The Turn In August 1941, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill held a series of secret talks on the
USS Augusta and the HMS Prince of Wales, both of which were anchored in a secure Newfoundland harbor. As World War II raged in Europe, the two leaders gathered to lay out a blueprint for the world that might come next. The Atlantic Charter they crafted envisaged a global order resting on self-determination, free trade, and disarmament. The United States had not yet entered the war, but the meeting nonetheless marked the moment at which the United States began to assume stewardship of the Western world. After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor later that year, the United States led the Atlantic democracies to victory in World War II. It then went on to anchor the liberal order that ultimately defeated the communist bloc and emerged triumphant from the Cold War. Multiple Modernities By the end of the twentieth century, it had become fashionable to argue that history was coming to an end.1 Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, democracy and capitalism spread apace; the international order forged by the United States and its European allies at the close of World War II seemed ready to encompass the globe. Although China, Russia, Cuba, and most countries in the Middle East and Africa were stubborn hold-outs, they were expected to soon fall prey to the irresistible allure of the Western way. As the new millennium opened, the West was not only running the show, but appeared to have finally prevailed against its many antagonists. 4 Fast forward to December 2009, in Copenhagen. Some one hundred world leaders convene in Denmark to forge an agreement on limiting the emissions that contribute to global warming. Barack Obama arrives on the eleventh day of the conference, which had thus far produced scant progress. That evening, Brazil, China, India, and South Africa hold a closed-door meeting to strengthen emerging-power solidarity. With the summit soon to draw to a close, Obama gambles by barging in. Aides scramble to find chairs for the U.S. president and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A breakthrough finally emerges at this impromptu gathering. But the accord falls well short of the binding commitments to curb emissions that most Western countries had hoped for. The rising powers had called the shots. America’s European partners were not even in the game. Reflecting on this turn of events, the Washington Times pronounced, “The American Century is over.”2 The Copenhagen Summit is only one of many signs that the twenty-first century marks not the ultimate triumph of the West, but the emergence of a global landscape that is headed toward a turning point rather than an end point. The West is losing not only its material primacy as new powers rise, but also its ideological dominance. The world’s autocracies, far from being at their last gasp, are holding their own. China has been enjoying rates of economic growth triple those of the Western democracies, and its surpluses remain critical to underwriting America’s pendulous debt. The global downturn took a heavy toll on the Russian economy, but the Kremlin has nonetheless maintained firm control over the state and is pursuing a muscular foreign policy. The oil-rich sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf, although shaken by the contagion of unrest that has recently spread through much of the Arab world, have continued their autocratic ways. Moreover, should participatory government spread in the Middle East, the regimes that emerge may well be much tougher customers than the autocracies they replace. Even rising 5 powers that are democratic, such as India and Brazil, are hardly stalwart supporters of the Western camp. On the contrary, they regularly break with the United States and Europe on geopolitics, trade, the environment, and other issues, preferring to side with ascending states, whether democratic or not. Interests matter more than values. Meanwhile, the liberal democracies of the West have been stumbling. The problem goes well beyond the Great Recession, which was born and bred in the United States, the West’s architect and chief minder. Weak and faltering governance pervades the industrialized world. George W. Bush staggered through his second term with some of the worst popularity ratings on record. Barack Obama entered office committed to the restoration of bipartisanship and national unity, but Democrats and Republicans have been unable to find common ground. No wonder that by 2010, public confidence in Congress had hit an all-time low. The United States is not alone in confronting democracy’s discontents. Many industrialized countries—Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, among them—have recently been afflicted by divided electorates and enfeebled governments. The emerging landscape is one in which power is diffusing and politics diversifying, not one in which all countries are converging toward the Western way. Indeed, the world is on the cusp of a global turn. Between 1500 and 1800, the world’s center of power moved from Asia and the Mediterranean Basin to Europe and, by the end of the nineteenth century, North America. The West then used its power and purpose to anchor a globalized world—and has been at the leading edge of history ever since. But the West’s rise was a function of time and place, and history is now moving on. East Asia has been anointed as the candidate most likely to assume the mantle of leadership. It is doubtful, however, that any country, region, or