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Geopolitical Economy of Post-Hegemonic Regionalism in Latin America and Eurasia


Efe Can Gürcan


June 4, 2018 11.00-12.30

FASS 2034


World politics is going through a period of tumultuous changes. This uproar makes itself felt most strongly in worldwide economic and political instabilities that accompany a strong pace of geopolitical multipolarization. The outcome of intensifying conflicts and tensions depends to a great extent on the form and strength of alternative global governance initiatives. These initiatives could establish institutionalized and stable patterns of socioeconomic cooperation, while minimizing the likelihood of global military confrontation based on diplomatic deterrence and power-balancing mechanisms. With these concerns in mind, this paper explores the implications of regionalism for global conflict and peace by focusing on the case of Latin America and Eurasia, which are home to the leading contenders of US hegemonism. What is the historical, normative and institutional setting that helps leading Latin American and Eurasian contenders to implement a post-hegemonic agenda and contribute to the multipolarization of global politics in their own peculiar way? Post-hegemony describes a situation in which the unipolar organization of the world political economy is challenged by a plurality of alternative projects, without however being entirely replaced by another system. Emblematic of post-hegemonic initiatives is the rise of the BRICS countries who have taken the lead in creating alternative institutions that constrain US global hegemony, while on the other hand failing to spearhead a coherent, uniform and confrontational opposition movement. My process-tracing analysis offers a three-fold argument. (a) Latin America’s post-hegemonic regionalism – as represented by ALBA and UNASUR – is characterized by a social justice-driven agenda that challenges neoliberalism, whereas the peculiarity of Eurasian regionalism – as represented by SCO, CSTO and EEU – lies in its security-oriented focus that confronts US interventionism and international terrorism. In Eurasia, particularly, regionalism proposes an alternative framework to alleviate conflicts between Central Asian states and redress the Sino-Russian competition in a peaceful context. (b) An underlying commonality of both Latin American and Eurasian experiences is that they constitute a multi-front struggle centered on four main areas: culture, economy, financial cooperation, and regional defense. They both hinge on a strong normative framework and firm commitment in the regionalization of an endogenous culture, educational system and defense mechanism. They all attach a primordial importance to social, financial and infrastructural development. (c) Overall, these experiences suffer unresolved tensions between national sovereignty and supra-nationalism alongside the predominance of charismatic leaders inhibiting institutionalization. The limitations and contradictions of post-hegemonic transformations also include Latin America’s inability to resolve the question of extractivism, Eurasia’s neglect of the question of democratic participation, and both regionalisms’ failure to offer a coherent alternative model of economic development to US hegemonism.