Prior to the formation of the European Common Market, which grew into the current 28-member European Union, there were intra-continental wars—neighbor against neighbor—in Europe, every twenty years or so. In the 70 years since World War II, after which the E. U. was formed; however, there haven’t been any wars on the Continent. Familiarity and economic cooperation breeds peaceful coexistence!
The twelve-member Trans-Pacific Partnership would have included members from both sides of the ocean, and from four continents. Due to the huge size of the U. S. Economy—and the exclusion of China—America would, most certainly, have held a leadership role. With the formation of this trade pact, it could evolve somewhat along the lines of the E. U., but with its own Asia-Pacific character.
Now, let’s consider TPP as a military strategy. China and Russia are the American Military’s two main adversaries. Global powers require two characteristics: a strong military; and a large, growing economy. The importance of the economy, in projecting global power, is two-fold: domestic needs must be met in order to prevent political turbulence, back at home; and a strong economy is necessary to finance a large, technologically-powerful military.
China’s economy is second only to that of the U. S., and it is growing, although it has recently shown the normal growing pains of a young economy. It also has the additional advantage of being located in the most dynamic, fastest-growing region of the world! Although its defense budget lags that of the U. S. in total size, it has been continuing to
accelerate its spending to strengthen its military–both in size and technologically..
Russia, on the other hand, appears to be stymied. It’s poorly diversified economy, was decimated by the economic sanctions of the Atlantic Alliance, and the 50% decline in global oil prices, which accounts for 70% of Russia’s hard currency. Geopolitically, it has entangled itself in local wars, both in Eastern Ukraine and, more recently, in Syria. Lastly, it seems to have been rebuffed in its plan to break-up the E. U., by decimating fake news and hacking the political polls in various European National Elections.
With three-quarters of the world covered by seas, and the global landmass already set, at least for the most part, President Obama’s idea of the Asian Pivot was an important one. In fact, he personally preferred the term: “Indio-Pacific Pivot.” With Russia apparently in somewhat of a decline, the U. S. needs to change the focus from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, to the Indian and the Western Pacific. In fact, three-quarters of the American Navy was deployed in that Region when he left office.
In my next post, I will add more detail as to why the shift in focus, from the Atlantic and Pacific, to the Indian and Western Pacific. Just consider where the current global hot spots are: the Horn of Africa; the Arabian Peninsula; the Persian Plateau; the Subcontinent of India; the South China Sea; Taiwan (Republic of China) and the Korean Peninsula. This area also has the two choke-points through which global sea commerce passes: the Strait of Hormuz (40% of global crude oil), between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the Strait of Malacca (50% of all global sea commerce, and 85% of China’s oil), between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Parts of this region, mostly toward the South China Sea are very dynamic, both intellectually and economically, while others, more toward East Asia (left on the WorldAtlas Map), are not advancing either intellectually or economically. Many analyst predict that the future will be one of the two Asian Giants—China and India—confronting each other in their quest for Oil Security.
NOTE: Welcome to my readers from the Republic of China, A/K/A Taiwan!