Who will rule Eurasia?

After the end of cold war, Central Asian countries were looking at US to perhaps increase its hegemony in this region, as the clear winner of the war. However lack of imperial instincts among US citizens did not let that opportunity to be exploited in this way. Nevertheless setting aside the claims of Turkey and Germany, US did increase its geopolitical position in the region having set up military bases in black sea region, South Caucus region and increasing its investments in the oil supplies from Caspian Sea in the initial years post 1991. It also promoted the ‘color’ revolution in break away countries.

Having already controlled the Arabian Resources and now having an opportunity to extend its control over Central Asian resources, it looked like US would rule Eurasia. But there are indications contrary to this belief. For one reason world is not ready to accept the covert and overt geostrategic initiates to continue to control more than 50% of world wealth by the 6.3 % of the world population living in US. Other contenders are claiming to be wealthier by sheer hard work. China is a natural contender for the Central Asian resources. New found cordiality in the relationship between Turkey and Russia is another indication of US might not capture all of the spoilt in this region. Moreover the distances between the region and US are unlikely to make it cost effective for US to control the resources particularly the Petroleum Gas. Local contenders like Turkey, Russia and even China are likely to take the front stage.

Increased consumption in China in good and fortune times has ensured energy demands are at the peak from this country. For sustaining the current industrial growth, oil and gas resources are key for China. Apart from investing in Siberian resources, China is heavily investing in Central Asian Region. With Russia finally agreeing to commit pipelines to China, the stronger new contender seems to be right on track.

Economic downturn has further reduced the morale of US to be a significant player in the New World of Eurasia. The lessons of the downturn are significantly indicating world powers to cooperate and not compete. In such a situation it is unclear about ‘who will rule the Eurasia’ in foreseeable future. Russia’s dwindling foreign currency reserves, European economic downturn and US crisis are keeping the traditional contenders postpone their dreams in Eurasia. It may look like that world is moving towards truly multipolarism, at least from the perspective of Eurasia.

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Changing Global Business Environment

Example of Soscolo, a place in Italy which has developed into a centre of excellence in the manufacturing of the world’s best ceramic tiles in last 700 years to explain the concept of impact on businesses of the international environment is very handy. While Soscolo accounts for 20% of the world production of ceramic tiles and around 50% of the world exports of the commodity, it is interesting to note that most of its hegemony on the product developed after World War II when most of Europe was devastated in the war. The rebuilding efforts of the aftermath of the war created tremendous demand for the ceramic tiles from Soscolo since it was one of the most suitable places to source this material due to its location, availability of skilled labor for this product and technology availability there. Manufacturers in Soscolo took advantage of this opportunity and refined the technology to make it more efficient requiring less labor. At the same time production capacities increased. Related industries developed and today we have the world’s most excellent centre for this product. Above example of Soscolo of Italy demonstrate how political peace in the region after the war, & Italy being part of the US block, technological changes in the business environment as well as social transformation of the time made a long lasting impact on the foture of the businesses in the city.

Due to this TRIAD effect, all the demand for ceramic tiles went to this place which was strategically located.

The changing political and economic systems is the order of the present international environment where businesses have to adjust and allign with opporutinities and threats resulting from such global changes. One example of this change explained to the students related to increasing democratization of political systems of the world. Notable examples given were of Nicaragua, Chile, Eastern Europe and more recently the Gulf Region where purple revolution is taking place on the medium of Face book led campaigns in favor of democracy and more powers to the common people. Scores of countries are likely to be affect by these changes which may drastically change the political and economic models of countries which are still not ready to accept these Geopolitical Change of Global weather.

It is argued that even China may not remain unaffected by these environment changes and may see eruption of popular sentiments in favor of more power to its subjects and right to choose the people who must govern Chinese economy and its people. India is facing its biggest poltical turmoil where common man is aspring for true democracy and cleaner poltics, against corruption and graft. Led by Anna Hazare, purple revolution seems to have swept India which is as strong as many places in the world.

These changes may continue in  foreseeable future. New understanding of global environment changes must be understood well by globetrotting business executives to help themselves take difficult business decisions, and are important. Some of the other changes relate to technological, financial and cultrual changes. Emergence of a geo culture, geo finance and democratic technological paradigm can bring serious influence the way global business is done. Increasing strengths of ethics groups, environment groups are some of the important changes in world geopolitical environment, which businesses must  learn to comply with and manage.

