Liberal architects; the biggest threat to the Liberal World Order


The western liberal order is experiencing a momentous transition with potentially significant implications for the future of the United Nations. The resurgence of Russia as a competing bloc, the rise of China as an economic giant, the role of Turkey as an emerging power, and different protest movements prominently, the yellow vest movement in France marks the beginning of new world order. The people’s dissatisfaction with the current political system coupled with the rise of protest movements accelerates the process of paradigm shift. Another emerging trend of this transformation is the waning hold of major international organizations and institutions particularly, United Nations. UN fails as a global ambassador of peace as, the Middle East has become battlegrounds for thousands of militant groups, human suffering is at the peak in this region. Kashmir’s territorial dispute aggravating the conflictual situation in South Asia. The two nuclear powers (Pakistan and India) are on the brink of war. Additionally, Unrest in Afghanistan portrays an explicit picture of human rights violations. The world is suffering from the disease of ignorance. This article critically analyzed the question of why western powers themselves are negating the core ideas of liberalism? what are the major factors behind the emergence of the regional bloc as an opponent to liberal order? why the UN fails in delivering its promises. This piece of work will Scrutinize the role of the United Nation as a silent spectator in the world major conflict zones (including the economic crisis, political crisis, humanitarian crisis)


The roots of liberalism can trace back to the age of enlightenment. It emerged in 19th century as a movement that was based on fundamental elements of liberty, freedom, equality, human rights, international law, and collective security. In the 20th and 21st century run through multi-phases of revolution, progress, crisis, and turning points.

Liberalism introduced a global institutional system to ensure peace and security of the world and to avert war in the future. Thus, democratic countries built United Nations to prohibit war, accelerate economic development, improvise trade and investment systems in the form of the World Bank, the International monetary fund, and the World Trade Organization to prevent another economic crisis. These were some landmark achievements of advocates of liberal order, but they failed to deliver what they had promised. The oligarchy powers in UN hold the rods of organization authorities and serve their own interests instead of providing justice and ensuring world peace. The inequality, injustice, deteriorating political conditions, and people’s resentment from the current global political system that creates a vacuum for uprising and protest movements. These all play an active role to bring new political thoughts and regimes on the front page that appears in the form of the rise of rest with the demise of the west.


Overall, the western order has failed to serve as a global order. Research has shown that worldwide protest movements and people resentments with the prevailing political system have a direct link with this transition. Over the past few years, World political system run through massive changes prominently, a major shift in the political rhetoric of European Union members in the form of the UK referendum; Trump nationalist rhetoric’s and policies, it retreats from the Paris agreement and its policies towards Trans-Pacific Partnership and North American free trade agreements; the yellow vests movement in France for economic justice, a resurgence of Russia as military, economic and political power in the international arena, rise of China as a soft power and resurrection of turkey as a major world player. The changes portrayed that globalization and international institutions are a threat to global peace, security, and economic progress instead of opportunity.

For a detailed analysis of the current situation, it is imperative to examine the role of the United Nations in sustaining liberal international order.


The UN foundations are based on the principals of oligarchy rather than democracy. The United Nation’s Security Council has five permanent members that are the victor of world war two including The United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China.  These five permanent members have veto (to stop) power. They can veto any resolution any membership selection for UN. Therefore, UNSC is not the only ambassador of peace. Article 2 (4) prohibited the use of force and respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty, and interdependence of states. Contrary, The P-5 has the right to conduct war against any threat or attack under Article 51 (right of self-defense). US invasion of Iraq 2003 (US declared the presence of weapon of mass destruction in Iraq and launched a pre-emptive attack under cover of article 51 and the UNSC resolution 1483).US invasion of Afghanistan,2001 was justified as retaliation as a result of 9/11 attack. However, no organization accepts the responsibility of the claim. Ajaz Ahmed writes in his book, “Iraq, Afghanistan, and Imperialism of our Time” that “Taliban condemned the attack immediately and promised to help in finding real culprits.”  The Israel-Palestine issue, Kashmir territorial dispute, Unrest in middle east particularly in Syria and Yemen (battleground for thousands of belligerent groups) also acts as a catalyst in the rise of nationalism and xenophobia to avert these conflicts and stabilize the situation in the region.

However, it should be noted that Since the last 73 years, Kashmiri people have been waiting for justice. Contrary, in the case of Ukraine, the US and UN both paying heed and trying to resolve it through resolutions, negotiations, and deterrence. America imposed numerous sanctions on nine companies and twenty-one individuals that linked to the Ukraine conflict. Additionally, in Oct,2018 Ukraine took part in joint air exercises of US and seven other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states. These exercises were conducted in the response of Russian military exercises in September 2018.

So, UNSC members can use both forums of UNSC, The United Nations Military Staff Committee, and United Nations Peace Keeping Missions. The above-mentioned cases indicate that the P-5 is violating UN resolution themselves and misusing power by interfering in internal matters of states, waging proxy wars, and ignoring non-western longstanding territorial disputes.


World order in transition face. from multipolar to bipolar and bipolar to unipolar and now heading towards multipolarity again empowering populism, nationalism and xenophobia is clearly marked the people resentment from the current global political system. Liberalism cannot work alone. In fact, UN itself had built on the foundations of realism and liberalism both that always in conflict with each other the exigency of time suggests to re-structure the global political system to address the underscored issues. The need of the hour is to establish institutions and system to alleviate this problem and ensure peace and prosperity.

Ironically, the architects of UN themselves are violating its core values. United States major icon of United Nations fails to resolve disputes. The P-5 and its allies are perusing their national interests and ignoring the suffering and woes of non-western countries. That is the core reason behind the rise of multi-regional blocs. To address the above-mentioned issues, it is imperative for the architect of UN to restructure its organs and bring reforms. There should be non-western states representation particularly Muslim countries as a permanent member of UN and in major international organizations (IMF, WB, WTO). Turkish Presidents on several occasions addressed this issue that “World is bigger than Five”.

Author: Lubna Altaf

About Author: Author is MSc IR & is interested in defense studies, current issues, all topics related to International relations and environmental sciences.

Edited By: Talha Ahmad (Editor in Chief PSF)

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Pakistan Strategic Forum.



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