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The Development of Geopolitics

Info: 10819 words (43 pages) Dissertation
Published: 16th Dec 2019

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Tagged: GeographyPolitics

Abstract: This paper mainly discusses the development of geopolitics. Five main topics are discussed which are the future of state and state system, the US grand strategy: an American empire or the end of the US hegemony, Russia and the West: a new cold war, China: peaceful rising, and the rise of India.

Geopolitics have been developing and shaping tremendously in this day and age. The development of geopolitics these days opt for a so called less violent approach. As the world advances, politics as well as the rise and need for power also advances. However, the political systems and strategies in the world are much more subtle compared to the ages before. Development in one country could be something entirely different for the other countries. This is because the rise of power is shown to affect not only the country attaining it but also the countries surrounding it as the world has become highly interdependent. This papers aims to discuss and dissect the key topics of the development of geopolitics today, which are the future of state and they state system, the US grand strategy which discusses whether it is the start of the American empire or the end of the US hegemony, a new cold war between Russia and the West, the peaceful rising of China as well as the rise of India. These five topics shows and dissects different parts of the world in conjunction with the development of the geopolitics in this day and age. 

  1. Future of state and state system. 

A nation is a shared ethnic and cultural identity of a group of people where as a state is a political unit with a specific governance system that rules a territory and its people. While the nation promotes an emotional relationship among people, states offer legal and political foundation for the identity of its citizens.

The nation-state system plays a major role in international relations whereby it is the gradual fusion of cultural and political boundaries due to the long-term ruling of political authority by a central government. A state system is a political system in which several states or nations unite in recognizing each other’s local sovereignty, with the object of preserving an international balance of power. While governments are frequently rotated, a state has more permanence and its feasibility and continued existence as a political entity crucial for the citizens.

However, the modern states construct as we see today are all fairly recent. Before the 15th century, people of groups were organized in different ways such as in tribes, city- states, empires, and kingdoms. The earth’s territory mainly consisted of frontier regions that were not politically organized.

The origin of the state system can be dated back to an area called Fertile Crescent in the Middle East in 9000 BCE. According to Pritchard (1965), it is said that agriculture, trade, and organized religion originated from this area. The first city states to evolve were in Greece and Mesopotamia. A city state is defined as a sovereign state that encompasses a town and its surrounding countryside. The city located in Fertile Crescent was a central region bounded by agricultural areas. This created an outer line of defence from threats of other city states.

As civilization progressed, city states felt the need to broaden their field of influence. When a city state gained dominance over another, they would form an empire. An empire is typically a major political unit having influence over a territory or an extensive group of states or people under a single sovereign authority. In these periods, the boundaries of empires were imposed on distant frontier regions, often by walls. Examples of ancient empires in the Middle East are Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, Greeks, and finally Romans. Among all these empires, the most notable of all is the Roman Empire under whom the political unity of ancient world reached its peak in first centuries of the Common Era (AD) (Holsti, 2009).

In the 5th century, the Roman Empire collapsed and gave rise to a different kind of ruling system. The European region was split into estates where kings, dukes, barons, and other nobles extended their influence over rural and frontier areas of Europe (Holsti, 2009). When the kings were successful in gaining control and unifying these estates, they form a kingdom. This unification of estates paved the way of development of modern states such as England, France, and Spain (Holsti, 2009). However, much of the estates in central Europe remained fragmented and were not unified into states until the 19th century.

Throughout the events in history, we can see a cycle of events of the state systems. They start out as part of empires, increase their autonomy, and achieving independence. They then get embroiled in a war amongst themselves, giving rise to the loss of confidence in the government and exhaustion. This makes it easier for external forces to step in and take over their empire or one side would submit to the more dominant power which then gives birth to a new empire.

As the kings ruled for many centuries, they slowly began to challenge the authority of the Holy Roman Empire (Holsti, 2009). These secular rulers brought a revolution against the papal authority. The most significant event that depicts the political independence from the theological ideology is when Henry VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon, abolishing the Act of Supremacy (1534) and papal authority in England. This gave the king the position of Supreme Head of Church of England. Additionally, with the rising of the Protestant heresy, the respublica Christiana was close to extinction. From here on, the Holy Roman Empire could not interfere with the matters of the king or queen’s authority.

This struggle for power created the European wars of religion from 1524 to 1648 which encompasses the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) and the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648). These wars were one of the most destructive on central Europe with a great amount of fatalities that was influenced by religious change and the conflicts of interest. The wars were a major pivoting point in history as it attained the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. This treaty marked the end of the European wars or religion and the two-main separate Christian traditions; Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism strived to reach a common ground for peace (Gross, 1948 and Holsti, 2009).

The Peace of Westphalia records the beginning of a state system and created a modern nation-state. Ultimately, it introduced three main principles that serves as a legal foundation for the states. Firstly, the internal sovereignty and territory of state is preserved. The superiority of the ruler within the realms are free from other claimants to power. For instance, before the Peace of Westphalia, one’s loyalty to the king determined how far the king’s territory or his field of influence stretches. However, two people who is loyal to two different rulers would mean that the rulers’ territory would overlap. Once the Peace of Westphalia was made, the kings’ territory is defined and would determine the loyalty of the subjects. Thus, the king would have a permanent population to rule over (Elden, 2009). The second principle is of international law whereby the sovereigns are free to rule without the interference of external forces, unless its consented which declares that the papal authority cannot interfere of matters on secular issues and the Holy Roman Empire is free to make alliances with other states as long as it does not threaten the Emperor (Holsti, 2009).

Thirdly, the Peace of Westphalia also managed to establish the principles that would regulate international relations of sovereign states with equality. It was only one of the major event to take place to abolish the political hierarchy in Europe. Europe transitioned from a hierarchy under the authority of God to a formal anarchy that grants a group of political figures equal legal standing (Holsti, 2009). Furthermore, the territorial units of a state was officially defined with the advancement of cartography and official borders separating one state from the other.

However, beginning in the 19th century, the state and nation began to merge into one identity giving rise to nationalism which created rivalries with neighbouring nations such as Germany and France with the French Revolution. This caused the aspirations of the people in power all over the world to strive the idea of the nation-state. Unfortunately, this idea of a stable nation of elites living within the boundaries of discrete territories were an ideal that did not exist. It’s because people of a nation are of mixed cultures. For example, France during the French revolution, consisted of the European elites where only twenty percent of them could converse in French. As time progressed, the average French person today is a product of a variety of cultures over time including Ancient Romans, Franks, Celts, and many more.

Thus, nation-states had to be created. This meant redrawing the national borders to include more nations within its borders. Regrettably, by this absorption of smaller nations into larger ones, it is usually at the expense of sacrificing one ethnic in order for the other to flourish. These attempts by the elites were to unify its people under a single national identity by sharing the history and culture through education, communication, and even celebrated holidays.

Nationalism only reached its peak during the 19th century, after the French Revolution. These nationalist movements mostly brought on a closer establishment among states such as France and Spain. Nationalism in some states like Germany and Italy, unified the people by a shared history and cultural elements into a single state.

Using nationalism to unify diverse cultures, European leaders used the nation-state system to influence other parts of the world during waves of colonialism from 1500 to 1975. Colonialism is defined as a stronger power taking control of another weaker power or state and exploiting it. The main reasons for Europeans to establish a colony is by the three G’s; “Gold, Gospel, Glory.” The British Empire was the most successful in establishing colonies across the world, followed by French, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Italy. It was through the colonialism that the European nation-state model was adopted across the world.

The concept of the modern state system grew slowly at first. After the declaration of independence, only then did it expand exponentially. By the time World War II ended, the former European colonies achieved independence and conserved their territorial borders, language and their political stand in fear territorial and ethnic conflicts and losing their newly gained independence (Elden, 2009). The number of states continued to increase as more countries achieved their independence and within 40 years after the end of WWII, many states were admitted into the United Nations. When the USSR, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia were disintegrated, more independent states were created and a total of 20 new countries were formed.

The state, as it emerged from Westphalia is now being challenged by several forces such as globalization (Elden, 2009). In the global economy, money and goods travel across borders in large quantities and at great speed. These days, there products are not made in a specific country. Most probably only the final assembly would occur in that state. This causes a globalized economy due to the rapid growth in international investment. Globalization often leads to transnationalism, which may give rise to a transnational government.

Transnational government would transcend political and geographical boundaries. For example, in the European Union, national boundaries have very little meaning. All citizens can travel, live, and work freely throughout the European Union, and all internal tariffs and trade restrictions have been abolished. Some residents see themselves as citizens of a new European Union nation, not of their smaller countries. Next, the decrease of influence of the nation-states political organization is devolution where the government is given too much autonomy to rule. This is termed as such because the states are said to devolve power back to governments. If this progresses, local governments may replace national or central governments.

  1. United States Grand Strategy

Grand strategy is a term of art from academia, and refers to the collection of plans and policies that comprise the state’s deliberate effort to enhance political, military, diplomatic, and economic tools together to advance that nation’s national interest. As the world we live in has evolved throughout centuries, mankind have learned how adapt to changes that have impacted the world on a global scale. These changes have made nations to plan out their own policies as they are able to create an opportunity to have a stance internationally as the world moves into a new world order.

Various huge strategies have been carried out in United States which ended up in different success degree. About a century ago, the United States had an alternate vision and strategy on how to keep the Europeans at bay. President George Washington’s grand strategy included a ruling against tying American peace and prosperity to the hands of Europe. During the 21st century and especially after the 9/11 incident, the main focus of the U.S leadership swayed to the direction of how to deal with terrorism.  The Greater “Middle East Initiative” was started by President Bush to spread democracy in the Middle East and parts of Northern Africa. However, America’s 45th president, Donald Trump has a slightly different view on America’s policies in a global scale. He puts forward “American First” strategy with four important elements under his administration. The first pillar is “economic nationalism”.

Trump is said to side a more protective and mercantilist foreign policy. One of his first action as president, he withdrew the United States from Trans- Pacific Partnership arguing that he wanted a fair trade among all countries. Tump has also stated that he will renegotiate NAFTA if and only if the Canadians and the Mexicans agree to his terms.  Trump has also threatened to step up trade enforcement actions and imposition of tariffs as high as 45 percent against China or any other country involved in unfair trading. China are known for manipulating their own currency to boost their economy which Trump considers as a loss to the United States in terms of worldwide economic dominance.

The second key mainstay of Trump’s stupendous methodology is the thing is known as extraordinary country security. This incorporates President Trump’s proposition of building a wall along the U.S-Mexico outskirt. Trump has likewise debilitated to oust illegal immigrants beginning with those with criminal records. He has called out for an indefinite ban on Syrian Refugees and transitory prohibition on all refugees and a suspension on legitimate immigration from 6 specific Muslim nations (Syria, Libya, Sudan, Iran, Yemen, and Somalia).

The third key pillar is what we call “amoral transnationalism” represents the most central feature of Trump’s grand strategy. In Trump’s opinion, any nation that shares the same interest as the United States regardless whether they share or are against the American values are considered as an ally. All actions should be oriented around this goal, and any country which shares this goal will be our ally (Trump, 2017).  The biggest opportunity in this regard is for strategic readjustment with Russia in curbing the spread of Radical Islam and as his advisors see as natural partner in countering China’s growth.