Location based strategic relationship and geo-politics

Location dimension of geo-politics is one of the most misunderstood aspects of understanding geopolitical variables. Just by having the advantages of precious mineral resources, a location may not get geopolitical benefits. On a local level, Indian States of Bihar and Jharkhand are enormously backward. On the same note many African countries with their rare natural resources and wild life are not doing too well. On the other hand, countries like Japan, Singapore, Mauritius, and Indian State of Gujrat are able to do well by forging strategic relationships with such entities which matter on the global scale. These off located places have progressed well due to factors like – proximity to a super power, located on the important Sea Routes, having rich neighborhood, internal policies attracting huge investments and interest from all over the world. These places, however tend to always exploit their strategic locations in one way or the other.

Italy benefitted from the reconstruction of Europe after WWII, especially in the tile manufacturing, Canada benefitted from being close to the world’s most happening country (same is true for the fortunes of Mexico). Many new entrants of EU have benefitted from being part of Europe.  

Location can create strategic advantages and forge strategic relationships with mutual benefits. Most of the regionalism in the world is based on these motivations.

However we have several examples in the world which may indicate that other factors which make such obvious strategic advantages are not exploited even in the most tempting situations. Example of ‘no trade’ between India and Pakistan in spite of a long and porous border between the two countries & almost no relation between North Korea and South Korea, are some interesting phenomenon to mention. These events are strange in nature and defy any geopolitical understanding. India’s refusal to forge stronger trade ties with a rising China, of which India can be a sure beneficiary being its immediate neighbor, India’s failure to take the agenda of SAARC forward are some of the other examples of missed opportunities.

An interesting aspect of location dimension of Geopolitics is the need of the economically strong countries to have conducive strategic ties with its neighbors for sustaining their own supremacy in the world. US’s continued support to the economic well being of its partnering neighbors like Canada and Mexico is the result of correct understanding of the process of geopolitics. It has always resulted in geopolitical gains for US. On the same note, it is in India’s interest to start the process of not being suspicious of its neighbors and start the process of forging economic ties with its neighbor. In other words, India’s has still not succeeded in taking geopolitical advantages by having a conducive neighborhood.

Good reponses pouring in from New countries for CFC project

Good responses are pouring in for CFC project phase 1 from India, Portugal and Italy.

Survey is open for all the countries and individuals of the world and is now available online in following 3 languages

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CFC (comfort with foreign cultures) research, which aims to quantify the level of comfort of different cultures of the world with foreign cultures, can help improve intercultrual understanding among natives of this planet and catalyse a more sustainable growth of humanity in the universe. The CFC Phase – 1, survey is open for all the countries and individuals of the world and is now available online in following 3 languages

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Request all to take this survey to improve CFC Ph-1 world data results.

Time Dimension of Geopolitical Process – The world is not flat

Geopolitical Environment is a result of several variables including Historical events, cultural elements, resources at a given location, development process of the inhabitants of a place. Theoretically all these variables can be categorised in terms of three important dimensions of Geopolitical Process – Time Dimension, Location dimension and demographic dimension. Of these 3 dimensions, Time dimension remains a leading factor which influences the Geopolitical outcomes most.

If we look from the perspective of global geopolitical environment in the present times as a whole, the impact of Time dimension can be studied in blocks of mainly 3 periods of the recent history – The period from 16th century to 1940s, Post WW II period (cold war period) till 1991 and thirdly the post Soviet Period starting 1991 till date. Out of these perhaps second period (cold war period) seems to be most influential to the Geopolitical outcomes which we see today in the world.

From Henry IV in 16th century to 1940s, it was the colonial period. Geopolitics of the world during this period was characterized and motivated with the control of world resources by the colonial masters. The intercontinental relationships were based on ‘imports – resources’ equation. It was this equation which resulted into a unique state – private partnership among colonial masters nations. Under this partnership while state provided army protection and legitimacy to the overseas businesses of private enterprises in their colonies, it also provided much needed private investments and entrepreneurship to control the resources among colonies. Lack of local entrepreneurship helped develop this kind of partnerships. Britishers not only got much needed natural resources from India as their most prized colony, but also provided hard working labor to run their businesses elsewhere in the world.

These sea powers competed with each other to control world resources and sometimes even shared the booty. By the early 1940s, this competition took the ugly turn and perhaps became an important reason triggering the WW II.  While US was an isolationist state till the WW I, by 1940 it was emerging as an important factor. Elsewhere in USSR, the ideological fortunes were keeping the invaders at bay making it a strong nation with strong economy. The post WW II period saw the emergence of two superpowers of the world. Rest of the world was to toe the lines of anyone of these two super powers. While India unsuccessfully tried to create a third front, it was US which took the lead and favored China, observing cracks in USSR – Sino relationship, to become stronger to help the world come out of the bipolar rivalry which was not helping the multinational business community specially from the west and TRIAD. Kissinger’s geo -strategy to make the world tri polar worked and resulted into the split in the USSR into CIS states. An obvious beneficiary of this geo strategy has been China, the phenomenon which gave rise to the ‘Rise of East’ which unwittingly helped India work hard and become an aspiring potential and competing power of the world despite no strategic orientation of US towards India.

