Possible Directions In Modernization Of A Unipolar International Relations System


The results of the unipolar world order implemented since the 90s of the XX century since the collapse of the USSR are disclosed. In this way the current model of the world order foretell a global reconstruction. In this regard the greatest danger of American hegemony is China. Thus China has changed its increased economic power into political influence in many states of Africa, Latin America, Mongolia and a number of others. Latin America is becoming another significant focus of resistance to the American-centered model of the world order nowadays. Thus the Mercosur countries have reduced dependence on trade with the United States by increasing intercontinental trade. A high degree of resistance to American hegemony by the international environment is given by traditional centers of anti-Americanism – Iran, North Korea and partly Belarus. Russia acts as a big pole of resistance to US domination having great potential in certain areas. In particular the territory of the Russian state is the most important factor potential for Russia to keep a leading position in the world. Natural resources can be taken as another criterion for determining the potential of a country. Evaluating resource potentials, Russia is the richest actor for advancing an independent new world alternative. Russia is most affected in the socio-economic and political factors. Unlike geographical factors these ones can be changed in a targeted way.

Keywords: Unipolar world orderbipolar systemrelations


Since 1991 the world economy has remained unipolar. The result of the monopolar world is a growing difference between the countries. Thus, since the collapse of the socialist alternative, there has widened the gap between the richest and poorest groups. In Guinea, every fifth child under five is underweight, in Madagascar - every third child. 15 years since the collapse of the USSR, the statistic of deaths per thousand children has grown in Zimbabwe by 38.2%, Swaziland - by 49.1%, Botswana - by 113.8% (HDR, 2013). The systems of provided education are greatly different in the different parts of the world. About 800 million people older than 15 are still illiterate, which is 18% of the adult population of the earth. In 76 states of the world there are no guarantees from the government for getting free primary education.

The gap in lifespan at the country level is growing. The gap between the first in the world Japan and Afghanistan which has the worst figure in this point is two-fold. One of the most significant, presenting a high level of conflict, potential in the world is the rise of immigrant phobia. Back in the 1980s there was no such problem on a planetary scale. The average level of immigrant phobia in the world was less than 5% of respondents pointing to the fundamental undesirability for themselves to live with immigrants. Currently, the share in the world’s population is already around 28%. Drug use as the most dangerous social vice of the world is in a growth trend. After the American invasion of Afghanistan, opium production increased almost 2.5 times compared to the baseline level (Sulakshin & Bagdasaryan, 2018).

Problem Statement

The theory of multipolarity has been developed in the works by Kissinger (2009, 2011), Brzezinski (2009), Waltz (1993, 2000), Huntington (1999, 1993), Kegley and Raymond (1994). During 2008–2010, the theory of networking of world politics gained great popularity in overseas humanities. Modelski and Slaughter can be considered as the most eminent figures of the concept of networking (as cited in Slaughter, 2012). The works by Bogaturov (2010, 2017), Sulakshin et al. (2012) and Ponomareva (2016) are devoted to the study of the modern model of international relations. Nowadays the questions of geopolitical theory and practice are covered by authors such as Panarin (2002), Gray (1990), Cohen (1975).

Research Questions

The research question implies the urgency of the world order changing problem. It is important, and it should differ from unipolar world. Analysis of possible alternatives to the existing world order model, research of the potential possibilities and the place of Russia in this world order model have the most significance.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the work is to study the important prerequisites for changing the world order and the world economy, as well as possible vectors of their development.

Research Methods

The presented research is based on the methodology of the general theory of systems and is performed using the following methods for studying complex social objects: synthesis, comparison, system analysis, analogy, the construction of evidence-based hypotheses, etc.


The fundamental principle was the axiomatic statement about the exceptional position of the United States and their messianic role in the world. A distinctive feature of the main theoretical models of the foreign policy of the United States is that from the very beginning it was offensive, and often expansionary. Together with the expansionism of the United States, there was a developing "complex of American supremacy" which increasingly resembled arrogance (Shakleina, 2002).

