But such institutions are rarely self-sufficient. They still require the leadership of great powers. And it remains to be seen whether this century’s great powers will live up to this role.
As the power of China and India increases, how will their behavior change? Ironically, for those who foresee a tripolar world of the United States, China and India at mid-century, all three of these states — the world’s most populous — are among the most protective of their sovereignty.
Some argue that our current global institutions are sufficiently open and adaptable for China to find it in its own interests to become what Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, once called a “responsible stakeholder.” Others believe that China will wish to impose its own mark and create its own international institutional system as its power increases.