The end of the west

This phrase I have come across on a number of occassions. I first came across the phrase in this article in the Atlantic, by Charles Kupchan. I can’t remember now but I did come across the phrase again in another article, and now in this article in the Guardian, used in a different context.

Martin Jacques believes that the end of the west will come with the birth of Asia as the center of population, economy and power in the future. Kupchan used the phrase to talk about a future war between Europe and America, the results being the same as Jacques’ prediction.

President Chirac demonstrated how much Europe can matter when he stood up to the Americans over Iraq with a courage and foresight that helped to set clear limits to the exercise of US power. But it remains that Europe is – and will increasingly become – a secondary stage in world affairs, to be displaced by the US and east Asia, which, of course, above all means China.

He has a point. Europe’s population continues to decline, but I still think Kupchan’s scenario of a greater EU being strong enough to fight the US at least in a cold war is possible; leaving Asia pretty much to its own devices.

If not, Asia will still outstrip Europe anyway, especially India and China, in the future. But what can Europe do?

The taking in of Turkey is inevitable, their population is crucial to stabilising population, as are perhaps further former Soviet countries like the Ukraine, Belarus etc., but in the end the ancient Greeks/Athenians, I do believe, faced similar problems with declining population and never reached a solution, that was until they were invaded…






2 responses to “The end of the west”

  1. Frank McGahon avatar

    I notice you avoid referring to the causes of European decline such as it is.

    The biggest problem the EU countries face is that their social democratic model is unsustainable, given low birth rates and longevity. Put simply: there won’t be enough workers (happy to be taxed punitively) to fund the lavish retirement benefits. Ironically, the moves to a closer, deeper Union only exacerbate these trends. Your implied “solution” to Europe’s ills – adopting a belligerent stance towards the US – is more likely, given the requisite extent of unification and centralisation, to hasten European decline.

    Solve the pensions/welfare problem, restore the EU as a trading bloc instead of a burgeoning superstate, de-regulate, maintain well-funded, well-trained defence forces (separately but allied) and this decline will be halted. Continue towards a unified Europe that nobody outside of the politico-bureaucrat class wants, maintain high taxes/ high (work-disincentivising) benefits, tie up Europeans in ever greater knots of red tape and the decline will continue.

    Just because India and China move up doesn’t mean that Europe need experience anything other than a relative decline, (and remember Europe is still a very important market for both those countries). There is no reason why Europe need decline in absolute terms and if it does it will be the EU’s own fault.

  2. Gavin avatar

    Interesting Tom, but my post today seems to be saying that China will rapidly overtake the EU..