‘Non-Global’ Globalization. New Features of Political Globalization

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- Ilyin, Ilya V. - подписаться на статьи автора
- Leonova, Olga G. - подписаться на статьи автора
Журнал: Journal of Globalization Studies. Volume 13, Number 1 / May 2022 - подписаться на статьи журнала

DOI: https://doi.org/10.30884/jogs/2022.01.02

The authors put forward a hypothesis that starting from the second half of the twentieth century to the early twenty-first century globalization has been passing through successive phases. They are juvenility of globalization, hyperglobalization, deglobalization and new implementation of globalization in the form of digital globalization. The analysis of these phases of globalization shows that it has a wave character: the first phase – the emergence of globalization, the second phase – its highest point of development, the third phase – the period of decline. The fourth phase is a new ‘take-off’ and a breakthrough of globalization to a new developmental level. The article focuses on the characteristic features of the current ‘deglobalization’ phase in political sphere, which includes threats to the global order; the rise of China; the decline of the United States as a global leader; Donald Trump's inadequate actions in foreign policy; competition between the United States and China and a rollback to a bipolar system; changing configuration of the global political space; revival of bilateralism; and the erosion of globalization and increasing signs of deglobalization. However, this does not mean the collapse of globalization. This phase of globalization is a transit from hyperglobalization to a new era.

Keywords: globalization, phases, features, hyperglobalization, deglobalization, unipolarity, bipolarity.

Ilya V. Ilyin, Lomonosov Moscow State University more

Olga G. Leonova, Lomonosov Moscow State University more

Introduction. The Problem of Periodization of the Current Stage of Globalization

The task of periodization of the development of political globalization is quite relevant since it helps to understand the essence of the phenomenon of globalization in general, and its political aspect in particular. Concerning the political globalization process there are several most significant points of view.

The attempt to produce a possible approach to global history through the idea of distinct phases of globalization was developed by Antony G. Hopkins and Christopher A. Bayly. They based their analysis on the suggestive and heuristic approach and identified four phases of globalization: archaic, proto-modern, modern and post-colonial (Bayly 2002: 47–73; Hopkins 2002: 1–10).

Earlier, Roland Robertson created the periodization of globalization and divided it into four phases up to 1992 (namely, the Incipient globalization of the 1750–1870s; the Take-off into global society in the 1870s–1920; the Struggle for hegemony in the 1920s–60s; the Uncertainty phase in the 1970s–2000) (Robertson 1992: 58–60).

Then Robert J. Holton added one more phase to this periodization – ‘the Millennial phase’ (‘the period 2001 – present time. Ushered in by 11th of September. New fundamentalist conflicts. State focus on security. Cultural pessimism’) (Holton 2005: 57–60).

Alexander N. Chumakov identifies the following stages: the first symptoms of globalization, the beginning of real globalization, fundamental globalization, the beginning of the space age and multidimensional globalization, which began in the 1970s and continues today (Chumakov 2005: 182–285).

Leonid Grinin suggests the periodization of the globalization process on the basis of ‘Expanding Spatial Links and Phases of the Afroeurasian World System’ (Grinin 2017). Exploring ‘the growth of globalization level in historical process’, he describes ‘the Planetary links’ which are formed during the period from the last third of the twentieth century to the mid-twenty-first century’ (Grinin 2017: 99). He characterizes this phase of the development of globalization (‘Phases of development of the Afroeurasian world-system’) as ‘subsequent phases: mature and integrated World System’ (Ibid.: 102).

However, there is not yet a detailed description of the current phase of globalization, which would take into account the change in its character in the last decade.

Globalization has a multidimensional character. Its components are economic, political, socio-cultural, environmental, and other aspects (Leonova 2018). There are a lot of works describing the features of economic globalization of the twenty-first century. Nevertheless, a comprehensive analysis of the process of political globalization at the present stage of its development is not yet available. So the purpose of the present article is to determine features and characteristics of the current stage of political globalization with a focus on the events of the recent decade.

We believe that the current stage of globalization started after the Second World War, when the movement of capital and technology, labor, ideas and culture ceased to be sporadic and became a constant phenomenon along with the started formation of the global economy.

The current stage of globalization can be divided into the following phases. The first phase is ‘youth’ or ‘juvenility’ of modern globalization. This period covers the Cold War period and formation of a bipolar system. The second phase – hyperglobalization – marked the formation of a monopolar system and the US hegemony. The third phase (today) is the process of deglobalization. This is the period when a monopolar system coexists with emerging bipolarity. And the fourth (future) phase will probably be the stage of a new ‘incarnation’ of globalization that will probably have the digitalization of global economic, socio-cultural and political processes as its dominant characteristic. It is gradually emerging today.

