It is possible to say by now, that we are living in a time where we can see the prolongation of some states as Great Powers, but also the rise of others in the international system. We can see rising powers trying to gain more voice in the international system in the G4, where Brazil, Germany, India and Japan are united and supporting each other for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. All these prominent states, however, have different policies in mind, since we can see that the BRICS members are much more a revisionist group, while Germany and Japan are mostly satisfied with the order the way it is. The arrival of these new states in the international arena are making the actors most involved in the system have different interests, what makes cooperation difficult between them.
One example of how cooperation can be difficult among powers is the crisis in Ukraine. The Ukraine’s crisis is an example of how some big powers can stay silent even after one of the most important rules is broken in the international order. As David Banks and Michael Schroeder put it, one of the factors of this inaction is that we are leaving in a time where we don’t know for sure who are the great powers. And, since we don’t have anything more formal about it, these countries just don’t feel like are their responsibility to act and do something.
Another reason that I see for this silence is that Brazil, China and India are members of BRICS. So, an action against Russia could make Russia step away from the group, what would make the group lose one of the strongest members. Besides, for Brazil and India this could even lead to the loss of Russia’s support for a seat in the Security Council.
This shift in international order is a new reason of why cooperation is more difficult now than was after the end of the Cold War, although, it is not the explanation for all the problems that we are having. Relative gains considerations and cheating concern, as Mearsheimer argued in 1995, are still two important factors tensing cooperation today. The nuclear diplomacy with Iran is an illustration of how states today are still worried about cheating, considering that the talks are being made slowly and with constant supervision of IAEA. In its turn, relative gains considerations can be seen in Doha development round, where states can’t get to a final agreement, because nobody wants to have any disadvantage.
The congruence of all these factors make cooperation difficult, thereby, to alleviate some of the tension the Great Powers should recognize and give space for new actors in the system, not only in the Security Council, but also in the IMF and the World Bank. The renouncement of the world, like it was after the World War II, is necessary to have a more peaceful and cooperative world now, since we see that the new crisis can’t be solved just by americans and europeans alone.