Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tilting Axis'

For the past 62-years, the American Dollar has been the foundation of the global economy, and the locus of world economic and political power. We rebuilt Europe and Japan following World War 2, and effectively forced the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union in the final decade of the 20th Century.

At the time there was no one else to do the work that needed doing, and American brain power, finances and labor were both catalysts and contrivances in the re-stabilization of the industrialized world.

Is there room for more than one “super-power” in the 21st Century?

Would a second, complimentary economic engine enhance world peace, and expand prosperity to other nations?
Is that necessarily good for America?
Does that spell opportunity for you?

There is now some considerable economic octane in the combined interests of India, China and Russia: the three countries are home to 40% of the planet’s population, are responsible for 20% of the global economy…and more than half of the world’s existing nuclear warheads, for those of you keeping score at home.

Imagine this troika in a partnership, which arguably could rival America’s position at the pinnacle of the world order. Not to compete directly, but to add their influence in the creation of “a more democratic, ‘multipolar world’.”

The foreign ministers of India, China, and Russia say that their alliance is not so much anti-US as it is pro-global economics, and “intended to promote international harmony and understanding,” based on the release issued jointly by the trio.

It is interesting that the concerns of these emerging nations closely mirror those of the US: What to do with Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Korea; what to do about energy security, nuclear non-proliferation and trade.

Same issues, same problems…but the really interesting possibility is that the same solutions might not be the result of this new, eastern brain trust. What they’re about is how to use their budding economic and political mojo so that Washington doesn’t have to tackle these issues alone.

Is this a natural progression, a Darwinian reaction to reality, as these diverse countries turn the corner from operating as command economies and metamorphosing into free markets?

Sounds promising…until you add in the a political dynamic, and realize that these three countries—while embracing Western-style economics—are diametrically opposed to America’s presence in the Middle East. Therein lies one of the planks in a platform for change.

Interestingly, while opposing US military operations in Iraq, these countries also do not relish dealing with a nuclear Iran any more than we do. But necessity is the mother of odd alliances, and Russia is selling nuclear technology to Tehran, despite concerns about western markets for the Motherland’s oil and gas sales. And China and India’s thirst for oil could shade its assessment of Iran’s position in the pecking order, as this new economic order evolves, half a world away.

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