NEW ‘RUBRIC’ OF GEOPOLITICS IN A DONALD TRUMP WORLD

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified.

Geopolitics has always been shaped by few global powers, especially the US so far, even if it has been an increasingly multi-polar world.

But with the recent developments that have revolved around inward looking protectionist and autocratic powers taking central position not just back homes but in the overall flow of geopolitics, the world order is increasingly going to be shaped by four countries and an event, Russia, the US, Britain leaving the European Union (EU) or Brexit and China, the new RUBRIC that will shape the flow of geopolitics in the days to come. RUBRIC with changed evaluations and definitions that would try to outsmart the existing ethos in order to impose their own.

And the rules of this new RUBRIC will be written by their leaders, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the US’ Donald Trump, Britain’s Theresa May and China’s Xi Jinping, with new equations emerging after Donald Trump has taken over the world’s most prosperous and powerful nation.

WHY THEY MATTER

The US still wields enormous military power and if we say it remains unchallenged, especially after the demise of the Soviet Union or the USSR, it will not be exaggerating it. The US is also the world’s largest single nation economy and will remain so with its clout to greatly affect the trade blocks and negotiations.

Though the USSR is no longer there, it left behind a stockpile of nuclear arsenal that makes Russia a strong regional power that exercises considerable influence in Europe and Asia, even if it has had a volatile economy. Add to it the vast energy reserves Russia has that serves as Europe’s lifeline.

China is the world’s second largest economy and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world and is in a position to dictate trade terms with global power centres even if it derided for its one party autocratic system and poor human rights. In terms of purchasing power parity, China is already the world’s largest economy and is a growing military power with increasing clout in space, air, navy and on ground.

Britain, once the reigning colonial superpower of the world with economic and military might, has reduced to being just a small country with no influence to affect the geopolitical matters. Yes, but it remains a symbolic superpower of values that define the existing free democratic world order – free men, free markets and a freer world. And the country is still an economic superpower. Its GDP at 2.29 Trillion USD was at par with India’s GDP of 2.3 Trillion USD in 2016.

TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE IS SETTING THINGS IN MOTION

China has a production model back home that is antithesis of the values that the US and major economies of the free democratic world cherish and promote but nothing stops them or the big transnational corporations from engaging with China. China has absolute protectionism and labour laws heavily tilted in the favour of businesses.

With the new US President Donald Trump’s inward looking and protectionist views that aim to seclude the US economy in domestic shackles, the Asian economic giant is trying to take a global leadership position with Xi Jinping already saying that China is ready to fill the void created by the US.

The US under Donald Trump has effectively dumped the biggest global trade deal proposed, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), including 12 Pacific rim countries that already regulate the world’s 40% economic output. China would sure be happy to milk the opportunity that many including Barack Obama, the former US President, tried hard to grab and now believe that going away from it will be suicidal for America’s global dominance.

Trump’s next target is NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and no one knows what comes next. No one knows where he will stop in the name of preventing jobs and businesses from going out of the US and paying back to the countries who he believes have sucked the US wealth. Signs don’t look good. He is threatening businesses with counterproductive measures.

Military and nuclear confrontation with China already looks on the table. Trump has ratcheted up nuclear and military expansion rhetoric quoting Russia and China but while he has always been soft on Putin, hoping for ‘good deals with Russia’, he has never given such indications for Xi Jinping or China. Trump believes that ‘One China’ policy can be negotiated while China considers it blasphemous. Trump calls the Taiwanese leader breaking decades old US tradition and says it is not a big deal. The South China Sea dispute where it’s defiance is directly pitted against the whole world community is another in the series.

Russia is a big military power and big economy of its region of influence in Europe and Asia with an autocratic president in Vladimir Putin who believes in the unbridled run of power, military expansionism and has increasingly displayed a tendency to interfere in the theatres of conflicts like he is doing in Syria. And as Putin is sitting comfortably at home, crushing all the dissent, if he goes about pursuing his global designs, it will be a development that was just about to happen. The erstwhile USSR was one pole of the once bipolar world and Putin has not forgotten that.

And Trump, it looks like, is giving him a chance. He has indicated that he will lift sanctions imposed on Russia after Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. The US, so far, led in Syria peace talks but now, it is being led by Russia and Turkey with the latest round of talks between Syrian rebels and government representatives in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital. And experts believe this may be the beginning of the process that can effectively see the US dominance, first in the Middle East and then elsewhere, diminished to a great scale, thanks to the Trump’s policies that aim to make America an island nation, away from geopolitical tumults and thus stakes, away from the values that the US has globally promoted so far, democracy, free markets and human rights.

