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TEL AVIV – Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have been in the news in recent days for envisioning the creation of a “new world order.”
The two politicians have a long history of using the phrase to advocate a global rebalancing through shared values, diplomacy and participation in international organizations.
Critics of the Obama administration say major global players – notably Russia and China – are not playing by international rules and may themselves be attempting to create an alternate rebalancing of national alliances at the expense of the West.
On Wednesday, Biden used a speech at the Air Force Academy to urge graduating cadets to help create a “new world order for the 21st century.”
“I believe we, and mainly you, have an incredible opportunity to lead in shaping a new world order for the 21st century in a way consistent with American interests and common interests,” Biden stated.
Last week, Hagel said during a trip to Poland that “a new and early 21st century world order [is] being built.”
Just three weeks ago, Hagel used the “new world order” term in a townhall meeting with Recruit Training Command School student instructors at Chicago’s Naval Station Great Lakes.
Hagel stated: “This is a time of great global transformation. We are seeing essentially a new world order evolving and being built. I don’t think we’ve seen such a time since right after World War II.
“And, again, the United States is an essential architect of this – of this process,” he added.
Last year, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward quoted Hagel telling President Obama during a private meeting in 2009: “We are at a time where there is a new world order. We don’t control it. You must question everything, every assumption, everything they (the military and diplomats) tell you.”
In April 2013, Hagel told Israeli President Shimon Peres: “We are living through the defining of a new world order, and it’s still within our capability to do something about it.”
Hagel was reportedly referring to turmoil in the Middle East and worldwide.
Hagel again advocated the development of a “new world order” in a March 2010 talk at The Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, Florida. At the time, the former senator held no formal office.
“Our country’s future as well as the future of mankind in the world today is redefining itself,” the Palm Beach Daily News quoted Hagel as stating.
“We are experiencing a global reorientation. We are building, defining and framing a new world order.”
In December 2010, Hagel told delegates to the Congress of Cities & Exposition: “We are in the middle of building a new world order. We are defining a new time in the history of man.”
Hagel used the term in a September 2009 opinion piece published in the Washington Post titled “The Limits Of Force; Iraq and Afghanistan Aren’t Ours to Win or Lose.”
Wrote Hagel: “No country today has the power to impose its will and values on other nations. As the new world order takes shape, America must lead by building coalitions of common interests, as we did after World War II.”
Hagel’s described new world order encompasses an American “foreign policy underpinned by engagement – in other words, active diplomacy but not appeasement.”
Regarding global engagement, Hagel said “the Obama administration, Congress and the Pentagon must get this right because it will frame the global architecture for the next generation.”
He called for global collaboration to build “seamless networks of intelligence gathering and sharing, and strengthening alliances, diplomatic cooperation, trade and development,” which he asserted “can make the biggest long-term difference and have the most lasting impact on building a more stable and secure world.”
In January 2008, the Washington Post reported Hagel took part in a bipartisan conference in Oklahoma “between moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats who seek to use ‘smart power’ to build a new world order.”
Hagel told the group: “Every one of us in this group this morning believes there are opportunities to turn things around for our country, our future, our children, the world.”
Biden, meanwhile, has been calling for a “new world order” since 1992, when he gave a speech at the University of Delaware titled “On the Threshold of the New World Order: A Rebirth for the United Nations.”
Like Hagel’s conceptualization, Biden see’s the potential for global rebirth through international cooperation through bodies such as the United Nations.
In April 2013, Biden told the Export-Import Bank Annual Conference of international, institutional and global rules: “These institutions that the affirmative task we have now is – is to actually create a new world order.”
Not everyone is buying the rhetoric about a “new world order” of international diplomacy.
In his column last week, prominent pundit Charles Krauthammer mocked the Obama administration’s attempt to impose global norms on Russia and China.
“Chinese and Russians can only roll their eyes,” he wrote. “These norms and rules mean nothing to them. … Obama cites modern rules; Russia and China, animated by resurgent nationalism, are governed by ancient maps.”
Krauthammer warned the “alignment of the world’s two leading anti-Western powers” marks a “major alteration in the global balance of power.”
He said that if the Russian and Chinese global resurgence is “carried through, it would mark the end of a quarter-century of unipolarity.”
“And it would herald a return to a form of bipolarity – two global coalitions: one free, one not.”
With research by Brenda J. Elliott.