From Decolonization to Post-colonialism: the rise of the Second World

From Decolonization to Post-colonialism: the rise of the Second World

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Reviewing the famous work “the second world” by Parag Khanna

Khanna, Parag. 2009. The second world: empires and influence in the new global order. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks

The Rise of The Second World Image © The Radical Outlook

By Shahzada Rahim

Background

In our age, a new nexus between globalization and geopolitics has emerged, whose major concerns are resources, power, stability, and conflict. It was globalization that helped us to define the world as a single organism, where all issues are connected ranges from economy to resources. Perhaps, this is what casts a clear picture of the geopolitics of the 21st century surrounding the impacts of geography and ideology. Hence, enlightened Europe is looking for a new Mediterranean Union from Morocco to Syria, with Job creating investments and with the construction of new oil and gas pipelines.

The three superpowers United States, Middle East, and East Asia now have a 20% share in the global economy. In this regard, it shows that today, the second world is shaping the global order, as the first world does. In addition, the rise of the second world will provide a great opportunity for the Third World to develop itself, which the first World failed to give during the post-colonial phase. Moreover, the fact cannot be denied that the growth in the Third World Countries is higher than that of the First World. [1] Today, the countries in the second world are practicing sophisticated strategies to play off the Great Powers, in the hope of becoming the regional anchors. For instance, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are practicing this clever diplomacy in the pursuit of deeper control on the regional level instead of challenging the US, EU, and China.

Today, we are living in a world, whose socio-political dynamics are being determined by inter-imperial relations. It is empire, not civilization, which gives meaning to geography because empires are more concerned with power and growth rather than culture.  Empires are simply bigger than civilizations. In the latter context, the EU, United States, and China are the world’s three natural empires, each geographically unified, and militarily, demographically, and economically strong enough to expand.

In contrast, for Khanna, these are the structural shifts, which are shaping twenty-first-century diplomacy. On the contrary, if we overhaul the foreign policy of the United States, for Americans their involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan were central to the establishment of the New World Order. In this regard, If America wants the facing saving opportunity then it must collaborate with China and the EU in order to stabilize the global economy.

The inter-imperial relations

The contemporary discourse of international relations can only be understood under the symbols of the empire: EU, United States, and China. Likewise, the ethics of self-determination is dragging the world into a new era of political fragmentation. Because, for thousands of years, empires have been the most important political entities which had been responsible for maintaining world order and global power dynamics. Today, we are living in a world, whose socio-political dynamics are being determined by inter-imperial relations. It is empire, not civilization, which gives meaning to geography because empires are more concerned with power and growth rather than culture.  Empires are simply bigger than civilizations. In the latter context, the EU, United States, and China are the world’s three natural empires, each geographically unified, and militarily, demographically, and economically strong enough to expand.

On the contrary, there is a problem with empire what Arnold Toynbee once said; “empires are seduced with the mirage of immortality”. However, America claims to be the first global imperium of the twenty-first century but its power horizons are limited as compared to the last century imperial powers such as Great Britain and Spain. In the context of the Military, America is indeed a unipolar hegemon, which is at the top while the other regional military powers are below.

Power has shifted from monopoly towards the marketplace. All three powers are using Military, economic, and political powers to build the sphere of influence around the globe. Moreover, it is a fact that the world has never seen this sort of true competition. However, America’s national security aims at shaping the countries all across the board or at the crossroad but it failed to stabilize the conflicting region in recent years.

China’s mix of huge population, industrial output, and financial wealth make it a superpower with unprecedented potential. In order to maintain stability; there must be an equal global center of influence. Back in the eighteenth century; the imperial powers’ external expansion became a firm excuse for internal consolidation and in this way, geopolitics became the world’s domestic politics.

Geopolitical Marketplace

There is a famous dictum; “Power abhors Vaccum”—the collapse of the Soviet Union left the US, what the French called as ‘une hyper puissance’—an entity capable of deploying military anywhere in the world. Nevertheless, the collapse of the Soviet Union did not assure US global hegemony. Both Europe and China rose under the security umbrella of the United States. Today, the world is simultaneously being Americanized, Europeanized, and Sinicized.

