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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Changing the geopolitical chessboard

World geopolitics are changing. Traditionally committed to a role as the enforcer of geopolitical order, the United States of America (US) is more concentrated on internal policy issues than on foreign policy now. This disengagement of the US allows the rise of other global powers, such as China and Russia, who are competing with and sharing the role of a global leader with the US.

The changing nature of geopolitics as written by the prominent author “Tim Marshall” in his book “Prisoners of Geography” is the deciding factor for countries to maintain their survival in this competitive age. With the growing power imbalance, every state is trying its best to fit into the power equation and resolve its complex internal problems by exhibiting its significance on the global map.

This scenario will certainly alter the geo-political chessboard that is already undergoing various phases of development. The best example in front of us is Russia’s growing muscle and its propensity to invade the former soviet territories near its border to re-design its perception among the global citizenry and regional intelligentsia that it is the rising power of the modern multipolar world and does not entertain the idea of singular global hegemon calling the shots.

Read more: BRI: Ambitions and geopolitical implications

Looking at the excerpts from history

In the book “Principles”, Ray Dalio has written that the unipolar moment does not last long; there will always be a contender in making that will pose threat to the dominance of the existing super-power. Before World War II, it was Britain that with its mighty power ruled its many colonies and spread its imperial vision in every nook and cranny of the world. However, exhausted by World War II and sensing its potential decline due to colossal humanitarian and strategic loss, it decided to shift its power to a major ally- the US.

With the introduction of the Bretton woods system and promotion of neo-liberal order, the United States reigned the world not knowing that another mighty power like USSR would contest it. This led to the commencement of the infamous cold-war. In the end, USSR due to its weak economy and strong inclination towards suppressing internal dissent fell and disintegrated into multiple independent states. However, the journey of reaching the zenith of progression was not smooth-sailing for the United States, China with its growing economic might entered into the international arena and today challenging the hegemonic designs of Uncle Sam.

The formation of military bases in major strategic hotspots has become a new norm due to this changing geopolitical chessboard. The United States sensing the possible domination of China in the Indo-Pacific region has established various militarized naval bases, especially in the states like Japan and the Philippines which are the customary nemesis of China due to their disputes on major islands.

The purpose of this entire exercise is to strangulate China and coax its rival to challenge the ascendancy of china in the region. China sensing the blatant attitude of the US is also exploring strategic options through various economic incentivization, particularly in the littoral states such as Srilanka, Myanmar, and Pakistan. The major pitfall of these bases and militarized zones will be the intensification of the brinksmanship approach.

Read more: Pakistan and its geopolitical turmoil

The recent efforts of Russia to gain strategic leverage in Eastern Europe through carrot and stick policy also testify to the changing geopolitical realities. Russia considers the Eastern European States and Balkan states as part of the greater USSR. There is a perception that any kind of western dominance over there will be a direct threat to the sovereignty of Russia. The recent overtures by the NATO alliance towards these states cemented this perception and infuriated Russia to annex the Ukrainian territories.

The latest deployment of energy assets as a pressure tactics tool by the Russian side is the latest move to thwart the sanctions applied on it cumulatively by the European side. The energy crisis in Europe is more severe as Russia is deliberately closing the tap of its gas pipelines and adding pressure on the western countries to reconsider their decision to impose blanket sanctions on it.

How every country is adjusting to the changing geopolitics?

As every state is trying its best to accommodate itself in this changing geo-political chessboard, the possibility of sporadic clashes in the form of wars and skirmishes on the border will be the order of the day. There are growing chances of nuclear proliferation too and the subsequent outbreak of nuclear war. Already, the non-proliferation treaty is being flouted by North Korea as it has recently passed the law of nuclear first strike under the guise of preventive measures, especially against the US. In addition to this, there will be more global polarization due to the war of words and the intransigent attitude of populist leaders.

Read more: Saudi Arabia’s geopolitical ambitions threatened?

The recent diplomacy of issuing threatening statements and blatant threats will prove to be counter-intuitive exercises. The recent telephonic conversation between President Xi Jinping and President Biden regarding the Taiwan issue is a case in point. Likewise, the recent heavy spending of states on augmenting their naval capability and military outreach proves that military adventurism is inevitable in the sea routes which were earlier used for navigation and goods transportation.

To save this world from these changing geo-political realities, major powers must understand that strategic wars always ravage the world and its people. Rather than involving in the game of gaining a strategic foothold, it is indispensable for them to become a savior for one another, especially during the possibility of miscalculations and misunderstandings due to their hawkish attitudes. It is time to leave the geopolitical compulsions and focus on rising global concerns like climatic changes and global terrorism. It is not the perfect recipe to pit nations against each other for acquiring more foothold. It is high time for consensual politics and collaborative inclinations.


The writer is an Environmentalist and an Independent Researcher. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.