Floods in Europe have destroyed the myth of Western governance effectiveness. Global Times, China

Recent catastrophic flooding in western Germany and Belgium has killed at least 170 people

Floods in Europe have destroyed the myth of Western governance effectiveness. Global Times, China
Local authorities in Germany have been criticised for failing to evacuate people in a timely manner. Germany has always been an example of excellent governance in Europe. In people’s perception, it is always scrupulous, and German society has always been orderly. So why did such a disaster with so many victims take place in Germany?

From the blackout in Texas in February to the collapse of apartment buildings in Florida in June to the floods in Germany, this year’s series of devastating disasters has proved that the disaster response mechanisms in some Western countries are seriously flawed.

In fact, from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were signs that Western governance was failing.

In the face of major disasters and crises, the central government of a country must play a strong role. But Western society has found that it cannot do so.

First of all, there is a very serious problem of decentralisation in the West. The West attaches great importance to local, individual and non-governmental factors in society. When disaster strikes at the local level, it is first and foremost up to the local authorities to resolve, because the central government is unable to intervene in time.

However, if local authorities do not have sufficient technology, resources and preventive measures to deal with the situation, it will lead to a dispute between local and central governments about who is responsible. This will lead to a slow response to the disaster. As far as individual and private organisations are concerned, they usually lack the resources and expertise, so they will not be able to provide much assistance in this case.

In addition, in some Western countries, there is no effective notification mechanism to communicate the necessary information in a timely manner. This seems paradoxical, since in the developed world there should be no shortage of science and technology for early warning of natural disasters.

As Russian scientist Gevorg Mirzayan noted in a recent article, “Western elites realise that while they are playing at democracy, countries with a true order (such as China) are going ahead in an organised manner, bypassing Europe and the US. A great system and model of governance can really address issues of public concern. It can respond quickly and effectively to disaster.

The West has always thought that its model of governance is excellent. But its failure to deal with various disasters has exposed the shortcomings of its governance.

Developed countries used to have advanced governance systems. But times have changed. Given the many developments in recent years, the West cannot look at other countries’ governance from a position of superiority when it comes to governance models. On the contrary, the West must humbly learn from the experience of other countries in terms of political methodology. Only in this way can we achieve mutual improvement and exchange of ideas on good governance practices.

Li Haidong, Global Times, China

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