/r/geopolitics

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Geopolitics is focused on the relationship between politics and territory. Through geopolitics we attempt to analyze and predict the actions and decisions of nations, or other forms of political power, by means of their geographical characteristics and location in the world.

In a broader sense, geopolitics studies the general relations between countries on a global scale. Here we analyze local events in terms of the bigger, global picture.

NORMAL THEME


geo·pol·i·tics | ˌjēōˈpäləˌtiks |

noun

The study of how factors such as geography, economics, military capability and non-State actors affects the foreign policy of States.

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/r/geopolitics

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2 Comments
2024/06/20
13:14 UTC

50

Why is the U.S. allied to Israel?

How does the U.S. benefit from its alliance to Israel? What does the U.S. gain? What are the positives on the U.S. side of the relationship? What incentivizes them to remain loyal to Israel? Etc.

159 Comments
2024/06/20
12:58 UTC

10

In 2023, Germany recorded an increase in the number of extremists, which was facilitated by Russia's war against Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East.

Berlin notes that Russia is increasingly resorting to blackmail and financial incentives to hire Germans to spy in its favor.

In 2024, we can see these actions and attempts only intensifying.

1 Comment
2024/06/20
09:05 UTC

0

Why a Chinese invasion of Taiwan in the near future seems likely

A lot of what I'm going to say is conjecture based on my own observations. Take it with a grain of salt.

It seems to me that there will likely never be a better time for China and Russia to attempt to sweep the USA off of its feet than right around election time in the USA. In my view, they would have to be idiots not to take advantage of the dominoes which are lined up for them.

These things are hard to predict obviously, but there are a number of things that would make a more imminent Chinese invasion of Taiwan (in months) more likely than not:

  • If China invades Taiwan, there could be a pretty swift 30%-40% drop in the big tech stocks (NVDA, MSFT, AMZN, GOOG, AAPL, META, and TSLA), and that would amount to something like 20%-25% of the value of the NASDAQ being lost. Then it would probably plummet much further in the days after, not only due to those tech stocks crashing, but global trade. To put things in perspective, the Great Depression started when the DOW plunged by 13% in a single day, and over 3 years dropped by nearly 90% from its peak. The market was nowhere near the size it is today (it was around 150th of the size it is now). https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/stock-market-crash-1929.asp
  • The US is spread a bit thin dealing with Ukraine, Israel/Gaza, and the Houthis in Yemen. Some big think tanks have done simulations to try to see how a war between the US and China over Taiwan would turn out, with mixed results, but usually indicating heavy losses on both sides. https://www.csis.org/analysis/first-battle-next-war-wargaming-chinese-invasion-taiwan
  • The US recently promised to make any Taiwan a "hellscape" for the Chinese, indicating that they intend to create a sort of autonomous vehicle defense perimeter around the island. It seems unlikely that China is going to wait around for the US to put that capability in place. https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2024/06/18/2003819527
  • The USA is more divided and polarized than it has ever been. People don't trust institutions anymore, and in some cases for legitimate reasons. For the illegitimate reasons, it's partly due to political parties and narcissistic politicians/cult leaders, but also misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda campaigns through social media, organized by both Russia and China. Most people are unhappy with either Presidential candidate, but a Trump win seems to be what Russia and China want, because he is not only incompetent, but sows chaos among the population and is viewed as more of an isolationist who may leave Taiwan and Ukraine to fend for themselves. Personally, I think there's not a chance in hell Biden wins anyway, but if there was, it's well known that in times of war, people tend to choose more authoritarian leaders. A pre-election war would very likely see Trump re-elected (I'm sure he would say "It wouldn't have happened if I were in there!").
  • China has embedded itself in USA infrastructure, hardware, and software for decades. International cyber warfare to-date has been pretty minimal, but as the USA is taking actions to try to crack down and disable China's capabilities, it could spur China into using the capabilities they have, while they still have them. https://www.reuters.com/technology/cybersecurity/fbi-says-chinese-hackers-preparing-attack-us-infrastructure-2024-04-18/
  • China has been increasing their own nuclear weapons stockpiles, in addition to their military spending and overall naval capabilities much faster than the USA. Even though it's often said that the USA spends 3 times as much as China on the military budget, it's believed that China's military budget is actually very close to the same as the USA's. https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/keeping-up-with-the-pacing-threat-unveiling-the-true-size-of-beijings-military-spending/
  • China has been stockpiling resources for years. They have entire warehouses full of raw materials that aren't being used. Nobody really seems to know why, but it seems like that would come in handy in a war. https://www.cfr.org/report/chinas-stockpiling-and-mobilization-measures-competition-and-conflict
  • The AI race is pretty much the new Cold War. Many believe that whoever gets the most superior AI the fastest controls the world. Now, since there are killswitches for the microchip production plants in Taiwan, it's unlikely China would be able to take control of those factories. Still, the fact that those factories exist in Taiwan, and the USA has made the more advanced chips which are produced there inaccessible (for the most part) to China, means that they probably view it as advantageous to wipe out the chip supply of the USA, since that will likely delay or completely stop significant progress from being made by the USA in the AI realm. This would flip the script and give China time to get their own more advanced fabrication plants and AI industry kickstarted and force the USA to play catch up, if China isn't too busy with war that is.
  • Xi Jinping isn't a spring chicken. Much like Putin, he may want to restore China to the status of a great empire before he dies, that way Chinese history will remember him fondly.
  • China and Russia have developed a very cozy relationship. Russia has largely evaded the impact of sanctions by buying from the Chinese, who mark up the prices of their own imports and resell to Russia, bypassing sanctions. At the same time, China continues to buy (and stockpile) oil and other resources from Russia, and if there were a conflict, they could be fairly insulated from energy market prices due to this relationship. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/indirect-china-russia-trade-is-bolstering-moscows-invasion-of-ukraine/
  • The BRICS nations have the ultimate goal of becoming the world's reserve currency, so if the US dollar were to collapse, it's very possible they could actually achieve this.
  • There are some patterns, such as the war/economic cycles (like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kondratiev_wave ) which have been analyzed by numerous historians for ages, and the current time period coincides with some of them; although it isn't understood how much the accelerated technological/economic development since WWII could have sped up or slowed down these cycles.