Trump’s grand strategy is transactional as well. Trump argued with the fact that their own allies take advantage of the United States by gaining from America’s interest and expenditures. Trump has ordered the nations that the United States provide assistance to should repay the U.S . Trump has voiced out his concern of NATO by stating that the treaty has been out- dated.  For Trump, America’s alliances in Europe and Asia are “strictly business” commitments; U.S. allies are no better than any other states, and, accordingly, the U.S relationships with them should be more conditional rather than special. The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defence, and if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves, we have no choice (Trump, 2017).  During his inaugural address, he argued that certain nations have been using the United States to gain military aid.  We have subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military (Trump, 2017).  Trump is not happy with the fact that American alliances have made use of the United States and indirectly making the country weaker and less secure financially.

The last key element of Trump’s grand strategy is all about strength but distant military plan. Trump has flirted with the idea of “supreme military strength” where the new target and investments has been in cyber warfare capabilities and nuclear weapons. However, Trump stated purpose in expanding his military strength is not to aid or to bolster U.S alliances but rather to frighten off potential threats and to defeat those who attack the U.S. Trump has pledged to step up the military campaign to fight against the Islamic State and other Radical Islamic groups however he criticized both political change and national development. During the all-out campaign against IS (Islamic State), the effort of Trump to build good partners with local Muslims can be seen clearly for engagement purposes while United States carry out air attacks.

       (2.1)Trump’s Grand strategy dilemmas

Trump grand strategy is actually against the longstanding traditions in American foreign policy and it poses an acute threat to the liberal international order. Trump’s grand strategy has received mixed reviews internally which makes it even more difficult for the president to carry out his objectives. There are 3 major problems that Trump has to deal with before he is able to carry out his planned strategies.

Firstly, Trump will find it hard to balance his strategies between Russia and Iran and also his aim to demolish Islamic States’ institution. Trump’s plan to form partnership with Bashar, Syrian President, by cooperating with Russian’s Vladimir Putin is not every effective.  President Barack Obama moulded the possibility of counterterrorism participation with Russia in Syria on Moscow implementing an across the nation truce and guaranteeing philanthropic access for the U.N. to provide humanitarian aid to the locals who have been affected but the Kremlin were ultimately unable or unwilling to meet these conditions. Moreover, during discussions with Moscow last year (2016), Obama demanded that the United States would have a veto over Russian focusing on, that Assad’s aviation based armed forces would be grounded over a great part of the nation, and that the gatherings ought to come back to the table so that they will be able to come to a political agreement. Russia, end of the day, will make US to be with Russia’s plan to aimlessly prop up Assad, if United States’ administration decides to partner with Russia in this issue. This is a formula for energizing the common war and jihadism, not fighting it, and it is probably going to distance definitely the Sunni states Trump wants to join his against Islamic State coalition on the ground.

Then there is the issue of Iran. Backing Russia and Assad means working with; whether openly or silently with Iran, its stand-in Hezbollah, and Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Syria. This would eventually strengthen the Iranian influence in Syria and the broader region which Trump and his advisors are strictly against. Iran’s influence, by far, is greater than the Russia’s. United States should put effort in convincing Russia to break its ties with Iran to pull Hezbollah out of Syria if Trump wants go against Iran’s nuclear deal and destabilising behaviour around Middle East. The Iranians are, in this manner, prone to respond to if there is an effort to push them out by playing a dynamic spoiler role that undermines the crusade against the Islamic State and, conceivably, puts the United States military strengths supporting counter-Islamic State opposition militaries on the ground in Syria.

The third major issue being faced by Trump is China. The main axis of U.S- China conflict is the economic contest between Beijing and Washington which Trump plans to use geopolitical leverage to change China’s economic behaviour. Trump has flirted with the idea of re-opening the “One China Policy” as a negotiating tactic to force the Chinese concessions on currency and trade.

  1. Russia and the West: New Cold War

Russia and the United States backed West has long, cruel, bloody history and war when we look through the world history. Before we talk about new era of cold war, it is important and vital to look back the history to understand what actually happened during Cold War.

(3.1) Cold War

The ‘Cold War’ was the war pursued by the United States against the Soviet Union and its partners and the labourers’ development, by methods for monetary weight, particular guide, political move, publicity, death, low-force military operations and full-scale war from 1947 until the crumple of the USSR in 1991. Famous capitalists and political advisor, Bernard Baruch introduced and stressed this hatred during a forum on the Truman Doctrine.

At a progression of Conferences between November 1943 and August 1945, there was a collective diplomatic agreement between Truman, Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill to part the world into “west” and “east”. Countries who’s closed with Soviet Union such as Yugoslavia and Hungary, did not want to accept the conservative and right-wing ideology in their country. Eventually, Greek Communist Party in October 1946 decided to override Stalin’s advice and decided to confront Stalin by campaign against imperialist West and US backed royalists/establishment who’s holding one third of the country.

On 12 March 1947, Truman proposed another worldwide part for the United States as “policeman of the world”. $400m of help for Greece was followed up by the Marshall Plan and was for all intents and purposes an assertion of war on the Soviet Union. Marshall Plan is a huge funding plan triggered by United States to help the country who’s supporting the right-wing and imperialism ideology. United States planned and come up with a plan combining both military and money play to diminish, crush and dismantle the anti-imperialism, pro-labourers. They wanted to instil the imperialism culture by install right-wing leader together with dictatorship. West wanted to isolate USSR, Eastern Europe and China economically behind an “iron curtain”. They use violence and dictatorship which was backed by massive arsenals, tanks, guns to go all out against the pro-workers movements all around the world,

Attack on Korea during July 1950 which subsequently drag the war to 3 years and attack on Vietnam is considered the most vital army actions and decisions that ever made. However, these attacks resulted in defeat for United States in 1975. Furthermore, the facts that we should not overlook here is United States alone (not including EU) has attacked and bombed 21 different countries, cultivated right-wing governments, dictatorship and forced some nations to be submissive/slave by implementing trading blocks. These events happened in between Atomic bomb on Hiroshima in August 1945 and infamous 11th September.

