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Geopolitics in the era of Cold War 2.0

Geopolitics in the era of Cold War 2.0

The world is witnessing an AI or a high-tech war rather than just a traditional warfare—be it Russia-Ukraine war or Israel–Palestine conflict, while the conflicting parties have been massively ‘weaponizing technology’ and also undermining basic humanitarian laws. 

If the Israel-Palestine war, unfortunately, escalated over Iran or the Arab World with a shrewd intention of destabilizing the Mideast or disintegrating China initiated Gulf unity, the outcome would be more disappointing or costlier than that in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, or Libya in the past.

The massive US funding on the war in Ukraine and Israel, and possibly in Taiwan, instead of rationally investing on peace prospects, could not only induce divisions within the EU, NATO and other alliances, but could also affect the outcome of US election 2024 and impact the Russia-Ukraine war as well. 

Subsequently, it would leave a stronger precedent on the Taiwan issue. China, meanwhile, is widely garnering sustenance by taking advantage of a gradually waning US image, for its global political march. Against this backdrop, the world is most likely to be divided into two poles such that sooner or later every international conflict would ultimately end on Beijing-Washington negotiations, else slip into WWIII. Inviting a war is nothing but just an irrational competition on who would be stupider. Investing in war cannot be a wise ‘strategy’; instead, it is an ‘absurdity’. States, as responsible actors, should take steps for peace and harmony, and win hearts, minds and spirits of their nationals for maintaining a socio-democratic order.

The world is also observing a new version of Cold War centered on ‘democracy’ vs ‘autocracy’ in the form of tech and AI, data colonialism, data harvesting, cyber warfare, tech propaganda, intelligence sharing and spy-tech diplomacy, space race, maritime aggression, diplomatic maneuvering, interference in the internal affairs of states and unfair (and unilateral) tariffs or sanctions inconsistent with international laws. Consequently, global disorder is more disordered today. 

The induced “distrust and polarization of democracies” and disinformation from big tech and social media have been constantly challenging techno-democratic order, while the Russia-Ukraine conflict—that is largely marshaled by tech weaponries—is constantly fuelling for global disorder, and the Israel-Palestine conflict is likely to disunite the Arab World. The US, India and the UK as well as other influencing democracies such as Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea are going to polls in 2024, while the challenges to ‘electoral democracy’ following the risk of disinformation or the influence of AI and ethnic nationalism cannot be undermined.

In the past, the West undermined Russian tech, cyber and nuclear capabilities, while the consequence was that the US frequently witnessed vulnerability in its cyber security and is now facing grave challenges to democracy from within and outside. The West is not accepting China’s AI strength and diplomatic clout, including its four initiatives—BRI, GDI, GSI, GCI—while the consequence is that the world is being gradually divided into two poles seeking alternative global orders. The West is also not accepting India’s promising tech and Space strength. This disregard could end up making India an alternative power in the global stage in the foreseeable future.

Nevertheless, all the three influencing powers—China, India and Russia—have had remarkable history cum civilization, grand legacy, abundance of resources, strong national power capability, great population, greater size, rapidly emerging economy, innovative technology and remarkable defense capability, which none of the reigning powers can undermine now. While China has been the strongest of the three due to its AI supremacy, strong defense capability, gamut of intelligence and wider clout on the global stage. India is logically stronger because of its national power capabilities, including “fertile population” or “demographic advantage”, followed by strategic ties with Russia, bulky economic undertakings with China and geostrategic alliance with the US. Russia has become much stronger due to its tactical nuclear capability followed by stronger bilateral and geostrategic ties with China, India and North Korea.

The author is a geopolitical analyst

This article is part 1 of a two-part series