TRENDS Participates in a Seminar held by Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS)



- Dr. Mohammed Al-Ali stresses the need to promote multilateralism and respect for diversity between different cultures and peoples.


TRENDS Research and Advisory participated in a symposium entitled "Rebuilding Consensus on Multilateralism", organized by the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies and the The Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies. The participant discussed the ongoing debate between the advocates of multipolarity and cultural diversity on one hand, and advocates for promoting unilateralism and maintaining American hegemony on the other.


Dr. Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ali, CEO of TRENDS Research and Advisory, opened his remarks by acknowledging the report entitled “Multilateralism on the Line: A Transforming International Order and Chinese Solutions” launched by the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies and the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies. He noted that the report heralds one of the prospects for the most sought international multilateralism that many aspire to. It offers alternative "Chinese" solutions to settle world's problems and face common challenges.


Dr. Al-Ali said that the future of the world has been torn apart, for more than a decade, by two competing proponents, each of whom wants to frame the world order according to its expectations. The first bloc holds an upward approach pushing towards multilateralism. It considers this concept of diversity an effective way to build global peace, support common development and enhance global governance. The Second one is embodied in a counter force that seeks to establish unilateralism and hegemony in international interactions.


The Trends CEO indicated that the concept of multilateralism is rather comprehensive. It is not limited to multilateralism per se. Rather, it includes multilateralism in our contemporary global system which cover political, ideological, cultural and other aspects.


Dr. Al-Ali said that upholding multilateralism is gaining momentum under conditions of high rates of international cooperation, economic interdependence, and the adoption of shared visions and strategies for sustainable development and collective security. This could well be achieved through a win-win situation, and promoting the traditions of global governance pursued by international organizations with high level of credibility.


Dr. Al-Ali clarified that this trend still faces several challenges. He said that we are still facing the challenges of the incomplete recovery of peoples and economies of the world from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic and the frequency of geopolitical conflicts in different parts of the world. This is quite evident in Europe, the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific region. We notice the alarming attempts of exclusion and the growing restrictions and sanctions in international trade and the deterioration of the current international system's ability to stand up to these growing global challenges.


These challenges present an urgent need to push for faster action in order to promote multilateralism and respect diversity between different cultures and peoples.





Dr. Al-Ali indicated that while multilateralism is going through an apparent crisis, we notice that unilateralism in world politics is declining. This downward trend can be explained by several variables. First is the prevalence of power-based conflicts and confrontation among major powers. The term “power” here refers to the different manifestations of power, whether economic, political or military. In all cases it is either the use of hard or soft power. The second variable is related to the growing "dissatisfaction" by a number of major countries with the pattern they regard as US tendency for hegemony in world politics.


Al-Ali added that there is an increase in the capabilities of “competing” countries. This is manifested in the current riva between China and the US, the BRICS group, and the uneven economic growth between the major countries, all of which fall in the best interest of the emerging powers.


Dr. Al-Ali said that we are experiencing a multilateral world order in the making and living through the transition from unilateralism to multilateralism. In fact, the Chinese global initiatives give great impetus to the growing drive towards multilateralism in world politics.


However, he stated that much remains to be done to build a viable consensus on multilateralism, chief among these is a strong commitment to the objectives and principles of the United Nations Charter. There is a pressing urgency to relinquish the concept of zero-sum games and polarization in international politics. We need to emphasize the need for augmenting mutual benefit and international cooperation, and find a just political settlement for international conflicts and regional disputes.


“There is no doubt that there is a common interest between the Arab world and China in forging a multilateral world order. There are vital economic, political and geostrategic interests that link the Arab world with China.” Dr. Al-Ali said.


In fact, the multilateral nature of the international system is in the best interest of both parties; the Arabs and China.


Therefore, the Arab world and China should seize the opportunity for further cooperation between them. This would consolidate the multilateral nature of international relations.


Dr. Al-Ali called on the two sides to avail themselves of the valuable opportunities of economic cooperation in the "Belt and Road" initiative and renewable energy. He said there is also the possibility for establishing of a free trade zone with the Gulf Cooperation Council and the rest of Arab countries. Other areas of potential cooperation include scientific and technological cooperation, transfer of scientific knowledge and experience in governance and sound management of public affairs.


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