By Shastri Ramachandaran
NEW DELHI (IDN) — Those who assert that western hegemony is no longer sustainable can take heart from the fact that movers and shakers on the world stage are also saying this. French President Emmanuel Macron has proclaimed that “Western hegemony is nearing its end”.
Perhaps, the most erudite among the heads of P-5 governments, Macron’s intellectual and diplomatic appeal extends beyond France and Europe, which explains his continued engagement with Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine.
At a closed-door meeting with France’s top diplomats, Macron said that “the international order is being upended in a whole new way. It is a transformation of the international order. I must admit that Western hegemony may be coming to an end”.
Among the gems Macron dropped at the meeting are:
We have become accustomed to an international order based on Western hegemony since the 18th century. France, the UK, and the US have made the West great for 300 years. We are used to this greatness that gives us absolute dominance over the global economy and politics.
The many wrong choices the US has made in the face of crises have deeply shaken our hegemony. This didn’t just start with Trump. Other presidents made other wrong choices long before Trump: Clinton’s China policy, Bush’s war policy, Obama’s world financial crisis and quantitative easing policy.
On the other hand, we have greatly underestimated the rise of emerging powers … not just two years ago, but as early as ten or twenty years ago. We underestimated them from the beginning!
Under different leadership styles, China and Russia have achieved great success over the years. India is also rapidly emerging as an economic power and becoming a political power. China, Russia, and India, these countries (can) compare to the US, France and the UK.
Their political imagination is far stronger than (that of) today’s Westerners. After they have strong economic power, they start to look for their own “philosophy and culture”. They no longer believe in Western politics but begin to pursue their own “national culture”.
When these emerging nations find their own national culture and begin to believe in it, they will gradually get rid of the “philosophical culture” that Western hegemony has instilled in them in the past. And this is the beginning of the end of Western hegemony!
A less cerebral and more popular take on this comes from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who says that the “Ukraine war will end Western prosperity”.
In an interview to a German magazine, Orbán said that the EU will be weaker than before after the end of the war in Ukraine, while other countries and regions will benefit. Firstly, the West could not win the Ukraine war militarily; secondly, the sanctions had in no way destabilised Russia; thirdly, their damage to Europe was immense; and, fourthly, the world had not lined up behind the US and Ukraine.
“A large part of the world demonstratively does not stand behind them: the Chinese, the Indians, the Brazilians, South Africa, the Arab world, Africa,” Orbán elaborated. “It is easily possible that it will be this war that demonstratively puts an end to Western superiority”.
Leaders of New Europe and Old Europe, though of different ideological streams, appear to share the same perceptions on the US-led West, its coming decline and the emerging new world order. [IDN-InDepthNews – 24 August 2022]
Note: The author is an Editorial Consultant, WION TV, and Senior Editorial Consultant of IDN-INPS. This story first appeared as Spotlight in WION, and is being reproduced with the author’s permission.
Photo: French President Emmanuel Macron. Source: Spiegel
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