Therefore the second period (the cold war period) has the most potential effect on the current geopolitical situation. In geopolitical terms the third period is most recent to study and gauge its impact. However this third period is full of global events which can have long term effects on the geopolitical fortunes of the world in medium to long term future. Cracking US economy due to severe competition from emerging economies, debt crisis of both US and certain European countries, looming & increasing threat of Islamic terrorism, purple and orange revolutions in gulf and Central Asian states, increasing pressure on oil prices, aspiration of less developed states, sagging Japanese economies are some of the important developments in the world during the post cold war period, some of these events are of direct consequences of the cold war period.

There are some missed opportunities too. While China benefitted from the fortunes of time dimension and cold war period, India failed to share the booty, when China offered it to agree for a free trade agreement. China perhaps wanted India to follow suit like Canada did and which benefitted by being party to NAFTA agreement when US was growing and Canada grew piggybacking on US. China is definitely emerging as the world’s super power, India should have accepted to be part of this rise. However political ideology and past memories of Indo – Sino skirmishes kept the two countries disunited in the surging fortunes of East. Both countries could not maximize the benefits of the time dimensional fall out of these favorable geopolitical events. Today any Chinese corporate intervention in India is seen with suspicion, same is true in China. Therefore this third period of Time Dimensional Study is a story of missed opportunities. Unresolved issues of border disputes through out Asia and elsewhere have fueled these missed opportunities.

In short Time Dimension is a saga of mad stories, sometimes bad stories and ideas which have resulted into some very poor geopolitical outcomes. An intertwined world with advancement of technology and transportation is as far apart or even farther apart as had been centuries ago. Multinational businesses, global finance & global technology have however tried to survive on a global scale and are affecting the daily life of every individual on this planet. Thereby shaping the world into a pseudo global village with contradictory ideologies, dangerous powers among rogue groups, lesser control of any clear superpower on the world economy. Downgrade of US rating after 90 years is the recent example of the changing world.

Above issues were discussed in the class of GEB last week. Students are supposed to write the class assignment 2 – Explaining the time dimension and its importance in Geopolitics with the help of an example. In this assignment, students are supposed to do these steps – 1. What is time dimension of geopolitics? 2. Give some examples of geopolitical outcomes which are direct result of historical events explaining those events. 3. Explain how these examples affect the businesses worldwide or on local level. The assignment must be submitted before the end of this week.

Legacy of Mackinder’s Heartland Theory in Modern Times

It is very unfortunate that US should be downgraded to a lower rating after so long roughly 100 years in time. This timing incidently correspond to the origin of Modern Geopolitical Thinking and the prophecies of Geopolitical Scientists of this time of origin. One interesting theory of the time is Halford Mackinder’s Theory, popularly known as Heartland Theory (1904).  

Mackinder's Heartland Theory
As per the Heartland theory, those who rule the Eastern Europe, rules the World Island (shown in red highthed area in the picture above), those who rule the World Island (also popularly knowm as the Heartland) rules the world.
 
The other world comprised of the so called Rim Land and the Peripheral Land. US being part of the Peripheral Land was never the subject of a serious invasion by foreign power. US also did not make any serious attempt to attack the Heartland or even Eastern Europe. It was an isolationaist state till WW II. However after World War II, when US took active interest in the war, it became apparent that this part of the Peripheral Land mass, would certainly rule the world directly or indirectly. Be it the technological and transportation advancement, Mackinder’s theory failed to justify the Heartland Theory, inspite of the fact that certain countries did try to first rule the Eastern Europe and therefore be the world conqueror.
 
Rise of East – which include India, which is part of the Rim Land of the Hearland Geoplitics, and China, part of which was included in the Heartland seems to justify the theory again. Rising economies of East European Nations, weakening situation in Western Europe (which is part of the Rim Land), further give support to the Mackindor’s Theory. Resource rich Central Asia is still the fancy of the modern world. South America and African Continents are still to acquire world power status. Japan could still not keep its economy healthy and  acquiring military power is far away.
 
The present Geopolitics seems to be still showing the legacy of the Mackinder’s Geopolitical Prophecies of old times. It seems that whatever Peripheral Land does is not going to last long geopoltically.
 
This Time Dimesion was discussed today in the class of GEB. Off course there are other vairables for Modern Geopolitical Outcomes, Time variable remains the most strong variable.