Editorial - April 2023
Temps de lecture : min
Nest of ashes*
A bipolar world is continuing to take form, and the strategic cooperation sealed between China and Russia is a reminder of its adversarial nature. We are witnessing a confrontation between the United States and China that is multifaceted and has moved the centre of the world to the Pacific zone. While the war in Ukraine has strengthened transatlantic ties and re-energised NATO, it has also brought about a realisation, borne out by the votes on the UN resolutions, of the lack of widespread adherence to Western “truths”. In fact, quite the contrary. A good illustration of this is the increasing number of applications registered by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, some of which are unexpected, such as that of the Saudi kingdom.
The strengthening of China and Russia’s “no-holds-barred” partnership may seem a logical step given the length of the border they share. But over and above geography, the United States’ policy of containment against China in both science and technology also explains Beijing’s supportive stance towards Moscow. The prospect of benefiting from the quality of Russian engineers and know-how in scientific, civil, and military matters is likely to encourage China to support its neighbour’s war effort – a factor as decisive as the future supply of hydrocarbons by land, safer than sea routes, on which embargoes are easier to enact.
« The formation of two global blocs is accelerating and leading to rational rapprochement, such as that between Japan and South Korea or between Iran and Saudi Arabia. »
It also has major consequences on the economic sphere, structurally anchoring inflation for a long period and disrupting the strategies of international companies. The latter have benefited for several decades from a historical opening up movement. Globalisation has enabled them to benefit from commodities, available capital, lower production standards, a plunge of labour costs and the emergence of a global market. However, this configuration is gradually disappearing with the global decoupling, and corporate strategies will have to undergo a major transformation with regard to production processes and destination markets. From now on, companies will find it harder to take part in the “global conversation” and to develop a multi-alignment approach. Binding choices will have to be made at the cost of abandoning a global geo-economic ambition in the hope of existing within one of the two world orders.
* “Le Nid de Cendres” (Nest of ashes), a play by French author, director and actor Simon Falguières, describes a world split into two universes: that of men and that of fairy tales. Both ignore each other and are in peril...
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April 14, 2023