Now, there are also some reasons China might not invade Taiwan:

  • They hold a lot of US dollars in reserves. An economic crash or the collapse of the dollar would wipe out a lot of their own wealth, but maybe they have some sort of insurance or don't care (seems unlikely but who knows).
  • We do have a global economy, and China does import a lot from the USA, so cutting that relationship could likely cause a lot of strain on China, but then again the USA exports services more than hard goods nowadays, so the impact on them may be minimized to some extent, But inflation would still probably be an issue.

There are many things we don't know, and I'm just a dude who reads too much. At the end of the day, this is all speculation, but it seems to me that China and Russia are unhappy with the status quo, and they probably won't have a better opportunity to act for a very long time.

A lot of people say, "China doesn't start wars". But the best time to start a war is when it isn't expected by your enemy.

Am I wrong? Best to be prepared just in case anyways.

Edited: Fixed a couple typos

64 Comments
2024/06/20
08:20 UTC

12

How do you form good foreign policy?

In all my time listening to commentary on world affairs, I hear much criticism about this or that country’s foreign policy. So much in fact that I became curious as to what good and successful policies look like. I was wondering what people here think.

9 Comments
2024/06/20
07:43 UTC

8

US Lawmakers Meet With Dalai Lama

A bipartisan US congressional delegation met with the Dalai Lama in India, supporting Tibet's autonomy. China condemned the visit.

https://www.verity.news/story/2024/us-lawmakers-meet-with-dalai-lama

2 Comments
2024/06/20
06:57 UTC

73

What are the likely repsonses to a Hezbollah strike on Cyprus?

Following on from Hezbollah threats to strike Cyprus if it allows Israel to use its airpsace to attack Lebanon, what might the repsonse look like?

There's obviously a few dimensions:

  1. Greece & Turkey, both countries claim to be a defender of Cyprus. I'm unsure of how either might repsond to Hezbollah.

