The Center Of Gravity Is Shifting…Asia – OpEd


Western Europe and parts of the East are slipping into obscurity and becoming an irrelevancy. The politics of the world is seismic, and its center of gravity is shifting – the Old World is losing its appeal.

Europe remains an important strategic focus for Russia, but it ceases to be the topic of interest it once was. Many view it today as experiencing “diminished capacity.” It seems that Western Europe has ceased acting in its own best interest and struggles to even conceptualize them. States are increasingly losing their autonomy to the demands of the “empire” in Brussels and falling further within the penumbra of the US.

The growing presence of NATO on Russia’s western borders has not occurred without concern by the Kremlin. There are signs of the US-led bloc’s transition from dormancy to major “saber-rattling.” In May of this year euronews reported “Germany lays out ‘exercise scenario’ for a potential conflict between NATO and Russia.” France, Germany and (always) the Baltics are preparing for a major military confrontation in Europe. And this in spite of Moscow (including Putin) repeatedly advocating against conflict in an interview this year with journalist Tucker Carlson and reported by this author in a Cairo Review article titled, “Hegemonic Reasoning Fueled the Russia-Ukraine War.” Putin acknowledges that Russia would not be a match for NATO’s combined military power using conventional means (too many would perish on both sides), and indicating that the use of nuclear weapons was plain insanity (potentially civilization would perish). So who exactly is the EU arming themselves to fight? 

The path of further encroachment and pressure on Russia fails the test of reasonableness: Moscow takes the NATO threat seriously and has the means of deterrence short of the insanity of all out war. The militarization of the Baltic states, the strengthening of the bloc’s influence in the Black Sea and proximate to the Russian border will merely increase the potential for conflict and maintain a state of constant tension.

Earlier this year, the Kremlin reported in euronews “‘Nonsense’: Putin rules out attacks on NATO countries.” It has no plans of aggression regarding France, Germany, Poland or the Baltics. This is a threat, reports Global Times, in a 2023 article “How US manipulates Russia-Ukraine conflict with lies,” invented by Washington and Brussels to justify the existence of NATO for the purpose of the US (not Europe) maintaining its geopolitical hegemony around the world. Maintaining such a posture is a fool’s errand for Western Europe. To pursue such a myopic foreign policy holds Europe hostage to the US and its desire to isolate the EU’s main economies from Russia – thereby weakening both Russia and Europe to keep them both dependent on and subservient to the US.

The US is destabilizing West Europeans under the noble guise of protecting the European continent from an imaginary Russian threat which it created. Western Europe must wake themselves from this “dream-like” state which blinds them to the artifice created by the US – Europe must start acting in their own interests, rather than that of their “perceived” protector.

As for Russia’s response to America’s manufactured “reality,” she has turned her attention to other regions of the world and is continuing to develop its historic relations with the countries of Asia and Africa with formidable resolve. Given the state of affairs just described, Western Europe and Russia are turning away from each other. Russia has a plan in that regard – BRICS, multipolarity, Global South, Africa; I am not certain Europe does – but America definitely does, and I fear Europe fits in only as a dependent.

As is the way with much of history, relationships change and what was – is no more – and then back again. In time there will be a process of return. What the world hears from Europe today (regarding  Russia) are the most bellicose statements, but with little political resolve. While Russia continues to monitor Western Europe’s American-driven policy initiatives, the focus of Moscow’s attention is shifting to other parts of the world.

At the same time, the US remains the most active force in international relations. It continually works to create ad hoc coalitions of belligerency to use against those who do not walk in lockstep with its foreign policy. Now it’s actions are more feverish, realizing that time is not on its side in protecting its political hegemony.

It would be to Washington’s advantage to embrace a truth: that objective demographic, economic and social developments are making Asia the world’s primary center of gravity in the 21st century. Nobel laureate in economics, Gary Becker, commenting in the British Telegraph as early as 2010, asserted that “Asia will be the world’s new center of gravity.” 

Working to ensure that the conditions for stability and development are maintained is in its best interest. Much to everyone’s chagrin, the actions of the US demonstrate the opposite: they are facilitating the perception of their political decline. And this would be less acute if they responded more constructively, rather than always defaulting to their political hegemony and its protection at all cost.

The shift of the center of gravity from the Atlantic region to East and South Asia is an ineluctable development that has been decades in the making. An interesting political aside is that Moscow and Washington are only indirectly involved in it. The growing influence of the countries of this region will henceforth be neither denied nor halted in their political ascendency. In this context, relations between Russia and China must be commented upon. Although there have been issues between the two nuclear behemoths in the past, Russian-Chinese relations are now at their zenith. Moreover, together they constitute a formidable underpinning for a new balanced, multipolar international order. 

One of the intriguing facts about Russia and China’s relationship was that in the mid-1990s, they developed a common conceptualization of what the future of a multipolar world could look like. It was enshrined in the 1997 ‘Declaration on a Multipolar World and the Formation of a New International Order’. It remains a vision of a world with the following features: on the basis of non-interference, respect for sovereignty, mutual interests, and the recognition that cooperation between countries is possible regardless of the nature of their government. This basis for cooperation has stood the test of time (almost 30 years), many international crises in recent decades, and has the potential to take Russian-Chinese relations to economic and political heights not yet imagined by these giants. What is needed for geopolitical stability is for the West to understand that the sand they feel shifting beneath their feet runs much deeper – these are seismic shifts that cannot be stopped.

F. Andrew Wolf, Jr.

F. Andrew Wolf, Jr. is a retired USAF Lt. Col. and retired university professor of the Humanities, Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy. His education includes a PhD in philosophy from Univ. of Wales, two masters degrees (MTh-Texas Christian Univ.), (MA-Univ. South Africa) and an abiding passion for what is in America's best interest.

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