Is globalization on irreversible retreat?
Shock waves generated by “black swan” events have been and are still being felt by the world. Targeted against theWest-led globalization, they started with theUnited Kingdom, voting to break away from the EuropeanUnion and helped Donald Trump to win the United States presidential election inNovember. Recently, the Republic of Korea parliament voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye, marking a turning point in the country’s politics and fueling concerns that the “only certainties are uncertainties” in today’s world.
The world is in consistent transition, a process that may continue into the 2030s, even the 2040s, according to the 2010 Global Strategic Trends issued by the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Center of the UK.
The major challenges and the rise of rightwing politicians in the EU.
Traditionally, it has been easier for Russia to deal with a Republican-ledUS administration while Democratic presidents like Barack Obama have tended to act tough withMoscow. So one can hope Trump, asUS president, will possibly improve US-Russia ties, but disparities over the two countries’ core interests will remain.
It is too early to say what will be impact of the rise of right-wing forces in Europe on Russia-EU ties. Admittedly, the opposition parties in Italy and Austria, which now have a greater chance of winning the impending leadership elections in the two countries, have professed interest in improving relations with Russia, many Europeans are yet to accept Crimea’s inclusion into Russia, a region which they say belongs to Ukraine.
The clash between Russia and theWest is rooted in their different ideologies and cultures. The two sides have contrasting views on the world order.
Considering Russia to be the losing side in the Cold War, theWest has denied it a decisive say in making international rules, while Russia demands to be treated as equal to the US when it comes to global affairs. A possible change in Russia-West ties could also help ease Russia-NATO tensions, which have escalated as a result of the Ukraine crisis.
On its part, Russia should be motivated to move closer to theEUwhile seeking to improve its ties with theUS, because it is more dependent on theEUmarket, technologies and funds than the other way round, andRussia-EU cooperation is likely to generate more pragmatic, tangible benefits forMoscow.
The author is deputy director of the Center for Russian Studies at the East China Normal University in Shanghai. The article is an excerpt from his interview with China Daily’s Cui Shoufeng. facing the economies across the world include climate change, increasing population, resource shortage, and the shifting of power from theWest to the East. More important, theWest-led globalization seems to be going downhill. Western powers like theUS and the UK are no longer able to provide enough public goods to the international community, nor can the emerging economies immediately fill the void.
That, to some extent, has caused turbulence across economies. The extensive use of mass media, too, has dealt a blow to the authority of governments and mainstream elite values.
From a middle-term perspective, the dominance of neo-liberalism in the postColdWar era is responsible for many of today’s problems. It has not just widened the income gap in a number of economies but also led to high unemployment in the manufacturing sector ofWestern countries because of excessive outsourcing. As such, Brexit, bitter and counterproductive as it might be, represents the will of many anti-elite voters who are worried about more than just the refugee crisis in Europe.
Even after eight years, the world has not overcome the impact of the global financial crisis. And that has contributed to people’s resentment against globalization. The rise of populism in some advanced economies and opposition to globalization have a lot to do with the shrinking middle class and rising unemployment among youths.
Despite the global financial crisis, many governments refused to accept the disconnect between international economic and political situations and thus didn’t even try to reform their institutions to meet the challenges of economic globalization.
TheWest’s arduous efforts to promote “universal values” andWestern democracy have, in fact, backfired. The privileged fewin theUS have managed to tighten their grip on the country’s wealth and power, misleading the underdogs to oppose globalization and wrongly make China the scapegoat for theUS’ economic woes. The EUhas been struggling to tide over the financial and sovereignty debt crises, and to solve the political and social problems created by the influx of refugees from theMiddle East. And the fact that the EU has been hit hard by terrorism in the past few years has cast a shadow over the fate of globalization. It is thus clear that in these trying circumstances, the world needs a more inclusive, balanced and open economic globalization, as proposed by China and other emerging economies.
The author is a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China.