model will dominate the next world. The twenty-first century will not be America’s, China’s, Asia’s, or anyone else’s; 6 it will belong to no one. The emergent international system will be populated by numerous power centers as well as multiple versions of modernity.3 Failure to foresee this global turn and adjust the West’s grand strategy accordingly would be an error of grave consequence. This potential misstep is already in the making. The problem is not a failure to recognize the ongoing diffusion of power. On the contrary, American and European strategists understand that new powers are on the rise and that Western primacy will inevitably wane. Indeed, the United States and its European partners have taken the lead in transforming the G-8, a global directorate dominated by Western nations, into the G-20, a more inclusive grouping of major powers in which the Western democracies are in the minority. For the first time in history, the world will be interdependent—but without an economic and political center of gravity. A global order, if it emerges, will be an amalgam of diverse political cultures and competing conceptions of domestic and international order. Most strategists are, however, misconstruing the nature of the fundamental challenge posed by the global diffusion of power. The prevailing wisdom holds that the Western powers should capitalize on the twilight hours of their primacy to corral countries into the liberal international order that they have constructed. According to G. John Ikenberry, the West should “sink the roots of this order as deeply as possible,” thereby ensuring that “the international system the United States leads can remain the dominant order of the twenty-first century.”4 While it still has the power to do so, the West must complete the process of extending its values and institutions to the rest of the globe. Even Fareed Zakaria, who has recognized that a “postAmerican world” lies ahead, falls into the same intellectual trap. “The power shift . . . is good for America, if approached properly,” Zakaria writes. “The world is going America’s way. Countries are becoming more open, market-friendly, and democratic.”5 7 To cast the grand strategic challenge of the era in such terms may be reassuring to Americans and their democratic allies, but it is wishful thinking. The Chinese ship of state will not dock in the Western harbor, obediently taking the berth assigned it. Rather than embracing the rules of the current international system, rising powers will as a matter of course seek to adjust the prevailing order in ways that advantage their own values and interests. They have been doing so since the beginning of time, and the coming era will be no different. The task at hand is not guiding rising powers into the Western harbor. Rather, it is establishing a new order whose fundamental terms will have to be negotiated by Western powers and newcomers alike. The West will have to give as much as it gets as it seeks to fashion a new international order that includes the rest. The world is barreling toward not just multipolarity, but also multiple versions of modernity—a politically diverse landscape in which the Western model will offer only one of many competing conceptions of domestic and international order. Not only will well-run autocracies hold their own against liberal democracies, but rising powers that are democratic will also regularly part company with the West. Perhaps the defining challenge for the West and the rising rest is managing this global turn and peacefully arriving at the next world by design. The alternative is a competitive anarchy arrived at by default as multiple centers of power and the differing conceptions of order they represent vie for primacy.
The Argument This book is not the first to foretell the waning of the West’s primacy.6 It is, however, the first to peer into the next world through the lens of the longue durée. This account of where the world is headed does draw on current events, but it relies more heavily on deeper historical forces and patterns. It offers a panoramic take on the foundations of the rise of the West and the 8 implications of the rise of the rest. In addition, while previous studies tend to focus on the shifting balance of power in the world, this study focuses principally on what such shifts in power will mean for how the world works. It hones in on how the rise of the rest will affect the ideas and rules that govern politics, statecraft, matters of war and peace, and commerce.7 Understanding the nature and implications of the current transition in global power requires unpacking the last global turn—the rise of the West. Accordingly, this book begins by examining the West’s ascent to global preeminence between 1500 and 1800. It shows that the West followed a unique and contingent path that was, paradoxically, a product of its singular political weakness. The main driver of Europe’s rise was socioeconomic ferment. In the midst of the fragmenting political order of medieval Europe, a nascent middle class of merchants, entrepreneurs, and intellectuals challenged the power of monarchy, aristocracy, and church. This rising bourgeoisie went on to serve as the vanguard of the Protestant Reformation, which fostered religious tolerance and set the stage for the eventual separation of church and state. Finally, this book is the first to argue that the next world will be dominated by no country or region. Some foresee a global community that will warmly embrace Western values and conceptions of order while others presage the emergence of an Asian