The decline of globalism: the battle between democracy and autocracy
Globalism has peaked out in the wake of the global financial crisis, the confrontation between the United States and China, the spread of the new coronavirus, and the war in Ukraine. The world’s supply chain network has entered an era of “offshoring”, which moves production hubs overseas, to “reshoring”, which returns to the domestic market, and “friend shoring” and “near sharing”, which emphasize location in friendly and neighboring countries.
The US aims to build a resilient supply chain network to compete with Russia and China through “Trade Technology Council (TTC)” with the European Union (EU) and “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)” with Asia-Pacific countries.
The US National Defense Strategy Report, produced in 2018 under Secretary of Defense Mattis, argued that the World War II was a battle between democracy and fascism. It pointed out that the liberal international order, which had been maintained under the leadership of the victorious United States and Great Britain, was being undermined by the rise of autocracy.In addition, it has launched a ” strategy of denial ” to prevent China from establishing regional hegemony, arguing that dependence on Chinese products and technologies in the supply chain of the US defense industry is a major security risk.
This strategy of denial lists Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines as indispensable allies (regions) from the perspective of military strategy, and selects allies (regions) that oppose China’s regional hegemony.However, the criteria for such a decision are strictly based on the necessity of military strategy.
The problem with friend shoring is that it is not clear which countries are friends. From an economic point of view, securing free trade is the best option, just like freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. Thereby maintaining a liberal economic order and world peace is a common challenge for democracies.
Former German President Wulff, who visited Japan at the end of August, said that the Ukraine War is a battle between democracy and autocracy, and that strong solidarity and support from democratic countries are indispensable for its victory.
The use of force by authoritarian countries is a grave threat to the world.
In early August, the US Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) conducted the Taiwan contingency tabletop exercise (war game).It is assumed that in 2026 China will invade Southern Taiwan and attack US military bases in Japan. Taiwan suffered enormous losses, but the US and Taiwanese forces managed to hold out.
However, the results of past tabletop exercises by the US think tank RAND Corporation are different. In the mid-2030s, when China becomes the world’s largest economic power, artificial intelligence (AI)-driven “Hyper War”, the China-North Korea allied forces that make full use of AI will gain an edge over the United States, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korean allied forces that require human intervention in the use of AI.
The worst outcome of a Taiwan emergency would be a nuclear war. The strategy of denial or tabletop exercise assumes that there are no choices that lead to the catastrophic destruction of each other. In the case of the Ukrainian War, based on the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine has withdrawn all its nuclear weapons on the condition that Britain, the United States and Russia guarantee national security. But the risk of Russia’s use of nuclear weapons has not disappeared.
The world now needs an “everyday Kantinasian” who sticks to its inner moral discipline and achieves world peace and the permanent abolition of nuclear weapons.
(English translation of Morning Edition of the Nikkei with 2022/9/16)