Third, emerging countries’ short-term opportunism is based on a double distrust: toward Europe, of course, but also, paradoxically, toward themselves. That is, they lack confidence in their ability to do their part to save the sick man of the global economy that Europe has become.
To be sure, this runs counter to the triumphalism emanating from Asia, in particular. Kishore Mahbubani, a leading foreign-policy thinker from Singapore, recently proclaimed in Vienna, at a conference organized by my institute, that the next millennium would be Asian.
Yet one senses among elites from emerging countries something akin to existential doubt, which the European crisis has served to reinforce. This insecurity manifests itself in many ways: from the accumulation of liquid wealth as insurance against foreign and domestic uncertainties to the choice of many, if not most, to educate their children abroad.
In fact, the sick man — undeniably European, if not Western — could reveal himself to be more resilient, owing to the strength of his own natural defenses: democracy and the rule of law. That is why the current European crisis might well prove to be a crucial test for emerging countries that are more dynamic than Europe economically, but ultimately more fragile politically.
Dominique Moisi is the founder of the French Institute of International Affairs and a professor at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris.
Copyright: Project Syndicate