Table 1


The essence (the name of the phase)

Period of time

Phase 1

Juvenility of Globalization

The cold war and Bypolar System

Phase 2


Unipolar moment

(Short-term period)

Phase 3


The period between Unipolar moment and New Bypolarity

New phase 4

New Incarnation of Globalization

Digital Globalization

From Hyperglobalization to Deglobalization. From a Bypolar System through a Unipolar Moment and to a New Bypolarity Again

With the end of the Cold War, humanity has entered a new era. It was the end of the bipolar world with fierce competition between the two leading powers: the United States and the USSR. The novelty of this era was in the formation, first, of a new world order; secondly, in the transition to a new phase of globalization. The period of transition of the international economy to a new quality – the global economy also started. The United States – the leader of the global world – became its main engine.

Thus, gradually, a model of a unipolar world began to take shape.

The relatively short period of unipolarity coincides with the period of a rapid development of economic globalization which gave reasons to call this period ‘the period of hyperglobalization.’ Basing on data from the McKinsey Global Institute (UNCTAD, IMF), Neil Irwin argues that this ‘period of sharply rising globalization’ took several years – from the mid-1990s to the global financial and economic crisis of 2008 (Irwin 2018). It was a period of a complete triumph for the United States as a global leader. The US National Defense Strategy says, ‘the United States has enjoyed uncontested or dominant superiority in every operating domain.’ And they add that, ‘we could generally deploy our forces when we wanted, assemble them where we wanted, and operate how we wanted’ (Summary 2018).

Such globalization was mainly associated with globalization of economy and this gave its positive results (Kotkin 2018). It was during this period that new investments appeared, new technologies spread, new urban centers (so-called ‘global cities’) emerge, economic activity increased, the scale of the world economy expanded.

However, the global financial and economic crisis in 2008 quite unexpectedly put an end to all this. It turned out that hyperglobalization has its negative economic and social consequences, the price of success was too high, and both the developing countries as well as the developed ones (the leading global actors) have felt the costs of globalization.

Thus, the ‘era’ of unipolarity, if we consider it in the context of the entire history of globalization, turned out to be very short, and soon the trends towards fragmentation of the global world began to appear clearly. Now politicians and experts speak about the process of erosion of globalization and its retreating. They even diagnose the phenomenon of deglobalization. The ‘global village’ has broken up into separate fragments, and the period of euphoria about the rapid pace of globalization has given way to disappointment in its results. This gave Allison Graham reason to state that ‘the end of the Cold War produced a unipolar moment, not a unipolar era’ (Allison 2018).

Political globalization has always lagged far behind the economic globalization and the processes of formation of global economy. The political aspect of globalization was less defined, but the process was gradually progressing. There was a lag in political integration and the expectation of the unification of countries into a global confederation under the auspices of the United States did not justify itself (Ibid.).

A number of political events: the bombing of Belgrade in 1999, the American invasion of Iraq and execution of Saddam Hussein, the events of the Arab Spring, the overthrow of Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi and the bombing of Libya by the US planes struck the blow on the very idea of globalization. The idea of a ‘global village’ has failed.

The economic and political costs of globalization turned out to be too high while the benefits went hand in hand with the maximization of its costs and its growing contradictions.

‘Western elites concentrated on harvesting benefits from globalization rather than minimizing its costs, and as a result, they turbocharged the process and exacerbated its divisive consequences’ (Kotkin 2018). As a result, the reverse process began – the process of deglobalization. However, this does not mean that globalization has come to an end. This was the reaction of the world community to the negative economic and political results of hyperglobalization (Irwin 2018).

There is a growing trend towards the autonomy of national economies, and deglobalization is considered today to be a cure (the antidote) for the excesses of the previous phase – the phase of hyperglobalization (Rodrik 2019). Experts began to talk about the change of epochs, stressing that this is not an epochal change, but the globalization of the ‘new wave’ (Leonova 2018).

The gaining strength in the development of the global world indicate that a qualitatively new phase is being formed today, which can be called ‘non-global globalization.’ The contours of this new phase of globalization are not yet clear, but some of its features have already become apparent.

Let us consider its most characteristic features.

‘Non-Global Globalization’. Characteristic Features of the Current Phase of Globalization in the Political Sphere

The first feature: deadly threats to the global order

‘Today the world faces a volatile convergence of instability, state weakness, and conflict’ – such was a conclusion at the meeting on June 7, 2017 in the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) (Meeting… 2017).

Indeed, it would seem that a new era of ‘seismic shifts’ has begun, global rules and norms are being questioned and even condemned, the world is increasingly fragmented and experiencing ‘systemic social disorganization’ (Managing 2018). It deals with concerns about the future of labor, wages, and employment and leads to an increase in nationalism, populism, and nativism in Western countries. Gradually it is becoming a leading international trend in the world politics.

