Prime Minister Modi’s trip to China, Mongolia, and South Korea has succeeded in giving the message that the rise of Asia in this century is inevitable and that the 21st century is going to be remembered as Asia’s century. Even though the trends of western decline and the rise of the East are very clear, yet the West is not ready to accept the new realities and wants to desperately hold on to the present unipolar world order, which is based upon western domination and American hegemony. However, because of the new and emerging trends and changing equations in the world, they are finding it extremely difficult to hold on to the outdated system. They feel that they can prevent Asia from uniting and struggling to change the existing world order to a new world order which is fair and just for everyone. They do not want the two biggest countries of Asia, India and China, to work together toward achieving such a system.
The western countries also do not want Europe to become an arena for the Third World War. Two World Wars were fought there. In the early seventies, when I first went to Europe, I was told by tourist guides that many European cities were more than 80% destroyed in the Second World War. It is obvious that Europe is very reluctant to have another World War fought there.
The capitalist system and its highest stage, globalization, have this characteristic that they will be riddled with cycles of economic crises. The main reason for this situation is that in capitalism, production mainly serves the interests of the capitalist class to maximize its profits rather than take into consideration the needs of society. In this scenario, over-production of some goods which yield more profit is inevitable, while those goods which are not profitable are ignored. This leads to chaos and anarchy in production. The over-production leads to crisis. When the capitalists run out of measures to come out of the crisis, then they start a war. Therefore, wars are inevitable in the capitalist system. If we look from an eastern perspective, then it becomes clear that under capitalism, production is done for desires rather than for needs. Eastern philosophy had long realized that desires are the cause of suffering. War is the highest state of suffering.
The western capitalists look at China as their main rival because it has already become the hub of production. However, they also see India as a potential adversary. They feel that one day, India can challenge their superiority. If India and China fight each other, then both can become weak and they will be unable to challenge western domination and will not be able to change the present world order. Moreover, it will save Europe from becoming an arena for the Third World War which will be shifted to Asia. Instead of Europe, Asia will face massive destruction. This time, the destruction can be almost complete because there is a high possibility of a conventional war turning into nuclear war.
Today, the western media dominates the world. Many of our scholars and thinkers have this illusion about western media that it is neutral. However, the bitter truth is that in the end, western media serves the interests of western capitalists. On the surface, it appears that western media is impartial. In reality, western media is much more dangerous than the media in third world countries. In third world countries, the media openly sides with the rulers. However, western media gives the impression of objectivity and neutrality. It will sometimes go to the extent of giving opposing views to the ruling class. However, in the end, it always serves the interests of the western capitalists.
Even though China is not completely immune from western propaganda and some people there are also influenced by western media, yet India is much more susceptible to western media. After travelling to many parts of the world, I got the impression that Indians have exceeded other people in the fields of subservience to the West and of having a slavish mentality towards the West. This is why I feel that India has to be extremely careful about the effects of western media.
A few years ago, a survey was conducted by Pew Research Center about how people in different countries feel about America. While in most of the countries, people had negative feelings about America, a big majority of Indians had positive feelings about America. Compare this with the results in Canada, which is the biggest neighbor and is almost completely integrated economically with America: about 70% of Canadians had negative feelings about America. The same was true of England, which can be considered America’s closest ally in Europe and in the world.
India should keep in mind that China is India’s biggest neighbor and is also its biggest trading partner. India has had very close cultural, religious, and economic relations with China for a very, very long time. A war with China can be extremely dangerous and disastrous for India. India can become an arena for the Third World War.
India should make its policies by taking into consideration the fundamental interests of its people rather than fall into a trap set by the western countries and western media. The fundamental interests of the Indian people are identical with the interests of the people of Asia and the third world, and the majority of the people of the world. Their interests are best served by a peaceful transition from the present western-dominated unipolar world to a multipolar world. India and China, in spite of their differences, should work together for a peaceful transition to a multipolar world. Neither India nor China can get the status that they deserve in the present unipolar world order, which is dominated by the West under American hegemony. India and China should work toward a system based on fairness, justice, equality, and mutual respect.
Asia’s century and a multipolar world are two sides of the same coin because unlike the West, Asia has never been monolithic. Unlike the West, Asia has always upheld the principle of unity in diversity rather than the western concept of uniformity. Unlike the western tendency toward absolutism, Asia has always promoted relativism, which leads to accepting pluralism. An Asian century can never mean that Asia will impose its values on non-Asians. In the Euro-centric world of today, the West has always tried to impose its values on the others as universal values. This attitude of imposing western culture and values on the others is also one of the major causes of turmoil and increased tensions in the world. In Asia’s century, the principle of respect for all cultures is more likely to be upheld.
Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at [email protected].