One hears time and time again of the upcoming Pacific Century, when China will grasp world leadership and kick the US to the curb as a world power in both economic might and national security.
Though, many of the proponents of this theory told us the Soviets were successful and stable at the very time the red flag was faltering on all levels. Then, not content with their faulty Cold War analysis, they predicted the final global victory of free market democracy. Got that one wrong too.
Still looking for that golden ticket, they see the Chinese as ten feet tall in all areas. Well, in their view they overlook not only the likely continuing power of this country, but a former super region whose time may be coming again. Who? Europe. Who can we thank for this renaissance? Vladimir Putin.
Before the Ukrainian War Putin had successfully seduced the Germans and other Euros on the need for Russian oil and gas. But just today the Germans indicated that they will go along with an EU wide boycott of Russian oil. The Hun finally woke up to the implicit blackmail in any deal with the Russians. One false move and Russia turns off the pipeline. Germany gets that now. But it’s not just Germans.
Putin’s Ukraine move has pushed Sweden and Finland into NATO. The Poles are feisty as hell against the Russians and the Brits are leading the overseas charge on supporting Ukraine with arms and supplies. Putin has united them in a way we could not. And with that cohesion on national security may come an EU rebirth in other areas of trade, tech, and whatnot. Europe may be, unexpectedly, a smart money player in the 21st century.
Will or can they do it alone? Perhaps, but not likely. The Brits will remember Churchill’s admonition to never stray too far away from the Americans. To play on the big stage and challenge the Chinese, the Euros need a Transatlantic partner in support. It recalls the early days of NATO in the sense of the strength of a possible alliance across myriad areas.
Let’s also not forget that the world’s first superpower was Spain. The Brits followed for about 300 years, and the French gave them a run for their money. The Germans, well, a non noble effort and no dice.
So the Brits and the Euros have some experience in global leadership. Far more than we do, actually. Yes, the Spanish had their foibles in the lower Americas and the French were not exactly a stabilizing influence on the continent. However, the British Empire was probably the greatest force for good over the longest period that the world has ever seen.
Will the Chinese and their Russian jackals take this lying down? No. They will fight to topple the West from our perch. But together, we, the Brits, and the Euros will be a tough nut to crack. If so, to borrow from Churchill again, we may look forward to broad sunlit uplands, far from the control of Beijing.