Home / Articles / Debating Disruption in the World Order: The Middle East, Cascading Conflict
The 21st century has not only ushered in dramatic change, but the rate of change in global affairs has also increased rapidly. So much so that even the first decade of the new century hardly resembles the contemporary landscape of the past six or seven years. Nowhere is this truer than in the Middle East – a region so fraught with challenges that each new thunderclap has had the potential to disrupt the international order as we know it. As Robert Kagan put it, albeit in describing the twilight of the liberal world order, we are now in a period characterized by “systemic economic stresses, growing tribalism and nationalism, and a general loss of confidence in established international and national institutions.” For the Middle East, this new state of affairs has manifested in conflict and instability. But the region is not hermetically sealed. What happens there can affect the neighborhood and the world. This essay will survey the current regional disorder; identify the areas in which Middle Eastern disorder may disrupt the global order; and discuss the implications for India as a key stakeholder.