The West and the Rest: Growth and A Green-Eyed Monster

The West vs. The Rest,” a term coined from the ideology of famed political science professor Samuel Huntington, seems to be a growing phenomenon in the world today. In Huntington’s book, the Clash of Civilization, he appeared to be more narrowly focused on the rise of the Mideast, rather than the growing dichotomy that has taken center stage in more recent times—Western protectionism, immigration reform, tariffs and trade wars.

Just recently China celebrated National Day, the founding of the People’s Republic of China on the first of October. An occasion marking 69 years of autonomous rule that has left the country at the forefront of businesses, innovation and trade in the world today. In the early years, the West lauded the “Asian Miracle” and the “Asian Dream,” as China and many other Asian nation’s demonstrated a meteoric rise to socioeconomic dominance. However these days, despite its opening up, China and many of its allies are described in specious terms at best. What happened?

The “Asian Miracle,” demonstrated a kind of self reliance and ingenuity most international organizations hoped for in the growth of former colonial territories and developing nations. It is hard to imagine the connection, but African states, China, India, Pakistan, South America and more also had colonial pasts–once China was a developing economy too! Even as China celebrated National Day, several African Nations were also celebrating their independence. Is not the world hoping for an African Miracle or a Latin American Dream?—a time when states from these regions can competently participate on the world stage? Perhaps even acquiring a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

But even going beyond China and its growth, we must also consider other developing nations and their development over time. Spurred on by new technologies, faster communications, alternative funding supplies and new supply chain paradigms, other developing states are growing. We are left to ponder the rhetoric of trade inequity and burdensome immigration policies decried in recent times, when many Western businesses and nations profited heavily from the cheap trade with China, affordable cars from Korea, easy natural resources from African states, convenient agricultural products from South America and cheap labor from imported workers from India and Pakistan (among others). The rise of globalization and the multinational changed the way the world does business.

It was inconceivable to imagine that former colonies could one day rival Western superpowers. Yet it seems the head-start many Western nations got from their colonial past is fast vanishing. Somehow, globalization has corrected itself and appears to be serving the global whole. It leaves us with exciting and troubling questions to answer. Are we witnessing the end of an era or a new world order? Must tentative allies be reminded that they need what power and influence the West has left to wield? While we all agree, according to the UN Global Goals that the development and equity of every nation-state is desired, could it be that the West is jealous of that growth?

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