Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wonders whether, as Kishore Mahbubani, the “prophet of Eastern ascendancy and Singapore’s former UN ambassador” claims, the West’s era of dominance is over:
Brace for a shattering shock. Westerners will discover within a generation that the fleeting 200-year era of Euro-American dominance is over.
“The Asians are coming back and the chemistry of the 21st century will be completely different. You will have to make choices,” said Mahbubani … The rules of the world order will be set in the East. International law will mutate. The financial institutions and global trading structure will be run by China and India. Westerners will have to adapt, nolens volens, to the Confucian-Hindu way of doing things.
That, at least, is the argument. Doubters say the world has been waiting for the Asian century since Marco Polo. Something always seems to intrude. Usually autocracy.
There is one difference this time, which AEP neglects to mention. The West’s efforts to commit suicide are intensifying. If the East gets it together then a culture obsessed with speech codes, safe spaces and policing the internet for people who deny that women can have penises will be no match for it.
Yes, I know economics isn’t always a zero-sum game. But sometimes it is. And culture, and the law, are different again. Weaker, victim-led cultures die. The West is starting to die. If the West can shrug off the left like it did in the 80s then it can revive, but the left has much more of a strangehold on the culture and the institutions than it did in the 80s. And modern leftists are altogether more stupid, tribal, ahistoric, inward-looking and divorced from reality than even the 80s leftists were, which is saying something.
It really would be something of an irony if it turned out that the Universities, long thought to be the jewel in the West’s crown, turned out to be the cause of its demise.