The current battle for leadership, if not the historical battle for leadership, is between the Saudis and the Iranians. The west’s preferences for leadership were 1) A Secular Turkey that led by commercial growth, 2) A Secular Iran that led by political power, 3) an expansion of the arab monarchies in the Saudi model that would reflect the old european monarchies.
What the west did not want was the spread of communism, or the spread of fundamentalism.
At present, Turkey has decided to abandon it’s secularization program, iran has sought imperial status by unification of syria, iraq, iran, and to compete on the world stage as a fundamentalist hostile power.
So at present we see The Monarchies/Israel/the USA, against Iran/Turkey/Russia.
All civilizations require at least one core state to limit the danger exposed by their own on the world stage, while defending their own on the world stage.
The last civilization to ‘mature’ is islam, because it was the farthest developmentally behind AND had a devolutionary religion to preserve that backwardness.
Africa was technologically farther behind, and economically more disadvantaged, but they are not held back by an institutionalized religion bent on preserving it’s power over society.