A culture war against China

After the defeat of Donald Trump many international relations commentators think that Western politicians and diplomats can now revert to their postwar multilateralist ways, without having to deal with an unpredictable and erratic American president. No more unilateralist antics. No more disregard and contempt for America’s allies. And no more capricious provocation of China, with the dire potential consequence of a military standoff.

But this expectation of a reassuring return to international norms could actually be much more dangerous to global peace than anything Trump initiated. A resumption of Western complacencies about international affairs would only compound the existing deep-rooted challenges – challenges that have in fact been exacerbated by the response to Covid-19 far more than by Trump.

Read the full article here.

Video introducing my latest book “Beyond Confrontation”

My latest book “Beyond Confrontation: Globalists, Nationalists and Their Discontents” addresses the escalation of international rivalries – West-East, US-China and intra-Western – all of which have been amplified by the impact of the pandemic.  In this short video posted on LinkedIn I explain more about the book.

Why the West must stop bashing China

Problems in the US are for American people to resolve. Problems within Britain are for British people to sort out. The same applies with regard to China’s national sovereignty. Chinese Communist Party repression against Chinese people, the same as the repression meted out by authoritarian regimes anywhere, will not be resolved by other governments or international bodies stepping in with economic or other weaponry.

The basic solidarity principle to follow is that to be genuine, freedoms have to be secured by ordinary Chinese people. History reveals that durable liberty and democratic politics are not things that can be brought about by government bodies nor by outside institutions, but only by the people themselves.

From this perspective, there are five reasons that Western China-bashing is regressive, counterproductive and dangerous.

Read the full article here.

 

The destruction of the old world order

It is often said that everything changes in a major crisis. But this is not quite right. The changes that happen seldom derive from the crisis itself, but from the acceleration of existing trends. So far, Covid-19 has similarly sped up and crystallised earlier tendencies. As a result, it is helping make the true state of affairs clearer. As the Economist Intelligence Unit concluded, the ‘coronavirus pandemic will not usher in an entirely new global order, but it will change things in … important ways … [and] bring to the surface developments that had previously gone largely unnoticed’.

In particular, three pre-pandemic features of international relations are being amplified and brought to the surface: the changing economic balance in the world; the unraveling of the post-1945 world order; and tensions between the advanced industrial nations.

Read the full article here.