The Authoritarian Challenge in
the new context
of Great Power Politics
New Trends in Geopolitics of the XXI
A conversation with Azar Gat,
Professor at National Security at Tel Aviv University,
editor of Gurusonline.tv, December 2007
Article at Foreign Affairs Magazine (July/August edition): 'The Return of Authoritarian Great Powers'
Selected books by Azar Gat:
'War in Human Civilizations' (Oxford University Press, 2006) - named one of the best books of 2006 by the Times literary supplement (TLS)
'A History of Military Thought: From the Enlightenment to the Cold War' (Oxford University Press, 2001)
48, professor at Tel Aviv, specialist in military thought
and history, wrote a seminal article at Foreign Affairs
about the new world 'design' after the (re)emergence
of the new great powers of Orient and Eurasia. He coins
a new concept: the new 'Second World', the emergent
powers with non democratic regimes. The leaders, China
and Russia, although not a "front" or a "bloc",
counts for 14% of the world wealth (recent figures for
2007 from IMF. World Economic Outlook). China by itself
contributed nearly 27 per cent to global growth in 2007
- it's the true economic engine nowadays.
Do you think this emergence of a "new second
world" of big authoritarian capitalist powers will
have important impact in the growth of world rivalry
between great powers?
I think this is very likely.
Do you think this emergence can have a huge impact
in the commodity markets like oil and gas and eventually
contribute for growth of "resource wars" from
either the supply or the demand side?
Can we talk also of a "third ring" of
totalitarian or authoritarian capitalist regional and
medium powers (I am thinking of Iran, Venezuela, others
to come on the radar) that inspired by the "new
second world" emergence can work as "second
hands" or even by its own in the growth of turbulence
and War risks?
The liberal hegemony is seen in many parts of the world
as alien and oppressive, and may be dropped if there
is an alternative that emphasizes, traditional values,
particularism and paternalistic order.
About the other two democratic BRICs - India and
Brazil (7.5 per cent of the world wealth) - as you mentioned,
referring India, it will be critical that they remain
democratic. How you "classify" those two regarding
the First World and the new authoritarian Second world?
The new 'Second World' means developed economies that
are not democratic. Neither China nor India are developed
yet (nor is Russia in its present state), but the take
off and rapid development of both economies suggest
that China (and maybe Russia) can become a developed
economy within a generation while remaining authoritarian/totalitarian.
Whereas India, if developing and remaining democratic,
may join the 'First World'. Brazil is in this respect
in the same category as India, but it still has to prove
that its growth is not a function of commodity prices
alone but can be based on a more advanced economy.
Can we consider as a third ring linked with the
authoritarian capitalist great powers, the autocratic
or theocratic medium powers of the petrodollar world
that have a huge portion of the world liquidity nowadays,
with a high percentage of dollar foreign holds (as revealed
recently by McKinsey Global Institute)?
The oil producing states are a special category (as
they have always been) which is neither 'developed'
nor 'developing'. Some of them are rich without being
truly developed (yet), in the sense of having developed
social and economic infrastructure. So long as oil prices
are high they hold a position of strength (as in the
past), and, yes, some of them - the theocratic and authoritarian
- may form alliances with the authoritarian-capitalist
powers, as you say.
© Gurusonline.tv, Jorge Nascimento