By Matthew Clark
If there is any possible benefit to the present turmoil which exists in the world of contemporary international relations, it is that more people in western nations will put aside their smug attitudes, in order to to follow world events with some measure of intelligence. Anyone who observes the world of current international politics with a critical eye, will observe that Francis Fukuyama's 1992 statement that the world had entered, "The End of History," has proven to be inaccurate. History has not ended, the old methods of international relations, with all their fallibility, are still in play. National governments are aligning into military/economic blocs as they have done since time immemorial. The pursuit of smaller, weaker countries resources, by larger adversaries, is still common. A glimpse at the behaviour of United States interests in the Middle East would confirm this statement.
While the actions of governments toward each other has not changed over time, the strengths, and weaknesses, of the different jurisdictions, has. Nations which were once the workshops of the world have experienced some degree of de-industrialization. According to the Manufacturing Alliance/MAPI, in the United States, thirty years ago U.S. producers made 80% of what the country consumed. In 2023 the United States government organization Labour of Statistics claims manufacturing companies make up just 11% of the nation's economy. Conversely other sovereign states have gained an economic importance that would have been hard to foresee 40 years ago. According to Statista, a statistics gathering organization, Communist China accounts for 28.7% of the worlds manufacturing output. Russia, presently involved in a war with neighbouring country Ukraine, is experiencing a boom in manufacturing, if S&P (Standard and Poors) Global is to be believed. With her abundance of rare earth minerals Russia also possesses natural advantages to assist manufacturing companies. National jurisdictions in South Asia, such as India, and Pakistan, see their manufacturing sector(s) on the rise, as governments, and their citizens, in Europe experience a decrease in making products. Even Germany, Europe's workhorse, has suffered decline.
Predictably this production devolution in western nations is translating into diplomatic, and military losses. The Kosovo war, which ended in 1999, is the last war the western alliance emerged clearly as the victor. Countless military conflicts since then, waged mainly in the Middle East, as well as Africa, have resulted in countless battlefield victories, none of which ended in a winning war. Neverending war(s) has brought neverending stalemate, with the occasional outright defeat (Afghanistan).
So what is the geopolitical conditions amongst some of the great powers in contemporary times?
In Europe the Russians are slowly, yet surely, grinding the Ukrainian military, and people, into bits. NATO nations, who dissolved much of their armed forces for reasons of public budget, can only support the Ukrainians with a supply of munitions. To send in troops from the other European nations is not feasible as they have insufficient numbers available. America does have a sizable number of warriors yet entering the Ukraine conflict would overextend her due to global commitments. This leaves any observer of the situation in Eastern Europe, with the uncomfortable realization that the only feasible option for NATO to stave off defeat of her ally, is the nuclear option. Of course this tactic does not offer victory, only the avoidance of outright defeat.
If Ukraine is discouraging to ponder for western sympathizers, thoughts on Taiwan are outright nightmarish. By the admission of United States senior officers the last ten war game scenario's involving an invasion of Taiwan by Communist Chinese forces, opposed by the United states armed forces, alongside her Pacific allies (Japan, South Korea), have ended in defeat for the United states, and Taiwan. This, despite the fact Japan, and South Korea, military units came to Taiwan's assistance. In reality the support of these two allies is not a guarantee, as they could be compromised by the actions of North Korea, who could mobilize it's forces in support of it's communist brethren! Given the wretched shape the Australian and New Zealand armed forces are in, it is not necessary to dwell on how they could effect an invasion of Taiwan by the communists. They could not effect it at all.
Elsewhere the picture is no brighter for the western allies. Turkey, NATO member, controller of the straits between the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea, has a leader in Recep Tayyip Erdogen, whose hostility to the west is consistently evident. On the other hand Mr. Erdogen displays a great deal of admiration for President Putin of Russia. If conflict was to arise between NATO on one side, Russia/China on the other, it is by no means certain the government of Turkey would stand by the west, at Eurasia's expense.
There has been hope amongst members of the western nations, along with her allies in other parts of the world, that India could be enticed to join in an association to surround China. China fought India during October of 1962, inflicting a military defeat on the Indians that has resulted in frayed relations between the two population behemoths since that time. Logically India should be an ally of the American lead West. Nevertheless this calculation fails to take in the trust Russia and India have acquired for each other. This condition goes back to the early days of the cold war. Russia has cemented this bond by always giving Indian interests consideration in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) economic association the two countries belong too. Occasionally Indian military forces conduct maneuvers with American, Pacific, and Oceanic military units. As a balance the Indian government makes sure to have their forces participate with military deployments by Russia, China, Belarus, or any other group involved with the Russians.
Then there is Iran. With a fine flotilla of attack vessels, her navy is not to be discounted. As well the Iranians possess land based missiles, which have the capacity to close off the vital (because so much oil is transported through it) Gulf of Hormuz. If this were to happen the navies of NATO would have to travel to the Gulf States via the Suez canal. There is the possibility that this could be a problem. Egypt's government, who controls the Canal, has announced an intension to apply to the BRICS Economic Association for membership. Whether this is a first step in a political policy to join the Eurasian alliance is now open to serious conjecture.
This article is just a general outline on the deteriorating geopolitical situation the western nations, and their allies, now face. There is a smugness within the inhabitants of the west, and those aligned to it. Sedated by past success, reinforced by a sterile media, the bulk of the population is asleep at the wheel, when it comes to the geopolitical world. In the great game of international political influence, the United States, leading a vast empire of governing nations, is losing. Russia, China, Iran, and their ilk, are winning. Within NATO the peoples of such countries as Canada, must address the issue of whether, or not, to stay within the United States orbit, or confront American hostility by exiting it. If they decide to stay then a major effort to improve the alliance must be attempted. It will entail an effort in all facets of external, and internal affairs.
Yet if the citizens of the Western nations, and their allies, opt to stay with the comfortable, relying on bloated centralized governments, they will find, once conflict starts, that they have sleep walked to defeat.
Please share any observations you may have in the comments section!