The New Leviathans: How Emerging Powers are Redefining Global Politics

 In a world where liberalism is losing its grip, new leviathans are rising, challenging the old order and reshaping global politics. These emerging powers bring with them new ideologies, economic policies, and international strategies. Curious about how this shift affects you and the world at large? Dive in and explore the fascinating dynamics of the new global landscape!

The New Leviathans: Thoughts After Liberalism

new leviathans, global politics, post-liberalism, emerging powers, authoritarianism, nationalism, international relations, economic policies


Liberalism, once the dominant political ideology, is seeing its influence wane. Around the globe, new powers are rising, challenging the liberal order and reshaping the political landscape. These new leviathans—states with significant influence and control—are redefining governance and international relations in the 21st century. Let’s delve into the characteristics, impacts, and future implications of these new powers.

The Rise of New Powers

Defining the New Leviathans

The term "new leviathans" refers to emerging powerful states that deviate from traditional liberal democratic norms. These nations wield considerable influence, both regionally and globally, and often adopt authoritarian practices.

The Shift from Traditional Liberalism

The decline of liberalism is evident in the rise of leaders who prioritize national sovereignty, economic independence, and political control over liberal democratic values. This shift marks a significant departure from the post-World War II liberal order.

Characteristics of the New Leviathans

Authoritarian Tendencies

New leviathans often exhibit strong authoritarian tendencies, consolidating power within a single leader or ruling party. This centralization of power contrasts sharply with the decentralized governance models favored by liberal democracies.

Nationalism and Populism

Nationalism and populism are key features of these new powers. Leaders frequently appeal to national pride and identity, often using populist rhetoric to galvanize support and justify their policies.

Economic Policies

Economically, new leviathans prioritize state control over markets, with policies that often protect domestic industries and restrict foreign influence. This economic strategy aims to create self-sufficient economies less dependent on global trade networks dominated by liberal democracies.

Global Impact

International Relations and Diplomacy

The new leviathans are reshaping international relations, often challenging the diplomatic norms established by liberal democracies. Their approach to diplomacy is more transactional and less reliant on multilateral agreements.

Economic Influence

These nations exert significant economic influence, using their economic power to sway international policy and foster dependent relationships with smaller states.

Case Studies of New Leviathans


China's rise as a global power is characterized by its authoritarian governance, state-controlled economy, and assertive foreign policy. Its Belt and Road Initiative exemplifies its strategy to expand influence through economic means.


Under Vladimir Putin, Russia has embraced a nationalist agenda, consolidating power domestically while exerting influence over its neighbors through energy dependence and military interventions.


India's blend of democracy with strong nationalist policies under leaders like Narendra Modi highlights a shift from liberalism towards a more controlled political environment that emphasizes cultural and economic sovereignty.


In Brazil, leaders like Jair Bolsonaro have leveraged populist rhetoric and authoritarian practices to navigate the country’s complex political landscape, challenging traditional liberal norms.

The Decline of Western Liberalism

Internal Challenges

Western liberal democracies face significant internal challenges, including political polarization, economic inequality, and declining public trust in institutions, contributing to the erosion of liberal dominance.

External Pressures

Externally, the rise of new leviathans puts pressure on liberal democracies, forcing them to adapt to a changing geopolitical environment where their influence is no longer uncontested.

Philosophical Underpinnings

Critiques of Liberalism

Critics argue that liberalism fails to address key issues such as economic inequality and cultural identity, leading to disenchantment and the rise of alternative ideologies.

Alternative Ideologies

New ideologies are emerging as alternatives to liberalism, emphasizing strong leadership, national sovereignty, and economic self-sufficiency.

The Future of Global Governance

Potential Scenarios

The future of global governance could see a continued shift towards multipolarity, where multiple powerful states influence international policies, potentially leading to increased competition and conflict.

The Role of International Organizations

International organizations may need to adapt to this new reality, finding ways to incorporate the interests and perspectives of new leviathans to remain relevant.

The Impact on Democracy

Erosion of Democratic Norms

The rise of new leviathans often leads to the erosion of democratic norms, with increased censorship, limited political freedoms, and weakened checks and balances.

Civil Liberties and Human Rights

Human rights and civil liberties are frequently compromised under the rule of new leviathans, as authoritarian practices become more widespread.

Economic Systems and Inequality

Wealth Distribution

Economic policies under new leviathans can exacerbate wealth inequality, with benefits often concentrated among the elite while broader populations experience limited economic mobility.

Corporate Influence

Corporations may find themselves navigating complex regulatory environments where state interests heavily dictate business operations, reducing their influence compared to liberal markets.

Technology and Surveillance

Digital Authoritarianism

New leviathans utilize advanced technology for surveillance and control, implementing digital authoritarianism to monitor and manage their populations.

Privacy Concerns

Privacy concerns are paramount as state surveillance capabilities grow, leading to a significant impact on individual freedoms and data security.

Environmental Policies

Climate Change Response

The approach to climate change varies among new leviathans, with some prioritizing economic growth over environmental sustainability, potentially exacerbating global environmental challenges.

Sustainable Development

Efforts towards sustainable development are often overshadowed by immediate economic and political goals, posing long-term risks for global ecological health.

Public Opinion and Resistance

Grassroots Movements

Grassroots movements and civil society organizations play a critical role in resisting the authoritarian practices of new leviathans, advocating for democratic values and human rights.

Media Influence

The media landscape is a battleground, with new leviathans often controlling or manipulating media to maintain their power, while independent media strives to hold them accountable.


The rise of new leviathans marks a significant shift in the global political landscape. As these powers continue to challenge the liberal order, the world faces a future of uncertainty and change. Understanding the characteristics and impacts of these new forces is crucial for navigating this new era of global politics.


1. What defines a new leviathan in the context of global politics?

A new leviathan is a powerful state that diverges from traditional liberal democratic norms, often exhibiting authoritarian tendencies and prioritizing national sovereignty.

2. How are new leviathans impacting global governance?

New leviathans are reshaping global governance by challenging the established liberal order, leading to a more multipolar world with increased competition and diverse political models.

3. What are the economic policies of new leviathans?

These states often prioritize state control over markets, protect domestic industries, and aim for economic self-sufficiency, reducing dependence on global trade networks.

4. How do new leviathans approach technology and surveillance?

New leviathans utilize advanced technology for surveillance and control, implementing digital authoritarianism to monitor and manage their populations, raising significant privacy concerns.

5. What role do grassroots movements play in resisting new leviathans?

Grassroots movements are crucial in resisting the authoritarian practices of new leviathans, advocating for democratic values, human rights, and accountability.

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