A par­a­digm shift in global gov­er­nance

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS -

We are liv­ing in a seem­ingly rud­der­less world full of un­cer­tainty thanks to the si­mul­ta­ne­ous ex­is­tence of glob­al­iza­tion and anti-glob­al­iza­tion sen­ti­ments. As a re­sult, the par­a­digm of global gov­er­nance has be­gun a mo­men­tous yet bi­fur­cated shift, mak­ing adap­ta­tion dif­fi­cult for coun­tries, large and small. Yet coun­tries have to un­der­stand and timely adapt to this shift, both in­di­vid­u­ally and col­lec­tively.

The global gov­er­nance par­a­digm is shift­ing in two di­rec­tions. The first shift is led by the United States and a few other Western coun­tries, which are rid­ing the ris­ing tides of antiglob­al­iza­tion and pop­ulism, and blam­ing all the global and do­mes­tic trou­bles on the “clash of civ­i­liza­tions” and glob­al­iza­tion. They seek so­lu­tions through “Amer­ica First” or “Me/ Us First” in or­der to gain more ben­e­fits in their deal­ings with other coun­tries while shirk­ing their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to main­tain the right bal­ance be­tween mar­ket ef­fi­ciency and so­cial equal­ity and jus­tice.

In this con­text, the rhetor­i­cal ques­tion raised by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in his re­cent War­saw speech is re­ally il­lus­tra­tive: “Do we have the de­sire and the courage to pre­serve our civ­i­liza­tion in the face of those who would sub­vert and de­stroy it?”

Other se­nior US of­fi­cials are less sub­tle, with one say­ing, “the world is not a ‘global com­mu­nity’ but an arena where na­tions, non-gov­ern­men­tal ac­tors and busi­nesses en­gage and com­pete for ad­van­tage”. The fail­ure of the re­cent G20 Sum­mit in Ham­burg to reach a con­sen­sus on cli­mate change and anti-pro­tec­tion­ism is an ex­am­ple that has a clear US foot­print.

For­mer US trea­sury sec­re­tary Lawrence Sum­mers wisely said in the Fi­nan­cial Times that “the ex­is­tence of the G20 as an an­nual fo­rum arose from a com­mon be­lief of ma­jor na­tions that there was a global com­mu­nity with com­mon in­ter­ests in peace, mu­tual se­cu­rity, pros­per­ity and eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion and the con­tain­ment of threats even as there was com­pe­ti­tion be­tween na­tions in the se­cu­rity and eco­nomic realms”.

In the US, there are two schools of thought on glob­al­iza­tion and what Wash­ing­ton’s role should be: the “me-first” ver­sus “com­mu­nity first” schools. Of course “com­mu­nity first” does not negate “me first”.

Trump re­jected the con­cept of global com­mu­nity right from the start of his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. The fight over choos­ing to work alone to seek bet­ter bi­lat­eral deals and try­ing to build a bet­ter and stronger world or­der and global gov­er­nance ar­chi­tec­ture has been go­ing on within the US ad­min­is­tra­tion. The for­mer seems to be win­ning for the time be­ing.

The other par­a­digm shift is to­ward the world stage, with China lead­ing the way, sup­ported by many coun­tries, both ad­vanced and de­vel­op­ing. Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping gave the clar­ion call early this year at World Eco­nomic Fo­rum at Davos, Switzer­land, when he ap­pealed to the world to build a global “com­mu­nity of shared destiny”.

Given the widen­ing gap be­tween the poor and the rich, both within and among coun- tries, and the grow­ing chal­lenges be­fore the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, the old par­a­digm of global gov­er­nance seems in­ad­e­quate to over­come the chal­lenges that in­clude but are not lim­ited to cli­mate change and ris­ing pro­tec­tion­ism.

Xi’s idea of build­ing a com­mu­nity of shared destiny is noth­ing less than a call for con­certed ac­tion to tran­scend ide­o­log­i­cal and other dif­fer­ences. The goal is to achieve a “meeting of minds and hands” to help build a world or­der in which coun­tries with their po­lit­i­cal sys­tems and cul­tures can co­op­er­ate and com­pete peace­fully to build a com­mu­nity of shared destiny.

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive pro­posed by Xi in 2013 dove­tails per­fectly with the idea of build­ing a com­mu­nity of shared destiny. And both are based on the suc­cess­ful ex­pe­ri­ences of China in do­mes­tic gov­er­nance and fast-paced eco­nomic growth. No won­der the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road, has gained much trac­tion, with the Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank, Silk Road Fund and the BRICS New De­vel­op­ment Bank as com­ple­men­tary ve­hi­cles for rais­ing cap­i­tal for large in­fra­struc­ture projects, which is es­pe­cially needed by less-de­vel­oped coun­tries that lag be­hind in terms of glob­al­iza­tion and in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion.

The Belt and Road Fo­rum for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion in Bei­jing in May at­tracted a great deal of in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion, re­flect­ing many economies’ ea­ger­ness to en­gage in this in­no­va­tive ef­fort to im­prove global gov­er­nance and de­velop a new type of in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion to trans­form glob­al­iza­tion into a project “of the peo­ple, by the peo­ple and for the peo­ple”.

It would not be in­ap­pro­pri­ate to men­tion here the G20 Com­mu­niqué of 2009 that de­clared, “we start from the be­lief that pros­per­ity is in­di­vis­i­ble”. We should not veer away from that be­lief of “shared pros­per­ity” and “shared destiny”.

The bi­fur­cated par­a­digm shift is some­thing the world needs to take se­ri­ously, as it is un­stop­pable be­cause of the fast changing world and in­creas­ing con­ver- gence of power be­tween the “West and East” and the “North and South”, as po­lit­i­cal pun­dits are fond of say­ing. The key is­sue is what is good for the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity as a whole in to­day’s deeply in­ter­de­pen­dent world — more clashes both within and be­tween civ­i­liza­tions or com­ing to­gether to tackle global chal­lenges, be­cause no coun­try alone can deal with them, and thus paving the way for build­ing a com­mu­nity of shared destiny.

Blam­ing ev­ery­thing on glob­al­iza­tion and so-called clash of civ­i­liza­tions is ac­tu­ally an at­tempt to di­vide coun­tries into ide­o­log­i­cal “camps” as was seen dur­ing the Cold War, which is not con­ducive to pro­mot­ing the new era of glob­al­iza­tion that has al­ready bound all coun­tries into a closeknit “com­mu­nity of shared in­ter­ests”.

The com­ment made by a US scholar at a sem­i­nar I at­tended re­cently is rel­e­vant here. He de­scribed to­day’s world as a se­ries of “rings of com­mu­ni­ties” within one an­other, from a lo­cal com­mu­nity a per­son lives in to the global com­mu­nity we all share.

Shar­ing and con­nec­tiv­ity is the key link in those rings, he said and con­cluded that the idea is to “not to leave any­one be­hind” be­cause we are all part of the same world. And shared in­ter­ests and “one world, one dream”, a slo­gan of the Bei­jing 2008 Olympic Games, are of great essence to China’s idea of build­ing a global com­mu­nity of shared destiny.

The goal is to achieve a “meeting of minds and hands” to help build a world or­der in which coun­tries with their po­lit­i­cal sys­tems and cul­tures can co­op­er­ate and com­pete peace­fully to build a com­mu­nity of shared destiny.

The au­thor is for­mer vice min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs. Cour­tesy: chin­aus­fo­cus.com

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