As Russia and the West risk a tit for tat trade war, could globalisation have reached a peak?

YES

Since the end of the Cold War, the refrain has been the same: globalisation and the increasing interconnectedness of states will keep the world safe. This sort of thinking has helped fuel the greatest wave of international capitalism in history, as well as some of the deepest cuts to defence spending in the industrial era. The same ideas circulated in the period before the First World War, and again in the period before the Second. In both cases, history proved proponents of this liberal internationalist idealism wrong. We are told that this era of globalisation is different, that it’s unstoppable, and that this time it will save us from global conflict. But while it’s true that the globalisation of today is greater in both scale and depth than the globalisation of the twentieth century, it won’t save us from conflict in any real sense. We need to start differentiating between a world that trades and a world that is at peace. Dylan Kissane is director of graduate studies and professor of international politics at CEFAM in Lyon, France.


No

The current dispute over Ukraine can’t be interpreted as a consequence of peaking economic globalisation. Whereas economic globalisation started with the industrial revolution, its liberal political counterpart is still in early stage development. It’s this weakness that causes conflicts to degenerate. When economic globalisation is coupled with a political integration scheme such as the EU, international conflicts do disappear. However, the moribund Council of Europe has no power to mitigate intergovernmental confrontations. Economic globalisation has been efficient in tempering the belligerents until today. If it wasn’t for their economic interdependence, Vladimir Putin and European leaders would have probably been more aggressive. The collapse of the rouble, capital exodus out of Russia and potential loss of key markets for European firms have considerably reduced both sides’ vindictiveness. Remi Piet is assistant professor of public policy, diplomacy and international political economy at Qatar University.