The Endgame in chess might be incredible hard especially when you are running into a stalemate, how do you use your lasts pieces to get an advantage over the other person. Thinking careful about every step is very important.
This blog is a continuation of my previous blogs;
Blog 1: The openingsgame: The Ishtmus of Kra and the Route to Chinese Supremacy
Blog 2: Balance on the board: Gujarat the driving force of India
Blog 3: The Gambit: Foreign Policy, Building with Brics
Blog 4: Alfred Thayer Mahan
Blog 5: Pawngame: Myanmar the unpaved road to Democracy
Blog 6: En Passant: Military expansion in Asia
Blog 7: The players on the board: A brief look to the political landscape of Asia
Before I travelled to Bangkok, Thailand and thus Asia, I had already some clear ideas of which I wanted to write about. I clearly enjoyed writing blogs and somehow my perception on the world and the political landscape. I hope that you as reader will also enjoy this last blog in which all the parts come together to create the endgame.
The four phases of “war”
War comes in many forms and doesn’t onky exist in the physical form known as hard power, war also exist in the form of psychology. To make an example with the chess game I have constantly been talking about; A chess game exist of both physical and psychologal wars. When the white player moves his first part on the board the black player will certainly think how to react to this “Psychology”, the first player to take a piece of the opponent “Physical” starts the war. In politics it isn’t much different. In order to describe this process, I would like to use the Georg Simmel scale for conflicts that knows four phases.
1. Conflict of impersonal ideas, in politics when world leaders represent their people and country it is likely that other politicians are not interrested in the ideas of others, but only interrested in the interest of their own people and country. This basicly means that the conflict of impersonal ideas is mostly there between politicians. Conflicts of impersonal ideas are mainly solved by a dialogue! 2. Litigation is the judicial form of conflicts between countries if they can’t solve the problems they have together than they can go towards an higher court mostly via the body of the United Nations. 3. Feud or factional strife is the conflicts in groups. Countries can be united for example in the ASEAN community to reach the best for their citizens and each other citizens. This doesn’t always take in account that there are no conflicts between countries, as an example the spratly islands claimed by four of the ten ASEAN members. 4. war is the last resort when all other options fail in solving a conflict, there is only one option left which means war.
And as a last resort – war?
Before I started to study in Bangkok, Thailand, I was already of the opinion that Asia is a ticking time-bomb. Since then this opinion has only become stronger and stronger. This is due to many factors of which I tried to at least describe some of the most important factors that contribute to this upcoming wars that I expect to take place in about ten to fifteen years from now. So what are these factors?
Economic prosperity (See also blog 1,2 & 3)
The Asian countries have sailed almost flawly through the 2008 financial crisis that mainly hit Europe and the United States. The Asian Markets even managed to stabilise their growth, especially the BRICS coalition came out stronger then before with the world keeping more notice of them. Both India and China developed themselves more and as stronger global players. Gujarat was visible the driving economic force of India, whilst China as a whole was strongly performing, but appears still to be very dependent of the sea routes, since March 2014 discussions opened again on creating the Kra Kanal to make the country more independent.
Conflicts (see also blog 1,3 & 5)
However economic prosperity does not come alone it mostly entails conflicts. Economic prosperity offers citizens new behaviors and resources that are new to them. It offers the possibility to communicate faster with one another, bigger house, bigger cars and so on and so on. This takes in account that people live closer to each other and that conflicts can arise more easily over tensions.
The Kra Kanal as mentioned before would be a one of these conflicts arising. The project might be a great Chinese Economic expansion. However, India is not amused of the Chinese getting more access to the sea, this would threat the Indian security. The BRICS alliance might eventually step in to resolve this kind of conflicts between the countries. The Kra Kanal is not the only conflict between the two countries also on the land conflicts are still going on, with no end in sight. This might eventually be a very good example of a conflict solved by either litigation or feud.
Also Myanmar might be a real melting pots of conflicts the country has a wide diversity of ethnic groups inside its country. A large part of this ethnic groups is being suppressed by the Burmese government. It seems to be a matter of time before the conflicts escalates, with no help from the outside and a weak dialogue, Myanmar might actually be the detonator of conflict in the Asian region. The only way out of the conflict is likely to be conflict of impersonal ideas, thus opening up a dialogue.
War rhetorics (see also blog 4 & 6)
As I wrote earlier economic prosperity comes with conflicts, but mostly also with the increase of defense spendings performed by countries to protect what is theirs. We have seen a significant rise in war language handled by Asian military scholars. Especially the philosophy of Alfred Thayer Mahan is often stated by Asian military scholars and as his war rhetorics offered somehow the ideologies for the start of the first and second world war, we could somehow see a correlation with what might be the start of the “full Asian war” or maybe “world war three”? Especially with the rise of military spendings in Asia it is certainly that tensions between countries are rising.
Political leaders (see also blog 2 & 7)
But before everything escalates the key pieces are still in the hands of political leaders and it is mostly they who decide what will happen on the board. It is at least good to know their backgrounds in arising conflicts we know what we can expect of them.
The economic prosperity in Asia has a price and comes along with many conflicts, for now conflicts can still be solved in decent matters like; Dialogue, Litigation or Feud. However with borders becoming narower we might enter a dark time in the Asian continent that will has as a last resort war. Ofcourse we cannot look into the future, but my predictions are that in this way and with this economic prosperity we are only years away from a new war to evolve.