  2. EU defense pact, Cyprus is an EU member and EU members are bound by treaty to defend one another in the event of war. I've heard claim that could lead to a French led intervention.

  3. NATO, three NATO nations have troops in Cyprus (Greece, Turkey, and UK) if any of their bases are hit, or NATO troops are killed, would we see a NATO repsonse? (I'm aware Article 5 doesn't apply here)

Are there other possible dimensions?

44 Comments
2024/06/20
04:03 UTC

0

Could Russia frame a retreat from Ukraine as a move to prevent a nuclear war?

Submission Statement:

With the ongoing Western support for Ukraine and Russia's military struggles, could Russia frame a strategic retreat as a responsible move to prevent a nuclear conflict with NATO?

I've been thinking about the current situation and wanted to throw an idea out there for discussion. Given the underperformance of the Russian military and the continued support for Ukraine from the West, I believe Russia might consider a strategic retreat from Ukraine. They could frame it as avoiding a larger conflict with NATO, which would potentially require nuclear weapons, and present it as a responsible move to avoid a catastrophic nuclear war.

This way, Russia could claim they are prioritizing global safety and withdrawing with their heads held high, rather than admitting defeat. It might be a way for them to save face while ending the conflict.

What do you all think? Could this be a plausible scenario or just wishful thinking?

7 Comments
2024/06/19
14:58 UTC

11

The drone war is on the verge of entering a new phase

Disclaimer: This is just the thoughts of a hobby enthusiast so please do not take it too seriously and please do come wih opinions.

Submission statement: The Russian aggression against Ukraine has accelerated drone warfare technology, and I believe we are now entering a new phase. The possibilities drones can do seem to advance rapidly.

In this submission statement, I will discuss what is happening, focusing on AI drones and what lies ahead.

The Russian aggression toward Ukraine has significantly accelerated advancements in drone technology, driven by the urgent need for both reconnaissance and combat capabilities in the conflict. As conventional warfare tactics have been challenged by the modern battlefield, drones have become pivotal for both sides.

Over the course of the two-year conflict, technological advancements that were previously anticipated to require a decade for testing and implementation in military doctrine have been rapidly realized. Ukraine's early adoption and innovative use of drones have been pivotal in this acceleration. This strategic shift has also played a significant role in compensating for the shortage of artillery shells experienced by Ukraine from December until recently.

Initially, hobby drones were adapted for military use by attaching grenades and deploying them via simple mechanisms, such as opening the light shutter. Today, drones have evolved to assume capabilities traditionally managed by a wide array of other systems.

On June 18, it was claimed (not yet 100% verified although there are pictures to almost verify it) that a Ukraine FPV drone stopped Russia may be the best asset of the war, the Lancet loitering muniton. ^(1)

The lancet has been a pain in the ass for Ukraine, with the easy-cost UAV having hit several high-valued military pieces, but with an even cheaper FPV drone stopping it, the scale of balance has been changed. While this might be just a fluke it might also represent a new phase in drone warfare.

Drones have increasingly played a crucial role across all domains of the war—land, sea, and air. Ukraine's strategic use of drones was instrumental in winning the battle of the Black Sea. By leveraging the lack of significant targets that would justify a Russian investment in developing their sea-based drone platforms, Ukraine was able to gain a decisive advantage.

With drones flying faster, better and packing more explosives, some experts believe it's just a matter of time before we have the history first shootdown of a helicopter/plane by a drone.

Now Ukraine are aiming at getting an air advantage and chances are they are succeeding in getting first into the next gen of air drones. At a weapon show in France Ukraine showed their "Bulava" drone.^(2)

^(AI DRONES)

I sincerely believe that the race for the next generation of drones will be dominated by those who most efficiently integrate artificial intelligence (AI). The side that achieves optimal integration of AI with drone technology will possess a decisive advantage, potentially maintaining this superiority for months until effective countermeasures are developed. This integration is poised to revolutionize warfare, enhancing the autonomy, precision, and overall effectiveness of drone operations.