The new phase of political globalization has its own characteristics and features. They are civil wars in the Middle East (Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen), Africa (Libya and South Sudan); the migration crisis in Europe and in Latin America (for details see Leonova 2019); the growing instability in Latin America; the split of ASEAN, whose members are involved in two competing integration projects (Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP); rampant international terrorism, extremism and Islamist radicalism; unprecedented humanitarian crises in Venezuela and several African countries.

As a result, liberal values are devalued, democracy experiences the impact of growing populism (Haass 2018), right-wing radical parties are gaining strength in Europe, and the elite is increasingly losing its influence on the situation.

The coronavirus pandemic, as well as the growing number of other challenges and risks for the global security and human survival, aggravates the situation. The global world has entered a period of instability, volatility and increased turbulence. The US National Defense Strategy says that, ‘We are facing increased global disorder, characterized by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order – creating a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory’ (Summary 2018: 1).

Even the countries that have been the engines of globalization all this time, have to admit that it has brought benefits only to individual participants in the global economy, while most countries have to pay a high price for participation in the global process.

Today, one can hardly speak about the global world as a whole. The ‘global village’ has not yet developed, on the contrary, the trend towards formation of closed regions with self-replicating economies, which seek to protect themselves from globalization and maintain the status quo, is becoming more obvious. Protectionism in their economic policies, popular support for populist parties, and the rise of radical sentiment are their reactions to the negative costs of globalization after the global financial and economic crisis of 2008.

The second feature: the rise of China

Among experts, there is an opinion that the developmental scenario of the twenty-first century will be determined by the relationship between China and the United States, and how they will manage the resources of influence available to them, what purposes they will be used for.

China's economy has already overtaken the US economy, and, according to the International Monetary Fund, in 2018 it got the first place in the ranking of GDP by purchasing power parity.1 China, while pursuing a protectionist policy, has consistently declared its commitment to a rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system with the WTO as its core and has positioned itself as a bastion of multilateral trade (Patrick 2018). The General Secretary of the CPR Central Committee, Xi Jinping keeps talking about China's commitment to the processes of globalization, meaning the globalization of the economy.

The growing contradiction between the economic and political systems of the country have not prevented China's rise and transition to the status of a global power so far, while the Western world is increasingly sinking into internal dysfunction. That is why Fred Hu and Michael Spence believe that much of the responsibility for maintaining the global liberal economic order will fall on China (Hu and Spence 2017).

This is already happening. China today is the initiator and sponsor of many global economic projects, such as the ‘One belt, one road’ initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the New Development Bank. Fifty-seven countries have already joined the Chinese-led bank (AIIB), many of which have been American allies for a long time. Among them Australia, France, Germany, Israel, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the United Kingdom. Hungary and Taiwan are candidate countries for membership. Several other countries – Afghanistan, Belgium, Canada, Ireland and Peru are also planning to join.

Most Asia-Pacific countries, including Australia, Japan and South Korea, depend on exports to China, which is their largest trading partner. Beijing's active policy in Africa and Latin America is gradually creating the economic dependence of some African and Latin American countries on investment and trade with China.

Beijing continues to compete successfully with the United States, taking a leading position in a growing number of indicators and having superiority in a number of areas. They are the size of economy, the scale of investments and commercial transactions, the military budget and capabilities of the armed forces, global exports, production of rare earth metals and GDP (by purchasing power parity), etc.

In 2019, China surpassed the United States in a very important measure of global influence – the size of its diplomatic network. More recently, the United States had the largest diplomatic network in the world – 273 units. Now China occupies the first place in this indicator. It has 276 diplomatic units, embassies, consulates and permanent missions to international organizations. Diplomatic networks are believed to be an eloquent barometer of a country's national ambitions (Bley 2019). Its new, ever-expanding diplomatic network is indirect evidence that Beijing is becoming more ready to deploy its global power and it is effectively invest in the status of a global leader, where active diplomacy is only one of its indicators.

The time has passed when China was just a bystander in the process of globalization, and then it became its timid participant. In that time, Deng Xiaoping took steps to stop China's isolation; the country has become the engine of globalization. Today, China is ready to assume the role of a guardian of the rules-based international order.

In 2020, the Chinese Nominal GDP reached $14.34 trillion and lags far behind that of the United States at $21.43 trillion. Its share of the Global Economy is 16.34 per cent comparing with U.S. 24.41 per cent.2 This means that China is still not strong enough, and its economy is not yet large enough to be the engine of global growth.

