The New World Order
Given the dire state of affairs the world seems to be enduring at the moment, perhaps it is looking beyond the storm that we may find the most hope. What can be done next to help democracy flourish and lead in a troubled climate, and what is likely to happen next.
Clement Attlee, though far from living up to his reputation, did make one correct observation on the cold war. Rather than a war between capitalism and communism, he saw it as a war between authoritarianism and democracy. Broadly the world consensus since the cold war has been an ideology of capitalism, with Russia adopting an albeit flawed edition, and China moderating to become a form of more controlled capitalism. As tensions once more rise between east and west, it is hard to dispute Attlee’s view. Today, China and Russia are not all that different to America and Britain; the difference is that they are dictatorships and we are democracies.
With the issue of Ukraine, Putin has sealed Russia’s fate. Now isolated from the world which is increasingly not reliant on Russian oil, the Russian economy will likely crash. What this will bring is uncertain, but a turning point for Russia none the less and likely a new leader in place of Putin. The hope is that Russia will turn towards democracy and withdraw from the evils of dictatorship, but such a path cannot be certain. Regardless, in attacking Ukraine Russia has proved itself to no longer be the economic nor military superpower it once was, and it is likely that the new world will emerge with little input from them.
On the other hand, China appears certainly in a stronger position to influence the new world order. Particularly, China, having left behind the inefficient communist methods of running industries and adopted a more capitalist way have turned themselves into a mighty economic powerhouse. As such, their influence on the world is far more significant, partially because much of the west buys from China, and so the current consumer society is heavily reliant on them. Xi Jinping has proved a cunning villainous Bond mastermind compared to Putin, who appears far more like the thuggish and cumbersome henchman. But like all Bond villains, it is only a matter of time before they get too confident, in this case the likely impending invasion of democratic Thaiwan. Such a scenario would be somewhat similar to the current war in Ukraine, with one key difference. When Putin sent in Russian forces, Russia was a nation in decline, still longing for the glories of the cold war era. On the other hand, China is rising fast, leaving it in a far stronger position.
Democracies of the world must unite in opposition. A policy of appeasement will no longer deliver the killing blow to the world’s last great dictatorship. Luckily, as we have seen in the past few months, the democratic world is capable of such necessary unison and strong action. Most likely, such an event will result in a trade war with China, cutting ties and trading more closely with our fellow democracies.
In the history of the world few things seem certain. However, one issue is a running theme, the decline of dictators. Be it Napoleon, Willhelm or Gorbachev, with courage and ingenuity, in one form or another, war has been fought and they have lost. I am not a great believer in destiny, but if anything seems destined it is that dictators will fall.