The bipolar and unipolar orders have gone, but core elements of the Cold War mentality and US domination are still influential. The transition to a more multipolar world has not strengthened international cooperation or multilateralism. Instead, everywhere there is a backlash against liberal globalisation, and supranational institutions appear to lack legitimacy. A global ‘culture war’ pits the liberal establishment of the West against the illiberal powers of Russia and China. Cultural exceptionalism is once again challenging, and arguably replacing, liberalism’s claim to universal validity. The powers that are re-defining themselves as state civilisations are on the rise in an era when the liberal world order is unravelling.
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