Is It a Unipolar or Bipolar World?

US flag waving
Credit: Vít Luštinec, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Before 1990, there were two superpowers in the world. One was the United States of America and the other one was the Soviet Union. After the Second World War, the British Empire began to decline and the United States emerged as a superpower to fill the void. Simultaneously, the USSR also emerged as a global power from the ashes of the World War II. Due to ideological reasons, both the countries engaged in a half-century-long Cold War. The world was very unstable at that time and fear of a nuclear war was always in the background.

The world became unipolar after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. But scholars from different parts of the world are saying that America’s unipolar moment is nearing an end. Now the world is entering the next phase of geopolitical rivalry.

The United States is no longer in its prime position like it was after the Second World War, due to the recent economic recession, the demand of the people, the waste of blood and resources in unnecessary wars, the rise of China and the diffusion of power and technology. China’s emergence as a superpower can be a normal process for Asia. Asian countries can benefit from China in a number of ways. However, the competition and rivalry between great powers in Asia can complicate the emergence of China as a true superpower.

But it is still a unipolar world at least in military terms. The position of the US is unassailable in the military and political sphere. Everything related to politics and military still revolves around America. United States’ navy is more powerful than all other navies combined. American diplomatic clout, political power and worldwide alliance networks are incomparable with other countries. That is why militarily and politically the world is unipolar.

Moscow and Beijing are regional powers in terms of military and political capital. They cannot project power beyond their borders or regions; so, their influence is limited to certain geographic areas.

In the economic sense, the world is already multipolar. The USA, China, and EU are different poles of this economic universe.