Tehran (IP) - "The world is about to face global geopolitical changes and transition to multipolarity, while the era of Western dominance is about to end," Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, said.

Iran PressEurope: These words do not belong to a staunch critic of the unipolar world or western policies but a person who, for many years during his tenure as the British prime minister, was one of the pillars of imposing western values on the world and, of course, unilateralism at least in line with British colonialism in all parts of the world.

Tony Blair, British Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, said in his annual speech at the Ditchley Annual Lecture: "The biggest geopolitical 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 multipolar. It is the first time in modern history that the East can be on equal terms with the West."

World order in the 21st century?

For years, the proposition of the decline of the unipolar world and the fading of Western dominance and the world order after the World War has been discussed in academic circles, think tanks, and the media, and from time to time, such positions have been taken by personalities who, as statesmen and politicians, have a unique role in the consolidation of the foundations of Western domination over the world.

This fact again leads to heated debates regarding the future of the world and the process it will take. It raises the critical question, "with the end of four centuries of Western domination, what will the world order be in the 21st century?"

Before answering this question, it seems necessary to mention the history of the formation of Western domination:

When did Western power begin?

The beginning of Western domination should be known in the 16th and 17th centuries—the centuries of significant discoveries of Spain and Portugal. Western dominance continued until the 18th century, which can be described as the French century. Then the 19th undoubtedly belonged to England. And finally, the 20th century, a century in which Jean-David Levitte, the former Brookings expert, says the United States replaced Europe to impose Western values on the world as a way to save nations.

After World War II, US presidents continued the path previously founded by Woodrow Wilson with relative success in 1919; the formation of global international institutions based on values invented in Europe. In particular, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank were founded in the United States.

Role of Cold War on World Order

In the meantime, the Cold War not only imposed 35 years of competition between the two poles of the Soviet Union and the United States but also imposed bipolar stability. Then history had a new beginning, and since then, the world has undergone transformations, each of which followed tremendous geopolitical changes.

1979, the fall of the Shah, Iran Revolution's aftermath

The contemporary world, however, recorded the year 1979 forever in its history. Although everyone may have their own opinion on the matter, 1979 witnessed three very different events that literally set off a chain reaction, and today, on the global scale, their reflection can be heard.

The first event occurred on February 11, 1979, in Iran, as Levitte said, with the fall of the Shah. That day, the United States lost its best ally in the Middle East. But most importantly, the coming to power of Imam Khomeini changed the situation in the whole region.

Until then, states competed for regional leadership based on the traditional rules of competition between states. But Imam Khomeini presented himself as a supporter of Muslims wherever they are.

The world quickly saw the consequences in Lebanon with the emergence of Hezbollah as a decisive political and military actor on the local and regional scene. Then in Iraq, when the US launched its invasion in 2003. In Syria in 2011, with a civil war by militia groups that challenged the government of Bashar al-Assad. Yemen also witnessed special developments.

1979 China effect, economic reforms in East of Asia

The second significant change occurred in 1979 in China. Deng Xiaoping consolidated power and was able to initiate economic reforms. He did this gradually and with the pragmatism that characterized his leadership. Forty years later, we see its effects: undoubtedly the most rapid and massive economic and social change in human history. Other countries, such as Korea or Singapore, have built their economies at the same fast pace. But China is the only country that has succeeded on the scale of a country with 1.4 billion people.

1979, Soviet Union War in Afghanistan

The third event occurred on Christmas Day 1979. On that day, the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan and confirmed all subsequent developments, especially the powerful rise of the Soviet Union, not only in Afghanistan but also in Africa - in Angola and Ethiopia. On the other hand, the United States was caught up in its internal issues, especially in the crisis of taking over its embassy in Tehran, the crisis that cost Carter's presidency.

Developments came one after the other: the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, two years later in 1991, the collapse of the Soviet Union at the cost of saving Russia by the decision of Boris Yeltsin, and the separation of the satellite states of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe, and the decline of ideologies such as communism which had remained for centuries, along with the market economy gaining strength following the globalization of the economy, which took a fast path.

The Revolution of Technology

The technological revolution helped a unipolar world centered on the United States. In the meantime, the United States, which saw itself as unrivaled, took advantage of the opportunity to impose its values ​​on the world. Still, the attacks on the World Trade Towers in 2001 and the subsequent attack on Afghanistan, Iraq, and a few years after, the financial crisis of 2007-2008 challenged the image of the US and the whole West.

The world saw that the polar world after the World War and the order that the US and the West claimed could not pass such crises safely.

In the meantime, emerging powers also challenged the Western order and the US' position as an unrivaled superpower. The formation of BRICS, consisting of emerging economic and political forces, with the globalization of the economy, did not embrace the western values ​​and norms that had formed the foundations of the western order for more than four centuries.

These countries want to return to the national values ​​that are rooted in their collective memory.

Therefore, Putin's Russia dreams of rebuilding the Russian Empire of Catherine the Great. Erdogan's Turkey wants to leave the legacy of Atatürk in history. Iran has also found many supporters with its Islamic values.

Modi's India wants to promote the values ​​of Hinduism, and China's Xi Jinping wants to reconnect with the glorious past of the great dynasties of the Middle Kingdom.

During the brilliant decade of dominance of Western values ​​from 1991-2001, Westerners believed, or at least hoped, that all emerging countries would gradually follow the rules of the market economy and the values ​​that underlie the Western order. But today, this illusion has disappeared.

Start of US power decline in the world order

US' domestic developments and challenges caused by economic problems and strategic errors in US foreign policy during the Obama era provided the conditions for the decline of US power in the world order. Still, with the election of Donald Trump in November 2016 as the President of the United States, this "de-westernization" of the world order accelerated dramatically.

Trump and the "America First" policy

With the "America First" policy, Trump returned to the policies that Monroe founded: that the United States should not involve itself in issues outside its borders.

The internal situation of the USA and the fact that the middle class in this country no longer enjoys the prosperity of the "American dream" shows that a country that at one point in history considered itself to be the only influential and hegemonic superpower whose values ​​are welcomed in different societies now is not in the position to offer anything new.

Today, the West, and of course, the United States, as a symbol of Western values, faces severe challenges in maintaining the order that, after the Second World War, the world on the path that following Western values was inevitably seen as the only way of international social life. Still, the emergence of economic powers like China, the influence of forces such as Russia in global equations, and the formation of regional and extra-regional security economic alliances such as BRICS, Shanghai, ASEAN, the Eurasian Union, and several others are all a confirmation of the fact that Western values and a unipolar world are facing with many challenges.

Tony Blair considers China "is already the world's second superpower," while its economic potential and role in the global economy exceed that of Russia. Moreover, "China has now caught up America in many fields of technology and could surpass it in others."

According to Blair, the Chinese leadership's policies are becoming increasingly aggressive. The former premier said that Beijing makes no secret of its 'disdain' for the West and moves towards stronger ties with Russia.

But the point that the former British Prime Minister emphasizes in his speech about Iran shows Iran's influential position in global developments: "Russia and probably Iran will become China's allies in the future."

From Tony Blair's words, it can be understood that the future world is the world of multilateralism and collective interaction and participation in its management; a world where western order and imposed values have no place and western ideology is facing such serious challenges that the word "decline" is not enough to describe it.

The collapse of Western hegemony is more visible than ever, and the "transition to a multipolar world," as Tony Blair emphasizes, is approaching its goal with the role played by regional powers at speed beyond imagination: The end of the dominance of the West and the unipolar world with American hegemony.

Written by Hamed Shahbazi