The new year has begun with natural disasters, epidemics, continuous street riots and ever-deepening international conflicts. It seems like everyday we hear new depressing news from somewhere in the world.
We hear about the forest fires in Australia in the morning, an epidemic in China at noon and head to bed worried about the rumors of a new US attack in the Middle East.
And then, in the middle of the night, we are shaken awake by an earthquake in Elazig.
Part of what makes all of this so troubling is the immediateness with which we receive the news about a disaster. With photographs on social media, live videos and comments, we often experience these events as they are happening.
The second part of the cycle is the endless arguments and fights that follow the events… Social media sites spread senseless commentary from severely under qualified people with strong opinions, resulting in an overflow of mostly bad information. This process serves to normalize even the worst disasters, while blocking the natural mechanisms of reaction.
The US propaganda machine, and Hollywood in particular, on the other hand, makes sure we are never short of disaster-themed or apocalyptic films.
From The Economist, to Le Monde Diplomatique to Bild Newspaper, the media of the West is filled with articles highlighting natural disasters, and sometimes even “Apocalypse.”
As was the case near the end of the Third Reich, “destruction” as such has begun to be glorified, while ironically being normalized at the same time.
Destroyers and the destroyed
It is obvious that we are experiencing a period of global havoc: economically, politically, culturally and socially.
These incidents, I argue, are evidence of the destruction of the Western-centered world, which has for too long imposed its values on the whole of humanity… at least since the time of the Industrial Revolution.
Our western-centered financial system is particularly prone to crisis at the current juncture.
The global political order, which has proven itself incapable of responding to the most basic needs of humankind, is also western-centered.
Is the cultural deadlock being experienced in New York, Paris and Berlin happening in Beijing, Delhi or Cairo? Few would say so.
Beneath the ongoing crises in the Middle East today lies the dysfunction of the political order imposed by the West after World War I.
The number of scientists who attribute the increase in natural disasters to the capitalist system’s disregard for nature is quite significant. It is not humanity that is being destroyed, it is the West, and the systems and values it has imposed on the world.
The inescapable “catastrophe” stories we see all over western media today attempt to divert attention from those who are truly responsible.
For people around the world who can’t imagine a world different than the one we live in today, constant exposure to apocalyptic news stories naturally induces despair.
On the other hand, the events are harbingers of a coming multipolar world, the birth of which will come simultaneously with the weakening of the West.
New world, new human?
The number of countries that are moving away from the dominant centers of power and trying to establish independent practices is increasing dramatically.
It is predominantly Asian and Eurasian countries which are leading the charge: China and Russia in particular.
Are these emerging powers capable of establishing an economic, political and cultural order that can respond to the demands and desires of humanity despite the ruin and destruction wrought by the West?
China’s struggle against the coronavirus epidemic, the economic order Iran is trying to maintain despite the US sanctions and Russia’s efforts to establish order in the Middle East are all fronts of a common struggle and potential answers to that question.
It would be impossible to explain the period we are witnessing with traditional geopolitical and international relations discourses.
In the countries that are moving away from the Atlantic-centered system, the instinct to create a social structure outside the Western framework is getting stronger.
Beneath the social fluctuations around the world lies an effort to fill the void created by the implosion of the Western-centered system.
Like every other time this has happened in history, the declining power is using all of its strength to manipulate ongoing social fluctuations in their favor. However, their efforts cannot alter the fundamental contradictions that led to this unrest in the first place.
In the economy, politics and culture, we are already beginning to experience a sneak peak at what the humans of the new era will be capable of.