These two international brainstorming sessions, in China and India, took place one after the other and unexpectedly led to the same conclusions: everything, the world cannot continue to live like this, let’s talk seriously about how to remake it at the root. And the first thing that catches your eye is that it is Asia that starts a serious conversation, although many people from all over the planet are participating in it.
Before us, of course, are two very different conferences, primarily in terms of scale. The one that took place in Boao, on the Chinese island of Hainan, has been running annually since 2001, and representatives of only 29 states come to it. At first, it was thought that local issues would be discussed there, and more business than politics: economic cooperation in the South China Sea and something like that. But lately this event has been nicknamed “East Davos”, simply because everyone was wondering what the East can offer in response to the ideas proposed by the West in that Davos, which is in Switzerland. And in Boao, they increasingly began to see members of various governments, and even top officials.
The second conference is Delhi, called Raisina Dialogue, has been running since 2016. There were only two hundred speakers, from 90 states. The theme is the whole world. This year the composition of those who came is really stellar, again from government members to truly smart thinkers from the West, East and other azimuths. The general feeling at the end is that India unexpectedly managed to become an intellectual center in terms of the future world order, taking advantage of the brilliant lack of intelligence in this area in the Western group of states. In general, again “Eastern Davos”.
Here the question is pertinent: what happened to Davos as such, from where until a few years ago, every year in January, impulses came from what everyone who matters should think about and do?
The first and simplest answer is that Davos has fallen into his own global trap. I’m talking about the virus, of course. Everyone remembers and no one will forget that it was the chief conductor of Davos, Klaus Schwab, who came up in 2020 with his famous idea of a “covid reset” of the whole world, with total lockdowns, an unprecedented defeat of human societies and the economy: the world must be broken and rebuilt – such which one is needed is known to whom.
And if so, then what is there to talk about, it is necessary to break, and for a start – to sit under lock and key. And last January, Davos was replaced with an indistinct roll call on video (what was said there – no one knows and no one is interested), and then the seemingly dumbfounded covid rebooters will gather in Davos already alive, May 22-26. But the question remains whether anyone will listen to them. But speakers in Asia are listened to. And there are reasons for this. First of all – that both in Delhi and in Boao there is no this Davos selection of the “right” people with the right speeches. Anticipating a possible question – Russia was represented there, and quite worthy.
But here the subtleties begin. If in Boao the Chinese point of view was presented, of course, widely, then in Delhi – almost nothing, including because the organizers (the Observer Research Foundation) are considered slightly pro-Western.
It is all the more surprising that the key motives of the two conferences coincided in the most striking way. Many reservations must be made here: it is impossible to calculate the arithmetic average of hundreds of speeches by people who disagree with each other in advance (and they were also selected based on the principle of this disagreement). But you can look at the tuning fork sounded before the start of the discussions in the form of parting words to the participants: what questions should they try to answer. In Boao’s case, it was Xi Jinping’s speech. In Delhi, the same was done jointly by the head and deputy head of the Foreign Ministry, as well as two key organizers of the meeting (from Observer Research).
Watch: “The crisis of the past two years highlights the need to come to terms with the diversity of the world. Decades of globalization should have made us more accustomed, if not tolerant, to different views, points of view, customs, cultures and interests. Instead, globalization has become a tool for the rich and powerful to unify everything <…> The way out is to embrace diversity and the growing diversity of aspirations in the world. <…> May dialogue and diversity of opinion renew our only planet and create a new earth, a new world in the coming decade.” This is a joint Indian farewell to the audience.
“We need to adopt a philosophy of global governance that emphasizes active consultation, joint contributions and common benefits, promotes the common values of mankind and the exchange of views with mutual study of each other among civilizations” – this is Xi Jinping. By the way, the performance of the latter in Boao is considered a new Chinese initiative to heal the world. The essence of the whole speech is precisely – like the Indians – that the time has come to listen to each other, learn from each other and understand other people’s interests.
It is interesting to compare the programs and the agenda of the two forums. Basically, they are no different. Covid, of course, where would we be without it, and the still ongoing furious debate on this topic (although someone will say that they have not yet begun in earnest). But, apparently, all the disputants will agree on the phrase: something went wrong, it is never necessary to fight pandemics with such methods again.
Sanctions: they were mostly discussed in Boao, with the general idea that it is not necessary to drag the whole world into the European crisis and turn the economy into a political issue, into a tool and even a weapon, without thinking about how this will affect people around the world. In Delhi, the following thoughts were heard: sanctions undermine confidence in the global financial system, which was once the supporting structure of the entire world economy. In the end, everything – our health, our prosperity – becomes someone’s business model.
The significance of the two forums, of course, is not that there were quite a lot of voices condemning the West (they also condemned the East). It lies in the fact that powerful and respected platforms are being formed in Asia where one can say out loud and frankly what cannot be said on Western platforms. Well, let’s not forget about the successful name of the theme of the conference in Delhi – Terranova, that is, the new world. The current one has broken down, and the essence of the moment is the emergence of a real tsunami of disputes about what a new and correct world should become.