Power has shifted from monopoly towards the marketplace. All three powers are using Military, economic, and political powers to build the sphere of influence around the globe. Moreover, it is a fact that the world has never seen this sort of true competition. However, America’s national security aims at shaping the countries all across the board or at the crossroad but it failed to stabilize the conflicting region in recent years. Therefore, this created a vacuum for China and the EU, to take responsibility for the peace initiative.

In the Geopolitical Marketplace, legitimacy is based on effectiveness—in comparison with the other great powers—America can learn a lot about legitimacy from the EU and China. On the contrary, China has its own way of becoming the paramount power by restoring its position as the ‘Middle Kingdom’. In the post-colonial discourse, Globalization is the new word for Imperialism. Moreover, there is three ‘C’ diplomatic style of the super-powers—America’s coalition, EU’s consensus, and China’s Consultation—are shaping the politics of the twenty-first century. [2] If we look outside the military domain, Europe’s power potential is greater than that of America.

According to Lewis Carol; “it is a powerful sort of memory, which only works backward”—if International Relations is the meteorology of the current events then Geopolitics is the climatology. It was the dawn of the twentieth century, famous German political geographer Frederich Ratzel argued that; “Empires needed to expand in order to survive”—like a rubber band. It was Rudolf Kjellen, the student of Ratzel, who coined the word ‘Geopolitik’, which Nazi geographer Karl Haushofer appropriated in order to expand his theory of expansive pan-regions requires homogenous lebensraum.

It is because; the European Union’s Foreign Policy is based on virtues conscious oriented diplomacy that refers to Europe’s Welfare Policy. On the contrary, today, China is presenting a third Model of Imperial Diplomacy—China has drawn its consultative patterns of behavior from the Confucius ethics that depends on truth and admiration.

In the domain of ‘Clash of Civilization,’ many believe that the emerging world order is poly-centric: China will remain primarily a regional power, Japan will assert itself more internationally, the EU will lack influence beyond its immediate region; India will rise to rival China, Russia will resurge, and an Islamic Caliphate will congeal as a geopolitical force. Moreover, according to Great power’s geopolitical calculations—India, Brazil, South Africa, and Turkey will be the ‘Great power balancer’.

What is geopolitics?

According to Lewis Carol; “it is a powerful sort of memory, which only works backward”—if International Relations is the meteorology of the current events then Geopolitics is the climatology. It was the dawn of the twentieth century, famous German political geographer Frederich Ratzel argued that; “Empires needed to expand in order to survive”—like a rubber band. It was Rudolf Kjellen, the student of Ratzel, who coined the word ‘Geopolitik’, which Nazi geographer Karl Haushofer appropriated in order to expand his theory of expansive pan-regions requires homogenous lebensraum.[3]  In the latter context, Karl Haushofer, derived this concept from the discipline of pure geography to develop his theory of Expansive pan-regionalism.

His continental peers such as British Geographer Halford Mackinder emphasized the life cycle of world organisms—but never concentrated on the question of how to defend Britain against the continental powers. Instead, he allocated his whole focus on the ‘Eurasian World Island’, whose heartland was the greatest fortress on Earth –which is inaccessible to sea—thus impregnable by British sea power allowing the land base power to dominate the world.

On the contrary, his strategic counterpart, the American Naval Strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan argued that in fact, the Oceanic power is key to global dominance—he writes, “The Empire of the seas is doubtless the empire of the world”. While Famous French historian and philosopher Ferdinand Braudel called Geopolitics ‘longue duree’ that refers historical order of the time.


Author

Shahzada Rahim is a Geopolitical analyst and International Relations, Expert.


Endnotes

[1] According to various analysts, the rise of the Second World will collectively challenge the first world in the coming decades.

[2] For instance, the Truman doctrine of the Containment of the Soviet Union in South Asia was based on SEATO and CENTO. Likewise, famous French President Charles De Gaulle’s famous phrase on Foreign Policy that ‘No friends, only interests. What former US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice said, “The great powers don’t mind their business”.

[3] The term ‘Lebensraum’ is a German word, which refers to a group or state, which is necessary for natural development.


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The Radical Outlook

The Radical Outlook is an online news web Portal designed for in-depth news analysis from the Eurasian region and beyond. It is Founded by a geopolitical analyst Shahzada Rahim.
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