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Borrell right on demise of West's dominance of the world

By Chen Weihua | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-03-08 07:12
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European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell's recent comment that "if the current global geopolitical tensions continue to evolve in the direction of 'the West against the Rest', Europe's future risks to be bleak" has gone viral on X(formerly Twitter).

Borrell said in a recent blog that "the era of Western dominance has indeed definitely ended" and "while this has been theoretically understood, we have not always drawn all practical conclusions from this new reality".

He further noted that "many in the 'Global South' accuse us of 'double standard'", referring to the West's starkly different reactions on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the Israel-Palestine conflict. The blog, posted on the website of the European External Action Service, a diplomatic service of the EU which manages the bloc's foreign and security policy, is controversial for EU leaders.

When I asked European Commission spokesperson Eric Mamer on Monday whether this reflects the EU's collective thinking, he said the blog by Borrell is not something that can be considered a formal position by either the commission or the EU. He looked at Peter Stano, the spokesman for foreign affairs sitting in the press room, who hinted that he has no comment on the issue.

It's no secret that Borrell does not see eye to eye with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on multiple foreign policy issues. Of late, he has been more outspoken on the high death toll of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. In contrast, von der Leyen has been biased toward Israel, which prompted more than 800 former and current EU staff members to send a signed protest letter to the EU in October.

On Feb 29, a large crowd of EU civil servants demonstrated outside the EU headquarters in Brussels, demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, something that von der Leyen has never said.

In this context, Borrell's blog is quite revealing because no other Western leader, in particular those in Washington, has admitted that they face the "West versus the Rest" challenge.

On the contrary, we have often heard Western leaders and politicians, including those from the United States, G7, NATO and the EU, and even Western news outlets, falsely claiming they represent the "international community". By saying so, the Western leaders, who at best can claim to represent a population of only about 900 million, try to hijack the views of the entire developing world, especially the Global South, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the world's population.

Washington must be infuriated with Borrell's statement on the end of Western dominance. The US is desperately trying to maintain a unipolar world subjected to its hegemony which allows it to wage wars and weaponize its economic and financial might to bully other countries.

Unlike their EU counterparts, US leaders have never mentioned the term "multipolar world" because that represents a world without US hegemony.

So when US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said on CBS' 60 Minutes last week that "we don't want to live in a world where the Chinese are the dominant country", he was literally saying that no other country — neither China nor India nor African nor Latin American countries, not even the EU — should be allowed to have an equal say in international affairs.

However, this illusion of eternal US hegemony is after all only an illusion. The combined GDP of the original BRICS member states — China, India, Brazil, Russia and South Africa — is already larger than that of G7 in terms of purchasing power parity. Not to mention the increase in BRICS members' combined GDP after other emerging economies joined the grouping on Jan 1.

The rise of the non-Western world is an irreversible trend. It is not just China but also the other developing countries which want the reform of the current global governance system to also reflect their concerns. They want to change for good the global governance system that has for too long been dictated by the US.

The author is chief of China Daily EU Bureau based in Brussels.

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