Reactions to the Coronavirus pandemic have escalated the pre-existing tensions between the US and China, most recently over Taiwan, and among different Western nations. Decades of declining productivity, the monstrous expansions in debt and a series of recessions, culminating in the 2008 Western financial crash, have aroused more aggressive competition between the major capitalist economies.
Against this rivalrous background, there has been a shift in the balance of economic power from West to East, while the distribution of political power within international institutions still reflects the post-1945 order. This developing imbalance between economic strength and political influence is leading to confrontations between political globalists and mercantilist nationalists – between supporters of the post-WWII rules-based international order and proponents of overt protectionism – fuelling ever-stronger international resentments, and the threat of conflict.
To examine this threat and how it can be avoided, we welcome back author Phil Mullan to discuss his latest book Beyond Confrontation: Globalists, Nationalists and their Discontents, in which he puts forward a novel, democratic way past dangerous and self-defeating confrontations towards a future of open international collaboration based on popular participation within nation states.