McCarthyism happened during the Cold War where it is Senator McCarthy’s idea to hunt communists and declared all-out hatred towards communism. Through his plan, he made thousands of activists, communists, and union people into poverty and made them inactive from political world. Later these actions were declared unconstitutional and verdicts overturned (Watkins v. United States, 1957). United States, most powerful state during that time, declared war against working class by nuclear threats, huge scale of bribery and McCarthyism as it brought a huge geopolitical difference and caused a shift of ideology from socialism to imperialism. Although it is known that Cold War went on until the fall of Soviet Union, but we should notice that it was Vietnamese largest army campaign which is “Tet Offensive” blowing the United States’ army base caused and made an effective turn around in history. Tet Offensive put a full stop of dominance of hard core right-wing and fascists in the West.

      (3.2)New Cold War

As per Clausewitz, war is the continuation of political issues in distinct methods. Be that as it may, in the present age, peace is considered the continuation of war by different means. The trick play of discretionary power politics proceeds unabated, long after the last shot fired in Iraq. US suggested that Russia can join the World Trade Organisation when Russia, surprisingly, supported the popular America’s propaganda “war against terror”. Since the addition of China to the WTO, Russia is the one the biggest trade market country yet to receive access to the worldwide trade organization.

Putin’s government was eager and enthusiastic to join the organization. The shift from nationalized economy to a capitalist “free market” caused the Russia to emphasize more on joining the trade organization. At that time, capitalists in Putin’s cabinet wanted to reform customs regulation and some important plans in Moscow.

Russia was very adamant on having the accession deal quickly although few intelligent stated it will provide few profits. This issue kept going on and off starting 2003 until its official accession in 2012. Furthermore, Ukraine was becoming more chaotic politically in 2014. Using majority parliament’s voice, Russian army was sent into Ukraine. This was because of some unknown armed troops controlled the Crimea in Ukraine. US backed West said Russia must not intervene in this issue. Although Russia promised that it will not do so, Russian army were doing routine patrols around borders of Ukraine. This was made possible as majority senate agreed to protect Russian people. As like US, for the invading it used the reason of “normalising the political climate”.

Intervening caused the direct confrontation of West towards Russia (first time since the cold war). Different capitals were trying to calm the situation diplomatically. Although everyone confronted (including Ukraine), Putin affirmed that what he’s doing is “to defend the interests of Russian people”. At the same time, Putin never stopped massing the troops at the Ukraine border and Crimea.

After the fall of Yanukovych, first thing done in fascist controlled Parliament was to abolish Russian as second official language. Putin was really into the safety of Russian-speaking people in Ukraine. World media ignored the fascists’ dirty games in Ukraine as West regards movement that opposes a government who’s not working along West as democratic freedom fighters. This happened once upon a time during Taliban and Osama’s time.

Fascists there started to oppress the Communist Party and assaulted the members and they feel very strong as it was backed by US. When look into the relationship between these fascists and US, this will bring us to Reagan’s tenure. There are official statements that US invested huge amount of money on these fascists who were opposition in Ukraine. Crimea. Although a part of Ukraine, the government lost the influence there, thanks to the majority Russian ethnic who’s now pushing for Ukraine join Russia back.

West’s action seems to be hypocrite. Pulling Ukraine out of Russia and destabilising it were the plan of the West when they demanded Russia stop intervening. US created a huge mess and polluted the sovereignty of Iraq and Afghanistan while accusing Russia for intervening other countries’ issue. To change the leadership from pro-Moscow to pro-West, West imperialists did not bother to depend on Nazi and fascism elements. As usual, using their old techniques, pro West medias make people especially from Ukraine believe that EU will solve their economic issues but not Russia. Believing the West, Ukraine is in the midst of bankruptcy and US backed EU started to ignore them financially.

Although there is no oil interest in Ukraine, then why did the West so adamant to destabilize the Ukraine government? The answer is to make Ukraine part ways with Russia. This is a long term plan to reduce the geopolitical influence that Russia had due to Soviet Union. Following the failure in Iraq and Libya, Russia decided to plan things out carefully. Although Ukraine is in devastating position, Ukraine was made to join NATO to compromise militarily which created provocation in Russia subsequently. However, Russia, not like those days, keeping things calm as it realises that Russia has considerable amount of voices and supports in Ukraine so that it can intervene whenever they feel it is a right time. This created fume among the West and caused the US secretary to propose the suspension of Russia from G8, sanction the human rights against Russian officials and boycott the Paralympics.

Surprisingly, when the West and US backed country opposed Russia to the core, German chancellor, Merkel, wanted to maintain close relationship with Russia might be due to petroleum deal. The thing we should focus here is although West’s message is complicated (such as US’s message, UK’s message, Germany’s message has never been same when it comes to Russia’s issue), no one talked and sparked the military action on Russia. This is may be due to West is not militarily prepared to wage a war against Russia.

This is why possibly West is so eager to sanction some bans and ignoring them from world trade organization. Since the fall of Soviet Union, US has taken the role of “Global Police”. US wants to be the ultimate power in the world where it wants to have influence possibly in each and every government around the world. When it fails to do so, West (US and EU) will try their best to dismantle the government who’s not working together with the West by installing the military base or train the local extremists to create the pathway for US to act as peacemaker and gain full control over the government.

When Putin takes over the country, he wants to reaffirm and get his fair share as one of the most influential country after the US. Although the glory days are over since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Putin and his allies’ wants to put back Russia to where it belongs. Thus, it focuses more on capitalists’ way of free marketing to capture attention of market players from West especially to invest in Moscow. This is because it is almost impossible to build another Soviet Union based communist government as the leaders nowadays want to please the corporate allies to develop their country and keep their vested interest safe.

Ideological influence of Cold War slowly shifted now to Economical Influence of New Cold War. The focus now turned to East where the real glory is, oil. New Cold War is about to spread and determine the countries government runs under which influence. For an example is it going to be like US backed Arab Saudi or Russia backed Syria. US backed Iraq and Afghanistan is considered an utter failure as it tremendously used Trillions of Dollars to sustain in that country. Furthermore, we can see the clash of influence sphere in Syria nowadays where US is trying to install its own army base where government has heavy Russia influence. The blame game happens there between both imperialist country where the real victim is not US, not Russia but the labourers.

