The global political environment of today is undergoing many great transformations that are projected to leave a lasting impact on known human history. The current Neoliberal unipolar world order was deemed to be the final stage of human social and political development as claimed by Francis Fukuyama. With the Cold War, a competition between the Neoliberal USA and communist USSR ending in favor of the former, an unending age of freedom and trade under a single superpower was prophesied by many a pundit.

However, as the start of the new millennium came with signs like the 1000 year Reich of the Nazis, the era of Unipolar Neoliberalism seemed too good to be true. Both unipolarity and Neoliberalism are facing threats that seem to signify the end of their dominance. The rise of China specifically in the economic sphere and the resurgence of Russia has started to push back the unipolar domination of the USA. USA’s recession due to economic ills, imperial overstretch and a growing hostile world is paving the way for new powers to emerge in its place. Though it still has many decades to go, the fate of American power seems to be sealed.

Neoliberalism, the end all of human government and sociocultural evolution is facing a new foe in ideological dimensions. This foe is called Orderism and ironically its center of gravity is none other than Russia, the seemingly vanquished foe of the old Cold War. First presented by Jochen Bittner in his New York Times piece “The New Ideology of the New Cold War”, Orderism is contended to be an authoritarian ideology based on the concept that liberal democracy and international law have failed and have created inequality and chaos instead. This premise seems to hold true as the wealth imbalance between the Global North and South as well as within Western societies indicate along with the ongoing wars and conflict that the West is embroiled in.

Orderism prioritizes stability over Neoliberal values though it still largely prefers democracy as the mode of selecting a government. It is contended that Orderism’s emphasis on local culture, economic security, local religion and the cult of a strongman helps it to be victorious in many liberal societies. Orderism is asserted to be the driving force behind Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Philippine’s Rodrigo “Rody” Roa Duterte. However, Orderism’s crowning achievement seems to be the triumph of Donald J. Trump in the recent American elections. In the opening days of this New Cold War, Orderism has taken over the capital of Western Neoliberalism leading to many Neoliberal philosophers to point towards Europe as the last hope for the Neoliberal world. However, this last hope seems to be besieged by Orderist forces in the guise of anti-immigrant, Islamophobic and in some cases anti-Russian groups which portend a rather bleak picture for global Neoliberalism.

In the backdrop of these global shifts lies the region known as the Greater Middle East. Consisting of contiguously connected countries stretching from Morocco in the west all the way to the western edge of China in the East, it has been embroiled in numerous conflicts many in which foreign powers have been engaged. Currently, it is the center of the West’s self-proclaimed “War on terror”, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Daesh campaign, the twin wars of Iraq & Syria, and the Kurdish insurgency among other vicious cycles of bloodshed.

The Neoliberal world order took a special interest in the Greater Middle East region. The regime of George W. Bush undertook a “US Greater Middle East Initiative” to democratize and modernize the region. This diverged from the initiative of the European Union who sought to modernize the region only with the cooperation of the local governments who felt threatened by the US’s campaign of forced democratization. In Obama’s time, the upheaval of the Arab Spring paved the way for the chaos of today to consume the region isolating pockets of stability.

In the age of Orderism, the woes of the region and its occupants seem determined to continue. Although Donald Trump, the President of the US has stated a mostly isolationist policy, he has specifically targeted the Greater Middle East region for intervention. Trump has vowed to carpet bomb Daesh which would lead to greater loss of life, murder the families of suspected militants, tear up the Iran-P5+1 Nuclear deal and increasingly side with Israel against global pressure despite its brutal occupation of Palestine. A resurgent Russia under Putin has intervened on the side of Bashar Al Assad by performing pitiless and savage bombardment of rebel-held territories. Erdogan’s Turkey has launched a massive assault in both Iraq and Syria against both Daesh and PKK-linked outfits.

It seems that Orderism is no different than Neoliberalism when it comes to intervention overseas. The ideology of Orderism itself is an assertion of the local identity and more often than not this identity is linked to the local dominant religion. In the US, Europe, and Russia the dominant religion is Christianity although they belong to various different sects. Much of the West’s narrative has been molded to portray Christianity to be opposed to Islam which is the dominant faith of the Middle East. That is why we see undercurrents of Islamophobia in all the Orderist movements of the West. The rise of Orderism has brought with it a significant rise in attacks on the Muslim population residing in the West.

In case of Turkey, a prominent Muslim nation, it falls upon them to set things right in the Middle East as well to assert the Turkish identity since they are seen as the protectors of the Muslim world, which has helped its offensive in the neighborhood. However, it can be asserted that mere identity politics would not be reasons to initiate wars but to sell them. Though the reasons for wars would be various: propping up a zone of influence, fighting militancy, takeover of resources, assisting allies, the rise of Orderism and particularly its component of political Islamophobia will help sell new and more savage wars in the Greater Middle East which consists of the bulk of the Muslim World.

Jawad Falak

Jawad Falak

is an M. Phil scholar in the discipline of International Relations at the NDU.

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