“The West is winning, we are collectively winning,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Munich Security Conference. This conference, the annual summit of global security policy, is headlined by the slogan “Westlessness”.
Now one can think whatever (s)he wants about the politics of the United States under Donald Trump and of the People’s Republic of China under Xi Jinping. The fundamental problem of world politics is much deeper: No one knows exactly what “East” and “West” mean in the world. And so everyone has been talking past each other since the beginning of human civilization.
The facts are very simple: the earth is a sphere, more precisely an ellipsoid. This ball revolves around itself, exactly to the “east”. As a result, the Earth has a geographical “North Pole” and a geographical “South Pole.” As every child knows, the earth can therefore be divided into two parts, the “Northern Hemisphere” and the “Southern Hemisphere”. These “north” and “south” of the world are separated in the middle by the equator.
Every person who has ever seen a globe, this model of our earth as a sphere, knows the North Pole, the South Pole, the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere and the Equator. Only few people know that there is not only a North Pole and a South Pole, but of course there is also an East Pole and a West Pole. You can therefore geographically not only divide the earth into a northern hemisphere and a southern hemisphere, but of course also into an eastern hemisphere and a western hemisphere. There are, of course, FOUR directions. And therefore there is also a north, a south, an east and a west of the earth.
Everyone knows the equator that divides the north and south of the earth. Few people know the equator that divides the east and west of the earth. Everyone knows the geographic north and south poles of the earth. Few people know the geographic east and west poles of the earth. Everyone knows that the geographic North Pole is in the “Arctic” and the geographic South Pole is in the “Antarctic”. Few people know that the geographic east pole is near Singapore and the geographic west pole near Quito in Ecuador. Everyone knows that the north pole is at the northern latitude of 90° and the south pole is at the southern latitude of 90°. Few people know that the east pole is on the east longitude of 102.4922° and the west pole on the west longitude of 77.5078°.
There is a “north” and “south” of the earth. And there are “east” and “west”. There is of course a northern hemisphere and a southern hemisphere. And of course there is an Eastern Hemisphere and a Western Hemisphere. There is of course an “equator” between north and south. And of course there is an “equator” between east and west. The equator between north and south runs from Indonesia (0° south latitude) to Ecuador (0° north latitude), the equator between east and west runs from Gabon (12.4922° east longitude) to the center of the Pacific (167.5078° west longitude).
What does this means for our civilization? While it has proven plausible in geography that the north is “up” in the representation of the globe, the east and the west are still fighting for this sovereignty to this day. A look at the facts can help:
As history has shown, “east” and “west” behave like “yin” and “yang”. These two are therefore complementary parts of the same whole. The “yang” of the west can be equated with the left brain of the globe, the “yin” of the east with the right brain of the globe. The “yang” therefore basically stands for the analytical part, the “yin” for the synthetic part. One can conclude from this that the “yang” represents the individual part and the “yin” the collective part of the world.
What does this mean politically? The United States of America represent the West, the “Yang” of our earth, the People’s Republic of China represent the East, the “Yin” of our earth. America tends to be analytical and individual, China tends to be synthetic and collective. Both are mutually dependent, stand together in opposite and yet equal terms, different and yet the same, united in their varieties. Neither half can exist without the other.
What does all of this mean for Europe? Europe is located in the center of the north, in almost equal parts in the east as in the west of the globe. Since the Gabon equator runs across the North Pole and the South Pole, it is drawn straight through Europe in the northern hemisphere. This happens on the meridian 12.4922° east, thus on the longitude from Tripoli to Copenhagen. Part of Europe is located in the west of it, the other part in the east. Europe is therefore located in the western as well as in the eastern hemisphere. Paris, Brussels and Bonn are located in the west of the world, Berlin, Warsaw and Budapest are located in the east of the world, Rome exactly (Venice, Kitzbuhel and Wittenberg almost exactly) on the equator.
These are the basics of geography. May politics draw clever conclusions from it.
“The downfall of Europe”: