Geopolitics in a Time of Rapid Technological Change

By Dr. Alain Dupas and Gerard Huber

The trend is clear: China and India, which were major economic powers until the 18th Century, are in good position to regain their domination by the year 2050. According to Goldman Sachs, the two other BRIC members, Russia and Brazil, are also on a rising trajectory, but less rapidly, which should enable them to catch up with Japan in a group of three “chasers,” to use cycling lingo, ahead of the “pack,” at the head of which we find the European nations, which are divided at the moment.


Does the BRIC concept have any meaning beyond the simultaneous rise in position of wealth in the world? Brazil, Russia, India and China have little in common with regard to culture, resources, political regimes or aims. This did not prevent them from meeting in June 2009 for the “BRIC Summit,” organized by Vladimir Putin in Russia. Will this meeting have a follow-up, which could mark the creation of some kind of “bloc,” allowing all four countries to have greater weight on the international scene? Considering the diversity of their interests, the chance of this happening is doubtful. There are also other countries, left out of the initial Goldman Sachs study, that will rise in the world hierarchy. The U.S. investment bank also came up with a new concept: the N-11 (or “Next Eleven” or Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam).


According to Colin Gray, a respected Anglo-American strategic expert, the only alliance on the geopolitical scene in the 21st Century that might be a serious contender to the United States would be a regrouping of China, India, and Russia, the three Eurasian BRIC countries. These three nations complement each other somewhat: Russia could contribute its military technology, inherited from the former Soviet Union, which remains very advanced, as well as natural resources; India’s scientific and technological community ranks very high and leads in computer science and its labor force is both qualified and cheap; China is able to mass produce cheaply and has huge financial reserves at its disposal.


Is reconciliation among these three powers truly possible?


Colin Grey thinks so, and believes that it could lead to a new “cold war” between an American camp (along with Europe and Japan?), and the new Eurasian “triple alliance.”

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