How can this be stopped? It’s important that both imperialist country should understand the limit of their intervention and respect other countries’ sovereignty. The political stability should be there. When right wing political rises, equally there should be left wing politics in developed state so that the implementation of plan for people can be achieved for the betterment of people and state economies.

  1. China: Peaceful Rising

China, being one of Asia’s giants has always been a major blocs in the world, especially in Asia. China has been continuing to rise, especially in this age and day. The rise of China does not only interest the country itself but also the world as they have a huge impact on the world. Its dominance and power have stood to be awed but also feared. Many international literatures and policy papers have argued that China’s rise brings about threat and major disruptions which China has tried to rebut but have eventually accepted that fact (Zheng & Tok, 2005). For example, the cases that happened with Meiji Japan and Wilhelmian Germany. It is due to this reason that China has come about the concept of peaceful rising or as some would say peaceful development (Zheng & Tok, 2005).

This section of the paper aims to discuss the China’s peaceful rise and the concept behind it. This section will also study and show how China has tried to implement the peaceful rising concept and also review some of the challenges they face to carry out the concept of peaceful rising without fail.

      (4.1)China’s Peaceful Rise Concept

In 2003, the Vice-President of the Central Party School of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Zheng Bijian gave a speech at the Bo’ao Forum for Asia in the province of Hainan giving the first statement of China;s new thinking which was the concept of peaceful rising. As stated by Bijian (2003), Asia has an opportunity to have a peaceful rise and China is only but a part of that rise. China’s aim for a peaceful rise will by default be linked to the experiences and development of the remaining Asian countries as well as mark that China will have a tremendous positive effect on the other Asian countries’ development, prosperity and stability (Bijian, 2003). Hu Jintao, who was China’s State President at the time, also repeated this concept numerous of times, giving the change of China’s international philosophy a wide media coverage (Zheng & Tok, 2005).

The fear of China’s rise is due to the fact that when a major power tries to rise, it usually gives about a huge change to the world, as it can be proven so by history. This is because it is a common understanding that the aim of politics in short, is the pursuit of power (Morgenthau, 1985). For example, one of the main fear of China rising is due to the fear of a war being triggered as it can proved by history. However, these powers have chosen a violent path filled with antagonism for a global take over. China’s rebuttal to this fear is to reemphasize that they have only one goal in mind; which is to rise peacefully to bring fruitful results to their country as well as the other Asian countries. They are willing to work for a peaceful environment internationally for the sake of development as well as maintain world peace while the development is in process and achieved (Bijian, 2003). China aims to present opportunities, not bring about a tremendous international change, prosperity and progression for Chinas as well as the other countries with the concept of their peaceful rising (Zheng & Tok, 2005). China also uses cultural and religious approaches in emphasising their concept of a peaceful rise. This is done by using the Confucian pluralistic world view in the emphasis of their peaceful intentions of the rise of China, which is the notion of harmony in diversity (Zheng & Tok, 2005). This concept displays the tolerance and respect of different individuals without going of route from one’s own original standpoint (Zheng & Tok, 2005).  China does not seek to contest the United States of America (USA)’s hegemonic position, although it will maintain the application of its own style of socialism (Bijian, 2003).

The concept of China’s peaceful rise can be observed from three different points. Those points are leadership, domestic and international.

Firstly, for the leadership point, China has had leadership transitions which carry a strong weight in the issue of peaceful rising. A new set of ideas to carry out policies and run the country were sprouting out as a brand new set of leaders came fort after the 16th Party Congress. China stopped using the theory of following a guided practice as they aim to change and be different to achieve the goal of a peaceful rising country (Zheng & Tok, 2005). The concept of comprehensive power was played into China’s external affairs which reflected outstanding post-Tiananmen diplomatic revival and economic growth (Zheng, 1997). The concept of peaceful rising is by continuing this leadership tradition. The change of leadership approach in China is trying to build a whole new picture; which aims to reflect a pro-people image internally and a peace-loving image externally (Zheng & Tok, 2005).

The second point, which is through domestic approach, shows that China has substantial demand for continuing economic growth which forms part of the political reality in China today and cannot fathom the idea of falling into the times of the post-revolutionary years (Nathan et al., 1999). China has proven to have grown tremendously in their economy throughout the years. However, they face what they deem as new domestic challenges such as drug abuse and moral decay in conjunction of other problems such as blatant corruption for example (Wang & Zheng, 2000). China faces problems in improving these conditions as they are often regarded as non-impending matters compared to their reforming processes. The value they placed on the reforming process causes them to give less attention on the social domestic issues which causes conflict in the domestic side of the peaceful rising concept. To solve these issues, the CCP is carrying out a highly diligent campaign to introduce the peaceful rise concept to the domestic audience (Chang, 2001). China gave a message when they introduced the concept of peaceful rising domestically, which is a peaceful domestic transition, both in terms of politics and economics is the precondition for the rise of China (Zheng & Tok, 2005). Through winning the hearts of its people, China aims to peacefully rise through a legit way by taking their people into account to achieve the peaceful rise.

Lastly, for the third point which is international, China has to obtain the regards and support of other international countries in order to achieve the peaceful rise concept without violence or a war. The environment and age today is known for the economic globalisation acceleration as well as interdependency internationally (Zheng & Tok, 2005). China, being one of the major blocs in Asia, plays a major role in this phenomena. China is beginning to accept that the peaceful rising concept that they aim to achieve will also bring about a change to the rest of the world. In short, China as an aspiring power, needs acknowledgement from the international community because to be considered as a great power in the world, powerful states are expected to carry out certain responsibilities defined by the international society (Bull, 2002). To counter the negative images of the country, China has made the aim of attaining a peaceful rising the solution.

