It seems as if history is repeating itself with so many rising powers on the global stage. Although the US has long maintained its uni-polar status for quite some time, it seems now that America's days of being the world's cop are over, with the other emerging power galvanizing rise of multipolarity. In retrospect, the world witnessed multipolarity in 1914 when on the one side were Germany, Italy and Austria, called the Triple Alliance and on the other side there were Great Britain, Russia and France called Triple Entente, which was the counterbalance. They came to the stage and brought with them the devastating World War I, which led to catastrophic economic, social and financial damages.
When the Triple Alliance was defeated by the Triple Entente, Woodrow Wilson, along with his British counterpart came with his Fourteen Points to reshape Europe by making certain territorial changes in Germany (which was to disintegrate it); this was done in accordance with the Treaty of Versailles. That treaty sowed the seed for World War 2, Axis Powers under the leadership of Hitler and Mussolini regained power and staged another war, the deadliest war. Though Britain with her allies defeated the Axis Powers but the days of Pax-Britannica were over and Pax-Americana had yet to begin. Thus, the multipolar world order proved to be a total failure in maintaining global peace.
Post World War II, the US and Soviet Union emerged as great powers, an era of the tight bipolar world started, which ended with the collapse of communism and disintegration of Soviet Union in 1990 after a long and covert Cold War. With the fall of Soviet Union, the US emerged as a super power. The days of Pax-Americana began and America became the police officer of the world by introducing its own policies.
The USA emerged as the policymaker in the world, as its structural power had unmatched influence across countries to state their policies. However, the then world order did not seem to guarantee peace with the outbreak of Gulf War and later on American invasion of Iraq in 2003. Most think-tanks opined that America's policy of interventions and invasions would result into imperial overreach. Perhaps, the opinions seem prescient today with the US continuing to be beset by fiscal deficits, facing increased unemployment and losing its relative economic power. Moreover, a resurgent Russia, rising China and other emerging great powers gaining ground on the global stage are ensuing the multi-polar world order.
Putin is rethinking of strategic alliances in South Asia and Moscow's role in Syrian Crisis has brought it enough support from Middle East to govern the world affairs. Russia's military power, as well as improving economic power, indicates Kremlin's growing influence on world affairs.
Often 21st century is regarded as Chinese century due to Beijing's growing relative economic power and military power. China is leasing out world's major economic corridors to access markets and it is making its grip stronger on the global arena by incorporating manufacturing industry. Moreover, as the Western bloc is unable to apply economic aggression. This leaves Bejing free to pursue its main political objectives, such as strengthening Army on its maritime boundaries, carrying on drilling activities on disputed Islands, and expanding its influence and commercial facilities across the continent, without fear of economic isolation. Thus, China is another actor challenging American hegemony.
Other emerging powers are India, Brazil, Iran and South Africa which are gaining quite notable space on the world stage. It is yet to be seen what this new order unwraps. Historically, no order has witnessed long-term peace. Wars have shaped modern world more than the treaties. In the era which is marked by security dilemma, where nuclear bombs are credited for being the greatest deterrent of war instead of understanding and institutions, where expenditure on nuclear proliferation exceeds the expense of human welfare— there peace seems like an Utopian dream. Let's hope this time the new order brings out peace and prosperity for the planet. Let's hope the pen, not the gun writes the future of coming generations.