Global Affairs in Challenging Times
Vassilios Damiras, Ph.D. (ABD)
President and Chair of the GEOSTRATEGIC AND GEOPOLITICAL STUDIES INSTITUTE
Momentous events shaped the beginning of the 21st century. September 11, 2001, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom created a new image for the United States as the sole superpower ready to punish totalitarian nation-states and nonstate actors like al Qaeda. Also, these cataclysmic events placed the U.S.A. as one of the main decision-makers regarding the socio-political destiny of the Middle East. Currently, the Arab Spring has created a new era of political uncertainty for the Middle East countries. Last but not least Iran threatens with nuclear holocaust the region.
In Europe the financial crisis of 2009, has challenged the existence of the welfare state and even shook the economic foundations of the European Union and its member states such as, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland. Also, the economic crisis allowed Germany to become the dominant economic power to influence the decision making of the EU and smaller nation-states such as Greece. It is unclear if the EU will survive under the umbrella of the Euro. One is clear that modern Europe resembles Europe of 1870.
The Balkan Peninsula is in relative peace under the auspices of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU). However, American and European leaders have a long way to complete for a permanent and stable peace in the region. Still Serbian, Albanian, and Bulgarian national aspirations can create serious problems in the region. The Macedonian dispute between Greece and Skopje creates new national renaissance for both nation-states. Greek-Macedonians and Slavic-Macedonians are determined to dominate regional politics and try to shape the destiny of the region.
In the Middle East the Arab Spring has created serious changes in the region. The socio-political turmoil in Egypt and Syria has seriously undermined the regional stability and the American national interests in the region. It is difficult to identify who is the foe or friend in these convoluted disputes. The United States, NATO, and the EU try to find viable solutions for both countries. Still a stable and permanent political solution is elusive. Middle East has been turned to a political volcano ready to destroy the Middle East and south eastern Mediterranean region.
In Asia proper China wants to be the main economic player. China has divided the ocean to Near Seas, Middle Seas, Far Seas, and Far Oceans. Also, China claims a 200 nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Under these divisions China builds blue water navy. Obviously, U.S.A., India, China, and Russia will play the great powers game regarding the destiny of Asia. The American government has moved military assets in the region to strongly indicate the America is there to stay.
South America and Latin America also have serious challenges emanating from countries like Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia which have left wing governments. In addition, the drug war in Mexico can potential draws American Special Forces operating in the Mexican proper. These regions are vital to American national interest since the Monroe Doctrine which was promulgated on December 2, 1823. Specifically, the Marxist-Leninist foundations of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have created the fourth generation of warfare, based on political attrition and misinformation. Thus, a new era of political turmoil dominates the region.
Africa has serious problems and challenges regarding economic and political development. U.S.A. and China compete for access to economic projects in the African continent. The rise on piracy in the Somali region creates a new era of asymmetrical warfare. Without a doubt the globe is full of political, economic, social, military challenges. Thus, international relations consultancy is imperative for a secure and stable global system. The United States needs to show strong leadership and determination.