      (4.2)Implementation of the Peaceful Rising Concept

China attempts and actions in carrying out the concept of peaceful rising can be subdivided into three strands of policies which are all distinctive yet intertwined. These policies are economic diplomacy, multilateralism and ‘good neighbourliness’ policy (Zheng & Tok, 2005).

Firstly, the world has become highly interdependent especially in the terms of economy. In the case for China, its economic rise has become a vital diplomatic capital in its peaceful rise policy (Zheng & Tok, 2005). China has become one of the most successful economy related countries ever since its reform and the introduction of the open door policy. China is also one of the world’s top trading nations as they produce huge amounts of cheap products for the world market due to the fact that they have a limitless labour supply (Zheng & Tok, 2005). As the world continues to be interdependent with China in terms of economy, the market inside China can no longer be kept hidden internationally. China uses its advantage in its economy position to address concerns about the policy of peaceful rising. It is through trade and commence which are developed within an extensive strategy of peaceful rising that is used by China to address the doubts and supposed threats that the rise of China can bring upon the world (Zheng & Tok, 2005). For example, the Chinese leadership has placed an emphasis on economic priorities in all its relations with the outside world. For example, one of the main relations is with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Multilateralism also plays a part in the practice of the peaceful rise policy. Multilateralism in short means an interstate arrangement between three or more states must meet two criteria to qualify as multilateral (Zheng & Tok, 2005). China, in the beginning did not practice this concept but however changed the recent years. China has associated itself in almost all the important multilateral organisations in the world and is keen in respecting the existing norms of these multilateral organisations (Zheng & Tok, 2005). China’s most notable interaction is with ASEAN, showing interest in ASEAN and adhering to the ASEAN code of conduct as well as participates in ASEAN’s processes of interaction (Zheng & Tok, 2005). Even though China was not practicing multilateralism at first, the change of heart that they have showed proves that they are willingly sticking to the initial statement; which is a peaceful rising.

Lastly, China also practices the policy of peaceful rising through the ‘good neighbourliness’ policy. China’s leaders have time and time again state the importance of friendliness and companionship to neighbours as they are determined to paint an image of China being a ‘good neighbour’ to the other Asian countries who have seen their ties with China improve over the years (Zheng & Tok, 2005). One of the best example of China’s ‘good neighbourliness policy’ is also once again seen with ASEAN. Economics is a field where the Chinese and ASEAN interests overlap and despite the fear China had of economic competition within ASEAN, China’s economic rise and brought upon benefits for the ASEAN economies as well (Zheng & Tok, 2005).

      (4.3)Challenges Faced for China’s Peaceful Rising

It can be seen, although initially China has been seen as not following up to the peaceful rising policy, it can be shown that they eventually got on board as a country towards achieving the aim for a peaceful rise and to stop the negative images they were getting internationally. However, as with any major international policy change, China faces a few problems.

In the regional sense, China’s economic rise and power is mostly felt around Asia. Most of the Asian countries watch China closely, especially their strained relationship with Japan over the oil and gas fields as well as the unresolved issues during the Sino-Japanese war (Zheng & Tok, 2005). Even though the peaceful rising China aims to achieve will bring about advantages to Asia, many Asian countries still fear the peaceful rise concept will overpower them. China, however, has tried to curb those fears and explain how it will supposedly not affect them.

Internationally, China will have to show and play an active role in supporting the USA’s presence in the region. Maintaining a good relationship with the US is important. This is due to the post-Cold war environment which generates competition between these two powers which hence, could cause a potential conflict which China and the US would have to cautiously manage (Zheng & Tok, 2005). The way the US reacts on the peaceful rising policy China is implementing will cause a huge impact on China. It was said that to deprive a rising power of a stake runs danger or nurturing a dissatisfied, even revolutionary actor in the system but allowing it to rise peacefully will stabilise order (Johnston & Ross, 1999). Most powers rarely see eye to eye in everything and such is the case for China and the US. China will have to find a common ground with the US to reduce the challenges for a peaceful rise (Zheng & Tok, 2005).

The concept of peaceful rise is becoming a vital part of China’s foreign policy. With this policy, China would have to commit to peacefully coexisting with other countries and respecting international structure while they continue to aim for prosperity in their country. They however still face many challenges, may it be domestically, regionally, or internationally as stated before. China will have to work hard to solve those challenges, so that the concept of a peaceful rise will be attainable and not be doubted by the world. As long as the world cannot relate to China’s policies and be convinced, they will continue to doubt and fear the peaceful rise China aims to achieve. China is indeed rising, and hopefully will continue to do as peacefully as they have stated numerous of times.

  1. The Rise of India

      (5.1) Background of India


Figure 1: The location of India in world map.            Figure 2: The map of India

India is an enchanting land filled with vestiges of divine inspiration. However, India is rich in history and heritages. Different dynasties, empires and powers have ruled the ancient India.

The very first major civilization in South Asia was the Indus Valley Civilization which spread in the northwest part of the subcontinent of India during 3300 BC to 1330 BC. An advanced urban culture was later developed during the Harappan period (2600 BC to 1900 BC). However it collapsed at the early second millennium and taken over by the Iron Age Vedic Civilization. During this era, the societies were well exposed to the teachings of Vedas, the influential and most important texts of Hinduism and societies were stratified or ranked according to their caste.  The Vedic Civilization expanded over the Indo-Gangetic plain and observed the surge of major society acknowledged as the Mahajanapadas. Magadha, Gautama Buddha and Mahavira promulgated their Shramanic philosophies at the 5th & 6th century BC at one of the kingdoms.