century. This book contends that the next world will have no center of gravity. It will be no one’s world. The onset of representative government followed; combined with the emancipatory ideas of the Reformation, the growing costs of the modern state forced monarchs to share power with their subjects in order to gain access to their resources and skills. The rising middle class also provided the economic and intellectual foundations of the Industrial Revolution, which consolidated market capitalism and gave birth to secular nationalism via urbanization, public education, mass conscription and other social developments that were a by-product of 9 industrialization. Nationalism became the twin sister of democratization, providing the connective tissue that would hold together societies by consent rather than coercion. This pattern of socioeconomic development emerged in Western Europe and it then spread to North America via the immigrants who settled the New World in search of economic opportunity and religious freedom. Thereafter, Europe and North America together forged a uniquely Western political order defined by three principal attributes: liberal democracy, industrial capitalism, and secular nationalism.8 The attributes that endowed the West with its singular character also enabled it to sprint ahead of other contenders for primacy. More rigid and hierarchical orders in the Ottoman Empire, India, China, and Japan stood in the way of the transformation that fueled the rise of Europe and North America, enabling the West to become the globe’s center of gravity by the nineteenth century. Moreover, the concurrent ascent of the Atlantic democracies, coupled with their similar domestic orders, gave rise to a distinctive Western approach to managing global affairs. The West sought to universalize the values and institutions that its constituent members embraced at home; for reasons of both interest and principle, Europe and North America worked hard to export democracy, secular nationalism, and capitalism. The global spread of the West’s founding ideas marked the first time that a single conception of order took hold in most quarters of the world. And the long and expansive run of this order admittedly provides ample reason for confidence that the Western way is here to stay. The West thus came to represent both a geographic zone—the land masses bounding the North Atlantic—and also a distinctive political community. Such confidence in the durability of a global order anchored by the West is, however, misplaced. The spread of this order has in large part been a product of the West’s material 10 dominance, not the universal appeal of its ideas. Especially since the demise of the Soviet Union, the Western order has been the only game in town. Developing nations, nudged along by the occasional bout of coercion, have had little choice but to play by the West’s rules. But now that the West’s material primacy is waning, its ideological dominance is very much in question. It is of course plausible that the rest will continue to play by Western rules as they rise. But they are likely to do so only if their socioeconomic orders and domestic values and institutions converge with those of the Western democracies. In other words, the preservation of the Western order requires that the advance of modernization in the developing world produces a homogenous community of nations along Western lines. The problem is that the defining attributes of the West—liberal democracy, industrial capitalism, and secular nationalism—are not being replicated as developing regions modernize. To be sure, capitalism has demonstrated its universal draw. But most rising powers—China, India, Turkey, and Brazil among them—are not tracking the developmental path followed by the West. They have different cultural and socioeconomic foundations, which give rise to their own domestic orders and ideological orientations. Accordingly, emerging powers will want to revise, not consolidate, the international order erected during the West’s watch. They have different views about the foundations of political legitimacy, the nature of sovereignty, the rules of international trade, and the relationship between the state and society. As their material power increases, they seek want to recast the international order in ways that advantage their interests and ideological preferences. The developmental paths followed by the rising rest represent alternatives to the Western way, not temporary detours on the road to global homogeneity. If the West’s rise had been the product of its intrinsic and inevitable advantages, then the rest of the world would likely converge toward the Western model if only because it represents 11 the most efficient way to achieve prosperity and security. But the success of the West was a function of unique conditions, not of a model whose superiority is immutable.9 Even amid such global diversity, it is of course plausible, and perhaps even likely, that liberal democracy will continue to spread. It has done so slowly but surely over the past two centuries, and the human yearning for autonomy and dignity appears to be universal—as demonstrated most recently by the Arab Spring. But even if democracy continues to expand its footprint, the West, for two reasons, still cannot presume that the coming global turn will coincide with the universalization of the Western order. Modernization today is occurring in a very different global setting. During the West’s rise, the middle class was the main agent of change. Today, China’s middle class is a defender of the