Explaining the Themes

A New World Order: The Fall of the Giants?

From the classic Peloponnesian war, the two World Wars, to the Cold War, great turbulence to the status quo has always been characterized by the rise and fall of empires. Now, nearly 2 decades into the 21st century, another chapter is unfolding as the multidimensional forces of globalization relentlessly reshape the world order as we know it. Emerging markets are playing a more visible role in the world stage while some core nations are disengaging. With the disruption in the balance of power, the “giants” of our time might be facing their imminent demise. Of course, this notion is disputable (notice the question mark in the conference’s theme). In fact, many experts insist that the rules of the lastest system are robust enough to avert the “fall of the giants”.

But if great powers are indeed declining, and there is mounting evidence to support that they are, according to realist scholars, we might have a legitimate reason to worry about the faith of the world. Realists have long theorized that confrontation, security competition, and even military conflict, between rising nations and a declining power are inevitable. The thesis rests on the premise that rising countries are predisposed to maximize their power projection, which will ultimately collide with the dominant powers’ efforts to resist unfavorable international changes. While the most dreadful conflict scenarios are are not here, yet, we have seen increasing clashes with lower stakes among nations. One potential point of contention is reform of the UN Security Council. Since the council’s establishment, the international community has repeatedly voiced concerns over the abuse of veto power by certain states. Such potent prerogative has been criticized as the embodiment of great power politics, a tool enabling the  “giants” to determine or sabotage international agendas. Several proposed reforms to the UNSC seem to advocate more rising nations to have a greater say in the council and to participate in equal footings with the current veto-wielding states. Most of these suggestions challenge veto powers in many ways and thus, convincing all of them to agree on any reform resolution would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, a struggle that is expected to occupy the debates in the General Assembly committee of MUN@TIU 2019.

There is another view reassures us that economic interdependence and free trade disincentivize countries to engage in warfare. If so, we still have legitimate concerns as the two biggest economies are at loggerheads and can’t seem to resolve their fundamentally different views. The fallout from the escalating US-China trade war can cause serious harm to the multilateral trade system and deteriorate diplomatic ties. Although the foundation of the dispute is the two countries’ imbalanced trade policies, many experts argue, at its core, the friction more about hegemonic competition between a rising and declining power. Retrenching international commitments and embracing protectionism, the US appears to be abandoning its leadership in global affairs. At the same time, recent Chinese ambitious investment projects have raised suspicion that the country is attempting to fill in the void, becoming the next hegemon as “the fall” of the US Empire will soon arrive. With contesting political ideologies, a Chinese-dominated system would definitely cause a major shift in world governance across geopolitical landscapes, essentially “ a new world order”. This notion carries significant implications to the settlement terms of the trade dispute, which will be debated in The World Trade Organization committee of MUN@TIU.

MUN@TIU seeks to tackle critical issues that have yet to be addressed sufficiently on the international level, thereby giving our delegates the opportunity to exercise their creativity in solving them. By introducing two topics representing the latent changes in international politics we encourage delegates to look beyond the surface, dive into multifaceted discussions, and discover pieces of the puzzle posed in MUN@TIU 2019’s theme.