SPIR Seminar by French Ambassador and Dr. Pascal Boniface

The Ambassador of France, H. E Mrs. Martine DORANCE visited SPIR to attend a lecture by Professor Pascal BONIFACE – Founding Director Institute of International Relations and Strategic Affairs (IRIS), Paris – on September 17, 2015. They were welcomed by Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, Director SPIR. Dr. Jaspal in his opening remarks stated that the transformation in the international politics has been taking place. Despite the change in international relations, the strategic environment of South Asia remains volatile due to the Indian militaristic policies and illegal occupation of Kashmir.

Dr. BONIFACE spoke on “Changing World Order and International Crisis”. Unipolarity is an illusion, a myth: says Dr. BONIFACE. He further states, there is a difference between evolution and revolution and revolutions rarely happen in the world order. World order changes only twice or thrice in a century, though there is a great deal of possibility of the sustenance of the status quo. Although the US is suffering on many counts, i.e. economic problems, mishandling of global issues but still, it is leading on many fronts, for instance, education, high technology and military power. In 1989 bipolar world changed into unipolar world and the US emerged as global hegemon and 1st empire in globalized world. He further argues, the US is omnipresent everywhere; everybody is concerned about US presidential elections. The US spends 40% of the world’s total military expenditures. The EU is ahead in GNP, but it is not a single entity. U.S.A is on the forefront in soft power. Its universities, singers, movies are still liked, praised and watched around the globe. You may disagree with the US policies but you prefer your children to study in the U.S.A universities. Having said all that, unipolarity is a myth in the global world. US cannot establish its writ worldwide. Discussing the role of China, Russia and EU he expresses that China, Russia and the EU are trying tooth and nail to catch up, but there are many problems with them, e.g., China is lacking in soft power. When you are outside Europe it looks very attractive, it lures you in fact. EU is an economic giant but it is not performing well in military domain. Russia is emerging as major global actor once again. Putin is very famous in Russia because he has given Russians their national pride back. Russians are being respected or in fact feared. May be they believe in Machiavellianism, i.e., it is better to be feared than loved. But Russia is far behind U.S in almost every sector. Nevertheless, new world order is evolving and we are moving towards multilateralism. While concluding, he was of the view that “in today’s global world, multilateralism is the only solution to global problems.”