On Monday, 10 October 2022, Christopher Hartwell, Head of the ZHAW International Management Institute and Professor of International Business Policy, appeared on Al Jazeera, the Middle Eastern English-language news channel. In their prime-time political program “Epilogue to the Story”, he talked about the war in Ukraine following the declaration by Vladimir Putin that the hegemony of the West is coming to an end and US President Joseph Biden’s recent comment that a new world order is forming around the values of the West under the leadership of the United States.
Besides Professor Hartwell, the program’s panel of experts included Dr. Angelo Dorsi (formerly a professor at the University of Turin), Hassan Al Shaghel (a researcher at the Ayam Center for Studies), Adnan Abdel Razzak (an economics writer), Ashraf Dawabeh (a Professor at Sabahetin Zaim University, Turkey), Robert E. Scott (Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research at the Economic Policy Institute in the US), and Murad Kuwashi (a Professor of Economics from Algeria).
After a historical review going back to the aftermath of World War II and through the collapse of the Soviet Union, the program presented three points of view: an American one, a European one, and a Russian one. The program also discussed the changes in the tools of economic hegemony due to the influence of new economic powers, especially China, and the changes in the structure of the global supply chains. For this point, a quote by Professor Hartwell was used as a pivotal axis of reflection along part of the program. He said: “In fact, there is no absolute control in the actual world economic system. Control exists through political power and international relations. You cannot control the global economy because of growing global supply chains and the growing economic power of China and Europe.“ During the review part of the program, Hartwell referred to the many misconceptions held about tools of hegemony in general and the American tools, in particular.
Since the program was mainly aimed at a Middle Eastern audience, it did not neglect to discuss the example of embargos as a powerful tool in the region, such as the ones over Iraq and Iran. Interestingly, the program distinguished between tools and measures supported by the international community and other unilateral measures and the tension such differentiation created. One of these examples was the non-alignment of Europe with some of American sanctions.
Khaldoun Dia-Eddine, Head of Research/Focus Area, Desk for Middle East and Africa Business