In his annual Ditchley Foundation speech, former British Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair warned that the era of Western political and economic dominance was coming to an end, calls on the West to take a policy of “strength plus engagement” with Beijing, calling for Western countries to unite and develop a coherent strategy to counter the rise of Communist China as the “world’s second superpower.”
Blair said Communist China has caught up with the United States in many fields of technology, while Xi made no secret of his ambition to return Taiwan to Beijing’s rule. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin’s “brutal and unjustified” invasion of Ukraine shows that the West can no longer automatically expect the world’s major powers to abide by accepted international norms.
The former British prime minister believes that by virtue of Putin’s actions, the West cannot rely on the leadership of Communist China to act in a way that they (the West) consider reasonable. He explains it is not saying that the CCP will try to take Taiwan by force in the near future. But the West cannot base their policy on the certainty that it would not.
Even setting Taiwan aside, Blair said, the reality is that Communist China under President Xi is competing for influence and doing so very aggressively. Beijing will be “not just for power but against our system, our way of governing and living”. The Western world needs to be strong enough to defend its systems and values.Blair said that “The biggest geo-political change of this century will come from China not Russia. We are coming to the end of Western political and economic dominance. The world is going to be at least bi-polar and possibly multi-polar. It is the first time in modern history that the East can be on equal terms with the West.”