The Age of Crises: Withering Unipoler Geopolitics- Part VIII
By Farooque Chowdhury
03 October, 2010
The present geopolitical reality is not a happy one for the world system. It is now charged with the factor of instability: competition among major players. The West is facing challenges from China and Russia. South Ossetia and Abkhazia were challenges to the West. The militarily over-stretched US is conducting two wars simultaneously while the tools in the hands of the US are not many. The world financial and economic condition is not yet hopeful and the West’s dependency on expensive energy is heavy. Many problems, global in size and nature, are there, and new actors are entering the stage of geopolitics. South Asia and the area around Korea are sources of tension. The US is losing its position of leadership, and the US establishment is well aware of its declining economy. Its promotion of democracy accompanied by armed interventions is not well reputed around the world. The EU plans to be equal partners with the US. Increasing competition is compelling a section of the dominating ideologues to question globalization. The French foreign minister said in a meeting of the EU foreign ministers in September 2008: “The world is dangerous.” He warned of emergence of nationalism and micro-nationalism. They discussed the common security strategy of the EU. To the EU the Russian-Georgian war, failures in the WTO talks, the rise of China, Russia, and India are the signs that the Western domination of the international agenda can no longer be assured.
The involvement of a section of NGOs in poor countries shows the weakening of the West’s world governing regime and its foreign policy arms, its erosion in credibility, and its limited access. At the same time, these NGOs, from the North and their local partners, developing NGOiztion in peripheral societies are the indicator of vacuums in the social, cultural, economic, and political lives in these societies that the dominant mechanism, local partners in the globalization process, in the societies has created and this in turn is the evidence of eroding ruling mechanism in the societies. The dominant mechanism in these societies is the part of the world system, and thus they, the weaker connections, are the stark examples of crisis in rule by the present dominating sections of the society. This reality has its part in geopolitics. The NGOiztion in some countries has already stood as examples in failure in its attempt to resolve contradictions in those countries. But, at times, dialectically, the NGOization is creating a space, by centralization and socialization of different aspects in the lives of the poor, especially their economic activities, and by trying to create responsiveness, in relative terms, in the ruling system. Matured people’s-initiatives can utilize the space, and the NGOiztion will make a volte-face if that space is used and politicized, if politicization and active calls for democratization in all spheres in life are effectively made by the initiatives. At the same time, increasing crises will sharpen contradictions in these societies that will ultimately make the NGOization process a silent and ineffective onlooker, which will be a further weakening in the global dominant regime having geopolitical implication. .
There are changes and upheavals, significant and with far reaching implications in nature, in the world. “One of the greatest changes in world order … right now is in Latin America. The South is becoming more independent.… [T]he neoliberal order is eroding both within the U.S. and Europe and internationally, as there is more and more opposition to it. So there are opportunities for real change, but how far they will go depends on people, what we are willing to undertake” (Chomsky, op. cit.). With increasing loss of credibility of the Bretton Woods institutions contradictions in peripheral societies will create new challenges to the world system.
The situation with uncertainties will much better be perceived if viewed in the perspective of the downward trend of the centre of the centre, its drive for tighter and wider hold over the world’s resources, especially the oil. This gives rise to tension, threats to peace, and new crisis in geopolitics. Ultimately, this will harm people’s effort to organize a peaceful and prosperous life. A crisis will be born. New contradictions get generated and sharpen while MNCs’ wealth power stands against smaller countries, while capital leaves labor process in search of casino, and simultaneously wages class war, while capital fails to resolve contradictions between the dominated and the dominating.
Factors in reality do not act in a linear way. Reality, a complex amalgamation of many factors that are always non-constant, changes with minute change in any of the factors and in turn influences other factors to change position. Capital is incapable to adjust with this non-linear system as its determining constant factor is profit that compels it to act in linear style and the constant factor declines to change position. This pushes it to conflicts with environment, with people’s aspirations, with reality and thereby creating crisis as capital never gives up its domain because of inherent reason – growth at the expense of everything, even at the cost of its own soul. So, bigger the capital’s control, spanning the world, bigger the crises, encompassing the globe. So, the near-complete globalization by capital has entered into the age of crises. And, crisis carries seeds of possibilities.
[The introduction of The Age of Crisis by Farooque Chowdhury serialized in Countercurrents concludes with this part.]