Friday 6th April
Once upon a time the centre of gravity was Rome, then later it became Britain; I can remember (not that) old Atlases where vast swathes of the world were pink. For about a Century the centre of gravity has been America. But now it is shifting East. And very fast too. As John Prescott might have said ‘tectonic plates are shifting’. Everything is moving East, and with the gibbering idiot in the White House, who World Leaders are now learning to deal with, America is not only diminished but increasingly ignorable. The new powers are all emerging in the East. China, of course – and with Xi consolidating his power with an almost Stalinist sweep of ‘forever in power’; almost unbelievable annual escalating rises in Wealth, and a what was once hesitant but is now a deliberate stepping onto the World Stage, it is set to overtake the once mighty America as the number one Superpower. Russia – constantly spurned by the West is looking East too. Putin is getting mighty chummy with China again. To say nothing of Turkey – the new power on the block; another dictator, another loss of Democracy, another rising Superpower too. India has been very quiet; but it too is developing fast and will soon overtake Britain and be just behind Japan and Germany. Then there are the other sleeping giants – Pakistan and Iran; both with large educated, mostly young populations; both developing Superfast. Korea (possibly even stronger if they ever unite and Japan are there too. But we mustn’t forget Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan either, both former Soviet Republics with strong dictators as leaders. These countries all have largely untapped natural resources, and in this new Millennium they may be far better placed to succeed than the old Nations of the West. Just a couple of days ago Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to talks; to try to sort out Syria – patently ignoring the US and the EU, whose efforts have simply prolonged the suffering and bombing of innocents. The mighty Petro-dollar is now threatened as both China and Russia are trading in their own currencies. And History may see the election of Trump as the major turning point in the transfer of World Power Eastwards. Trump may trumpet America First, but they have far more to lose in trade wars in the long run. Time will tell, but nothing is written in stone – both Brexit and Trump may simply be expressions of desperation by two once great Nations as the centre of gravity shifts inexorably East.