The changing of the guard

Thursday 22nd September   

We are living through a period of history that will be adjudged as of the greatest importance.  For over two thousand years Europe was of pre-eminent importance. Oh, I know that other civilisations were doing things too, but almost all progress was happening here in Europe, and ever since Capitalism really got going it was Europe that led the way, until probably the end of the First World War, when America overtook Britain and became the most powerful country in the world.  And so it seemed it would always be; for most of my life, I, like almost everyone else, couldn’t imagine a world where America wasn’t and never would be again, number one.

But I do believe that that is what is happening.  The world we all grew up in, that safe secure place where what-ever happened, what-ever scrapes and wars we got into, there was always that rock called America, despised as much as admired, to rescue us.  But I fear it is rapidly fading, and we will shortly be entering a new phase of heartless capitalism that will make even the slave traders of two hundred years ago seem like benevolent philanthropists.  Well, maybe not as bad as that, but there is certainly a cruelty in the Chinese psychology, and a love of money that appears to transcend all other concerns.  I don’t mean to be in any way racist, but what people forget is that we, in Europe have this much longer history of slowly growing wealth and a general consensus that poverty is an evil in itself, and I can see that their rise to global dominance and wealth has happened just a tad too quickly for them to have assimilated all our values.

Well, maybe I am wrong, and I genuinely hope that I am, but I somehow feel that I am right.  There was a rather foolish and famous (Japanese I think) historian who said, after the Berlin Wall came down, that we were witnessing the end of History.  You only have to look back to 1911 to see how much has happened, why on earth should not the next hundred years be just as momentous, do you really think human beings have learnt that much wisdom in a century.  And just as Spain had to hand over to France, who in turn lost out to Britain, who were then overtaken by our American friends, the Chinese will rule for a few years before they in their turn are also eclipsed.  It is just the natural order of things; we are simply watching the slow-motion changing of the guards.