The third feature: the decline of the United States as a global leader and global power

America emerged from World War II deeply convinced that its global leadership was necessary for the entire world to avoid a repeat of such a military catastrophe.

In the second half of the twentieth century, despite the Cold War, there were several peaceful decades, and the rapid development of the global economy gave hope for universal prosperity in the nearest future. All this was a great historical achievement of the post-war and post-bipolar world under the auspices of the United States.

But recently, America has voluntarily renounced the mission of a global leader, leaving the ‘throne’ of a global hegemon empty. Ivo Daadler and James Lindsay regarded this as the greatest failure of the US foreign policy (Daalder and Lindsay 2018).

Earlier, Leonid Grinin predicted the weakening of the leading role of the United States (Grinin 2015: 4, 5, 9, and 10). He wrote that ‘there is no doubt that the US hegemony, which has lasted for more than sixty years, is coming to an end’ (Grinin 2015: 10).

Even before Donald Trump had come to power, America's political elite made a number of serious mistakes in world politics. These were permanent and fruitless wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, the bombing of Yugoslavia; the inability to resolve regional conflicts in Asia (the dispute between India and Pakistan over the state of Kashmir), in the Middle East, in Africa, the failure to settle the migration crisis in Latin America, etc. All this caused great damage to the country's credibility, especially in the non-Western world and weakened its position as a global leader.

The global financial and economic crisis of 2008 and the great recession that followed dealt another blow to the global hegemony of the United States.

These three factors: the economic crisis, the consequences of which have not been fully overcome; the cyclical nature of the economy, manifested in a downward trend; and, finally, the COVID-19 pandemic undermine the process of globalization, depriving the world community of hope for universal unity and prosperity.

President Donald Trump considered the US global leadership to be the source of all the problems of his country. He accused his allies and partners of using the power and authority of the United States for their own selfish interests, undermining its resources and reputation. He believed that the United States should give up global leadership to restore the power.

Although the United States surely retained its economic, technological, political, military and cultural advantages in the world, and the resources of its leadership were still quite strong, however, by 2020 they voluntarily had relinquished their status of a global power and world leader. ‘The United States is a weary titan’, – this is how Stewart Patrick characterized this superpower (Patrick 2019).

Thus, America was abandoning global leadership, its traditional allies were at a loss, the world was drifting without a clear direction, and the features of deglobalization were becoming more evident.

Because of the policy pursued by Donald Trump, the USA – the former locomotive of globalization – acted as a powerful disintegrator of the world economy and politics. During Trump's presidency there was a paradoxical situation: ‘we have a leader of the free world who doesn't believe in the free world and doesn't want to lead it’ (CFR 2018b).

The US retreat from leadership encouraged other countries to strengthen their positions in the global hierarchy and take a step forward. This is what China did, Turkey declared its regional goals, India claimed the status of a global power, Brazil and South Africa also did not hide their global ambitions, etc. While the dominant force was abandoning global leadership, the world was gradually changing. Other powers were willing to fill this gap in global governance that has emerged because of the US policy. As the United States were retreating from their role as a global leader, the European Union member-states began to prepare for their strategic autonomy in a ‘post-American’ future (CFR 2018a).

The U.S. abandonment of leadership led to the destruction of previously established security alliances, free and open markets, and all this has reversed globalization. America itself has destroyed the world it once created and the consequences are unpredictable. The power of the United States, still undisputed in the economic, technological and military spheres, was gradually weakening. ‘U.S. presidents can still exercise considerable influence over the course of events, but they are no longer in a position to dictate outcomes’ (Grunstein 2019).

The Personality of Donald Trump and his Foreign Policy

In 2015, the crisis of the US foreign policy has already become apparent (Grinin 2015: 11, 12). The personality of President Donald Trump played a negative role in the decline of US leadership. His actions in foreign policy were directed against globalization and aimed at undermining the existing world order. By putting America ‘at the first place’, Trump actually abandoned global leadership and changed the traditional US foreign policy. While announcing the slogan ‘America first’, he withdrew the country from the Trans-Pacific partnership and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which he considered an encroachment on American sovereignty and national interests (CFR 2018b). One of the first steps of Biden's administration was to return to the Paris Climate Agreement and he intends to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership as well.

Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, cut the US funding to the UN, and refused to participate in the new ‘U.N. Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration’. On the contrary, Biden expressed a clear desire to return to the Iran nuclear deal, provided that Iran will comply with its obligations under the previously adopted agreement. His policy on migration is sharply different from Trump's activity in this sphere and is aimed at easing migration laws.