Practically all Cold War presidents exploited the idea of “American exclusivity” and a special US mission to spread their own ideals and values as the main ideological argument in the struggle against the Soviet threat. In the 90s of the XX century American political scientists developed several clear doctrines of demonstration and assertion of the dominant position of the United States in international relations. According to the concept of power hegemony (Brzezinski, 2009) the preference is given to the forceful nature of the tools to strengthen the leadership position of the United States in the world. Even the possibility of ignoring the interests of not only the partners, but also the closest allies of the United States is allowed. Thus, a kind of "evolutionary ladder" can be observed: from a leader acting through the use of tools of soft power through coercion, to the hegemon using the method of coercion. One of the manifestations of this policy was the series of "color revolutions" in the world. The first public mention of the democratization strategy was in the speech for supporting American leadership by US President B. Clinton during the annual message to Congress in 1994: “Of course, the best strategy for ensuring security and building a lasting peace is to support the spread of democracy throughout the world” (Shakleina, 2002, p. 67).

Meanwhile, over the past 20 years nothing has changed. Despite the fact that conflicts between States have been halved, the internal conflicts of the country are only increasing. There was no significant reduction in mortality as a result of military conflicts. In addition, the role of the UN and the importance of the principles created by them are weakening. The most important of these ones is the sovereignty of states – the basis of world politics.

The bipolar world order was based on parity between the USSR and the USA. After the collapse of the USSR, we can talk about maintaining parity between Russia and the United States, but this applies only to strategic weapon. A number of scientists call this situation residual bipolarity (Bolotin, 2001). The other seven countries (UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the DPRK) has nuclear weapons, but their reserves only allow the possibility of nuclear deterrence (Minakova, Parkhomchuk, Golovin, & Bukreeva, 2018a).

After the collapse of the USSR, the bipolar model of the world collapsed, and Russia's influence on the world stage decreased significantly. Despite the fact that Russia has tried to increase its ties, its influence in foreign countries is very small. At the same time, over the past 20 years, the United States has not only retained, but also is significantly increasing its military presence in the world.

The current model of the world order shows that global changes are inevitable. China is especially dangerous in this situation. For 15 years China has accumulated significant potential and resources. Its influence extends to Africa, Latin America, Mongolia, etc. As well, China does not allow American capital will appear in its sector economic. It maintains a clear policy of protectionism and advocated the reduction of the role of dollar on the world stage and the revision of the management rules and quotas in international financial institutions – the International Monetary Fund and the world Bank.

Latin America has a similar position. Since 2010, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Ecuador have switched to a virtual currency - Sucre. The MERCOSUR Customs Union was formed in 2010. MERCOSUR countries have significantly reduced their dependence on trade with the United States (up to 18% on average), increasing Intercontinental trade. The list of countries resisting the American hegemony also includes Iran, North Korea and partly Belarus. Regional integration blocs such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Shanghai cooperation organization (SCO) and CIS organizations (CSTO, etc.) are working there. Their main task is to develop alternative methods of conducting political and economic relations between countries.

Russia stands as a significant pole of resistance to US domination, having significant potential in certain spheres. In particular, the territory of the Russian state is the most important factor potential for Russia to take the leading positions in the world. As another criterion for determining the potential of a country, its natural resources can be taken. By this criterion, the potential position of Russia in the world turns out to be even more significant. Most often it is indicated that Russia possesses 22% of the total natural resources of the world. The Russian share in world reserves of raw materials is estimated by the following indicators: 12% oil, 32% gas, 11% coal, 31% potassium salts, 21% cobalt, 25% iron, 15% zinc, 10% lead, 33% nickel, 18.2% tungsten, 7.6% tin, 10 , 7% platinoids, 5.3% uranium, 8.2% antimony (Minakova, Parkhomchuk, Golovin, & Bukreeva, 2018b). The calculation of the financial value of the natural potentials of the countries of the world was carried out by the famous American Internet resource 247 Wall Street. The estimated resources included: oil, natural gas, coal, timber, gold, silver, copper, uranium, iron ore and phosphates. The calculations were based on statistics from the US Geological Survey, the US Energy Information Administration, Bloomberg and financial visualizations. A dozen of the most resource-powerful countries in the world were identified. The Russian Federation with an indicator of 24.4% (75.7 trillion dollars) took unconditional 1st place in this rating. Among countries that are on the second position in the ranking of the most resource-rich ones of the world is the United States - 14.5%. Thus, in the long term of the resource struggle in the world, Russia is winning over the United States. Therefore, to maintain its dominant position, the United States has to take steps that undermine resource potential of Russia. This is one of the main reasons for the increasing external pressure on our country. Evaluating resource potentials, it turns out that Russia is the richest actor for advancing an independent new world alternative. Being the second largest economy in the world and the first country in terms of population, China ranks only sixth in terms of natural resources. In terms of oil and gas reserves, China is not in the top ten countries. In this regard, China is vulnerable from the perspective of a long-term resource rivalry with the USA. Chinese resource potential yields to American by 2 times and Russian - by 3.3 times. Based on this resource strategy of China may consist either in intercepting Russian resources or in establishing an alliance with Russia. With a weak Russian Federation, China, of course, will be inclined to the first development of events. With a strong Russia, China will obviously choose an alliance strategy. The liberal model of the state prevents Russia from realizing its natural potentials at present. Preservation of this model in the Russian Federation is of interest to its geopolitical opponents, first of all for the USA, having the second most important resource potential in the world, but the first position on the effectiveness of its political implementation.

