US, globalisation & economic dominance: realities of 21st century geopolitics, geoeconomics & geo-technology

Trump’s victory in the US presidential election has led experts to consider whether there is a an emergence of right-wing populism across the world. During the US presidential campaign, Trump rhetoric to backlash from globalisation, creating jobs, and slashing taxes wooed America’s white, poor and non-college educated. The majority of literature today mostly focuses on: will Trump actually do what he said during his presidential campaign regarding deporting illegal immigrants and Muslims and reviewing the foreign policy of the US?

The US has three significant parameters of dominance: Geopolitics, Geo-economics & Geo -technology and it has been said that it has been countered by the second world and decolonized world. Rising notions of the revival of new middle age and multiple powers playing on the ground support this.

This research article will draw on Millennia perspectives on whether the US will still dominate the international affairs. Globalisation is not a new phenomenon; it has been seen from the time of the Chinese Silk Road when Chinese merchants used to transport goods to Mediterranean. Will the US still able to reverse its policy from globalisation? How are Millennia observing the 21st geopolitical realities by taking into consideration India and China?

Introduction

The world has become unpredictable. Francis Fukuyama once wrote the end of history. After the end of the Cold War, there was a wave of liberalism around the world and most countries at that time became liberal or followed Western democracy. But as time has passed over 25 years, the right-wing wave is shaping a new debate. 2016 was gridlocked with many volatile issues including multiculturalism, the refugee crisis and migration, xenophobia, Brexit, threat of economic recession and much more. 

The anti-immigration sentiment rising in Europe, especially in Germany, France, and the UK, boiled many anti-immigrant parties to be radicalised in a sense of rethinking liberal policies of Europe, what Europe should be and where Europe should go. Brexit was a frustration of such liberal policies. The open European market brought around 1,500,000 refugees to UK.  Similar patterns were also observed in the US where the white, non-college educated, unemployed population wanted the Republican candidate for US president, Mr. Donald Trump, and thus he was elected as the President of the US. The participatory globalisation in the world, flavoured by the process of globalisation, has pulled many decolonized and third world countries into the global economy.  The old established class in the US and Europe felt that their jobs were being taken away.

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Alexander De Croo said in the World Economic Forum 2017 that, “Migration hasn’t really been problem. The problem has been integration.”

His view points out that we need a new ‘Social Contract’ in Europe. In a new course of debate on Europe, integration hasn’t been working well. From Sweden to Turkey and from Germany to France, people are stuck in the midst of the integration process. Integration is equal to having shared values in a particular community which can be assisted by employment, economic certainty and subsidised government policies for migrant families and their kids.

The rise of connectivity and participatory globalisation has set a new debate on the public square on whether Government can or must have access over public online accounts? Experts predict that the chances of being radicalised through internet is the most likely compared to other sources. Various global reports on internet freedom explain that the Government are being counter-productive on the subject internet freedom. Most activists are suggesting the security of online data through encryption. Encryption is translating data into secret code. They have the opinion that through encrypting personal data, it will be safe and it is the ultimate way to ensure cyber security. But most governments claim their legitimacy to access over such encryption.

Geopolitical tools

Countries are using technology to hack or load malware to its rival and technology has proved a strong geopolitical tool. The geopolitical risk has made the world more unpredictable. The intensity of relationships between the US and Russia, China and USA, North Korea and USA, Iran and Saudi Arabia, Israel and Arab World, the Middle East crisis fuelled by oil, Central Asia and China are some examples of the ‘New Great Game’ we are witnessing.

Geopolitics, geoeconomics and geo-technology, diluted with strategic interest in power blocs, are making the probabilities of a proxy war more likely.  Recent demonetisation policies (Notes of Rs 500 & Rs 1000) adopted by the Government of India is suggested to have had involvement from Washington. USAID, aid agency of the US, is said to have been assisting the Government of India to move to cashless currency with funding and technical support. Such American geopolitics has been closely observed by China. China responded interestingly and declared to assist Pakistan in her missile capacity expansion project. India and Pakistan are both natural rivals in the South Asia from the time of the India-Pakistan partition.

In contrast, Millennia’s are struggling hard to survive compared to their baby boomer generation. Their time is comparatively cult compared to their baby boomer generation on the subjects of of climate change, nukes, geopolitical disruption, Western recession, and the rise of Asia. Most of the research suggests that Millennia’s love to work digitally and take a dislike to the necessity of cars or apartments.

Western millennia’s are backpacking South to find the opportunities in economic centres, moving to the eastern part of globe from the west.  Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Dubai are just a few cities where one can find the talented millennia’s. These cities are like today’s’ city states and contribute significant amounts of GDP. Some experts claims this is the age of new middle age as city states are more powerful compared to the middle age in history.

Being American or European millennia today means: a privileged youth and passport power. In the same way, it is the youth who are mostly hostile to the aggressive attention of radical groups of Middle East or anti-Western governments. 

