What is the post-Cold War world system?
There are many arguments and views on the current world system. Some people consider the current post-Cold War world system to be multipolar. A multipolar system occurs when there are multiple, equal powers around the world. They all have competing economies and participate in trade. We have several large, powerful countries that seem to be pretty self-sufficient. Japan, China, Europe, and the United States all seem to be very similar in terms of political power.
Other people argue that the world was entering a unipolar system. In this system, the entire world relies on one superpower. Most people consider this to be the current world system because everyone relies on the U.S. in some sort of way.
Another view on the post-Cold War world system is the counterweight system. Instead of the entire world leaning on the U.S., they could all possibly team up and oppose the U.S. instead. Their combined power would be enough to counterweight the U.S. power. This system is unrealistic because too many countries rely on the U.S. for help.
The final world system is a stratified system. It consists of 3 layers. The first layer is made up of rich, high-tech countries. The second layer is made of industrializing, middle-class countries. The third layer is described as chaotic, third world countries. The U.S. is unable to avoid the third layer of countries because of the resources they provide, such as oil. They also cannot take over the third layer countries because of violence, religious differences, and drug cartels.
A lot of countries all lean on the United States in some sort of way, so a multipolar system is unrealistic. Critics of the unipolar system argue that while the U.S. is a military superpower, that other political and economical conditions limit its leadership abilities. The counterweight system is also unrealistic because the majority of countries outside the U.S. are unable to come to political agreements in order to team up against the U.S.
In one sense, the world is a unipolar system because all countries rely on the U.S. in one way or another. On the other hand, the stratified world system also seems to be the closest to reality today. The U.S., Europe, and China are the first layer, high-tech countries. Other countries are industrializing at a steady rate, but still not to the level of the U.S. The third level countries are made up of countries such as Somalia, Columbia, and Afghanistan. Ideally, the U.S. would like to avoid these countries but it can be difficult. The pirates in Somalia, the drug cartels in Columbia, and the terrorist in Afghanistan all make in necessary for us to be involved with these countries.