Freitag, 20. Dezember 2013

Interview: Prof. Charles A. Kupchan, Georgetown University

Charles A. Kupchan is Professor of International Affairs in the School of Foreign Service and Government Department at Georgetown University

You say that the global turn will bring to an end the era of Western dominance. Can the coming multipolar and politically diverse world pacify the geopolitical competition?

The ongoing diffusion of power and the onset of multipolarity are more likely to awaken than to tame geopolitical competition.  Multiple centers of power mean renewed competition for position and status.  Disagreement about the norms and rules that govern international relations will be another source of instability. However, competition and rivalry are by no means foreordained.  Institutional adaptation and the forging of a new consensus on the norms of global governance have the potential to facilitate a peaceful transition.

What new institutional frameworks and tools are needed to manage the expected transition peacefully?

The following measures can help facilitate peaceful transition.  1) Adapting international institutions so that they are more representative and legitimate.  Examples include expanding the G8 into the G20, and enlarging the UN Security Council. 2) Working toward a new set of international rules and norms that would represent a consensus between the Western democracies and emerging powers. 3) Building up the capacity of regional institutions – such as the Gulf Cooperation Council, the African Union, and ASEAN – to become more effective providers of regional stability and of public goods.

How do you assess the lack of unity among for instance BRIC members in both political and economic terms? Can the BRIC become a serious political organization of like-minded states?

The BRICS countries know what they do not want: a world dominated by the Western democracies.  But they do not share a common view of a desirable alternative.  The BRICS is a grouping of countries representing substantial geographic, cultural, and political diversity.  These countries are at different phases of development.  For these reasons, the BRICS are quite unlikely to emerge as a cohesive organization of like-minded states.  The coming world will consist of considerable political and ideological diversity.

Thank you very much.


Charles A. Kupchan was Director of European Affairs on the National Security Council during the first Clinton administration. Before joining the NSC, he worked in the US Department of State on the Policy Planning Staff. He was an Assistant Professor of Politics at Princeton University. His current book is “No One’s World”.

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