Is a new system conflict imminent?
Or is it already running?
Since everyone continues to whisper the same insider tip, this alone has consequences in reality today.
As in a magnetic field, the states align themselves accordingly.
The 21st century could become more and more of a century under Chinese hegemony if China's geopolitical rise continues as Beijing planned and the West remains as divided and weak as it is today.
Nobody should indulge in illusions: that China is not only a controlled, market-shaped capitalist economy, but also a brutal Communist Party dictatorship, is again unabashedly proving before the eyes of the world public, especially in Hong Kong - and still less visible to outsiders in Xinjiang , Tibet and elsewhere.
The authors: Hans-Peter Bartels (left, SPD) was the defense commissioner of the German Bundestag.
Omid Nouripour is the Green Group's foreign policy spokesman
Source: picture alliance / Rainer Jensen / dpa;
picture alliance / Michael Kappeler / dpa
Taiwan lives under constant threat of invasion.
In the face of any democracy movement in the 1.4 billion people empire, state power intervenes with spying, persecution, prison and camps, if necessary also with battle tanks that are rolling down young demonstrators on Tiananmen Square.
This reawakened world power is now consistently expanding its political and economic influence in the Indo-Pacific region and as far as Africa and Europe.
If you google the “Belt and Road Initiative”, the gigantic new Silk Road project, you will immediately come across investor advertisements that attract “attractive returns”.
It looks like Mao's great successor, the smart General Secretary of the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping, wants to beat the West with his own means.
And the military build-up continues. The third aircraft carrier is under construction, there should be four to six, as many as the USA on the other side has ready for the Pacific and Indian Oceans. From a Chinese perspective, it is America's military and political hegemony that needs to be neutralized - and trumped by the middle of the century at the latest. The People's Republic will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2049. The Beijing Central Committee does not want to leave who is number one in the world to chance; planning decisions have already been made.
At the first meeting of envoys of the new US President Joe Biden with Chinese foreign politicians in March 2021 in Anchorage, the capital of Alaska, the responsible secretary of the Central Committee of the CPC, Yang Jiechi, sneered in front of the cameras: “Many US citizens have little confidence into American democracy. "
And China's communists no longer want to hear about an American claim to leadership in the camp of democracies worldwide: “The USA does not represent the world, they only represent their government.” Hard tobacco for US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
Liberal democracies under pressure
The liberal model of democracy is currently under pressure not only from outside, but also from within.
Authoritarian domination has more friends than was previously thought.
Not only Putin and Lukashenko, but also Erdogan, Trump and Bolsonaro are examples of the attractiveness of a fatal anti-democratic tendency.
Domestic political polarization is also getting tougher elsewhere.
Some now consider China to be an exemplary model: economically, digitally, but also politically in the fight against pandemics.
So who represents the free West in this emerging global order of conflict?
Who does it belong to?
What voice do the Democrats of all countries speak with?
How do you intend to face China's aggressive imperialism, each for yourself?
And is there a strategy?
An aircraft carrier from Great Britain will soon be demonstrating for freedom of sea traffic in the South China Sea, Germany will send a frigate to the area in the summer, and the EU will impose sanctions.
At the same time, people continue to export, invest and court, as if “change through rapprochement” were a formula for success that can now easily be transferred from the Cold War with the Soviet Eastern Bloc in the 20th century to this new type of hegemonic conflict of the 21st century.
But can economic interdependence and human rights universalism really be viewed separately in the long term?
Don't the democracies pay for the oppressive apparatus of the dictatorship in China?
And aren't they also paying for the geopolitical expansion of the managed Chinese economy, including surveillance technology, at special prices?
“Westlessness” was the motto of the Munich Security Conference 2020. The West is missing.
During his term in office, US President Donald Trump smashed a lot of common ground, from climate protection to the Iran nuclear deal to the NATO guarantee of assistance.
NATO is not enough
Now would be the time for a strategic stocktaking and reorganization of the democracies of the West.
The transatlantic NATO alliance is not enough for this.
It was founded after the Second World War in 1949 to defend the West against the second nuclear power of our planet, Stalin's Soviet Union.
This Gulag dictatorship is now history.
Putin's Russia today presents a different kind of challenge that the West can deal with from a position of negotiating and cooperative strength.
Because economically, geopolitically and culturally, Moscow's ambitions cannot be compared with those of Beijing.
At the moment, joint Sino-Russian military maneuvers also have a reason to demonstrate to China that the Russian armed forces do not deserve the openly displayed contempt for Beijing.
The main purpose, however, is to simulate a harmony based solely on the common antagonism towards the West.
Otherwise these two nuclear powers would also be rivals.
The West should oppose this unanimously!
When the leader of China is now blatantly saying that he wants to divide the Europeans apart, but above all want to split them off from the USA, this underscores the need to redefine the West.
This contemporary realignment and refocusing begins with NATO, but that will not be enough.
Even established formats such as the G7 will not be able to adequately counter the attack on freedom and democracy worldwide.
Additional alliance or dialogue formats are needed that explicitly include democracies outside the Atlantic region, i.e. states such as Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan or India. Some of these states - also because of colonial trauma - do not see themselves as part of the “West”. The realignment of the defensive camp of democracy therefore requires an approach that does not adhere to the concept, but to our values.
Because democracy and freedom are not a question of direction, continent, ethnic or religious affiliation: the universal validity of human rights, rule of law, separation of powers, popular sovereignty and representative democracy are not just "Western" values, but hard-won principles for an order of human beings Freedom as it is possible today. All over.