Why America’s decline is dangerous for global security

america's allies

 

As I’ve said before in previous posts, no superpowers are absolute sages. Either their good deeds – providing aid packages and investment worth billions of dollars – or bad deeds – overthrowing other countries’ regimes by force, everything is done under the context of ‘global interest’, actually referring back to the superpowers’ own sake. Nonetheless, when the ‘big brother’ grows frail, what will happen to its key allies, or at the least, those leaning towards them? Will the rise of another global hegemony ensure that their countries will maintain their ‘business-as-usual’ approach? In politics, the answer is uncertain.

In regard to America’s influence, we can see both the positive and negative sides it has spread across the globe. We see democracies flourishing, global trading increasingly interdependent, and globalization itself more intense, but at the same time, we still see Western-backed plutocrats in power, Western-waged geopolitical wars, and international rivalry with a few competing emerging regional powers, say Russia and China. None of these countries, despite being US allies, is completely reluctant to surrender all its rights to the Globocop as well. However, the most fretful question – in early 21st century context – is: when American influence increasingly declines, especially as seen from Obama’s increasingly timid, hyper-cautious, and anti-military stance in his approach towards global problem-solving, what will happen to those which are depending on its global might?

A lot of fretful things, indeed, have happened. Russia, led by Putin, has led the pivot by firstly annexing Crimea, the geopolitical point of contention between Ukraine and the latter. Baltic states, Poland, and other NATO members, are being scared of a possibility of Putin leading another ‘conquest’ towards their countries. Japan is afraid of China, especially when it comes to the ownership of a chain of uninhabitable rocks known as Senkaku (in Japanese) or Diaoyutai (in Mandarin). South Korea is apprehensive about its aggressive North, and any probability of China leading another military intervention should North Korea collapse (which is an imminent risk many experts concern). Taiwanese people are particularly afraid of such prospect, as Taiwanese economy is becoming increasingly dependent on China’s, leading to their greater fears about ‘future reunification’. Southeast Asian states, particularly Vietnam and Philippines (and most recently, Indonesia), are in deep uncertainties in regard to the ownership of South China Seas, which, by its entirety, is claimed by Beijing. India doesn’t want to provoke a nuclear war with China, but it also doesn’t want to let go some of its territories in Himalaya. Gulf states, and Saudi Arabia in particular, do not want to see a nuclear-powered Iran leading any future invasion (but which threats are being calmed down after Hassan Rowhani’s charismatic leadership).

 

Still, despite some animosity, support of American global influence remains a Hobson’s choice.

 

Read a complete analysis on The Economist.

Planet Plutocrat

plutocrat

 

Crony capitalism, as it seems, remains a chronic economic problem for most countries. Despite its ‘capitalist’ title, these plutocrats seemingly operate under business principles which, paradoxically, contradict the essence of capitalism themselves. One obvious feature, as we can see, is their overwhelming control in strategic sectors with required strong political connection with leaders, or other political figures, something The Economist itself labels as ‘rent-seeking sectors’. No wonder, either you are in a developing country, an emerging market, or a city-state, you can always hear names of those who ‘gain complete control in transport, infrastructure, real estate, telecom, and numerous other highly lucrative sectors’, and you know their huge invisible political prowess they can make use anytime to advance their agenda.

Growing from this concern, The Economist has published a list of countries – 23 in total – which they consider to be heavily reliant on this system. Read the full report here.

 

Bonus: in order to save capitalism itself from crony capitalists, countries, and emerging markets in particular, will need their own Roosevelts to tackle this problem. Here’s another one, still from the same source, that explains how to mitigate their influences.

Hint: here are the 23 countries The Economist released in regard to the percentage of billionaire wealth to these countries’ total GDP values.

crony capitalism