Thursday Jan 26, 2023

A World Between Orders

To hear Western leaders tell it, the outcome of Russia’s war in Ukraine will determine whether the international rules-based order survives. If Russian President Vladimir Putin wins in Ukraine, the laws and norms that are supposed to protect sovereignty will be exposed as useless. But what if that order is already broken, and there is no going back? The international system’s response to recent transnational challenges—whether it’s climate change, conflict, the pandemic, or the global debt crisis—has been deeply inadequate, especially for the “global South.” Much of the world can see that the stakes are high in Ukraine, especially for European security—but does not share the view that the outcome will fundamentally change how the world is governed.

In recent essays for Foreign Affairs, Shivshankar Menon, who served as national security adviser to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from 2010 to 2014, explores the failures of the current world order and examines what could replace it. He has also served as India’s foreign secretary and as the country’s ambassador to Israel, Sri Lanka, China, and Pakistan. He is the author of India and Asian Geopolitics: The Past, Present.

We discuss what’s at stake in Ukraine, India’s place in a changing world, and what order could emerge from today’s great-power competition.

You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at

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