status quo, not a force of political change. During the early modern era, the international system was sluggish and static; dynamism had to come from below, and the West’s more decentralized and pluralistic states were better able to provide it than hierarchical empires. Today, the international system is interdependent and porous; more centralized states are in many respects better able to cope with globalization than more pluralistic ones. Although state-led economies have their own drawbacks when it comes to innovation, the recent economic crisis has made amply clear that the West’s approach to financial management is hardly without imperfections. In today’s multifaceted global system, different types of states have their advantages and disadvantages. It is for this reason that the twenty-first century will host multiple brands of modernity, not political homogeneity along Western lines. First, there is a timing problem. The shift in the globe’s center of gravity is quickening; the Chinese economy is poised to surpass America’s within fifteen years and, as discussed in chapter four, the international pecking order will be completely overhauled over the next three 12 decades. In contrast, the global spread of democracy, if it occurs, will take place much more gradually. Over one hundred countries are still ruled by nondemocratic regimes, and building the social and institutional underpinnings of representative government takes time.10 It is worth keeping in mind that Britain became a constitutional monarchy late in the seventeenth century, but did not mature into a liberal democracy for another two hundred years. Germany was a constitutional monarchy when it began life as a unified state in 1871, but it took some eight decades and two world wars for democracy to take root. To be sure, today’s transitions from autocracy to representative government may occur much more quickly than they did a century or two ago; democracy now has a significant beachhead. But it is a very safe bet that the world will be multipolar long before it is democratic. As Azar Gat observes, “Even if the capitalist nondemocratic great powers eventually democratize, the process could take decades or generations to unfold.”11 Second, even as democracy spreads, the new regimes that emerge will not necessarily play by the West’s rules just because they are democratic. Put differently, democratization does not mean Westernization. Indeed, democratization could well produce states decidedly opposed to adhering to the international order erected by the West. In the Middle East, for example, more democracy may well mean more political Islam and the emergence of Arab states which, precisely because they are representative, will be less willing to cooperate with the West than their autocratic predecessors. In most of the countries that have held democratic elections of one sort or another—Iran, Algeria, the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Iraq—Islam has only strengthened its hold on politics. Democratization elsewhere could similarly stoke geopolitical ferment; a more democratic China could well be a more unpredictable and aggressive actor on the global stage. 13 Moreover, even if emerging powers share the West’s values, they will spar with the West over matters of status and prestige; the rising rest are resentful of having long labored under Western hegemony and want more say in managing global affairs whatever the issues at stake. So too will rising states run up against the West when it comes to the pursuit of national interests. The United States and Great Britain shared democratic values and an Anglo-Saxon heritage when America emerged as a great power at the end of the nineteenth century. Nonetheless, the United States pushed Britain out of its neighborhood; America wanted to enjoy uncontested primacy in the Western Hemisphere. Surely China and other emerging powers, whether democratic or not, will aspire to a similar brand of regional hegemony as their resources and ambition rise, leading to a potential confrontation with the United States and its European partners. The assumption that nations will see eye-to-eye with the West as long as they have democratic governments is as illusory as the proposition that the world will soon be populated only by democracies. The West and the rising rest are poised to compete over principles, status, and geopolitical interests as the global turn proceeds. The challenge for the West and the rest alike is to forge a new and pluralistic order—one that preserves stability and a rules-based international system amid the multiple versions of modernity that will populate the next world.The Plan This book has two primary goals. The first is analytic: to explore the causes and consequences of the coming global turn. Chapters two and three put the issue of global change in historical relief. Chapter two chronicles the last global turn—Europe’s rise and its eclipse of the Middle East and Asia as the world’s leading center of power. This tectonic shift stemmed first and foremost from socioeconomic change and the emergence of a middle class with sufficient wealth and power to 14 challenge the political status quo. Chapter three completes the story of the West’s ascent by comparing the advances of early modern Europe with the centralized stasis that prevailed in the Middle East and Asia. These regions did not pass through the historic transformations that shaped modernity in the West, holding them back as the West sprinted ahead. The West not only pulled ahead of the rest, but then went on to capitalize on its