Britain is also picking signals from Donald Trump, emboldened by his anti-EU tirade. Trump says ‘Brexit will be a great development for the UK’.

Many in Britain fought hard and championed to create the world’s largest economy as a single trading block and single, border-free zone of countries in the form of the European Union (EU) – inspiring the world to create such free zones for men or economies to flow freely. But that is not the case anymore. Britain is leaving the EU, after a bitter referendum, or Brexit, that divided the country. Brexit will make US the world’s largest economic region again. Britain’s new leader Theresa May has said that the legal process for Brexit has already begun and she is looking forward to meet the staunch EU critic and therefore her big admirer Donald Trump this Friday to negotiate trade deals, like she has done with other countries including India. Trump has also predicted, in his inimitable style, that more countries will follow Britain in leaving the EU.

So, the next few months are going to be very volatile and challenging for the existing world order and geopolitical equations. RUBRIC have set things in motion. What happens only future can tell but the flow of geopolitics is going to be dependent on the movements of these four nations and their leaders.

©SantoshChaubey

RUBRICHUS WITH PUMAXIT: BLOCK THAT IS GOING TO SHAPE GEOPOLITICS

Geopolitics is always shaped by few global powers, especially the US so far, even if it has been an increasingly multi-polar world.

But with the recent developments that have revolved around inward looking protectionist and autocratic powers taking central position not just at their homes but in the overall flow of geopolitics, the world order is increasingly going to be shaped by a block of four countries – RUBRICHUS (Russia-Britain-China-US) with their leaders – PUMAXIT (Vladimir Putin-Theresa May-Xi Jinping-Donald Trump).

The US still wields enormous military power. Russia and China are big military powers in their region.

The US is also the world’s largest economy and will remain so with its clout to greatly affect the trade blocks and negotiations.

But then autocratic China is also there with its economic might and a production model back home that is antithesis of the values that the US and major economies of the free democratic world promote.

There is absolute protectionism and labour laws heavily tilted in the favour of businesses. And with that model, China has become the world’s second largest economy. Further, with the new US President Donald Trump’s inward looking and protectionist views that aim to seclude the US economy in domestic shackles, the Asian economic giant is trying to take a global leadership position with its president Xi Jinping saying that China is ready to fill the space vacated by the US.

The US under Donald Trump has effectively dumped the biggest global trade dead proposed – Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with a potential to regulate 40% of the world’s trade. Trump’s next target is NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) and no one knows what comes next. No one knows where he will stop in the name of preventing jobs and businesses going out of the US. But signs are not good. He is threatening businesses with counterproductive measures

Russia is a big military power and big economy of its region of influence in Europe and Asia with an autocratic president in Vladimir Putin who believes in the unbridled run of power, military expansionism and has increasingly displayed a tendency to interfere in the theatres of conflicts like it is doing in Syria. And as Putin is sitting comfortably at home, crushing all the dissent, if he goes about pursuing his global designs, it will be a development that was about to happen. The erstwhile USSR was one pole of the once bipolar world and Putin has not forgotten that.

Britain, once the reigning colonial superpower of the world with economic and military might, has reduced to being just a small country with no influence to affect the geopolitical matters. Yes, but it remains a symbolic superpower of values that define the existing free democratic world order – free men, free markets and a freer world.

Many in Britain fought hard and championed to create the world’s largest economy and single, border-free zone of countries in the European Union (EU) – inspiring the world to create such free zones for men and economies to flow freely. But that is not the case anymore. Britain, under its new leader Theresa May, in a bitterly fought referendum that divided the country, has said that it will exit from the EU and the legal process has already begun.

What happens to RUBRICHUS and PUMAXIT, only future can tell but the flow of geopolitics is going to be dependent on their movements.

©SantoshChaubey

THE TRUMP QUESTIONS

SO FAR.. 

As @realDonaldTrump is being inaugurated, the world looks even more volatile now. He may prove disastrous, for the US foreign policy and for the world.