Maurya Empire ruled most of the subcontinent during the 4th & 3rd centuries BC. Different regions of India were conquered by numerous and various dynasties for the following 15oo years. Gupta Empire was the well-known among all of them. This period indicates the Golden Age of India where characteristics of Indian civilization, administration, tradition and religion, precisely Hinduism and Buddhism spread to the other parts of Asia. The southern part of India had maritime business associates with the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Many regions of Southeast Asia was exposed and also was influenced by the Indian culture and tradition which creates the path of establishment towards the Indianised kingdoms in Southeast Asia.

The most noteworthy episode between the 7th to 11th centuries was the Tripartite brawl which lasted for almost 200 years that centered on Kannauj between three different empires. There were multiples of majestic powers emerging during the 5th century, however the most notable ones were the Chola, Chalukya, Chera, Pallava, Western Chalukya and Pandyan empires. The Cholas dominated and ruled the southern India. They also invaded into a few parts of Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, Bengal and Maldives.

At the 13th century, the Delhi Sultanate was founded by the nomadic Central Asian Turks at northern part of India which indicated the staring era of Muslim rule. However, they declined at the end of 14th century as several powerful Hindu states such as Vijayanagara Empire, Gajapati Kingdom and Ahom Kingdom were emerged. The emergence of Sikhism started at the 15th century. The Mughals from Central Asia invaded and ruled most of India during the 16th century but they suffered a gradual decline from at the beginning of the 18th century.

British East India Company rule place India under its authority in the middle of the 18th century. Lately, in the middle of the 19th century, the subcontinent came under the British crown rule. A nationwide battle for the independence of the country was hurled by the Indian National Congress, which later led by Mahatma Gandhi through Ahimsa or nonviolent resistance and successfully obtained the independence of India in 1947.

At the current eye of the world, India is a country located in the South Asia region. It is also the 7th largest country in the world with almost more than a billion inhabitants and a densely populated democracy in the globe. Republic of India is confined by three different waters, which are the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. India shares land borders with countries such as China, Bhutan and Nepal to the northeast, Pakistan to the west, Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. Sri Lanka and Maldives are also the neighbours of India in the Indian Ocean. Andaman and Nicobar islands that belongs to India shares the border with Indonesia and Thailand. 

      (5.2) Factors in Favours towards the Rise of India

It is an undeniable fact if someone claims there are possibilities for the Republic of India to be the emerging superpowers of the world as they are several potential attributes can indicate the growth of this country. The most dominant one would be the demographic trends and the speedy growing economy of the country. The country is not as influential as United States of America on the international stage but they are no facts denying from them having a possibility to be one in the future.

(5.2.1) Advantage of Location

As we refer to Figure 1, India is located in the cultural region of Indian Ocean. Due to strategic location of Indian territorial waters, this has been a focused passage for Eurasian and Afro-Asian traders to travel through it. This is giving an extra global credits and growth for India. The land and the water resources of the country is sustainable enough for its massive population.

(5.2.2) Energy

It is believed to be that the world will be soon entering into a phase where the energy sources will be highly depending on the renewable energy or nuclear energy after the depletion of the fossil energy. The use and application of renewable energy can provide more gains for India as it is located at the sunny tropical belt which has an ultimate combo of high solar insolation and big consumer base density. Moreover, 25% of the world’s thorium resources are produced from India which can be used to generate nuclear energy.

(5.2.3) Demographic factors

It is very obvious that the Republic of India has the world’s second largest population consisting of almost 1.2 billion citizens with People Growth Rate (PGR) of 1.25. The population of citizens in the age group of 24 and below is almost about 50% of the India’s population. Thus, the government has a tremendous amount of workforce for many more upcoming decades in conjunction to help its growth. India is also considered to have the larger number of young population due to its high birth rate compared to most aging nations. The population of the citizens below the age of 35 is estimated to be almost 65% of its population. Therefore, there is a theory or hypothesis which claims that some powerful nations will observe and experience a declination in their workforce numbers in the upcoming decades, however it is expected to have an increase in India. Apparently, India also beholds the fame of having the world’s largest English speaking or understanding population as it can be proven by a huge workforce of white-collar professionals such as engineers and doctors. Furthermore, they also has the second biggest population that can speak English fluently.

(5.2.4) Political factors

It is also quite obvious that the world’s largest democratic republic is India. The democratic ideology that has been practiced in India helped them to improve their relations with other democratic nations and also improved its bonding with many other nations in the developed world. India promised that it will not be and use its veto power in any circumstances in order to join United Nations Security Council. It has been rejected by France, Russia and United Kingdom but it is still being considered by China and United States of America as they have a very good tie. India has established with the current leading nations or forces such as the European Union, African Union, Japan, Russia and United States of America. India also has taken a few steps to create a better relationship with their neighbours, Pakistan.

(5.2.5) Economic Factors

The economy of India is divided in to primary sector, secondary sector, and tertiary and quaternary structure. The primary sector is mainly about being the food producer. India has been growing 9% per year at this sector and also established as the world’s second largest food manufacturer. The secondary sector is highly focused on manufacturing. India is still not a competitor for many world leaders but there are improving as the sector is growing 11-12%. The tertiary and quaternary sector is the IT industry of India. India has the best technological advantage in the world. This is mainly because of a large number of skilled, low cost and English speaking workforce.

(5.2.6) Science & Technology

Furthermore, India’s achievement in science and technology is something that we should not overlook. India’s rising scientific endeavours can be witnessed as it became the third nation to found a National Space Agency knows as ISRO. It was also the third country among the Asian continent to send a satellite, starting with Aryabhata in 1975. India also has launched its first unmanned lunar probe in October 2008 and it was operated until August 2009. The detachment of The Moon Impact Probe from Chandraayan is done to make India, one of the earliest country to reach the moon. The researches have extended until finding formation of water particles in moon soil. Thus, it created a path to develop their ties with the United States of America by increasing their mutual interests in space-travel related technologies. Some Indian educational and research institutions are claimed to be the best ones in the world such as IIT, NIT, BITS, and AIIMS. 

