October 06, 2008

World Needs A New G-3

With the exception of the fire-breathing wing of the American Republican Party most observors of the current scene agree that the global influence of the USA is finally beginning to wane. Events of the Panic of '08 show that the world really contains 3 superpowers specifically the USA, the EU, and China. An interesting analysis of where we are and where we very soon need to go is provided by one Parag Khanna in Der Spiegel. Two key grafs:

"As stealthy, globalized escalations continue among the great powers undeterred by global governance norms, the potential for conflict grows: resource competition in the Caspian and South China seas, terrorism with nuclear weapons, an attack in the Gulf of Aden or the Straits of Malacca. The uncertain alignments of lesser but still substantial powers such as Russia, Japan, and India could also cause escalation. Furthermore, America's foreign lenders could pull the plug to undermine its grand strategy, sparking economic turmoil, political acrimony, and military tension. War brings profit to the military-industrial complex and is always supported by the large patriotic camps on all sides. Yet the notion of a Sino-US rivalry to lead the world is also premature and simplistic for in the event of their conflict, Europe would be the winner as capital would flee to its sanctuaries. "

"Yet at present the term "international community" is little more than a euphemism for Western dominance. The West can expect no allegiance to a Western order masquerading as representative of global values decreed without global input. America has called on China to be a "responsible stakeholder" in the global system, but because it is implicitly an American order China is naturally resistant to it. China will not exercise its enormous economic weight in the interests of antiquated and unrepresentative clubs like the G-8 that will not even let it in. Similarly, much as the efficacy of the UN Security Council today depends on the United States, the same is becoming true of China, which can also bribe the rotating Security Council members to vote its way. Without a new division of labor, Western institutions will diminish with America's power, leaving only classic geopolitical competition without even the veneer of diplomatic coordination. "

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