Future Security Threats Essay
Future Security Threats
The tremendous historical changes taken place in the 20th century have completely reshaped the global political system. WWII and the Cold War period exposed the humanity to the danger of the global catastrophe, the nuclear arm race in the post WWII period combined with the reality of the Cold War had kept the entire mankind in tension for decades. The collapse of the USSR changed the geopolitical system of the global security radically.
The USSR – USA competition have been replaced by the more dangerous confrontation of the entire civilized world with the terrorism which occurs on the state level. The economic world structure has been changed due to rapidly developed economies of the two most populated countries, India and China.
The tremendous economic growth of both countries makes them the important players on the geopolitical and geo-economic arena. On one hand the economy liberalization of China may bring the optimistic forecast regarding the security issues connected with China but on the other hand its political confrontation with Taiwan brings the additional tension into the sub-region influencing negatively the global security.
Similar dispute takes place between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. There was a certain paradox in the Cold War confrontation between the USSR and the United States. Though the confrontation was very strong both countries realized the danger of the weapon of mass destruction proliferation. Both superpowers at least controlled the mass destruction weapon and did not arm their allies with it. The collapse of the USSR led to the uncontrolled mass destruction weapon proliferation.
The dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir brings tension into the sub- region. First of all it is a territorial dispute. It is a case when the territorial dispute between two countries, Pakistan and India has been transferred into the military confrontation. Secondly, the territorial dispute between India and Pakistan may involve a number of countries because of the religious difference between India and Pakistan. Pakistan may gain certain support at the Muslim world. Both countries posses technologies for the mass destruction weapon development. “Nuclear weapons have raised the stakes of the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan; and, there continues to be tension over nuclear weapons capabilities with Iran, China, and North Korea.”1
Such “local conflicts” may facilitate the new spin of the nuclear arm race which could bring the additional threat to the global security.
The danger of the nuclear technologies proliferation is inevitable. The alternative to the coal power plants may be the nuclear power plants. The nuclear power plants had been considered as a perfect alternative to the coal power plants causing the global warming effect due to the CO2 emission. The Chernobyl catastrophe in Ukraine indicated that the nuclear power stations could be very dangerous. However, the response to global warming should not, as some suggest, be the increased use of nuclear power. Even some environmentalists are now promoting the idea that nuclear energy could be the environmentally sound solution to the problem of rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.2
The world development of the last decades indicates the strong trend of the decline of the traditional North Atlantic influence and the raise of that of China. It could be said that the international order has been in transition from the West dominance to the East one. The world is bipolar and the economic competition shifts towards East – West direction. The political changes in China have opened the way of the nominally Communist China to its close integration to the world economic system. What is more, China gains access to the latest technologies from the advanced European countries. The attractive tax system, cheap labor and availability of the raw resources make the European companies shift their production to China. It is economically reasonable for the European companies but sooner or later the goods produced in China return back to Europe thus cutting off the European production and labor market and creating the additional tension.
The world seems to be destined to be bipolar. The collapse of the USSR did not lead to the world unipolarity under the dominance of the USA. The opposing vector was immediately occupied by rapidly developed China and India. The observers are arguing that the “US will not be able to maintain the dominant power and influence that it has enjoyed since the collapse of the Soviet Union.” This is not due to the decline of the United States’ power, but rather due largely to the rise of other powers. At the same time, in the 18 months since the launching of the Iraq War, the United States has faced a serious legitimacy problem. As a consequence of this process, its approval ratings have declined in Europe and the Muslim world. And yet it needs the co-operation of both if it has to win the war against terrorism. Under the circumstances the United States is left with no choice but to seek the co-operation of countries outside of Europe (at least other than “Old Europe”) and the Muslim world. That is exactly the region where the new centers of power are rising, where, this would lend strength to the increasing multipolarity favoured by China, India and Russia.3
The nature of the possible post-Cold War conflicts is defined by transmutation of conflict: from total and nuclear war to limited wars, inter-state wars to intra-state conflicts, and regular structured warfare to irregular (low-intensity) asymmetric conflicts. Inter-state war has lost much of its traditional rationale as an “instrument of policy.” But the overwhelming majority (and some of the most vicious) of conflicts since World War II have been within the states, and mostly resulting from ideologies in conflict. During inter-state conflicts the State could afford to fight and pursue developmental activities, and some (as in the case of the United States in World War II) even provided a boost to economic and industrial growth. But conflicts and violence within states will adversely affect human development directly.4
China and India with their problems with Taiwan and Kashmir could create certain threat to the global security.
If the reality of the Cold War recollected, the main principle defining the global security was the “symmetric” weapon balance. That means the superpowers were able or at least tried to obtain the symmetric adequate measures to keep the balance of the world power. Post-Cold War world order is characterized by the diversification of the power vectors. The traditional US dominance is competing with the newly emerged superpowers of India and China. Though both USA and USSR used to support some countries which are now referred to as the “terrorist regimes”, both superpowers realized the threat of the mass destruction weapon proliferation and never assisted any third country in the nuclear weapon development.
The Cold War of course was the utmost threat to the world community, but its “weapon balance” was the factor which assured certain security which was exclusively dependable upon the US-USSR relations.
Nowadays the threat of the global conflict may arise from the local conflicts. In relations with this China possessing nuclear weapon generates certain threat due to its confrontation with Taiwan. The US policy supporting Taiwan put the United States into the confrontation with China in the possible local conflict. The Taiwan issue clearly outlines possible global threat. It also indicates that the local conflicts involving the superpowers are no less dangerous than the conflicts of the Cold War period.