In such an integrated and interdependent world, no one is the ultimate winner or loser and the same applies to the US. After the failure of Iraq war in 2004, many young Americans predict that America shouldn’t act as a global policeman. Many young Americans are witnessing a decline in American power with rise of the rest.

Geopolitics, Geo-economics & Geo-technology

Geopolitics: Changing international political behaviour through geography, climate, topography, demography, natural resources and applied sciences, leading to the study of Geopolitics.

It was Mackinder who introduced the terms “sea” and “land” as the fundamental categories of the geopolitics. He understands the “sea” as the sea empire of Great Britain, and the “land” as a land continent of Russia. The fight between the sea and the land was key to decoding the “Great Game” that was played by the UK and the Russian Empire in the XIX-XX centuries and drew in space from Baltia, East Europe, Black Sea, Caucasus to the Central Asia, Far East and Pacific Ocean1. (Katehon)

He further summarized his ideas in 1919 and stated,

“Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island; who rules the World-Island commands the world.”2 (Mackinder)

According to Mackinder, World-Island is the inter-linked continents of Europe, Asia and Africa, which is the Middle East and Central Asia today. In order to understand Geopolitics in the contemporary world one should look at Middle East, South China Sea, South Asia, and the border between Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia.  The Skypes-Picot agreement in the Middle East, the India-Pakistan partition in South Asia, the end of Cold war in the Eastern Europe and Russia and rise of China investment in ‘STANS’ for the race of natural resources are vital geopolitical entities witnessed after the WWII.

Geoeconomics:  Geoeconomics often derive from military power in the race for natural resources. It can cross regional, national or international boundaries. The current race between China and the United States over the claim of South China Sea resembles the great strategic and economic interest over the pacific and nearby.

In the Cold War era (1950–90), international economics and politics were marked by a conflict between the ideas of free trade and liberal democracy on the one hand, and those of statism and authoritarianism on the other, with a few countries experimenting with a mixture of the two. India, for example, was a mixed liberal democracy and state capitalism, while the ‘Asian Tigers’ (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan) and many Latin American countries combined free enterprise with military or one-party rule3 (Baru).

Geo-technology: Geo-technology is a relatively new term in international relations where power blocs are in competition  to control cyber space and digital data.  Perceived Chinese hacking over the US cyber space and alleged Russian involvement in the US presidential election of 2017 are some of the examples on how power holders are in competition with each other through the tools of technology.

Those who have access to these three parameters of geopolitics, geo-technology and geoeconomics can be regarded as the power blocs. But, unfortunately in this contemporary world no one is in a position to hold this status independently. This is the affect of globalisation.  Globalisation has pushed most countries into the mainstream of global life. China, for instance, is increasingly dominant over geopolitics, geo-technology and geo-economics, but she is followed by India with strong geopolitical status, economic growth and technological boom.

P5+1(United States, United Kingdom, France, China & Russia) including Germany played key role in Iran Nuclear deal.

The agreement—known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—”establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons and promptly detecting and deterring possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons in the future”.4 (Room)

The role of Germany in the Iran nuclear deal was significant and denotes the rise of Germany in Europe and the world. Germany, Japan, Russia, China are playing key roles in the international affairs. China has announced ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiatives; a strategic pathway of maritime and silk roads to connect Europe for the trade of Chinese supplies.

The figure shows the Chinese GDP (PPP) is the largest followed by the US, India & Japan.  In the bar-graph, 4 Asian countries (China, India, Japan & Indonesia) are on the top ten list of GDP (PPP) countering the US.  From Latin America, Brazil is leading the way.  This resembles the rise of the rest.

According to Parag Khanna, Global Strategist claims that the world is going under mega diplomacy transition. In this figure, the world we knew is dominated by India, China, Japan and EU making the US in the center.

Parag Khanna further explains the rise of entropy multi-polar world. Regional groups such as EU, Africa, South America, Asia, Middle East and North America leads to a more chaotic world.

In a chaotic world where the new global order setting is in transition is increasingly volatile after the Donald J. Trump won the President of the US in 2016.  His rhetoric against women, immigrants and Muslims had raised the ‘heart beat’ of what will be the new world order in his presidency.

Europe is also in chaos. As the more and more refugees are entering Europe, the management and integration of such refugees has become a pressing issue in European politics. Under such a volatile climate, the rise of far-right movements in France, Hungary, and Germany has been rising.

Observing all the scenarios of the 21st century global international relations realities, power is shifting to India and China. South Asia is extremely volatile, followed by the Middle East. Chinese and the US pivot to Pakistan, US pivot to India, and the China and Russia possible partnership could potentially write the ‘New Great Game’.

Experts predict that Nepal, one of the least developed countries lying in between India and China, can act as a buffer state.  Nepal is geo-strategically sensitive and has potential to serve the dialogue to prevent regional or international emergence of wars. It has the potential to become ‘New Geneva’ of the world.


By Saurav Raj Pant