Guardian Comment by Martin Jacques
It may now be a cliche, but it is no less true for that. East Asia – driven by China – is in the process of remaking the world. For two centuries, Europe was the epicentre of the world – no more; now it is here, or will be very soon.
If that is the trough that Europe is descending into, then I fear for its future. What the hell is Europe going to be like when it has to defer to Beijing and Delhi as the new global centres?
How are Americans going to react to their country’s decline and the rise of China and India? At the moment they don’t believe it could possibly happen. Despite the disgraceful mess they have made of Iraq, they are still gung-ho. They are still convinced it is the right of God’s chosen people to boss the world. And 9/11, unilateralism, and the invasion of Iraq have hugely encouraged that.
And that future is not primarily about the Middle East, but east Asia. Condoleeza Rice is presently touring east Asian capitals giving thinly-veiled threats about the rise of China. The Americans are beginning to get worried. And they should be too.
But I worry about the future too. For rather different reasons. How are the United States and Europe going to adjust to a world in which they are no longer the masters? That moment is fast approaching. My advice: watch this space and hold on tight.