In 2012, the OECD published a report on the development of the world economy until 2060. Particularly noteworthy in it is the forecasting of the proportion of countries in the world in total world economic production. According to these forecasts, share of Russia in global GDP will decline. By 2060, this figure will be 2.3% (Johansson et al., 2012).

Another major factor in the development of the economic system is the intangible potential (“soft power”). As intangible assets, as a rule, civilizational and value accumulations of a country, its spiritual, scientific, educational, cultural resources are attributed. There are many examples where the country, having no significant natural potential, became one of the world leaders. As an example, Japan, with a certain resource deficit, is ranked third in world GDP. Consequently, in the Japanese version of economic development, non-material resources played a more significant role: high level of diligence and innovation. The great past of Russia indicates in this direction its enormous civilizational potentials. In the fullness of time, the Soviet Union put forward an ideology addressed to all of humanity: the word “communist” at a certain historical stage became actually to imply “pro-Russian”. Communist parties are being created all over the world, whose activities were actually governed from Moscow. From 1919 to 1943, the Third Communist International carried out the direct coordination of the work of the world communist parties. Its successor in the period from 1947 to 1956 was the Cominformbureau.

Under the Comintern, there were special educational institutions — the Lenin School, the Communist University of the National Minorities of the West, the Communist University of the Working People of the East, the Communist University of the Working People of China. The International Organization for Assistance to Revolutionaries (analogous to the Red Cross), the Red International Trade Union, the Peasant International, the Communist Youth International, the Anti-Imperialist League, etc. were structurally subordinated to the 3rd International organizations. From 1917 to 1960, the number of Communist Party members in the world increased 150 times. The “soft power” of the USSR could be assessed through the number of countries in the world that chose the Soviet model of organization of living arrangement and were oriented toward Moscow. These countries, in accordance with Soviet propaganda, were differentiated into socialist and socialist-oriented ones. As of 1985, they accounted for 37% of the territory, 40% of the population, 22% of GDP (Bolotin, 2001). Soviet experience shows that the potential of Russia for the advancement of the world value alternative exists.

There are various attempts to calculate the integral index of the geopolitical power of states. One of these calculations was undertaken by a group of Russian mathematicians modeling social processes (Chernavskij, Chernavskaya, Malkov, & Malkov, 2002; Vinokurov, Kovalev, Malineckij, Malkov, & Podkorytov, 2011). According to their model, the historical maximum of geopolitical power of Russia was reached by the mid-1970s. Russia in the Soviet period almost reached the level of the geopolitical power factor of 0.2. Historically, only the British Empire before the beginning of World War II and the United States, starting from the same period, had higher rates. But then the geopolitical might of the Soviet Union began to decline, and the United States - to increase. Since the beginning of the XXI century the place of the USSR in the struggle for global geopolitical leadership in the world was taken by China. In essence, the situation of the mid-1970s repeats. However, China alone will not be able to overthrow the US from the pedestal of world leadership. A repeat of the events with the Soviet challenge of American hegemony is most likely. Attempts to organize a colour revolution in the PRC are already a reality. The chances of China in the global struggle turn out to be even lower when the geopolitical power of the United States and its allies is summed up. A real challenge to the West can be made in restoring geopolitical power of Russia and summing up the Russian and Chinese potentials. A multi-parameter approach to assessing the aggregate geopolitical potentials of countries was proposed by Colonel Andreev (1999) and published in the journal “Observer”, the article "Weapons and war: new development trends".

