Recently, there were two very important events which showed that the Western influence has declined in a big way. From G-7 to G-8 and now the emergence of G-20, tells us how the power is shifting from the developed Western countries to the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Lain America. The Western domination of the last two centuries is coming to an end. The shift in the balance of power is so swift that many people are surprised, even shocked.
Many Western leaders have recognized the changed situation in the World and need to give the developing economies more representation. The International Monetary Fund will give 5% more voting power to the developing countries. However, even this will not be enough and organizations such as IMF and the World Bank need to be fundamentally restructured to reflect the new realities.
The recession faced by the Western countries is not a transient phenomenon, but is a fundamental crisis of the Western capitalist model of development. In Pittsburgh, thousands demonstrated against the evils of capitalism. The Western capitalism is a linear and unidimensional system which is only based upon generating profit without any concern for the social, cultural, environmental or moral consequences of capitalist growth. Instead of a linear and unidimensional approach, we need a multidimensional approach which addresses the issues of equality, justice, environment and health of the people.
In the U.N., it became clear that the leaders of the developing countries were the real heroes. Even the American media conceded that China outshined the U.S. The Chinese president Hu Jin Tao emerged as the most prominent leader. He became an advocate of the developing countries and a new World order. It became clear that China will be the leading country in the new World order. Hu Jin Tao had clear and concrete proposals and steps. For example, China will plant trees to cover an area equal to Norway. China will cut back emission gases voluntarily but will not agree to mandatory cuts proposed by the developed countries. China feels that if mandatory cuts are imposed on the developing countries, then the gap between the developed and the developing countries cannot be narrowed. China made it clear that the global institutions need to be changed to give more representation to the developing countries.
The leaders such as Muammar Gadaffi of Libya, Mahmoud Ahmedinijad of Iran and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela got more attention than the Western leaders. All these leaders tried to expose and criticize Western hypocrisy and double standards. They also signaled that the balance of power in the World has already changed in favor of the developing countries.
President Obama advocated a multilateral approach instead of unilateralism. He was very much appreciated for doing this. However, the growing popularity of Obama in the World has not yet translated into more acceptance at home.
He is meeting a very stiff resistance and opposition at home. President Carter has openly brought out the fact that many white Americans are unable to accept a black man as their leader. It is not just the race, but ideology is playing a role in opposition to Obama. President Clinton gave the impression that the rightists are opposing President Obama. America is becoming more racially and ideologically polarized with the racists and the rightist’s joining forces to oppose Obama.
Europe continues to drift away from America. While Americans are leaning towards racism and rightism, Europe continues to admire Obama. The film director Roman Polanski case also shows differences between Europe and America, whereas many Americans have persecution hysteria, the Europeans want no part of it. The Europeans do not want to go back more than 30 years to punish him and feel that he should be left alone. Vengeance is a very important American trait in the most litigious society in the World.
Dr. Sawraj Singh is Chairman of Washington State Network For Human Rights, and Chairman of Central Washington Coalition For Social Justice.