Tramp considered the possibility of a complete withdrawal from the WTO. In the WTO, the opposition supported by Trump administration essentially vetoed the election of its new director-general – the first African woman to claim this position – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. This almost blocked the work of the organization. Joe Biden immediately after taking office overturned this veto and supported the candidacy of Okonjo-Iweala, thereby bringing the WTO out of the impasse into which it was pushed by Trump's policies.

As President Trump refused multilateral trade deals and preferred to conduct bilateral negotiations since he believed that such informal associations as the G-7 and G-20 constrain the US freedom of action and prevent them from defending their national interests. He constantly criticized international organizations and agreements as encroaching on the sovereignty and freedom of the United States. He considered the UN and other global governance institutions to be useless organizations, which spend time in ‘idle chatter’, and NATO as an Alliance engaged in ‘racketeering’ (Patrick 2019).

Biden intends to strengthen NATO, he returned to the World Health Organization and New START arms control accord. He has consistently emphasized his respect for the UN as a key element of global governance.

Trump has reneged on the US commitments to ensure the allies' security. He no longer wanted to lead a group of global powers that were the engine of globalization, seeing them not as allies and partners, but as competitors and even enemies. Unlike his predecessors, he did not care much about the problems of human rights and promotion of democracy. He valued the country's military power beyond ‘soft power’ tools such as diplomacy or the influence of civil society. Trump refused the role of mentor on issues of human rights, the spread of democracy and the rule of international law. The erosion of democracy that occurred in the world during Trump's presidency, as it is noted in Freedom House's latest status report,3 will require from Biden huge efforts to restore its position in the world. And this means playing not only on the defensive, strengthening the faltering democracy in Western countries, but also on the offensive, which means a tougher policy towards those countries that are included in the list of authoritarian powers.

All these measures during Trump's administration have led to the disruption of the institutional foundations of the global peace that previous US presidents had created and defended. This approach to foreign policy has brought the United States more costs than dividends. The United States' desire for autonomy and self-isolation from the processes of globalization gradually undermined their credibility and ability to function as a global power and world leader (Daalder and Lindsay 2018).

This position of the ex-President was caused by his conviction that the United States could live better and freer than other countries if escaped the process of globalization. He actually weakened the ability of the United States to be both a hegemon and an arbiter in global politics. The United States being a global actor ended up ‘committing a suicide’ in order to escape from this role and destroying the object of their activity – globalization. Jake Sullivan (2018) says that, ‘there is no doubt that Trump represents a meaningful threat to the health of both American democracy and the international system.’ Trump's policy threatened the global world order and globalization itself: its institutions, norms and rules. The actions of the ex-President destroyed this system, which Western leaders considered the key to peace and stability.

Withdrawing the country from the process of globalization, Donald Trump deprived it of the advantages that the United States used to have since they were writing their own scenario. In this world created by its own design, America was the sole and undisputed leader, shaping global rules in its favor. Trump actually destroyed the global international order, shook the institutional foundations and regulatory framework of globalization.

However, a world in transit of leadership, or a world without a leader at all, will increase competition between global powers and this is fraught with global conflicts and poses a threat to the humanity. The cost of a stable world without a major leader will be very high.

Thus, there have been made a lot of mistakes in the US foreign policy which new President Biden has to correct to restore the destroyed world order.

The fourth feature: competition between the US and China. Back to the bipolar system

The competition between the USA and China is an important feature of the present phase of globalization. Both countries are global powers with their own strengths and limitations. However, for the first time in history, within this particular phase of globalization, they will face each other as equal actors. Their competitive struggle, the outcome of which is difficult to predict, will determine the scenario of the twenty-first century, world politics, the dynamics and content of global economic and political processes. Nevertheless, unlike the Cold War period, the ideological component of this competition is not so important. It will be a clash of ambitions between two global powers seeking to become (China) or remain (the USA) the only world leader.

Both countries have many disagreements. Their positions differ on the rights and obligations of sovereign states, the principles and rules governing their behavior in the global economy, trade, cyberspace and outer space, the causes and understanding of the essence of humanitarian interventions, climate change and the common good of the oceans. Neither the United States nor China can avoid a direct confrontation. Donald Trump used to take a tough stance on China in trade. Xi Jinping cannot give in to the American demands without dropping his authority in the world and at home. This confrontation for the status of the global hegemon will obviously continue for a long time and it does not depend on the position of the new President in the White House.

Once again, the world is moving towards a state of bipolarity.

Richard J. Heydarian argues, ‘this century will increasingly replicate the bipolar system in the preceding one, except this time China will be taking the Soviet Union's place…’ (Heydarian 2020: 1–2). It is important that this competition will not break the delicate balance and will not turn into a heated conflict between the two global powers. However, there are signs that the US – China standoff is increasingly beginning to take on a military dimension. However, the Chinese leader's pragmatism and rational approach to the policy allows us to hope that China will be able to find ways to ease tensions and mutually acceptable conditions for cooperation in areas, which are of mutual interest and are important for the well-being of the entire global community.

