Crisis marks out a new geopolitical order

Philip Stephens – The Financial Times

Copyright The Financial Times
A very strongly argued view of the crisis as – among other things – the end of the Western dominion. A snippet:
..For the first time, the epicentre has been in the west. Viewed from Washington, London or Paris, financial crises used to be things that happened to someone else – to Latin America, to Asia, to Russia.
The shock waves [of crisis] would sometimes lap at western shores, usually in the form of demands that the rich nations rescue their own imprudent banks. But these crises drew a line between north and south, between the industrialised and developing world. Emerging nations got into a mess; the west told them sternly what they must do to get out of it..
…Owning up to the geopolitical implications will be as painful for the rich nations as paying the domestic price for the profligacy. The erosion of the west’s moral authority that began with the Iraq war has been greatly accelerated. The west’s debtors cannot any longer expect their creditors to listen to their lectures. Here lies the broader lesson. The shift eastwards in global economic power has become a commonplace of political discourse. Almost everyone in the west now speaks with awe of the pace of China’s rise, of India’s emergence as a geopolitical player, of the growing roles in international relations of Brazil and South Africa.
Yet the rich nations have yet to face up properly to the implications. They can imagine sharing power, but they assume the bargain will be struck on their terms: that the emerging nations will be absorbed – at a pace, mind you, of the west’s choosing – into familiar international forums and institutions.
When American and European diplomats talk about the rising powers becoming responsible stakeholders in the global system, what they really mean is that China, India and the rest must not be allowed to challenge existing standards and norms….
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