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The West Is Hastening Its Own Decline

The West’s strategic overreach vis-à-vis Russia is not only alienating much of the rest of the world, but also providing a windfall for its real rival, China. Unless it changes course, the West is likely to lose its global supremacy, including its hold on the international financial architecture.

MUNICH – Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than two years ago, the West has desperately sought ways to punish Russia without harming itself in the process. It has mostly failed.

So far, not even unprecedented sanctions have derailed Russia’s economy, let alone compelled the Kremlin to change its behavior. Instead, Russia has pivoted to a war economy: it now produces nearly three times as many munitions as NATO, including more missiles than it was producing before the war began.

Much of the West, by contrast, is facing economic stagnation, owing not least to the switch away from cheap Russian energy to costlier supplies from elsewhere. The United Kingdom is officially in recession, and there has been no growth in the eurozone since the third quarter of 2022, when gas prices surged, leading the European Central Bank to start raising interest rates to stem runaway inflation. Higher fuel prices have helped turn former economic powerhouse Germany into the worst-performing developed economy.