Immediate @realDonaldTrump threats:
Nuclear proliferation
South China Sea dispute
Israel-Palestine and the prospects of two state solution
Protectionism and trade wars
Xenophobia, bias against immigrants and racial minorities, the Mexico prejudice
Taiwan and One China policy

As @realDonaldTrump is being inaugurated, people are obviously asking when he is going to be impeached?

What is the main problem with @realDonaldTrump?
Too straight?
Foul mouthed?
Too casual?
Too shallow?

Is @realDonaldTrump really real? How real he is? His time begins now. Soon we will know.

Going by the state of affairs, in the US and the world, @realDonaldTrump has an extremely narrow window.
80% he is going to fail.
He has just 20% to make it.

Repealing Obamacare will unravel @realDonaldTrump. He simply can’t give what he has promised – universal healthcare!
Beginning of the end?

Which US President before @realDonaldTrump had seen so much protests? Probably none.

Will @realDonaldTrump make the US another island nation in isolation? Is that what people cheering him have in mind?
This @POTUS is going to be ‘make or break’ for the US.

Will @realDonaldTrump as the @POTUS will be the beginning of the end for Trump and American global prominence/dominance as we know it?

If @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS become synonymous, what would be the long term communication and branding consequences?

Does @realDonaldTrump/@POTUS have time, liberty and scope to go ‘trial and error’ in running the US and handling geopolitics?

©SantoshChaubey

WHY THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT IS NOT THE NEXT WORST CRISIS HOTBED!

Some analysts, including a recent opinion piece in Al Jazeera, predict that South Asia (or more specifically the Indian Subcontinent) is poised to be the next worst crisis hotbed of the world – with the region having three belligerent nuclear power nations who are also neighbours – India, China and Pakistan – with historical border disputes and the enmity thereof that has given rise to many wars and consistent rush of skirmishes.

Well, to clear things first, India and China have had historical enmity and border disputes but both countries are now big enough economies to engage in a full scale bilateral war – China’s is the world’s second largest economy and India is the third largest. They cannot and they should not afford even the border skirmishes now and the recent developments indicate that.

Yes, there are problems but these are now basically rhetorical in nature as China’s authoritarian regime needs some tough posturing to send home the message. Ideally, in the prevailing circumstances, when China is now more of a ‘capitalist’ communist state, things should not go beyond that. And it should be seen in the context of India’s space and military prowess that can harm China enough to come to the negotiating table in case of a full blown war.

The sanctity of China’s authoritarian regime lies in how it manages and grows its economy. The nation certainly cannot afford a Tiananmen now.

And with Pakistan, though China is the country’s historical ally, it is not going to the extent to support Pakistan in case of any hostility with India – coupled with the fact the US is now there to support India against China. Also, China is facing Muslim insurgency in its Muslim dominated regions that gets lifeline from Pakistan.

Any military confrontation between India and China is damaging for the economies of both of the nations and they will not risk it – let alone the spectre of full scale war.

And if a military confrontation will be damaging for India, it will be annihilating for Pakistan. A blown out hostility or a full scale war with a bigger country that is many times you militarily and economically will be like inviting ‘the end of days’ for its all ‘powerful’ military that now stands nowhere near to India.

The future of the Indian Subcontinent will be driven by these ground-based realities – and the spectre of an economic meltdown thereof – and not by the incessant war rhetoric of Pakistan – and not by the toughly-worded posturing by India and China.

So, where are the next real crisis hotbeds – the conflict theatres so volatile that they can send the world upside down – a world bound by a globalized economy – the Korean Peninsula – or the South China Sea?

The ‘capitalist’ communist logic with China applies even here. But, certainly, we all need to be worried about North Korea and its young, obese, morose but mercurial dictator who is also insane.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

US-CUBA EMBASSIES REOPEN, UN ENDORSES IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL, BANKS IN GREECE REOPEN: JULY 20, 2015 IS A SIGNIFICANT DAY

July 20 is the big symbolic day for a globalized world.

Three big international events had their formal start today, on this Monday.

The events that were in making for a long time and finally saw the final bottlenecks overcame in recent days, had their functional beginning today.

After 54 years, the United States of America and Cuba opened their embassies in each other’s territories. After decades of mistrust, they upgraded their diplomatic missions in their respective countries to the status of full-fledged functional embassies.

Today, on July 20, the United Nations endorsed the historical nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers of the world (America, Britain, Russia, France, Germany, China). The deal prevents Iran from occupying nuclear weapons for at least 10 next years, thus keeping in check the nuclear race in the Middle-East where oil money of dictators flows freely to keep many monarchies safe and running at any cost.

