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News & Analysis

The Decline Of Western Global Hegemony May Benefit Its Citizens

Tahir Mustafa

News headlines about shortages of food in British supermarkets, unprecedented resort to food banks by the poor in Canada, political turmoil in France linked to changes in pension plans along with collapse of banks in the US and Switzerland are no small events when viewed in the broader context of global politics. Until a couple of years ago, such headlines emanated from developing countries on the receiving end of western neo-colonialism. Today, such misfortunes afflict the neo-colonial powers as well. For decades, they projected themselves as centers of geopolitical and economic power. So, how will the sudden change of fortunes affect western countries, primarily NATO member states, both internally as well as externally?

In political lexicon, foreign policy is often referred to as an extension of internal politics. In classical understanding of politics, to get a clear idea of a state’s conduct of foreign policy, it is often necessary to look at its internal environment. A state’s internal conditions can, and do influence to a great extent its foreign policy decisions and actions. For example, the strength and stability of a state’s economy, its political system, and social structures can all impact its ability to project power and influence abroad. Therefore, examining a state’s internal conditions is crucial for gaining a deeper understanding of its foreign policy prospects.

In the current circumstances, it is not rocket science to realize that internal conditions in many NATO members states prevent them from allocating significant military, political and economic resources to safeguard their domination abroad. As a counterargument to this claim, people may cite active western involvement in the proxy war with Russia in Ukraine. This, however, merely confirms our analysis.

For the first time in decades, a war is taking place in the west’s geopolitical sphere and NATO has been put on the defensive instead of indulging in its traditional offensive role. Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO used to start wars at locations and places of its choosing. The February 2022 events in Ukraine have turned the tables.

The ramifications of internal economic, social, and political problems on foreign policy in NATO countries are quite clear. Even proponents of western hegemony agree that western supremacy at the global level is over. Econometrics is not the main reason behind the decline of western hegemony. Several years ago, it was easy for western propagandists to push the narrative that only western political and economic policies guarantee the route to material progress and prosperity.

This is no longer the case. The west can no longer claim supremacy in economics, politics, or military spheres. Sure, France, the US or UK may not be failed states yet, they can no longer present themselves as the benchmark of development politically or economically.

As the western world is in the early stages of undergoing major changes, the internal dimensions of their political and economic crises should be studied and analyzed by the global south and those who have been historically at the receiving end of western neo-colonial aggression. For several decades, western regimes spent immense resources and time to study and analyze social, political, and economic events in the developing world to determine how best to advance developments in their own societies both economically and politically. This was done with the specific purpose to dominate and subjugate other societies. The global south does not intend to or even has the capabilities to dominate and subjugate the western world. However, to nudge western societies towards a non-interventionist policy framework would benefit not only people of the global south but also citizens of western countries.

The economic and political crises NATO regimes are undergoing will not be short-lived. These crises will continue for some time. This is primarily because the ruling elite in western societies are quite detached from the lives of ordinary people. Millionaires among the western political elites masquerading as public servants are unlikely to admit their incompetence and relinquish power to people-centric policies. Turbulence is, therefore, to be expected.

This reality will sooner or later bring to the fore new socio-political forces in many NATO countries. While it does not mean that these newbie political forces will necessarily come to power, the currently entrenched elites will no longer be the only political players on the scene.

Also, as with most collapsing empires, they become particularly vicious during the decline phase and do their outmost to maintain supremacy. This unfortunately is true both at the foreign policy as well as internal levels. Therefore, opening an intellectual dialogue with emerging socio-political trends in the west and discouraging them from aggressive interventionists policies as has been witnessed in recent times with disastrous consequences is beneficial for all parties involved.

Currently, a steady erosion in the unwritten rule in many NATO countries is discernable. In the past, people in the west allowed their elites to conduct foreign policy as they pleased so long as their fridges and bank accounts were sufficiently stocked. For several decades western powers were able to fulfill this trade off, but this is no longer the case.

Ironically, the decline of western primacy on the global stage may benefit their citizens as well if politicians stop pumping billions into boastful projects, from military interventions to propping up dictators abroad. Instead, western countries could redirect those resources to invest in their own societies, such as improving education, healthcare, and infrastructure. Furthermore, western countries could adopt more collaborative and cooperative approaches with other countries, rather than trying to impose their will by force or coercion.

The above are not empty slogans, but reality. Australia’s recent purchase of nuclear submarines from the US, a deal that even many Australians objected to, offers proof. Although, no Australian state official has stated this openly, many experts agree that Australia’s intention to purchase nuclear submarines is to flex its muscles against China, which happens to be Canberra’s largest trading partner. It requires no great expertise to understand that China has no interest in initiating a war with Australia. That would destroy a profitable market for many Chinese businesses. On the Australian side though, it seems imperial hubris has taken precedence over a policy that impacts the lives of many ordinary Australians conducting trade with China.

As the saying goes, no pain, no gain. Maybe the economic pain NATO regimes are currently experiencing will lead to a more peaceful world. It would hopefully disincentivize pursuing imperialist projects that are empty boasts which clearly stymie development internally.

Article from

Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 2

Ramadan 10, 14442023-04-01

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