At the 23rd European Foodservice Summit, closing speaker Sigmar Gabriel gave an overview of the political situation from his point of view and the impact on each and every one of us.
"We are living in a time that represents an enormous challenge for politics, business and society. Probably the challenges have never been as big as they are today. At the same time, a turn of the times has occurred," the former foreign minister of Germany opened his speech.
The real turning point, Gabriel continued, was that the old post-war world order of the 20th century had come to an end. After World War II, according to the social democrat, it was quite simple in the mind of the Americans: Russians out, Americans in, Germans down, was the credo of the U.S. at the time. In this way, they would have quickly risen to become the all-encompassing world police.
China, India, but also the states of Africa, Asia and Latin America scratched tremendously at the long-standing world power structure. After all, these countries represent 60 to 70 percent of the world's population.
After 600 years, the Atlantic era has come to an end, he said. "This is a real turning point," Gabriel says. For centuries, all major innovations had come from Europe and the United States. But that age is over, he says.
"We are witnesses to a tectonic shift in the axes of power that no longer run through the Atlantic, but now through the Indo-Pacific," the former politician sums up. What role does Russia play at all in this context?
According to Gabriel, Russia probably thought that now would be a good opportunity to become the third great power alongside China and the United States in the struggle for a new global order. The U.S. torn by domestic political processes and focused on China, and NATO called brain-dead by French President Macron. The European Union divided between East, West, North and South. The opportunity simply seemed favorable for the Russian president to rebuild a Russian empire.
Nevertheless, the former foreign minister concluded, his enormous crises such as pandemic and climate can only be solved jointly. In his words, "a highly interesting time" - although he did not sound particularly euphoric at these words.