Geography and the American Empire


I wrote the following article in the second half of 2002. I argue geopolitical landscape in Eurasia is a stabilizing factor reinforcing the American led status quo and peace amount great powers of European union, Russia Chin and India. Without a doubt this paper is less relevant to the current fashion to focus on non-state actors such as Al Queda. Nevertheless it is still able to let light into how geography shapes the great power politic that still shadow over North East Asian and Trans-Atlantic relations. India is added into the mix in this version.

“First of all, Eurasia the biggest continent, most of the largest economies and military spenders but United States are not there or in close proximity, it also account for 75 percent of the world’s population, 60 percent of its GNP, and 75 percent of its energy resources. The current geostrategic design in Eurasian consists of four emerging major political entities, European Union, Russia, Greater China and India. United state serves as a balancer similar to Britons role in the concert of Europe.

EU together with NATO stretches its sphere to influence till the Baltic states of Eastern Europe, Russian retain influence alone formal soviet republics, China excise it’s weight through out most of continental east Asia, India centers around South Asia and US continue to dominate in both Pacific and Atlantic oceans.”

Although the NATO is not as health as it was in the 2002, America can nevertheless assert its voice in the Eurasian heartland through some of the new pro American EU members like Poland and it’s new establish friendship in Central Asia and Ukraine.

“This is arguably a desirable landscape which reinforce the current status quo of international relations, for a number of reasons, firstly, no one single power have a decisive influence over the heartland, secondly the sphere of influence is split up in a way that all major powers are generally satisfy and relative comfortable with the space between major center of powers Berlin, Paris, Moscow, Beijing, Delhi and Washington, thirdly the US is able to channel its influence via NATO, giving it share of power in Eurasia. Fourthly all of three Eurasian powers are land focused, where they cannot devote enough resource to challenge US maritime power in either Atlantic or Pacific. Fifthly because US is a non-Eurasian power, it’s incapable of excessively abusing its power in Eurasia, thus highlight its benign attitude towards Eurasian (American straggle in Iraq is a perfect demonstration of this incapability). Sixthly, because of US’s maritime projection capability it’s able to excises great power status in all three spheres of influence. Seventhly, all three power need to cooperate with US regards to international affairs outside of Eurasia, which gives US political leverage. Lastly, for the foreseeable future, emergence of alternative power to challenge any of the five powers is unlikely, provided that the five powers stays internally stable, therefore to maintain the status quo, all five powers are encourage to not undermine each other internally.

However the picture is not complete, Central Asia and the Middle East where 400 million people lives, in some twenty-five states. Almost all of them are ethnically and religiously diverse, practically none of them politically stable, its an area where no one power have decisive influence and where US lacks a significant cooperative ally. However this is not a region to be ignored, it holds massive petroleum reserves and it has the potential to destabilize Eurasia and the world. One other gray area is the Africa, where it’s just as diverse, unstable and capable of causing enough environmental problems to subsequently affect great powers, therefore it is also not a region to ignore.”

Obviously the last paragraph is very out of date. American invasion on Afghanistan and Iraq and gave it the opportunity to establish its presents in both the Middle East and Central Asia.

Maybe this paper is not so good after all…
Check out these two paper on geopolitic of East Asia and Eurasia

The Geography of Peace: East Asia in the Twenty-first Century by Rober S. ROSS in International Securituy, vol. 23 n. 4

A Geostrategy for Eurasia by Zbigniew BRZEZINSKI in Forign Affiers, Sep/Oct 1997

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