Monday, June 18, 2012

Asia at the centre of the new world order

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is emerging as a global force to be reckoned with.

It might not be too far off the mark to stress that the SCO is contemplating a new order to replace the existing Anglo-Saxon world order, which has dominated our planet for centuries.

The SCO was founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001 and currently has six full members - China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Top leaders from Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan also took part as observers in its summit last week, while leaders from Belarus and Sri Lanka attended the summit as dialogue partners. 

It is clear that China is asserting a global leadership role. Chinese President Hu Jintao promised that China will provide a loan of US$10 billion to support economic partnerships within the SCO. China will help train 1,500 experts in the group over the next three years. It will also provide 30,000 scholarships and invite 10,000 Confucius Institute teachers and students to come to China for research and study over the next decade.

Hu urged all members to work hard in constructing infrastructure like railways, roads, aviation ports, telecommunications and power grids to promote regional connectivity. The Chinese president also called for the establishment of a development bank, food security cooperation mechanism, energy club and seed banks, and for the promotion of trade and investment facilitation.

Thailand and other Asean nations have yet to become members of the SCO, whose peoples account for around one third of the world's population.

The members and potential members of the SCO, such as Russia, China, India and Iran, are emerging as regional and global powers, representing an antithesis of the existing order. Collectively, they would like to form agendas of their own instead of playing along with the agendas of the West.

The existing order evolved more spectacularly after the Second World War under the directives of the US and the UK. The pillars of the present global order are the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Bank for International Settlements, the World Trade Organisation, Nato and other related international organisations. Underlying their polices are free trade, liberalisation, cooperation and liberal democracy, to bring nations under "globalisation".

But the members of the SCO are suspicious that globalisation is a ruse to bring forth a one-world currency, a one-world central bank and a one-world government under the control of the global elite.

The meeting of the SCO in Beijing took place at a historic juncture, with the existing order wobbling. The European Union is crumbling under the weight of a banking crisis and public sector indebtedness. The US is contemplating another round of quantitative easing, or money printing, to prop up financial markets and the economy. Practically all of the economies of the developed world are suffering financial distress to variable degrees, after years of financial bubbles. The modern global economy has been fashioned by money printing, public- and private-sector debt creation and bank credit expansion. The bubbles created by money printing and credit expansion popped in 2008. But the system has been propped up by endless money-printing. And the bubbles have to pop once again to create a global depression. The Anglo-Saxon order sees a one-world government and one-world currency as a way out.

The SCO repudiates this antithesis of a new world order. It has an antithesis of its own, but the East's world order is not clear as yet. But the East is finally rising to challenge the West, which has dominated this planet over the past four to five hundred years. Financially, the East remains strong compared to the West, which is now living on money printing. We learn from history that money printing eventually leads to hyperinflation.

As the US has initiated a policy to contain China, we are about to see growing international and military conflict within this region - a classic return of a full-blown confrontation between West and East to determine who will govern this planet over the centuries to come.

Thailand and Asean are caught in the middle of this global superpower play. They have yet to contemplate the new order on the rise. But they should learn to adopt a prudent policy stance before events develop beyond anybody's control. It is clear that Thai policy-makers don't realise what is going on in the world. The Nation, Bangkok

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