We live in times of uncertainty and fear, there are fires everywhere, our prosperity is threatened. The opponents of freedom are forming – and the West is drifting. There is a lack of leadership and the insight that supposed certainties have long since ceased to exist.
The times of uncertainty and fear are good times for the tellers of myths and fairy tales. Because those who are insecure are only too happy to cling to what is offered as certainty. But the six most popular mistakes these days remain mistakes even when top politicians and editorial writers sell them cheaper by the dozen.
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The truth: The anti-Western forces did not die in 1990, but simply the great antipode of the West lost its organizational shell as a result of the implosion of the Soviet Union.
But the anti-Western energy has not disappeared from the globe. On the contrary, it has continued to accumulate and has spread to various states, armies and ideologies. So far, these anti-American interests around the world have been compatible, but not coordinated. That’s about to change.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, founded in 2001, which holds joint military maneuvers and is currently meeting with Putin and Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan, is taking shape. It comprises two nuclear powers, 40 percent of the world’s population and, with a cumulative national product of 20 trillion dollars, is larger than the European Union.
When comparing the purchasing power parities (in the concept of purchasing power parity) of the USA/EU with 44.65 trillion dollars vs. the SCO with 44.55 trillion dollars, it becomes clear that this new alliance is not a “sham giant” like the “world” commented today, but that the West has lost its economic dominance.
It is correct: After many NATO meetings and ceremonial summit declarations, this impression could and should be given to the public. But the truth is that interests within the West are more divergent than ever:
It should be noted that anyone looking at the intensity of the exchange relationships in the goods and services sectors could get this impression. America is Germany’s most important trading partner.
But in strategic thinking, the differences could hardly be more significant. The world’s largest domestic economy, the US, would like to enforce a decoupling of the West from the Chinese market, not entirely altruistically. The German export industry has no interest in this.
It would be honest to say: they do it, only differently than what the West wants. British economic historian Adam Tooze:
“The Russians earn stupid and stupid. And thanks to their energy exports. Now the Kremlin is using the energy weapon against us instead of us using it against them. In the field of energy policy, the initiative currently lies with Moscow.”
The foreign policy expert of the New York Times, Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman, also comes to different conclusions than Olaf Scholz and Joe Biden:
“I wish I could say for sure that Putin will fail. And I wish I could write that Putin will regret his tactics. Yes, I wish I could write all these things. But I can’t do it.”
His conclusion is a cruel one for the people of Europe because he predicts a significant diminution in our prosperity:
“Putin will make people choose between heating and eating this winter.”
The fanfares of the politicians are not covered by reality. After 16 years of Angela Merkel pushing through the nuclear phase-out and making renewables her topic, Germany is still completely dependent on coal, gas and oil. Only 16.1 percent of primary energy comes from the renewable energy portfolio.
The same finding worldwide: Despite all the investments worth billions in wind and solar systems over the past five years, oil, gas and coal will account for around 82 percent of global primary energy consumption in 2021. In the past five years, there has only been a three percent reduction in fossil primary energy reached.
This inertia of the old, fossil world is reflected on the stock exchange in exorbitant price increases for oil and gas companies. The Saudi Arabian company Saudi Aramco alone is worth more on the stock exchange than all DAX 40 companies combined.
Gabor Steingart is one of the best-known journalists in the country. He publishes the newsletter The Pioneer Briefing. The podcast of the same name is Germany’s leading daily podcast for politics and business. Since May 2020, Steingart has been working with his editorial staff on the ship “The Pioneer One”. Before founding Media Pioneer, Steingart was, among other things, Chairman of the Management Board of the Handelsblatt Media Group. You can subscribe to his free newsletter here.
Of all errors, this is the most fatal. The democratic electoral processes cannot replace leadership, they are only intended to produce it in a transparent manner. Henry Kissinger said all the essentials about this in his book Staatskunst:
“Leadership is needed to help people get where they have never been. Without leadership, institutions drift and nations risk growing irrelevance and eventual catastrophe.”
Conclusion: Exactly this leadership, which the old master of foreign policy calls for, is currently missing in the West. The risk of catastrophe does not decrease by negating it. The opponents of freedom are forming – and the West is drifting.