The Evolution of global institutions, non-state actors, and other global trends and strategies which is termed as multiplexity now work slowly, but these changes comprehensively put affect on entire system on a global scale. The article is based on previous literature and analysis of previous debates over this topic. The study argues that the current global system of polarity is no more dominated by a single state. The rise of growing influence of countries regionally and globally such as China, Japan, Germany, India, North Korea, United Kingdom, France, and Russia are responsible for shaping the structure of today’s world.


Buzan, Barry. A British scholar,  2020. In The United States and the Great Powers defines unipolarity as a “global power structure where one state has significant power capabilities, including military, economic, and diplomatic resources.” He further emphasizes the hierarchical nature of unipolarity, in which the dominant state practice influence on the rest of the world. The word polar derives from the Latin polus and the Greek polos, which means “axis.” In international politics the term polarity is used to define (the center of power) the state who is dominating the world through soft and hard power. Before the starting of Cold War, the Multi-polar international system saw a breakdown. Which resulted in balance of power among two great powers in a way that none of them was strong enough to predominate the others, resulted in bipolarity, which made them the great rivalry of each other. The era of cold War is globally understood as an era of bipolarity where United States of America (USA) and a Eurasian power Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), commonly known as the Soviet Union, having conflict with each other seeking for global power and influence led the world towards uni polarity. The world became unipolar with the United States of America as a solo superpower after the disintegration of USSR. In a unipolar system, the hegemon’s power and influence extend across various regions, giving it the ability to set the agenda, establish norms, and exert its preferences on other states. While, states may align themselves with the hegemon to benefit from its protection or economic advantages, which is a suitable and reasonable. While on other hand, the hegemon’s dominance can create concerns about its intentions and potential abuse of power. Other states may seek to balance against the hegemon, forming counter alliances or coalitions.


The world experience all three of the polarity types in history the pre World wars era which is marked as multipolar era then the era of Cold War which is termed as era of two global powers and the post Cold War era which is globally known as unipolarity era with solo power. The history provides the historians and scholars the way to understand these complexive power dynamics.


When it comes to global power dynamics, there are numerous factors involved in these shifts. Analyzing these factors is important to understand the future of world politics, diplomatic interaction, and the power structure of the 21st century. Due to involvement of these factors the traditional ideas of power through sea or land are getting out of course every passing day. One of the bottom-line factors is the enhancement of economic capacity. The rise of any emerging economic state e.g., China and India today and their enthusiastic involvement in de-dollarization, led to disturbance in economic hegemony. And the rapid enlargement allowed them to challenge the hegemony of established powers. Countries that excel in Information technology, artificial intelligence and renewable energy fields can gain influence and leverage in the global arena and provide them a competitive edge on global stage. Good governance and political stability internally allows states to focus on external politics and most likely to project power, building strong diplomatic relationships and alliances and influence. The stability help states to work on the factors that led them towards development.


According to Kenneth Waltz, an international relations scholar who is an American political scientist, in his book “Theory of International Politics (1979)” (1) he argues that a bipolar world, characterized by two dominant powers, is more stable and suitable and less war prone for global order than the Unipolar and multipolar world. Waltz believed that when there are two powers they counterweight each other and create sense of equilibrium, reducing the chances of major conflicts, while others argue that bipolarity could also result in massive destructive counter strategies by both states against each other. Examples of proxy wars and guerilla warfare and emergence of non-state actors especially terrorist groups during the era of Cold War is an example of counter strategies. (2) Arguments comes in favor of unipolarity often feature the benefits of having a single dominant power. Proponents argue that a unipolar world can ensure stability, as the whole structure is under one power and the global power engage in unilateral actions. But the power imbalance and emergence of reignol powers also come on its peak during this time, just like now china is emerging as an upcoming economic power, India as both an economic and technological power, in the Asian religion. In addition, a unipolar system lacks the checks and balances that are present in a multipolar or bipolar world. The debate surrounding the pros and cons of unipolarity, bi polarity and multipolarity is complex and multifaceted. (3) Tri polarity and multipolarity is seemed as more suitable idea for balance of power among three or more global powers. Multipolarity creates a sphere of competition among all the powers, which on one side makes the states little easy about their power, while on the other hand, this compilation also creates a huge mess and rivalry behavior which results in huge arm race and destabilization of the rivalry and disturbance in region and globe.


The future of power dynamics on global scale is multifaceted and far-reaching, but the possible future which includes opportunities and nuances includes; (1)Rise in involvement of Non-state actors who influence and shape policy and relations of states in future while challenging the conventional state-centric approaches. The establishment of international institutions, globalization and emerging complexities in national, regional and international governance are some of the factors that contributed significantly towards enhancing the value of the NSA’s on the chessboard of world politics as noted by Josseline and Wallance (2001) in their article “Non-state actors in world politics.” (2) With emergence of Globalisation the world is also experiencing a trend of fragmentation and regionalization in form of reignol blocs which is resulting in shifting alliances, partnerships and new coalitions which creates opportunities while creating more uncertainty and power struggle.(3) Geo-economics, Geo-politics and Geo-technology and their intersection is creating new complexities for future to achieve political goals The 5GW and Hybrid warfare and it’s excessive use by different entities against each other is one of an important concern of global entities as it is a question of survival for both state and non-state actors while ensuring power shift. (4) Redistribution of global resources is one of a key impact of power shifting this Redistribution may result in increased competition, impacts on global trade and economy, Geo-political tensions, and impacts on global security and challanges to human rights and democratic or peace practices.


There are more chances of the world to be multipolar rather it’s better to call it multiplex but on other hand, there are also plenty of chances that the upcoming multipolarity Should encounter by the most powerful states and world again become bipolar, and this bipolarity once again results in unipolar world order In other words may be, the system of polarity  runs in a loop and the history repeats itself again and again.

Fatima Rasool

Fatima Rasool currently persuing bachelors degree in International relations from Lasbela University of Agriculture Water and Marine Sciences Uthal. Successfully completed internship at ISPR on Media and security and Ministry of foreign affairs in CARs and ECO division. participated in provencal round Balochistan of modelcci by in collaboration with HEC and Senate of Pakistan.

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