World Economy

'Five empires' threaten to replace US and Europe on the global stage, writer says

One philosopher says to watch out for the rise of empires

"Five empires" are rising and will fill the vacuum if the United States continues to withdraw from the global stage, according to a respected author and documentarian.

"Today in Europe we see the rebirth of nationalism, but in the rest of the world it is the rebirth of empires," Bernard-Henri Levy, a prolific writer and widely followed philosopher, told CNBC in an interview Thursday.

"This is the big phenomenon today," he said. "If there is not in front of them a strong resistance from Europe and America, the world will go to a very bad scenario."

Those five empires are, according to Levy: Russia, Iran, Turkey, Islamic extremism and the commercial power of China.

The French-Jewish philosopher and writer has a significant involvement in international affairs, especially in France and the Middle East. Levy was born in Algeria when it was a French colony.

While he is deeply concerned about the consequences for the global economy, he still has hope.

"The enrichment of the world and the most equal distribution of this wealth can improve if these five empires find their checks and balances," he said. "And the best checks and balances will be Europe and America. And they are not alone."

He pointed to other democracies that serve as counter-balances to the five empires, such as Brazil and India.