The roles of China and India in the new world order are very important. Both countries remain the major political players in the Asian sub-region. Another challenge to the global security is coming from the tensed relations between India and China. Still both countries realize their geopolitical responsibility for the common security. According to Indian experts it needs the guarantee of stability on its borders and in its extended neighborhood – the Persian Gulf, Central Asia, Indian Ocean region and Southeast Asia. Sourcing India’s energy needs, presence of large number of Indians in Persian Gulf and Southeast Asia, growing economic and security linkages with ASEAN, the threat of fundamentalism in Central Asia – are evident factors that necessitate greater Indian engagement with these regions. As a plural, democratic society, India’s engagement imparts stability in its neighborhood5.
The stability in the region and the entire global stability depend very much upon the bilateral Indian – Chinese relations. The situation is worsening by the fact that neither India nor China has restraining factors in the form of some international treaties. For example, during the Cold War arm race the world was shared between two poles of confrontation, USA and the USSR. Only two superpowers defined the global security. Nowadays in multi-polar geopolitics any tension may create a threat to the global security.
The cooperation between India and China may bring new interpretation to the world order. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao during his visit to India declared that “India and China could reshape the world order.”6 India and China have already taken the initial steps to gain the dominance in the region and in the entire world. After the centuries of disputes countries have already settled their disagreements. The attempt to make close economic relations indicates the beginning of the new era. Current era is an era of the information technologies. China is about to become the world leader in the computer hardware production. India due to the similar reasons is one of the main producers of software. Thus if India and China combine their efforts they may gain the global control over the information technologies and additional benefits in the global economic competition.
Thus the process of globalization may get the alternative version, different from the current one based on the USA-EU alliance. Both countries have passed difficult way from the Soviet support to the free market economy. The collapse of the Soviet Union left India and China facing the problem of the former economic dependence upon the USSR. India and China had to find the alternative economic solutions and they succeeded not only to survive in the new realities but to build competitive economic systems. No doubt the China – India close alliance will bring the stability into the world order.
One of the most important questions arising from the new global realities is that on the role of the current leader, the United States. The interests of the United States on one hand and India-China on the other one may face each other in the issue of oil. The growing economies of India and China will definitely require additional resources of oil and this will come into contradiction with the interests of the United States. This increasing demand and the continuing dependence of the United States on foreign oil will not only spike global energy costs but could create new tensions. The United States will be in the strongest position in the future if Americans make significant investments now to diversify their energy sources and help make clean energy technologies available to these countries.7
The threat of the possible war conflict is dangerous and requires the urgent measures due to the technological achievement which could be used during the war conflict. The information technologies could be widely used during the future military conflicts. There is no country in the world which may preserve the monopoly for the latest IT achievements. These technologies combined with the mass destruction weapon make the future wars mortally dangerous for the entire humanity. The measurement of the mass destruction weapon supply in the trotyl equivalent has not been important any more. Any military conflict with the use of mass destruction weapon will definitely cause the chain of local conflicts targeted to reshape the geopolitical situation and the roles of China and India in the global security will definitely become the dominant one in the 21st century.
China proclaims NU/NFU (No use/No first use) doctrine of nuclear weapon use. But this doctrine has more declarative character than the practical one. This indicates that China and India as any other states including the United States and Russia may cause the threat of the global nuclear conflict. That means the solution is not in the military-industrial sphere but in the political one. The latest events indicate that the terrorist groups may cause mortal consequence without possessing the nuclear mass destruction weapon.
The global security in the 21st millennium is the concern of the global policy makers and if they realize that the 21st century type military conflict will definitely affect the entire mankind disregarding the country of origin, the humanity will have the chance not to get involved into the new mortal war.
1. AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI
2. Chris Abbott, Paul Rogers and John Sloboda
3. Jasjit Singh
5. Brajesh Mishra
6. Clyde Prestowitz
7. LAWRENCE J. KORB AND ROBERT O. BOORSTIN
· AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI, THE CHALLENGES OF TERRORISM, available at http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:0A4NoQF7wHsJ:www.dean.usma.edu/sosh/Conferences/scusa/Challenge%2520of%2520Terrorism.doc+Nuclear+weapons+have+raised+the+stakes+of+the+Kashmir+dispute+between+India+and+Pakistan%3B+and,+there+continues+to+be+tension+over+nuclear+weapons+capabilities+with+Iran,+China,+and+North+Korea&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&client=opera, retrieved 23.11.2006
· Chris Abbott, Paul Rogers and John Sloboda, GLOBAL RESPONSES TO GLOBAL THREATS, Oxford Research Group, 2006, available at www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk, retrieved 23.11.2006
· Jasjit Singh, Common Responsibilities to Exploit Uncommon Opportunities, (An overview of global peace and security in the 21st century), available at http://www.motherservice.org/Essays/Peace%20&%20Security-ICPF%20Nov%202004%20Jasjit%20Singh.htm#_ftn1, retrieved 23.11.2006
· Brajesh Mishra, National Security Advisor and Principal Secretary to Prime Minister of India, Global Security: an Indian Perspective, April 13, 2000, available at http://www.fas.org/news/india/2000/braj-portugal.htm, retrieved 23.11.2006
· Clyde Prestowitz China-India Entente Shifts Global Balance, YaleGlobal, 15 April 2005, available at http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=5578, retrieved 23.11.2006
· LAWRENCE J. KORB AND ROBERT O. BOORSTIN, A NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY, Center for American Progress, 2006, available at www.americanprogress.org, retrieved 23.11.2006