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A collapsing world order - EDITORIAL

9 January 2017 12:02 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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n the developed Western countries, political differences between party political leaders were largely limited to the political field and hardly ever taken to personal levels. In times of crisis we often saw national leaders cast aside their ideological stances especially when national interests were at stake.  
One of the best examples of this was witnessed when Osama Bin Laden unleashed attacks on the US. The political leadership of the US cast aside their differences and united as one to combat the attacker.  
We did not see the leaders of the Democratic Party blaming the Republican President for the catastrophe which occurred on 9/11, rather party politics was cast aside and the country united behind then President George Bush to take on a common enemy.   
This unity for better or worse helped the West to maintain its dominance over the oil-rich Middle East and large swathes of Asia. Asia and the Middle East, despite being the crucible of the written word and cradle of learning, have been unable to recognize the crafty interventions of the West to divide its nations and exploit its resources.  

 


Today perhaps, we are witness to the unravelling of this unity among the Western nations and the opening of a new era. In the West, nationalism and nationalist interests are beginning to break up this large, impersonal political, corporate and social structure long regarded as indivisible.  
The leadership of the US seems to be taking a leaf out of the political books of South Asia and appears bent on tearing apart the fabric of society which enabled their world domination. During the run-up to the last US Presidential Election, we saw the two principle candidates trade charges of corruption, fraud, lack of integrity at each other and one candidate even threaten to imprison his opponent.  
We are now watching a very public spat between the President-elect and the outgoing President of the US on a variety of issues. The outgoing President who has had a bad relationship with Russia appears to be creating as many stumbling blocks to prevent the incoming President from having any chance of improving this situation. The two were also exchanging very publicly, nasty barbs at each other.  

 


The President-elect has spoken of dumping US partnerships with NATO and partners in Asia who he claims drained US resources for too long. His strategy is to concentrate US resources in ‘Making America Great Again’ and to hell with old US partnerships.  
In a similar manner nationalist fervour in Europe is also breaking down what seemed to be the monolithic European Union. Britain’s exit from the EU signalled the cracks on the wall. The victory of the isolationist policies of President-elect Donald Trump in the US, the rise of the nationalist Martine le Penn’s party in France, the PEGIDA in Germany, all point to rising nationalism and isolationist policies which could lead to a breakup of the EU.  

 


At the same time, we are witnessing the rise to superpower status of China and its open challenge to US dominance in East Asia. Also we see a growing assertive role of Russia in international affairs under President Putin.   
Russia’s game-changing role in the Syrian conflict and the Middle East has led the Afghan government calling for Russian involvement to end its long-running conflict. Afghanistan is also wooing Chinese investment.   
The growing nationalist/isolationist tendencies in the West will force the countries of Asia and the Middle East to review their relationships with the Western bloc. This process has already begun taking place in Asia, as witnessed in changed relations between China and the Philippines, and China and Malaysia.  

 


The recent warning of China to India regarding its missile programme and the threat to help Pakistan increase its defence capabilities will not be lost on our giant neighbour who recently aligned itself with the US.  
After cutting itself off from the Non-Aligned Movement, abandoning the cause of the Palestinians, dropping its special relationship with Russia, antagonizing China, taking a ‘big-brother’ attitude to its nearest neighbours in South Asia and putting all its eggs into the American basket, India has to now review its global relationships.   
There is every chance of President Trump dropping the basket with the Indian eggs in his effort to ‘Make America Great Again’. 

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