As the second most powerful country in the world, China will mainly determine the nature and direction of the future global economy. However, there are some doubts whether China alone will be able to become the main engine of economic globalization, maintain the stability of the world economy and finance, and replace the United States in this role.

Nevertheless, ‘the unipolar period of time is approaching its inglorious end today’ (Grinin 2015: 14).

The Biden administration believes that China should be a partner of the United States; they see it as a transparent, clear and even partner. Biden shows ‘a willingness to convene a serious, strategic dialogue with Beijing, in order to determine areas of potential cooperation’ (Haass 2020). His position is that where there is a field for cooperation, they must cooperate. China should be regarded as a strategic competitor in spheres where its actions pose a threat to the US leadership (e.g., its attempts to assert its global presence in Asia, Africa, and Latin America). That is why they believe the United States should closely monitor all actions and initiatives of China in the international arena and in global politics and, if it is necessary, America should voice its concerns out aloud.

However, given China's economic and military strength, Biden believes that partnership with this country is more beneficial than confrontation. His key position in Chinese politics is an ongoing strategic and economic dialogue. In relations with China, Biden's main task is to prevent a slide into confrontation or an escalation of a conflict of interests.

The fifth feature: changing the configuration of the global political space

The geography of globalization is changing. Leadership is gradually moving to the East, where new global actors are emerging (Grinin 2015: 10, 11; 2019: 7).

In conditions of increasing turbulence and unpredictability of the actions of global powers, it becomes impossible to develop or predict a strategy for the development of the global community. World politics is becoming increasingly situational.

Hyperglobalization once increased economic and social inequality between countries. This makes it necessary to overcome these gaps and to focus on restoring or accelerating the pace of development of the countries of the global periphery, on which their status in the global hierarchy will depend. In this model of globalization, the rivalry of great powers and global actors returns, and they begin to defend their interests more aggressively.

Russia and China want to adjust the global development scenario, change the rules of the game and participate more actively in global governance. Brazil and India position themselves as global powers, but they avoid the responsibility that brings that status (Daalder and Lindsay 2018). Iran and North Korea challenge the rules set by the international community. International institutions, such as the United Nations, show their inefficiency in solving increasing global problems and are unable to formulate answers to global challenges. The nationalists and populists criticize sharply the liberal order and global democracy and authoritarian countries prove in practice that in the situation of global instability their socio-economic systems work more effectively than liberal democracy. North Korea's violation of the Treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the civil war in Syria, humanitarian disasters in Libya and Yemen, the severe economic and political crisis in Venezuela, mass migration flows of refugees in Europe, Latin America and the United States, – all these are features of a situation of increasing turbulence and growing instability. In addition, the main global leader – the United States – is abandoning its role as a hegemon and it is not ready to respond to the new challenges of globalization.

The six feature: revival of bilateralism

Trump was negative about collective actions of powers, for example, in the G7, G20 or UN format. He preferred to act on a bilateral basis, believing that this way he could more effectively use the advantage of the United States. Therefore, he held bilateral nuclear talks with North Korea, trade talks with China and with some Southeast Asian states. Instead of relying on the collective support of other countries interested in solving the core problem of the Korean Peninsula or affected by China's actions in world trade, he preferred to fight and act alone. However, in a global world, bilateral relations (bilateralism) are less effective than multilateralism and collective coordinated actions of the main global actors. Stewart Patrick argues that ‘bilateralism offers a weak and unrealistic foundation for world order.’ He characterizes bilateralism as ‘a repetitive game, in which the players remain the same, the stakes are high, and credibility is critical. Repeated defections and an unwillingness to compromise undermine diplomatic trust and encourage even longtime partners to hedge their bets’ (Patrick 2019). A bilateral approach cannot ensure global financial stability, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the fight against international terrorism and pandemics, the preservation of the planet's ecology and the fight against climate change. Bilateral transactions and agreements cannot solve any of these problems.

However, Trump failed to work together with allies and did not want to participate in collective crisis management. He preferred bilateralism which became the leading trend of the new phase of globalization. On the contrary, Biden is willing both to restore and strengthen ties with long-standing strategic partners of America and to expand the circle of new ones. His administration will have to work hard to bring multilateralism back into global politics.

The seventh feature: erosion of globalization. Signs of increasing de-globalization

The harbingers of the globalization crisis appeared long before Trump's presidency. In recent years, there have been growing signs that the international order is unraveling, and the gap in power and influence between the United States – the leader and guarantor of the existing order – and the rest of the world is shrinking (Sullivan 2018).

