A new United Nations will have to be created by a new pressure group. The US and China will not drive this change. They have much to lose from it.
The world needs a new security architecture, a new compact on how it will be governed. While this has been known for quite some time, two things are now clearer than ever.
First, both the current superpowers, the US and China, are not fit to lead. The latter is a bully, not a responsible power, and has threatened almost all its neighbours. The former is actually an overgrown island and largely irrelevant to the new economic centre of the world, which is Eurasia.
At some point, Africa too will become important, and neither the US nor China have much to offer that continent beyond more conflict and more exploitation.
Second, change must therefore come from outside. A new security architecture cannot come from the US or China, as both have deep vested interests and are keen to preserve their own existing powers.
The only difference between China and the US, apart from democracy, is that the former wants to replace the US as the main node of global power at some point in the coming decades. It believes its time has come.
The US is trying hard to preserve its relevance, as its fevered efforts to get Europe into North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) against Russia shows.
But NATO is past its sell-by date, with the locus of power and trade shifting from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
As the Chinese bid to make peace between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran shows, the security architecture of Eurasia has to focus on the concerns of the states in this region, and not across the Atlantic.
The US’s security relevance is towards Latin America. At best, it can be a tilting factor in intra-Eurasian conflicts, as it was in the intra-European wars of the twentieth century.
Eurasia’s security philosophy must thus evolve from two understandings: one, the rise of China and its growing dominance; and the inevitable future rise of India, and later Africa.
The focus must be to restrain China from dominating Eurasia even while integrating it into larger trade arrangements that are non-exploitative.
Neither China nor the US has any interest in, for example, in reform of the United Nations power structure, but this is crucial for any rebalancing towards Eurasia.
Moving away from US hegemony, and preventing another hegemony in Asia, means India, the European Union, ASEAN, and Japan, along with South Africa and Egypt, must form a new ginger group to bring in change either to the UN, or by creating a parallel security set-up to ensure peace in Eurasia.
This does not mean China and the US are to be ignored, but they must be dealt with by the larger grouping that is currently outside the formal power structure of the UN. By themselves, countries do not have the power to resist either US or Chinese hegemony.
While Europe is currently in the grip of US security priorities, once the Ukraine war ends, it will realise that defanging Russia needs a tiger embrace, not exclusion and ostracism. Russia is part Europe and part Asia, and thus a vital source of energy and tech dynamism for Eurasia.
It also needs to be freed from the clutches of China, just as Europe needs a European security policy that is not overdependent on the US.
Within Europe, Germany and France will obviously be the new power centres, while outside Europe, Japan, India and Indonesia are the obvious partners both to contain and engage China. South Africa and Egypt will drive African involvement.
A new United Nations will have to be created by this new pressure group. The US and China will not drive this change. They have much to lose from it.