The total power of the country was calculated according to 20 parameters, combined in four groups: geographical - advantageous geographical position, vast territory; favorable climate, convenient access to the ocean; availability of diverse natural resources; availability of energy resources; political - the ability to pursue an independent policy and form zones of geopolitical influence, the status of a permanent member of the UN Security Council, active participation in the activities of NATO and other military-political blocs; dominance in the work of world and regional political and financial-economic organizations; socio-economic - large human (labor) resources, a dynamically developing economy and the ability to form zones of economic influence, high levels of GNP, export of capital, life and education, developed economic infrastructure, accelerated development of priority technologies and fields of science; military - the presence of powerful and mobile armed forces, the possession of modern nuclear missiles, the presence of military groups and bases abroad; production of modern weapons and military equipment. The article was published in 1999 and reflected the realities of the world at that time. Russia was in the second position. However, its lag behind the United States was almost twofold. Lagging behind other leading countries of the world - Germany, China, France, Great Britain did not exceed 5 points. Over the past 15 years, the changes have affected mainly the rise of geopolitical potentials of China. By recalculating V.G. Andreev’s data, in relation to the situation of 2014, the figure of the total geopolitical power of the PRC would be 32 points. Changes in relation to Russia affected only one parameter - the ability to pursue an independent policy and form zones of geopolitical influence - plus 2 (a total of 31 points). In total, Russia and China have more geopolitical power than the United States according to these calculations. Fifteen years ago, the forces were equal, and their relationship changed as a result of the rise of the PRC. The rise of Russia, thus, would fundamentally change the geopolitical configuration of the world. How much is such an increase possible? The most significant contribution to the modern potentials of the Russian state is made by geographical factors – 48,3%. Russia is most affected in both socio-economic and political factors. Unlike geographic factors, these ones can be changed in a targeted way. Low rates of them are associated with their blocking the existing liberal model of the state. The rejection of the liberal model is supposed to lead to a fundamental increase in the corresponding factor potentials. The experience of the USSR indicates that such inversion will occur. According to Klein, the Soviet Union had 485 points in the index of the total power of states in 1978 compared to 304 points for the United States in second place. One of the calculated comparative integral indices is the National Composite Power Index. Here the data of the computer model “International Futures” (IFS) are taken as the basis for the assessments of potential countries. The model was developed by Professor Barry B. Hughes, Denver University and that is one of the most authoritative projects for predicting the future (as cited in Don, 2014). The following variables are taken into account by calculating a country's capacity index: GDP, defense expenditures, population size and technology. According to the received trends, the center of geopolitical power moves from the West to the East. By 2060, the United States will lose global leadership. They will be passed not only by China (this will happen in 2030), but also by India. Indonesia will make the rapid breakthroughs in the ranking - from 12th place to 4th one and Pakistan - from 19th to 7th one (Johansson et al., 2012). Having restored a civilization-identical life support system, Russia will reach the level of world leaders in terms of aggregate power. In this situation, the model of a unipolar world pattern is American-centric, or the Chinese-centric one can no longer be realized. The Russian factor will determine the transition from the country hierarchy to a system of country equality and dialogue.


Thus, the modern world is globalizing, rather, not in the sense of homogenizing the indicator of developed countries, but in the direction of their further stratification and inequality. The separation of world leaders from the rest of the world in terms of indicators reflecting the dynamics of the standard of living, quality of life, scientific and technological progress, has substantially increased after the elimination of the Soviet pole. It is logical to assume that in the near and medium term the struggle between the USA and China will intensify, and the pressure on the countries of the Arab world will increase. In the next 50 years, large countries of the East (China, India) and some countries of the Middle East (Pakistan, Iran) will most likely come together, although earlier it was believed that the contradictions between these countries were too strong. China and Turkey are likely to increase their presence and influence in the countries of Central Asia and compete in this field with the countries of the West. As for Russia, in case of abandonment of the liberal model, it can realistically claim to be one of the world leaders, given its factorial potential. There is a high probability that in the medium term, the activities and cooperation in the BRICS and SCO systems, which will gain more and more weight on the international stage, will be actualized, and other attempts will be made to create associations and unions of countries seeking to build their policies independently of the United States.


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Budnikova, A., Sentishcheva, E., Baskova, K., Parhomchuk, M., & Minakova*, I. (2019). Possible Directions In Modernization Of A Unipolar International Relations System. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 2261-2268). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.12.04.301