As the world sadly ends the year 2014, perhaps capped off with another air travel disaster in Indonesia, the geopolitical situation between the West and the East (Russia, China, and the Rest) has perhaps made the world a more difficult place to live in.
The economic implications of trying to isolate Russia (and to a lesser extent, China) have had a profound effect not only in Europe and South East Asia, but also back to the energy lands of the Middle East. Not to be heard in the mainstream media to be sure, the petroleum kingdoms of the Middle East are unsure whether they can really stand the lowest oil prices not seen in many years.
The ever sluggish economic performance of the EU has not really made the peoples of Europe more prosperous. The search for decent jobs is still a struggle for millions, while economic activity in the continent almost solely relies on a resurgent Germany. It is widely accepted that if it weren’t for Berlin, the entire EU project could’ve fallen apart.
South East Asia remains a hotspot for territorial brawls, with China on one side, and South East Asian countries becoming more ‘assertive’ and being emboldened by the ever-present United States on the other. The situation in South America, especially with the anti-West stance of Brazil and other major economies there, is a little more bearable as the recent major elections have maintained the Leftist attitude of Latin leaders.
And yet, everywhere you look at the headlines, from the resurgent Islamic movements in Syria and Iraq, to energy uncertainties transiting the Russian-Ukraine border all the way to Europe, or to expanded American military presence in Australia, Japan and the Philippines to ‘contain’ China, the West has shown it is reluctant to yield to the powers of ‘the Rest’. The problem with this of course is the intensifying clashes from the Middle East to Ukraine, which has resulted in countless lives lost.
The scandals between the NSA and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have not even put a stop to the continued moral violations the United States is committing to the world. For instance, Guantanamo Bay still exists (which is surprising especially since Obama promised he will close it during his presidency) and those curious personalities like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange continue to be described in the West as ‘traitors’.
Drone attacks, which kill significant numbers of civilians, continue pursuing their own little “Mission Accomplished” strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Under Obama, the United States has committed more of these drone sorties than his supposedly war hungry predecessor.
As the geopolitical situation in most parts of the world remain unresolved, and with no resolution in sight, we can only expect to remember this year as perhaps the major turning point in a future global conflict that might finish the human populace for good. Whether that catastrophic future will arrive or not, we can only admit that the West will still play the greater role in helping foster another century of peace, or whether they will not relinquish their centuries-old power to emerging powers and risk global annihilation.