Blog The making of a new world order
Bringing two very different perspectives to this supertrend in the opening keynote session was Ho Kwon Ping, Founder and Executive Chairman, Banyan Tree Holdings and Laguna Resorts and Hotels and Anthony Gardner, former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union.
In a passionate address, Mr. Ho said that the current tensions between the US and China are not merely about trade or even geopolitical rivalry, but an entire paradigm shift in civilizational relationships that has not happened in the last 300 years since the ascendancy of Western civilization.
“China wants to be player in the game and does not accept the rules of the game as set by the Western world,” he said. Although many politicians in the United States (US) view China as an existential threat to American dominance, he believed that this clash of civilizations does not have to be a winner-take-all situation.
As for how the rest of the region should view China’s rise, he argued that it would be very dangerous for rest of Asia to demonize China, or, at the other end of the spectrum, become one of its “vassal” states.
"Populist movements have moved from margins to mainstream. Globalization is going in reverse. Trade tensions has flared up and these have serious consequences for investors." Anthony Gardner, United States Ambassador to the European Union (2014-2017)
Meanwhile, Ambassador Gardner explored the rise of populism in Europe as exemplified by Brexit and the success of far-right political parties on the continent. “Populist movements have moved from margins to mainstream. Globalization is going in reverse. Trade tensions has flared up and these have serious consequences for investors,” he said.
One new feature of today’s populism is the increasing number of democracies that are choosing nationalist leaders. “Mainstream political parties in Europe are fraying. It will be hard to maintain solidarity among EU members because of populism,” said Ambassador Gardner.
On Brexit, he said that the decision by the UK to leave the European Union (EU) has had a negative impact on the British economy over the past three years. In particular, foreign direct investment has been declining, and companies are not committing to more investment in Britain, or have been shifting investment to the continent.
Significantly, he said that US has started treating the EU like a foe, which is a departure from 60 years of American foreign policy. Looking ahead, he believed that some deal will be struck between the UK and the EU over Brexit that will involve some form of customs arrangement.