(5.2.7) Military Strength

The Indian Armed Forces can be divided into braches, which are the Military of India and the India Paramilitary Forces. The third major active duty force in the world is the Military of India. The Indian Paramilitary Forces of India is the second largest paramilitary force in the world. By manufacturing and engineering own aircrafts, Indian Air Force has become the fourth biggest air force globally. Rumours are also spreading saying that India is trying to develop a fifth generation stealth aircraft. The Indian Nay is the fifth largest navy in the world. It is also said to have advanced missile-capable warships, aircraft carrier, minesweepers and new aircrafts in its inventory. The new military program has 5 types of missiles such as Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Trishul and Nag. However, they have Akash missiles in service with their air forces. Meanwhile, Nag and Helina missiles are going through trials. The expertise of India in producing advanced missiles has created another path for India to joint weapon development programs like Brahmos and Barak-II. India is also currently holding the world’s largest arms importer, where the budget spent for arms were estimated to USD 16.97 billion in 2004. India has military technology deals with the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Israel and the European Union. The Indian Armed forces are currently involved and has a vital play in anti-terrorist activities in the disputed Kashmir region. India also contributed in several United Nations peace-keeping missions and became the largest provider to United Nations peace keeping force and the second largest provider to United Nations Democracy Fund.

      (5.3) India’s Progress after the taking over by Narendra Modi

Narendra Damordardas Modi, born on 17th September 1950, is the current Prime Minister of India. The 67 years old man is 14th and the current Prime Minister of India since May 2014. Lately, he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat for 14 years (2001-2014) and was the Member of Parliament for Varanasi.  He is also a member of the Bhratiya Janata Party (BJP). 

(5.3.1)Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is the main financial source for the Indian economic development where rapidly expanding private Indian businesses have investors of foreign companies directly to take benefits of cheaper incomes and changing the business scenario of India. The Economic liberalization in India begun after the 1991 economic crisis. FDI was pioneered by Manmohan Singh and P.V.N. Rao. India surpassed China and United States of America and remained as the top spot of Foreign Direct Investment (Financial Time, 2015). Narenda Modi was acknowledged for giving access for more FDI in defence and in many more government plans (Bellman. E, 2015).

(5.3.2) Growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in India has an average value of USD 484.96 billion from 1960 until 2015 and reaching the highest value of all time of USD 2095.40 billion in 2015 during the reign of Narendra Modi which statistically proven that India has overtook China as the rapidly growing economy in the world. India became the rapidly growing economy in the world at a rate of 7.4% during Modi’s government took over the bureau as per claimed by Bellman. E (2015). As a side effect, the poverty level of India has dropped from 21% to almost 12.4% from 2013 to 2015. 

(5.3.3)Direct Subsidy Payments

Poorly planned subsidies were transformed to direct credit implemented by PM of India just for poor people. This was believed to the effective and fruitful step to help the country’s needy. As an example, the government under Narendra Modi pays for cooking gas in certain areas. They are also planning to subsidize fertilizer and meals for the needy.

(5.3.4) Coal and Telecom Auctions

Coal mining rights and spectrum auctions created negative stir in National Congress Party of India. Modi and his current bureau made the coal and spectrum auctions more transparent to avoid corruption at its maximum level. Indian government earned RS 200,000 from the coal businesses and RS 100, 00 from the spectrum auctions.

(5.3.5) Introducing Helping Schemes for the needy

The helping schemes for poor that has been introduced by the current government of India in 2015 indicated the acceptance among the citizens of the Republic of India.  They were 1.25 million of subscribers for the pension scheme. Accident insurance schemes for poor farmers enrols 123 million subscribers. Life insurance schemes enrols 29.2 million. These schemes are the major aid for the poor citizens of India.

      (5.3.6) Launch of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (“Clean India”) Campaingn.

Narendra Modi started the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Campaign on 2nd October 2014 with an ultimate objective of eliminating open defecation and manual scavenging. Millions of toilets were planned and built focusing in rural parts of India. The government also announced that they have plans to build new sewage treatment plants and a constructions 60 million toilets by 2019.

(5.3.7) Make in India (defence)

Everybody knows that India has spent a big amount of money to import weapons in the international market. However, as a part of Make in India, the Defence Ministry of India have approved to buy the weapons produced in India. It also prevent the Indian money leaving the country and also catalyses the defence technology development in-house. 


Throughout history, man always sought power over the weaker state to ensure survival and to gain control of territories to strengthen their political stand in the world. Territories have become an object of desire of these rulers. Hence, they use war as a regulation mechanism to gain power in the form of territories, natural resources, and population. The state is always in constant evolution. As in the old ages, loyalty determined territory of a state but as civilizations progressed, territory of the state determined the loyalty of the people. Revolutions occur due to the dissatisfaction of the people with its government. For example, the French Revolution occurred to overthrow the monarchy and established a republic that managed to expand its principles to Western Europe and beyond. However, it also brought destruction and loss of lives, resources and territories.

After WWII, the major blocs solved their geopolitical tension through the Cold War in which they did not directly engage with each other. This shielded them from direct effects of the wars but the smaller countries in which the proxy wars occurred suffered immensely such as the wars in Syria and Iran. In the recent years, political authorities are fighting for power by using economics. The confidence of the investors mostly controls economics of the world. China, being one of the rising blocs in the world today have opted for a more ‘Peaceful Rising’ of their state whereby they do not initiate war and prefer to only build on their economy to have a stable standing with the major players. Also, India has taken a similar standing as China this can be argued with their ongoing hostility with Pakistan.

In conclusion, the geopolitics of the world is constantly changing with the person in power and it will change to suit his vision for the country. Accordingly, the Trump administration is working on the ‘American First’ grand strategy to stabilize the American economy whereby his predecessor President George Bush focused on the ‘war on terror’ because at the time it was of the best interest of the security of the country. The geopolitics of this day and age may not be the same as the future; and we can only wait to witness it.

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