Susan Lund and Laura Tyson think that by many standard measures, globalization is receding.

The 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing recession brought an end to three decades of rapid growth in the trade of goods and services. Cross-border financial flows have fallen by two-thirds. In many countries that have traditionally championed globalization, including the United States and the United Kingdom, the political conversation about trade has shifted from a focus on economic benefits to concerns about job loss, dislocation, deindustrialization, and inequality (Lund and Tyson 2018).

The global economy has damaged a number of national economies. This caused a negative reaction to globalization, free trade, and the possibility of unlimited cross-border movement of capital and labor. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has recently failed to complete a single round of multilateral trade negotiations, which is also indicative of its crisis. In November 2016, a YouGov/Economist poll found that less than half of Americans, British and French consider globalization a good thing (Hu and Spence 2017). This shows that anti-globalists are becoming an increasingly influential political force around the world.

Trump decided to isolate the United States from globalization and retreated to ‘Fort America.’ The President's actions reflected his nostalgic desire to return the United States to a simpler ‘pre-globalist’ era, when the country was protected from external threats and ‘unfair’ economic competition. However, the policy of isolationism is doomed to failure in the global world. ‘Any effort to preserve America within a “cellophane wrapper” was both counterproductive and unsustainable’ (Patrick 2019).

In response to Trump's complaints about the burden that the United States bears by committing itself to be a guarantor of the security of many countries and regions, the EU began to consider ways to strengthen its strategic sovereignty. One of the proposals recently put forward by French President Macron is to create an integrated European army.

Asian countries are no longer confident in the ability of the United States to maintain the current regional balance of power. They faced a double risk: on the one hand, it is the active policy of Beijing in the region, on the other hand, the US helplessness to contain China and the unwillingness to continue to be a guarantor of their security.

Japan is eager to take responsibility for its own security in the face of rising China and therefore it is increasing defense spending to record levels. The South Korean government has announced its intention to assume military control over its military forces in the case of a conflict with the North.

All this shows that under Trump's presidency the United States became the main source of global uncertainty. The tendencies towards isolationism are becoming more evident in the world, the number of conflicts is growing, and geopolitical confrontation is intensifying. The world, ‘lacking a strong institutional anchor and a firm hand at the tiller’ (CFR 2018b), is moving in an unknown direction.

Concluding Remarks

The described above processes did not mean the end of globalization or its decline but marked a transition from hyperglobalization to a new phase in the development of the global world.

An important feature of this transition period was the weakening of the global leader or his complete replacement. As the United States with President Trump relinquished global leadership, its allies start to reorient their foreign policy priorities and there emerge new powers with global ambitions, so the world is drifting in uncharted waters. ‘Politically, it will be a turbulent period’ (Grinin 2019: 4; 2016: 4).

What will happen with globalization under President Biden? Will the phase of deglobalization go on, or will the United States once again become the driver of globalization? Will globalization receive new incentives for further development under Biden's administration?

A number of objective and subjective factors will determine Biden's policy on globalization. Among the objective factors that force the American president to engage in the restoration of the world order that existed before Trump, and therefore globalization, there are the following.

First, the need for the American elite and TNCs (as influential political actors) to restore American hegemony which guarantees them the preservation and growth of profits. Secondly, the alternative to the restoration of American global leadership and the further development of globalization will be the inevitable deepening of instability and turbulence of the global world with the expansion of conflict zones and a gradual slide into political chaos. We presume that Joe Biden understands that. Third, the need to continue the policy of the United States as a global power and its ‘great global strategy,’ to restore its position in the global hierarchy. Indeed, it is the status of a global power and the position of the engine of globalization that guaranteed the United States significant economic and political preferences. Fourth, the need to maintain the continuity of the foreign policy of the Democratic Party, the core of which was the strategy of ‘smart power’ under the Obama administration. One of the most important goals of this policy was to promote global development.

There are also subjective factors that determine Biden's policy on globalization. On the one hand, he positions himself as an anti-Trumpist. This determines his strategy and obliges him to do everything the opposite of what Trump did. Besides, Biden's motto is ‘to correct the mistakes’ of the previous president. The consequence of this was strengthening of the internal political confrontation in the country. Trump's supporters cannot accept his defeat in the elections. Biden's supporters believe that the new president's mission is to restore everything that the previous administration destroyed or undermined. In their opinion, Biden, unlike the previous president, tries to exemplify strong and steady political course and demonstrates a smart leadership, which should be exactly this way. With such ‘a steady leadership’ (this is the term they most often use when describing Biden's first actions as president), they hope to stabilize their country and to see the progress in politics and economy.