Bulava might be the first test into this. Why will the tests of this drone be followed by every allied country in the world? ^(3)

Because it can in theory (not tested yet) be a self-sufficient drone that don't need no contact with an operator, making it more difficult to jam and track. You can simply launch it and within one hour its AI system can find a target or prioritize one if more, and destroy it within a radius of 60 km. A launch-and-forget drone that can hunt independently and conclude itself on high-value targets.

Ukraine is at the forefront on this because they have Western backing from AI companies, spearheaded by AI companies like Palanthir.

Now, AI drones are nothing new, already a year ago there was hype from both the Russian and Ukrainian side about their use of them. Russia showcased Lancet-3 with an AI interface, however, it was soon turned off as it was not effective. ^(4)

Ukraine initially faced challenges in integrating drones into its military strategy but is now making significant progress with the support of foreign investment and Western allies. These allies are also hastily rewriting their military doctrines to incorporate drone warfare. This collective effort is fostering rapid advancements that are almost bound to yield results sooner than later.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's minister of digital transformation and the nation's leading authority on drone technology, has indicated that AI-driven drone prototypes are expected to be deployed along the front lines in eastern and southern Ukraine before the end of the year.^(5)

Drones represent the future of warfare, and Ukraine made a strategic decision by investing in production capacity at the start of the year. This investment has resulted in the annual production of over one million drones and the emergence of several startups, positioning Ukraine as potentially the world's leading drone manufacturer and expert in the field.

With the war grinding on, a breakthrough in drone warfare, either by using sophisticated AI or punishing Russia in a cost-value ratio of destroyed equipment, might represent the best chance the country has to prevail against Russia.

Reference list:

  1. https://x.com/RALee85/status/1803353762603336089
  2. https://x.com/KyivPost/status/1803424040322781206
  3. https://united24media.com/latest-news/ukraine-showcases-new-bulava-loitering-drone-at-eurosatory-2024-expo-in-paris-811
  4. https://breakingdefense.com/2024/02/the-revolution-that-wasnt-how-ai-drones-have-fizzled-in-ukraine-so-far/
  5. https://www.msn.com/en-za/news/techandscience/ukraine-s-ai-drone-gamble/ar-BB1l3y12?ocid=weather-verthp-feeds&apiversion=v2&noservercache=1&domshim=1&renderwebcomponents=1&wcseo=1&batchservertelemetry=1&noservertelemetry=1
6 Comments
2024/06/19
14:53 UTC

6

Philippines accuses Chinese coastguards of piracy after violent confrontation

1 Comment
2024/06/19
20:32 UTC

30

Would a strongman leader help Haiti as other strongman leaders have done for there countries?

Hi there!

To preface, I am not deeply into geopolitics as you can most likely can tell by my history, however, I do understand its importance in understanding both nearby and distant countries that significantly influence our daily lives (some more than others).

What I always seem to recognize are the absolute, dictator-like leaders who do not care about breaking laws and simply prioritize pushing their nation and people into a better condition than before. Some examples I've noticed are Josip Tito, whose policies helped maintain a peaceful coexistence among his diverse citizens and who was seen as a symbol of unity within Yugoslavia. Considering his previous record in Yugoslavia, would the current issues in the former Yugoslavic states exist today if he were still in power? Another individual is Lee Kuan Yew, who has been called a dictator but who, in hindsight, helped propel Singapore to its current prosperous state.

Where I work, I often come across people from Haiti who sometimes express a desire for a dictator, showing a complete lack of trust in democracy. Their views prompted me to do some research whenever I could, and I feel perhaps they aren't wrong. Especially when China is seen as an "in your face" example where perhaps democracy isn't suitable for everyone, and having a strongman might be better.

Would anyone here who knows a bit more be willing to share your thoughts on this? Would a strongman be a net benefit long-term for Haiti, as strongmen in other parts of the world have been for their countries?

20 Comments
2024/06/19
20:10 UTC

0

What does Canada gain by hosting the Khalistan movement?

