Is a Seismic East-West Shift Taking Place?
The underlying issue that to me sits beneath the Ukraine-Russia crisis, and similar East-West antagonisms is this… authoritarian regimes have a competitive edge when it comes to industrial capitalism.
Ever since the Clinton administration, the West believed that, at some point, China would have to liberalise. The people would get richer on the back of working in factories producing goods for the global market. The internet would allow more freedom of information. China would develop a burgeoning middle class and they would demand change. Bit by bit the CCP would have to let go the tight reins of control. Right up until the Trump administration, this belief was simply accepted as gospel truth.
Well, that didn’t go so well. As of Autumn 2020, China simply began to boot out all the Westerners and tightened up its boundaries. It scared the entrepreneur class into toeing the party line and fenced off the internet.
Now, frantic US and European administrations are trying desperately to work out whether the Chinese will be happy with regional dominance or if they are going to go for the big enchilada - displacing the global hegemony of the USA.
What this means for Putin is that he may simply not have to listen to anything the West says. Banks and corporations, driven by the need to make profits and remain competitive, may be unwilling to effect sanctions that could threaten their already shaky status. Post Cold War cutbacks in military spending by the non-authoritarian West, needed to divert funds to their citizens’ other needs, have left NATO likely unable to confront Putin’s artillery in ground warfare.
What’s happening in Ukraine could well represent a glimpse into the near future. For the first time in modern history, the balance of economic and military power between East and West is shifting to favour the former. It may soon be us that must wait to see what our more powerful neighbour has in store for us.
Thank you for reading.