The rise of Russia, China, Japan, and India

Keep in mind as you read this startlingly prophetic passage that it was written in 1945, just as World War II was drawing to a close:

Our superiority since the Renaissance is due partly to science and scientific technique, partly to political institutions slowly built up during the Middle Ages. There is no reason, in the nature of things, why this superiority should continue. In the present war, great military strength has been shown by Russia, China, and Japan. All these combine Western technique with Eastern ideology — Byzantine, Confucian, or Shinto. India, if liberated, will contribute another Oriental element. It seems not unlikely that, during the next few centuries, civilization, if it survives, will have greater diversity than it has had since the Renaissance. There is an imperialism of culture which is harder to overcome than the imperialism of power. Long after the Western Empire fell — indeed until the Reformation — all European culture retained a tincture of Roman imperialism. It now has, for us, a West-European imperialistic flavour. I think that, if we are to feel at home in the world after the present war, we shall have to admit Asia to equality in our thoughts, not only politically, but culturally. What changes this will bring about, I do not know, but I am convinced that they will be profound and of the greatest importance.

Bertrand Russell, The History of Western Philosophy, pp. 399-400