The UN endorsement paves the way for a sanction-free world for Iran where it can engage in economic activities to work on national finances. Lifting of sanctions will also results in hundreds of billions on dollars in frozen assets now available to the Iranian policymakers. Being a major oil producer, lifting of sanctions will also mean cheaper oil for countries that largely depend on oil imports to meet their demands.

Today, on a July Monday, banks in Greece were reopened again, after three weeks. The European nation reached at a bailout deal after defaulting on June 30 on International Monetary Fund loan. Greece has seen intense protests over the terms on this deal that many says are humiliating. The IMF says Greece needs much more than the deal proposes.

But, ultimately, for the time being, the deal is in. IMF said today the country is ‘no longer in arrears to the IMF’. With borrowed money, Greece started paying loans of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the IMF. With borrowed lease of life to stay in the Eurozone, Greece again started on the process to save its economy from a complete breakdown.

So, Greece is no longer a defaulter country – for the time being. But the deal has come with many austerity measures for the country that are binding and Greece has to meet the terms (as dictated).

These three events have global ramifications for international economy and associated global politics – irrespective of the way they go.

It will take time to assess the impact of the measures taken.

It will be years before the US-Cuba ties can reach to a normal bilateral level.

Iran and the world community have to progress patiently for years to realize the objectives of the nuclear deal.

And no one can say anything about Greece as of now. Every analysis points towards negative indicators on the future outcome of the deal. But, as of now, we can say a start to an effort (yet another effort) has been made.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

IIMMCI – THE PAGETURNERS OF THE 21ST CENTURY – GEOPOLITICS

Let’s try looking at the past while positioning the thinking in the future. Let’s fast forward to the 22nd Century to look back at the 21st Century on what would make for the biggest pageturning events based on the present day formations making for the engrossing reads.

So, on January 1, 2101 – first day of the second Century of the third Millennium – what were the pageturners of the 21st Century – when we look back to sift through the events and literatures written.

Let’s look back at the ‘geopolitical events’ of this developing list (and not in strict order certainly):

Most interesting pageturners of the 21st Century in Geopolitics –

1. How China became a free democratic country and a free market economy

2. How Hong Kong won it’s freedom from the mainland China

3. How China and Taiwan became friendly nations and neighbours with China recognising Taiwan’s sovereignty

4. How Japan became China’s largest trade and military partner

5. How Russia got out from the grip of Vladimir Putin and became an ideal democratic society

6. How Cuba became a free democracy and a multi-party system

7. How America became Cuba’s largest trade partner

8. How Capitalism finally won the war with Communism

9. How did the oil economy collapsed giving new dimensions to the oil politics

10. How Arab Spring won its beginning, following by massive losses, to emerge finally a winner

More coming, you may also suggest.. 🙂

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

13TH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11: TERRORISM IS NOW MORE ORGANIZED, SPONSORED AND BLOODTHIRSTY

It is the 13th anniversary of 9/11, a terror attack 13 years ago that still symbolizes how audacious and incisively painful terrorism can be.

And after 13 years of the attack, a series of multiples assaults on the concept of ‘America’, the only superpower of the world in 2001, on September 11, the threat of terrorism has grown more organized, sponsored and bloodthirsty.

The war theaters were not so many in the world back in 2001. The global geopolitical theaters were acting and moving in the routine of a post Cold War world.

It was more or less in routine, except the elements propagated by the two superpowers to further their interests in different parts of the worlds – in different regimes – the so-called fighters against intruders, the Mujahidin, the rebels, and the dictators – all trained, armed and propped up by these two superpowers and their allies – in the post Cold War world, many of these elements were left aimless – when they were still armed and were looking for the next target to hit.

It was more or less in routine, except the ‘now free’ elements were seeing more and more of their upcoming action-zones from a religious spectacle.

It was more or less in routine, except the many so-called allies of both the sides were without the ‘active’ patronage now and the dictators in many of them started taking decisions independently, something that they had never done when they were allied either to this or that camp of the Cold War world.

It was more or less in routine, except that the only superpower of the world then, the US, had no challenging threat, and thus had the greater ease to reread and reinterpret its bilateral, multilateral and geopolitical concerns and it did err in reading and rewriting some of the equations.