On the other hand, there are Biden's own statements when he was vice-president in the Obama's administration. ‘Four years ago, as Joe Biden prepared to leave the vice-presidency, he told the World Economic Forum that the United States would continue to lead the “liberal international order” and “fulfill our historic responsibility as the indispensable nation”’ (Wertheim 2021). Thus, Biden's policy will undoubtedly contribute to the ‘reincarnation’ of globalization.

So the forecasts that the era of globalization will soon come to an end are too pessimistic.

However, globalization is an objective phenomenon (Jung 2018) and ‘was not launched by the neoliberals, championed by the USA, in the 1990s for the wrong or negative purposes’ (Taiwo 2017: 39). It is the result of the economic, social, political and cultural development of the world community. Neither ‘decree’ of the global governance institutions nor the unwillingness of leading political leaders to participate in it can eliminate globalization. Globalization does not obey to the desire of the elite of certain countries to get out of this process and turn their country into a closed and isolated fort. It has not exhausted its positive potential and it carries not only challenges and negative effects, but also has huge opportunities. It is impossible to return to the previous phase of globalization. The task is to adapt to the conditions of its new phase, using the possible advantages and mitigating the negative effects.

The success of nationalism, populism and ideas of isolationism is temporary, because they are unable to solve the economic and social problems of a country, but they can worsen them and become a threat to global peace.

Two factors will undoubtedly affect the scenario of the future of globalization.

The first one: what will be the scenario for the further development of political globalization, taking into account that the future of the global world largely depends on the relationship between the United States and China?

Most experts believe that a long-term model of the bicentric world – the USA versus China – is the most probable. However, to ensure the stability and duration of this model, both sides will have to rely on the counterweights of such a ‘swing’ system. Today, the United States already has a reliable strategic partner. It is the European Union whose economic, strategic and political resources they can rely on. America also has at its disposal the economic potential of the USMCA members.

The forecast show the objective inevitability and necessity for China to have such a reliable ally and strategic partner. This can be the Shanghai Cooperation Organization or Russia with its economic and military potential, political influence and strategic resources.

The second factor: how do the pandemic and its consequences affect the globalization and its aspects (the movement of capital, labor, and information)? The movement of capital has suffered indirectly due to the crisis caused by the pandemic. Under these conditions, the flow of investment was bound to decrease. The closure of national borders brought the flow of labor almost to a standstill. But there is a counter-trend of a transition to a remote work and remote services (where possible) which partially compensates for these losses. The cross-border movement of information tends to increase with the growing level of digitalization in developing countries and the number of Internet users.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has brought the economies of almost all countries of the global world to a standstill. The damage to national economies and the global economy from the pandemic has yet to be evaluated. Obviously, in the near future, countries will face increasing poverty and deepening social inequalities. There will be cuts or freezes in social spending; the widening gap between the budget's available cash resources and the spending needed to support the economy; the collapse of small and medium-sized businesses in industries that were paralyzed during the pandemic; a series of bankruptcies, falling tax collection, and national budget deficits.

There are two possible ways out of this economic crisis. The first way consists in strengthening of the protectionism policy. However, it has already shown its ineffectiveness. This is the path that Trump followed but not the one that Biden will choose, just because he has set the goal of ‘correcting the mistakes’ of the previous president. The second way is to stimulate the global economy, restore the ties destroyed by Trump, return to multilateralism, create new trade blocs and alliances, joining the TPP, etc. This is the only way out of the global economic crisis. These measures will definitely stimulate the further development of economic globalization.

Therefore, the task of the leading countries of the global world and of the leading global actors is to find a way to move to a new and more sustainable phase of globalization which gradually manifests itself. This will obviously be digital globalization, whose main feature will be digitalization of most areas of human life (Grinin L. and Grinin A. 2016).

In the twenty-first century, we can define the current stage of development of globalization as four successive phases. (In his book ‘The Consequences of modernity’ Anthony Giddens characterized globalization as ‘a process of uneven development [Giddens 1990: 175]). The combination of these phases has a wave-like character: the first phase is the ‘rise’ of globalization, the second phase is its highest point of development, and the third phase is the period of decline. The fourth phase is a new ‘take-off’ and breakthrough of globalization to a new level of development.

There are already visible features of the new phase of digital globalization, namely:

·   there are new leaders of digitalization in economic, political and social spheres of society;

·   the center of digital globalization is shifting to the countries of former global periphery;

·   the size and geographical location of a company and production loses its significance;

·   the increasing importance of intellectual property;

·   the problem of cybersecurity becomes the most important global problem and tends to it become a global threat to the life of all humankind.

But this is a topic of another research.


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