Tony Blair: The West's dominance is ending
Updated 20:07, 18-Jul-2022
First Voice
The Ukraine crisis has smashed the appearance of the West's unity. /CGTN

The Ukraine crisis has smashed the appearance of the West's unity. /CGTN

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Over the weekend, at a lecture entitled "After Ukraine, what lessons now for Western leadership?", former British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared that "we are coming to the end of Western political and economic dominance." "The world is going to be at least bi-polar and possibly multi-polar." Blair added that, "China's place as a superpower is natural and justified."

An argument for the outcome of the Cold War had been that the West didn't win it, but the Soviet Union lost it. We believe the same could apply in this case: China didn't just suddenly become a "pole" in international politics; The West lost its influence.

The Ukraine conflict embodies this loss. Western leaders like to boast that the war has united NATO in an unprecedented way and that the West is united in the fight against "authoritarianism." And if one looks only at the veneer, it could be argued that there are some merits to their words. However, looking deeply, one can see that this "unity" hardly percolates beneath the statesman's level.

In the United States, President Joe Biden just earned himself a 39 percent approval rating. According to FiveThirtyEight, this is the worst of any elected president at this point in the presidency since WWII. His inability to get inflation under control, an issue that, according to the FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll, is ranked by 62 percent of Americans as one of the most important issue facing America, is decimating his political capital and popular goodwill. Ipsos/ABC News poll from June showed only 28 percent of Americans approved Biden's actions on inflation. His party is facing the prospect of losing control of Congress in the upcoming midterm election. And with Democrats in the White House and Republicans in Congress, it doesn't take a genius to image the gridlock that would take place.

People shop at a grocery store on June 10, 2022 in New York City, U.S. /CFP

People shop at a grocery store on June 10, 2022 in New York City, U.S. /CFP

Europeans aren't doing any better. Germany, once a champion on the fight against climate change and fought to save the Paris Agreement, has reactivated its coal and oil-fired power plants to deal with the energy crisis caused by the war. Vox described it as reflecting Germany's "failure of environmental priorities." And for the first time in three decades, Germany registered a trade deficit. The energy crisis, the conflict in Ukraine and America's inflation management tactics are piling enormous economic pressure on European economic powerhouses.

And political crises are consuming the land. French President Emmanuel Macron headed into his second term with the country feeling a sense of "listlessness" in the presidency and without an absolute majority in the National Assembly. UK Prime Minister Johnson resigned amid a massive scandal. Italian PM offered his resignation after his coalition government fractured.

To put it simply: The Western unity is just an illusion now. Western countries are paralyzed by their internal chaos – politically and economically – that whatever strength and unity they project outward is weak and fragile.

This change in the international balance of power described by Blair is more about West's decline than China's rise. China has been rising for decades. It is the West, with its inability to get their own houses in order and tend to their peoples' need, that's dragging itself down. The Ukraine conflict is a turning point. It also lit the fuse to the powder keg of all the problems brewing within major Western countries.

This is how the Ukraine conflict, which seemingly has united the West, is in reality shattering it.

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