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International System 2050: Rethinking Grand Strategy for a Multipolar World

The Institute for Peace & Diplomacy (IPD) launches a new program called “International System 2050: Rethinking Grand Strategy for a Multipolar World”. This new program will be led by IPD’s Research Director Dr. Arta Moeini

The world is at a great inflection point comparable in scale to 1919, 1945, and 1989. The integrity of the rules-based international system, what some have called the liberal world order, is under increasing threat. As the world undergoes systemic change and new great powers rise to contest the global dominance of the West (particularly the North Atlantic bloc), the international system no longer accepts a global policeman, nor does it permit projects of empire and hubris. In line with this general trend against global hegemony, scholars and practitioners must rethink conventional wisdom in foreign policy and question long-held assumptions separating the chaff from the wheat.

Through sponsoring contrarian researchers, experts, and fellows as well as hosting panels and discussions, the International System 2050 Program welcomes serious debate and unconventional thinking that reconsiders the role of the West within a changing global geostrategic landscape where many non-Western civilizations are reemerging as great powers that want an equal say in shaping the post-Pax Americana international order. The program encourages research that scrutinizes the nature of ‘power’ itself as well as its full range of instruments including trade, diplomacy, and cultural exchanges to promote engagement while discouraging interference.

“This new program, International System 2050, is a non-partisan effort that will spearhead and support innovative research and programming that seek viable alternatives grounded in restraint and realism and actively challenge the mainstream orthodoxies of the North Atlantic foreign policy establishment,” said Bijan Ahmadi, IPD’s Executive Director.   

“We are convinced that longstanding dogmas perpetuated by the ‘blob’ have seriously damaged the Atlantic bloc’s power and prestige exhausting its cultural and material resources”, Dr. Arta Moeini noted. “By inviting provocative original thinking that challenges the decades-old presumptions of North Atlantic foreign policy, we seek to construct a new framework for analysis and inquiry that approaches the world through realism, common sense, and restraint instead of militarism, interventionism, hegemony.” 

“What this critical moment requires is acceptance among our elites that the emerging multipolar order is not a momentary lapse, as many in the West hope, but a structural reality that is here to stay, accommodating which will largely determine the course of the 21st century. The IS-2050 program aims to advance, facilitate, and support this much-needed paradigm shift and encourage a culture change among policymakers by returning to the first principles of foreign policy, devising new approaches, and adjusting strategic priorities accordingly,” Dr. Moeini added.  

The International System 2050 initiative will complement IPD’s important area studies work, providing them with a concrete theoretical foundation through which to approach important policy and security challenges. Only through such novel grand strategic frameworks such as ‘restraint’ could we hope for a future in which peace and diplomacy, as well as non-militaristic instruments of power, become the norms of international relations and recognition of the sovereignty and interests of strategic competitors is not disparaged as ‘appeasement’ or ‘isolationism’.