Well the way i see it is that the west miss managed the political development of the developing world, with its support of autocratic regimes and double standards all in the name of national intrests. now the victims of these double standards. Have grown into ecconomic powerhouses. South America doesnt want anything to do with America neither do the Middle east or any region that is powering ahead. these new powerhouses r seeing what happens when u get into bed with America, like what is happening in pakistan. So they prefer to deal with nations like China who dont play the double standards card......Yet
Guilty as charged, the West definitely mismanaged. Victims who are now economic powerhouses are glad that there is alternatives to the West, such as China.
But China is not ready to lead, not like the West is now, even after all its faults and defects. You grew up in Australia, I would advise you to visit China, specially Xinjiang and Tibet and see with your own eyes what they are doing to minorities, whose land they have occupied by force, not in 17th, 18th or 19th century, but in 1950's. I have, and I know the Chinese are not ready to lead the world, not in 50 or even 100 years, they will mess things up. I hear the same thing from my wife, a Korean, who hates the Chinese with vengeance, she says that the Koreans may even work with Japanese, if they have an effective way to face the Chinese threat. Koreans had a much bigger land that extended deep into Siberia, but they lost it within the last 2 thousand years and the peninsula is all they have left. But they had enough strength to make it very expensive for the Chinese to take it over.
The West has mismanaged world affairs for the last 3 centuries, why should the world trust them now. It is because of this, that after this mismanagement, others are rising and they are at the risk of being side lined. They can no longer bully the world, people are too well informed and empowered for the old nonsense.
So if, and that's a big if, the West and the Russians get together, they can lead the world, but if they do not see the light and not wake up in time, they may loose their last chance. This may very well happen. The next 2 decades or even next 10 years are critical.
If the West does not change its current path and eventually China is able to achieve the highest technology from its own R & D, then China's time will have arrived and the West will be doomed for good.
Whoever among the West or China wins this war, mainly economic for the time being, for us the rest of the world, we need to get united soon, find our partners and not waste any time. Why is that? Its because world hegemons do not like competitors. For them, divide and rule is always the best policy. So they will prevent any powerful new bloc to emerge and work to break them apart.
For us in Bangladesh, I would like to see a new Union with ASEAN 10+Bangladesh+Maldives+Japan+Korea, which would be large enough to withstand both the Chinese and Indian threat, regardless of what happens with the West. I would recommend Turkey to think on similar lines. Countries with small population such as 70 million will not matter much in global geopolitics in the future, this is where I differ with Friedman.