All these not-so-routine events after the Cold War were the shaping elements of what we know today as Islamic Terrorism. A religion never teaches to fight; still religions were used as the organizational principles.

And all these not-so-routine events after the Cold War culminated in 9/11.

But, as we see today, that culmination was just the beginning. Yes, being the only true superpower, the US has been successful in averting any other big terror attack on its soil, but the world has grown more terror-prone, more insecure, with many more civil wars, with many more war-theaters now.

Afghanistan is still unstable with the Taliban threatening a comeback as the international forces are pulling out. For records, the Taliban were forced out in 2001 but they were never out. Together with Pakistan, the region is one of the most fertile grounds for terrorism.

Iraq could never recover from the 2003 invasion and in spite of the international forces and a government supported with it, the effort was never sufficient to give Iraq what was promised when Saddam Hussain was declared a demon.

Libya is the similar sorry story. Sad to say, but it looked more peaceful and organized under a dictator than now. No global power looks concerned about Yemen and Bahrain. After experiments supported by the international pressure, Egypt is again back to the military rule effectively. Then there are spreading wings of Islamic Terror in countries like Nigeria, Sudan and Somalia.

And the list is not exhaustive. Terrorism today or more aptly to say terrorism in the name of religion, with organized groups, has a far greater reach today and unstable governments and ethnic wars in many of these war-theater countries have allowed the terror groups to grow stronger than or parallel to many of the governments, like in Nigeria, like in Somalia, like in Libya, like in Syria and like in Iraq.

And with the mess in Syria and Iraq now, again a situational outcome of the selfish geopolitical concerns and some pathetically indecisive moments of the global powers that opposed a dictator but didn’t do anything to support the rebels except showing them mirage and thus pushing them to the warzone, the terror threat is reaching above the warning levels with emergence of probably the deadliest and most powerful of the organized terror groups yet, the Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

US President Barack Obama has vowed today to destroy the ISIS and extend the theaters of operations beyond Iraq, to Syria, after ISIS openly challenged the US might by killing two of the captive US citizens.

But even Obama knows it is not going to be that easy. ISIS may be much stronger but we need to remember it is still an Al Qaeda offshoot. And Al Qaeda didn’t die with Osama bin Laden in 2011. Laden had died much earlier, when he chose to live a solitary, hidden life. But the ideology lived and grew to engulf more regions of the Muslim world. Almost of the major terror groups today have their origins in Al Qaeda. Many others have affiliations and collaborations with it. And the vast swaths of the unstable Muslim world are fast becoming their sanctuary.

Terrorism is more organized, sponsored and bloodthirsty now, more than ever.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

STATISTICAL COMMODITIZATION OF HUMAN LIVES

Statistical commoditization of human lives – from the Indian poverty Lines to the innocent human lives killed and mutilated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Somalia, Congo (DPR), Sudan, Nigeria and many other African and Asian countries and elsewhere – to the recently spiraled moments of crisis in Gaza, in Ukraine and the Flight MH17 crash after taking a sophisticated missile hit at 30,000 feet in – loss of human lives – always manipulated and used to further self-serving agendas – of dictators, of global superpowers.

Manipulative wisdom of statistics to alter the scale and aftermath of human lives killed or taken away – lives reduced to numbers – my count, your count, their count and the loss of haves and have-nots – the deepening culture of ‘let go’ in the global geopolitics – don’t be surprised if it gives us the next Peace Nobel Laureate – recognizing the culture of non-interventionism in the name of global order even if it means hundreds of thousands killed every year in civil wars, in terror strikes and in religious/sectarian divides.

And if we talk of the big powers, the nations that affect and effect the balance of the global order the most, all are to share the blame – each one is culpable – because each one has manipulated and the circumstances and geopolitical factors to gain upper hand over the others – in history – and in modern times – MH17 and Ukraine are Russian designs – Bashar Al-Assad’s Syria of the day is Russian effect – the origin of the Afghanistan is USSR – the oil politics of the global powers has given the world the worst of the dictators from the oil rich Arabian and Middle East countries – Ukraine crisis is because the powerful European nations (heavily dependent on Russia for energy needs) preferred not to act tough on Russia – rich Islamic nations are the mainstay of the financial backbone of the terrorism in the name of Jihad – and the failure of the US administration in stopping Israel from launching the recent drive of the Gaza offensive.

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