primacy to “go global”—to export to the developing world its own economic and political principles. First under Europe’s leadership, then under America’s, the West became the primary supplier of the rules that provided order in the international system. Chapters four and five explore the next global turn—the rise of the non-West. Chapter four is a prelude to the second half of the book. It briefly chronicles the diffusion of power to new quarters and shows that on many different levels—aggregate wealth, demography, education, manufacturing, military capability—the rest is fast catching up with the West. Even if the United States and Europe reclaim robust rates of economic growth, the West will inevitably lose the global preeminence that it has enjoyed since the nineteenth century. Chapter five then examines the challenges that the rising rest will pose to the Western way. Autocrats in China, Russia, and the Persian Gulf; theocrats in the Middle East; strongmen in Africa; populists in Latin America—these regimes challenge the universality of the Western model and are not just way-stations on the path to liberal democracy, industrial capitalism, and secular nationalism. The durability of these non-Western approaches to governance will ensure political diversity as emerging powers rise. The second goal of this book is prescriptive: to map out how the West should prepare for and adjust to the world of the twenty-first century. Chapter six makes the case that the West must recover its economic and political vitality if it is to anchor the global turn. It first examines the 15 developments that have been sapping the West of its material and ideological strength—the economic downturn on both sides of the Atlantic, the renationalization of political life across the European Union, and an intractable polarization in the United States. The chapter then explores what steps the Atlantic democracies can take to restore economic growth, breathe new life into democratic politics, and reclaim their self-confidence. The concluding chapter lays out a vision for adapting the international order to the coming global turn. The United States must take the lead in fashioning a new consensus, not insist that the rising rest acquiesce to Western values and institutions. Equating legitimacy with responsible governance rather than liberal democracy, tolerating political and ideological diversity, balancing between global governance and devolution to regional authorities, fashioning a more regulated and state-centric brand of capitalism—these are the types of principles around which a new order is likely to take shape. American deference to a novel set of legitimating and guiding norms would encourage rising powers to respond in kind, offering the most hope of arriving at a bargain that preserves stability in the aftermath of the West’s primacy. As Henry Kissinger recently cautioned, “America will have to learn that world order depends on a structure that participants support because they helped bring it about.”121 Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992).2 “Obama the Party Crasher,” Washington Times, December 23, 2009.3 On the concept of multiple versions of modernity, see Shmuel Eisenstadt, ed., MultipleModernities (Piscataway: Transaction Publishers, 2002).4 G. John Ikenberry, “The Rise of China and the Future of the West,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 87, no. 1 (January/February 2008), pp. 25, 37. 165 Fareed Zakaria, The Post-American World (New York: Norton, 2008), p. 218.6 See, for example, Charles Kupchan The End of the American Era: U.S. Foreign Policy and theGeopolitics of the Twenty-first Century (New York: Knopf, 2002); Parag Khana, SecondWorld: How Emerging Powers Are Redefining Global Competition in the Twenty-firstCentury (New York: Random House, 2008); Kishore Mahbubani, The New AsianHemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East (New York: Public Affairs, 2008); Zakaria, The Post-American World; Martin Jacques, When China Rulesthe World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order (New York: Penguin, 2009); Stefan Hapler, The Beijing Consensus: How China’sAuthoritarian Model Will Dominate the Twenty-First Century (New York: Basic Books, 2010); and Ian Morris, Why the West Rules—For Now: The Patterns of History, andWhat They Reveal about the Future (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010).7 The emerging literature on this subject includes, Andrew Hurrell, On Global Order: Power,Values, and the Constitution of International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); Steven Weber and Bruce Jentleson, The End of Arrogance: America in the GlobalCompetition of Ideas (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010); and G. John Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the AmericanWorld Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011).8 See Daniel Deudney and G. John Ikenberry, “The Logic of the West,” World Policy Journal, Vol. 10, no. 4 (Winter 1993/94).9 For a summary of the debate on the causes of Europe’s rise, see Jack Goldstone, Why Europe?The Rise of the West in World History 1500-1850 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008). 1710 According to the rankings of Freedom House in 2010, forty-seven countries were “not free” and fifty-eight were “partly free.”11 Azar Gat, Victorious and Vulnerable: Why Democracy Won in the 20th Century and How It IsStill Imperiled (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), p. 79.12 Henry Kissinger, “An End of Hubris,” The Economist, November 19, 2008.