Given the bloody history of the Khalistan movement, which includes Canada’s worst terrorist attack and the assassination of an Indian Prime Minister, why does the Canadian establishment give a benevolent eye to the movement? Sure, violence has plummeted, but that doesn’t mean that the Indian government would soften its stance against the separatists. Yes, not every Sikh separatist is a terrorist, but that didn’t stop thousands of innocent people from losing their lives. The Khalistan movement will always be of vital importance to whoever rules India given the suffering it caused. That could be seen in the Indian government’s response to the uptick in violent rhetoric, which led to the assassination in Canada. So by hosting the movement, isn’t Canada asking for trouble?

51 Comments
2024/06/19
19:19 UTC

8

The Possibility of India Resuming Nuclear Tests

India hasn't conducted any nuclear tests since the late '90s. Back then, they hadn't mastered hydrogen bomb technology (correct me if I'm wrong). Due to the limited number of tests, it's widely believed that while India has crossed the nuclear threshold, their nuclear technology is quite outdated. Many think it's clearly inferior to North Korea's.

Honestly, the current level of India's nuclear capabilities doesn't match its status or its aspirations. If India truly has ambitions, it should look for opportunities to conduct nuclear tests again.

The 2020s might be such a window of opportunity, for the following reasons:

  1. Increased U.S. Tolerance: With the U.S. feeling highly anxious, it might become more lenient towards India. In a few years, especially when China's nominal GDP surpasses that of the U.S., America might actually accept or even hope for a significant upgrade in India's nuclear capabilities.

  2. Russian Support: Russia might also secretly wish for India's nuclear capabilities to advance. Although I believe Russia aligning itself fully with the East is the right path, there are still many pro-European factions within Russia. They are currently forced into a tighter embrace with China due to external pressures but might somewhat desire a check on China's power.

  3. Iran's Potential Breakthrough: If Iran achieves a breakthrough in nuclear weapons in the 2020s, India would have even more justification for resuming its nuclear tests. And if Middle Eastern countries tacitly accept Iran's nuclear advancements, their resolve to jointly sanction India would weaken.

Considering these points, if India resumes nuclear testing within the next decade, China might find that several powerful global forces have adopted a de facto permissive attitude. If China imposes unilateral sanctions, it could become an outlier in diplomatic circles.

  1. Modi's Leadership: Modi seems likely to continue ruling, but he surely has to think about the 2030s and the transition of power. If the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants to maintain long-term governance and effectively become a one-party state, a significant breakthrough in nuclear capabilities might be one of their strategies.

  2. Pakistan's Decline: This is the most crucial reason. Previously, India's restraint in conducting further nuclear tests was primarily due to Pakistan's counterbalance. In the late '90s, right after India's nuclear tests, Pakistan retaliated with tests of the same level. Since then, India realized that if they conducted nuclear tests, several major powers might secretly assist Pakistan in enhancing its nuclear capabilities. India didn't want to see this happen.

However, in recent years, Pakistan's situation hasn't been great. Its economy is struggling, and its political landscape seems quite chaotic. There could come a time when the internal instability in Pakistan reaches a point where even several nuclear powers have significant reservations about assisting Pakistan in enhancing its nuclear capabilities. Under such circumstances, India's concerns would be considerably reduced.

In summary, this is a serious issue, and China should start considering and preparing early. There are some aspects that China can't change, like the first four reasons. It seems that focusing more on the factor of Pakistan is the key.

6 Comments
2024/06/19
15:55 UTC

16

South Africa, an Ally of Russia in Africa and Within the Global South • desk russie

The Kremlin sees South Africa as the main power in sub-Saharan Africa, ahead of Nigeria, serving as a base for its continental strategy and its ambitions within the “Global South” and the world. Jean-Sylvestre Mongrenier’s latest piece for @DeskRussie_en: https://desk-russie.info/2024/06/16/south-africa-an-ally-of-russia-in-africa.html

3 Comments
2024/06/19
12:41 UTC

0

Will China encircle India to avoid the Malaca Dilemma??

China is currently expanding its international military bases... There are a plethora of interests and coalitions at play in the Indo-Pacific. Mirroring the general perspective of a realist and asking “who can do what to whom,” the US could, with its regional allies, blockade the Strait of Malacca to stop Chinese imports from passing through.

What do you think about this?

9 Comments
2024/06/18
16:02 UTC

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