Errol Kerr muses on the dawn of an new world order characterised by an increasingly dominant East Asia
Without a doubt, the political events and climate of 2016 have resulted in the largest shift in global power in centuries – arguably since the Cold War.
Political demagogues have used rhetoric of countries, such as Britain and the USA, being “in decline” in order to shift power. They are attempting to recover the influence and status that particular states once held. In essence, this has indeed shifted power - just, you know, away from those countries.
The result of the EU referendum, affectionately called “Brexit” to cushion the massive economic downturn that the UK faced, has not resulted in the UK recovering power. The result of the US election has not made America any greater than it once was. Both countries suffered currency drops in the wake of these events, and countries nearby have also lost reputation. Mexico and the European Union have also been drastically affected by these results.
Strangely enough, this coincides with a shift in power that has been occurring for decades. East Asian countries, such as China and Japan, have monopolised international manufacturing industries and construction industries. The Chinese stock markets are still doing remarkably well in the wake of political and economic downturns of the past few years. So, the question arises – are we coming to the dawn of China, Japan and other East Asian powerhouses on their way to dominating the global political climate?
"The Chinese stock markets are still doing remarkably well in the wake of political and economic downturns of the past few years"
For a few reasons, I can see this being entirely possible. The United States’ political power, despite being remarkably durable, seems to be moving away from globalisation in its election of Trump. A Republican-controlled government would, whilst aiming to expand its global power, most likely lead to a collapse. I mean, that’s what happened the last two times the USA had a Republican President, Senate and House.
Here’s an example of the power that East Asia holds over the West: Japanese manufacturing firms have been damning in the wake of the EU referendum vote, and their abandonment of plants in the UK is a genuine threat to British business. Should American manufacturing and fuel processing businesses lose the massive amount of foreign workers that they rely on to keep going, it’s fairly feasible that oil from outside of the USA would be worth a hell of a lot more than it is now.
"China is the continent of Africa’s first trading partner, surpassing the USA, and that power is only going to grow"
We also forget China’s influence in Africa. Centuries of Sino-African relationships has resulted in such a huge increase in trade between the two of them. The Western political powerhouses would be foolish to ignore these – and it seems that they have in their inward spiralling politics. China is the continent of Africa’s first trading partner, surpassing the USA, and that power is only going to grow.