Turbulent Geopolitical Chessboard


Abdul Samad Khan

The world has been caught in between the roaring geopolitical scuffling and the looming global menaces which have successfully been surpassed by the overprioritized nature of the former.
From North America to Europe, from West to East Asia and from Africa to South Asia, today’s world is largely struggling with geopolitical wrestling among the various competitors and even the rivals. Above all, the Asian part of this planet has become the centre of the ongoing great powers competition. The phrase “Asian Century” seems to be the valid one because it is home to many key global powers: China, Russia, and India, which have influenced the international order exceptionally. The Eurasian region hosts the rivalry between Russia and the US-led Western bloc. China and the US have locked their horns not only in Asia, but also throughout the world. The Middle Eastern region has been experiencing the long-standing Saudi-Iran rivalry in addition to the global proxy in the region. Such ambitious interests have badly affected the amelioration process of the key global issues: climate change, income inequality, food crisis, poverty, and poor health infrastructure.
The position of Beijing as a rising power seems to challenge the already established power-the US. Thucydides’s trap has put a sense of insecurity in the mind of the established power that the emerging power is posing threats to its internal and external interests. Therefore, it should take preemptive measures to protect its national interests.
It is as clear as the daylight that both the US and China are following their ideological path-the US and its allies advocate liberalism in both economic and political fields and have their social code of conduct. Meanwhile, China has its different politico-economic ideology and social order. The US unilaterally upholds a liberal economic system( capitalism) and a Democratic political system. Socially, it propagates its system of values which is different from that of the Eastern one. Whereas, China has adopted the liberal capitalist system with Chinese traits. The Chinese democratic system is largely exclusive, even though it focuses on service delivery. While keeping these structural differences in view, the US and China are competing with each other across the world to enhance their influence and strengthen their presence. The US takes it as a threat to its established position, while Beijing has successfully followed the path of soft power diplomacy through its economic and cultural persuasion: the mounting impression and influence of BRI and the worldwide presence of Chinese Confusions institutions imparting the Chinese culture via the Chinese language earning so much positivity for Beijing abroad.
Though the US has embarked on making its image soft, it has engaged itself in different pacts, agreements and alliances in the whole Indo-Pacific region to encircle the rising Chinese power. It leaves no stone unturned in this regard as the Aukus, Quad, US-ASEAN partnership, the Blue Pacific Partnership, the Global Infrastructure Investment Partnerships and the Build Back Better World have been brought into being to contain China. Although there have been some meet-ups over the past couple of years between US and Chinese officials, the ongoing US-China scuffle is not about to end anytime soon.
While moving to the Eurasian region, Russia, under Putin, has embarked to restore its lost glory-the glory of the erstwhile Soviet Union. This has been encapsulated in Putin’s Russian World strategy, which aims to sustain the Russian influence in the Eurasian region. This very approach pulled Russia to resist the growing influence of the US-led West: extension of NATO towards the East, especially in the Russian sphere of influence, bringing the next-door neighbour of Russia, Ukraine, into Western alliances like NATO, EU, etc. The US-led West wants to install its liberal capitalist economic and democratic political systems in the Russian sphere of influence. This is the concern Moscow is symbolically raising. From the Baltic to Central Asia, the whole region has become a hotbed for great power competition. Ukraine has been serving as the prominent battleground for this geopolitical rivalry.
The geopolitical landscape of the Middle Eastern region has not been peaceful and cooperative. Rather, it is presenting a very busy picture of geopolitical wrestling. Iran and KSA are the two dominant players in this game. From Yemen to Lebanon and from Tehran to UAE, the region has been caught in the power wrangling among the key regional players. The KSA-led GCC bloc and Iran have locked horns in this geopolitical rivalry. They are using the tool of proxy war to obtain their interests: Iran backs Hauti rebels in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine and Asad’s government in Syria while the KSA-led bloc throws its support behind the Yemeni government and the rebels against Asad’s government in Syria.
The key driving factors behind the Middle Eastern geopolitical rivalry are the ambitions for regional dominance and to secure the leadership role in Ummah. The US and Israel, other key players in the Middle Eastern geopolitical game, have come up with a handful of interests. The US has long-standing interests in getting the regional hydrocarbons, providing a safe ground for Israel, pervading the way for its politico-economic system, blocking the way for its key competitors-China and Russia-and containing Iran. Such a chaotic geopolitical landscape of the Middle East has disturbed not only regional peace, but also the whole world as it affects the oil market badly; ushering into rising inflation and soaring energy crisis.
Such a tumultuous geopolitical chessboard exacerbates the prevailing global issues. The world’s major powers have turned their eyes from the climate menace, which is getting worse day by day. The world is dangling in the curse of poverty. The sword of food insecurity is still looming over the world. The poor health infrastructure has yet to be resolved and may pave the way for several replicas of covid-19 like pandemics. The global north-south division is still dangling over humanity. All these need sincere efforts to get resolved but the world is busy in the deleterious geopolitical game.
In a nutshell, today’s world from North America to West Asia and from Europe to East Asia has been caught in the midst of a geopolitical scuffle. All the key players in this geopolitical game are largely driven by their interests at the cost of global and communal ones. Such a chaotic geopolitical chessboard must be transformed into a peaceful world order, which is in the best favour of humanity.