Human affairs are all about balancing our relationships, both on a personal level and geopolitically between nations. Changes to the equilibrium always have consequences for a relationship, some benign, and some far-reaching with at times dramatic and destructive results. In this ever dynamic process the key to maintaining harmony is to recognise and evaluate the nature of such shifts and to strive constantly to find ways to redress and maintain that crucial balance. To fail to recognise such threats risks the extinction of whole cultures.
The premise described in Breaking the Code of History that the West (led by America) is in decline under President Obama's governance, has become an alarming reality. In such circumstances, it is vital that sound, strategic reasoning is applied to evaluate and understand the current and future geopolitical threats faced by Britain and the Western world. Additionally, it is critical that we ensure that our limited resources are deployed wisely and proportionally to the various threats. There are three obvious candidates for consideration:
1. Islamic Fundamentalism ISIL
We will review each threat and propose strategies that might enable just such a degree of balance to be reached, sufficient hopefully, to deter future aggression. However, any student of conflict should appreciate the importance of intelligence-led strategies, which become even more critical when defending against multiple threats simultaneously with expensive, precious and limited resources.
In this regard, the West has developed a significant intelligence capability against the Islamic threat but has lost its once powerful Cold War capability against Russia. The latter, we anticipate, is currently being revitalised as a consequence of the Ukraine crisis. However, the real challenge is developing a successful intelligence capability against China, which has not historically been thought of as an enemy of the West and whose heritage and culture is so vastly different. Without a comprehensive intelligence apparatus focussed on China and its multi-layered overseas activities, the West will constantly be on the back foot in the years ahead. The damage caused by the Chinese to Western intelligence agencies by Edward Snowden is a prime example.
The return to a bipolar world
The only solution to the Chinese challenge over the next decade is, so far as possible, to employ a similar strategy as used in the Cold War to reduce the risk of conflict by matching China’s expansion with the creation of a global political and military alliance, led by America. If the strength and integrity of such an alliance were to match China’s growing power, then the risks of war can be expected to decrease into the 2025 peak after which the commodity cycle begins to cool as it enters a twenty-five-year decline.
The harsh reality and inevitability is, as explained in BTCH, that the West is in terminal decline as a world power, with America as the last of the Western Christian Empires. Although Britain is on the rise again, it is not of a magnitude that will shift this balance of power. The Asian Super Empire led by China is clearly in the ascendancy. Management of this great power shift is the responsibility of current politicians and those of the next decade. If America continues its current economic path, its collapse will be precipitous and will consequently create a power vacuum that China’s current youthful incarnation will quickly and aggressively step into with potentially destructive consequences for all humanity.
To compound the threat to the West China is now well and truly in the ascension to the empire phase of its development after having completed its copy and assimilation phase. Consequently it is now innovating and creating new ways of owning world-beating technology, foremost of which have been in cyberspace. China, with its massive armament programme and expansive policies in the South China Sea, will inevitably be even more involved in cyber espionage against British interests and at the same time will continue to challenge America, our closest ally, for superpower status. No one with a balanced mind could believe that its rise will be a peaceful one.
This blog has been extracted from my recent paper "A new model for Britain's Defence Forces", and if you would like a free copy please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.