BRUSSELS – The world is currently witnessing the end of the US century (unofficially known as “Pax Americana”) and the rise of an Asian one, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said on Monday.
“First, we live in a leaderless world where Asia will be increasingly important – in economic, security and technological terms. Analysts have long talked about the end of an American-led system and the arrival of an Asian century. This is now happening in front of our eyes,” he told a videoconference with heads of diplomatic missions in Germany, TASS reported.
In his words, the coronavirus pandemic can be seen as a kind of accelerator of this process.
“If the 21st century turns out to be an Asian century, as the 20th was an American one, the pandemic may well be remembered as the turning point of this process,” he explained.
“Demand for multilateral cooperation has never been greater,” Borrell noted, adding, “But supply is falling behind. This is the first major crisis in decades where the US is not leading the international response. Maybe they don’t care, but everywhere we look we see increasing rivalries, especially between the US and China.”
“US-China rivalry is also having a major, often paralyzing effect on the multilateral system: in the UN Security Council, the G20, the WHO and elsewhere there are many more disagreements and vetoes and fewer agreements,” he went on to say.
Apart from that, in his words, the pandemic has demonstrated that “the world is becoming more digital, but also more state-driven”.
The problem of who would control digital networks and who would set the rules and standards is coming into the fore, he noted.
“Third, our globalization model is under pressure. We need a more strategic approach to managing vulnerabilities and dependencies,” he emphasized, stating, “And last, the world risks becoming less free, less prosperous, more unequal, more fragmented.”