GIS Dossier: Autumn of the patriarchs
In many parts of the world, the outlook for political stability in 2018 will depend on aging, often long-serving politicians. Some are senescent leaders trying to manage a generational transition, others have caught their second wind and are bracing for a long run. Here is a short list of rulers who are losing their grip, handling tricky successions, or building their legacies with a late burst of vigor. They are a key human element in geopolitics.
Washington poised to become New Delhi’s partner in the Indian Ocean
Not since the Cold War has the United States paid such close attention to the Indian Ocean. Now the competitor attracting Washington’s attention is China, not the Soviet Union, and its closest partner is India – a country with its own concerns about Chinese designs in the region. The consequence will be an abiding U.S. military, economic and diplomatic presence in the region.
Geopolitics drives Japan’s economy
Japanese companies are making a big push overseas. The phenomenon is a result of a shrinking population, but also geopolitical pressure from China. To counter Beijing’s influence, Japan is using its economic heft to expand its reach and protect its interests. Its ties with countries like India and Australia will continue to grow, and it will step into the vacuums left by a withdrawing United States and an overstretched China.
Doklam standoff reflects changing China-India relationship
The military showdown between unarmed Chinese and Indian troops on the Doklam Plateau in the Himalayas is different than previous border tiffs in the region between these two Asian giants. The new dimensions reflect a changing relationship between Beijing and New Delhi, as both gain international clout. The current crisis is unlikely to get out of hand, but China and India will continue to butt heads.
GIS Dossier: Nuclear energy
The 2011 Fukushima disaster brought nuclear energy development programs around the world to a screeching halt – temporarily. Though Germany plans to fully phase out nuclear power production, Japan has brought several reactors back online, and other countries have restarted construction on nuclear plants. These developments have had huge geopolitical effects: Germany’s fossil fuel imports from Russia have grown, while China has found an opening to increase its sway on four continents by financing nuclear projects.
Modi unlikely to overhaul India’s state-owned giants
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power under the slogan “the business of government is not business,” but his administration has been slow in privatizing or “disinvesting” from the hundreds of inefficient companies owned by the state. In fact, it has moved actively to maximize the revenue the government can squeeze out of these firms to plug gaps in the state budget. Those who hoped for reform are likely to be disappointed.
India and Germany draw closer
India and Germany may seem like an odd couple. But a recent flurry of diplomatic consultations suggest that the two countries may be beginning to form a strategic relationship. What animates them is a belief that second-tier powers need to work more closely together to shore up an international order threatened by an assertive China and a whimsical United States.
GIS Dossier: Modi’s India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has harnessed identity politics to shake up India’s inefficient economy and turn it into a global player. At home and abroad, he has proved an adept operator. Geopolitically, Mr. Modi’s most important move is an increasingly obvious realignment with the U.S., as part of a long-term strategy to counter China’s bid for hegemony in Asia.
India and U.S. both look to contain China
U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have plenty in common – the most important of which is a desire to counter Beijing’s rising influence. With that in mind, Washington could support Indian policy in Southeast Asia and help New Delhi build its role as a maritime power.