At the recently concluded Doha Forum 2018, leaders from Turkey and host country Qatar opined that the East was poised to overtake the West in terms of economy and influence very soon. The comments were made at a plenary session called “The Growth Potential of Emerging Markets.”
A rising East
“What we are witnessing right now about these global challenges [is a] global economic shift from West to East,” Berat Albayrak, treasury and finance minister of Turkey, said in a statement (Sputnik News). The minister added that large-scale wealth distribution was happening at present, with power moving from developed countries to emerging nations.
Berat’s statements come on the back of serious talks among various countries of using multiple currencies for international trade. A Qatari minister highlighted that an East-focused global order would mean less influence of America on world affairs.
“The emerging market is becoming very strong, the United States… will remain an economically dominant country globally because of many reasons, but I think this will not be as significant as today. We are going to see more activities from the emerging market and it will have a bigger share of the global market,” Ali Shareef Emadi, finance minister of Qatar, said in a statement (Sputnik News).
Emadi predicts the emerging economic GDP share will rise from the present 55 percent to about 60 percent of global GDP within the next five years. The minister pegged India and China to have a bigger say in the global economy in the future. But this also begs the question, if the influence of a liberal, democratic America weakens, how will the influence of the East shape the world?
China and India
India and China, though having a long history of shared culture, are on opposing sides as far as political structure is concerned. India is a democracy where citizens choose their leaders, while China is ruled by a rigid communist regime. In terms of human rights, Beijing literally makes a mockery of them while India has a decent track record of protecting basic human rights. These factors make India a natural ally of the U.S.
In fact, India already has good relations with America and two of its biggest allies, Japan and South Korea. Hence, an emerging India is expected to carry forward the democratic, liberal values of the West. However, the same cannot be said of China. The Chinese Communist Party is not only tightening its grip over every aspect of Chinese society, but it is also bringing in a few corrupt, developing countries in Africa and South America to its fold.
But despite Beijing’s growing influence, some political analysts believe that the United States has nothing to worry about with regard to the Asian nation. Instead, the liberal structure of American society is expected to give it a massive advantage over China.
“Western institutions benefit from unparalleled resilience, thanks to the liberal-democratic values that underpin them. They cannot be easily subverted by an authoritarian regime, no matter how many cultural exchanges or language institutes it builds. In fact, what is most notable about China’s efforts to spread its influence abroad is not their success, but the ease with which they are exposed. Portraying them as a genuine threat to the world’s democracies not only betrays the West’s own insecurity, but also gives China more credit than it deserves,” according to Project Syndicate.
As such, even though the center of power might shift from West to East in the future, cultural legacies of the West and its democratic values are something that will definitely endure. If the Eastern part of the globe needs to catch up, they need to start cleaning up their acts and start honoring basic human values. Otherwise, there would be no foundation on which to build their might.