The new international economy and geopolitics
The challenges of the current international system have been deteriorated and multiplied in the past 18 months during the COVID-19 epidemic.
Τhe problems which emerged from the 2008 global economic crisis have not been faced successfully by the international economic powers: To illustrate global debt is increasing, and at the same time, the gap between rich and poor states is also increasing; and the same applies to internal economic and social inequalities across states. Poverty and social marginalization generate instability which triggers immigration flows or the development of extreme ideologies such as Islamic fundamentalism, or far-right and far-left rhetoric, anarchism or populism. All these ideologies harm liberal Western democracies.
U.S. President Joe Biden is seen on the screen as European Council President Charles Michel attends a virtual U.S. global climate summit, in Brussels, Belgium, April 22, 2021. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool
The political turmoil is associated with the rise of new regional powers in the international sphere with China being the primary state, followed by others such as India, Russia, Turkey, Iran and Brazil. This rise triggered geopolitical instability. Thus many disputes and open military conflicts between states occurred across Asia, Middle East, North Africa, eastern and south-eastern Europe. In these regional disputes and conflicts the US, Russia, China and the EU are participating, to a greater or smaller degree and extent.
The presence of Greece is pivotal. Its geographical location is strategically important as a western border with the East, and also as a bridge for trade and economic flows needed by both the East-West axis and the North-South axis.
In addition to this, Greece is historically the pillar of Western values and has always been a stable and trusted ally of the liberal Western World, which currently faces many external and internal enemies. Τhe “navigation way” forward for Greece among the rocks of the current international system will determine not only the future path of Greece, but will reflect the path of the West as well. Critical importance to this way forward will be the strong and special Greek-US relations.
THE CURRENT INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC SYSTEM
Τhe characteristics of the current international economic system are highly problematic, thus difficult to resolve. A chain of «bombs» threaten international economic balance and similar threats occur from the developments in technology, trade and climate fields. The situation is as follows:
The global debt bomb.
In 2018 (before the COVID-19 crisis) the debt of developed economies was $130 trillion and the debt of developing economies was $55 trillion . The debt of the poor states was another $270 billion, thus total global debt was $185.27 trillion. Practically as a global society we finance our life and living standards from 1980 until 2020 (for four decades) with debt increases, which due to the unequal wealth distribution it is impossible to repay. To illustrate, the average annual global per capita income at the end of 2013 was just $2,920 .
However, in 2017 the per capita global debt was $86,000 . Although the above two statistical items have a four year difference , they vividly demonstrate that per capita debt far exceeds the per capita income. Debt increase (as economic policy option) is rational and acceptable in extreme economic conditions, however the use of the debt increase tool cannot apply for ever.
This «debt-trap» or «bomb», if it is triggered, will lead to situations where the 1929 crisis will look as a «kinder-garden». If the global debt trap explodes negative ramifications will occur across the banking industry, stock-markets, and commodities markets. Unemployment will skyrocket and possibly immense social unrest and disobedience will be triggered.
The bomb of unequal wealth distribution.
The debt rise per se, would not have been so alarming, if it was not associated with the rise of social inequalities and poverty. According to Global Wealth 2019 report, around 47 million people (or 0,9% of global population) control the 44% of global wealth ($158,3 trillion). The poor of the planet, around three billion people (55% of global population), have an annual wealth below $10,000 each! Τhe 55% of global population generates a total wealth of $6.3 trillion, just 1.8% of total global wealth.
Poor and rich always existed in economic history; However the current unequal distribution leads to a single one economic certainty: the long- run debt repayment is impossible. Τhe global debt, already higher compared to global GNP, could be repayed if such income unequal distribution did not exist. However, the current wealth and income disparity makes the payment of the debt impossible.
The bomb of fragile banking-financial system.
All economies have to spheres: The real sphere of the economy (agriculture and industrial production) and the monetary sphere of the economy (money and its by-products). From the 1980s decade financial capitalism dominated the international economy.
During the 1981-1992 period portfolio investments (in stocks and bonds) stood at $3,759.7 billion, whereas foreign direct investments (FDI) stood at $ 2,316 billion. During the 1988-1992 period investments in financial products (Certificates of Deposit etc.) stood at $1,642.9 billion. The average daily inter-bank lending increased from $1.04 billion in 1981 to $3.61 billion in 1991. According to the Bank of England, the daily volume of transactions in the London FX (foreign exchange) market increased from $90 billion in 1986, to $187 billion in 1989. The numbers for New York were $58 billion and $129 billion respectively; whereas for Tokyo were $48 billion and $115 billion respectively. By 1997 the daily volume of transactions across the global money markets was 40 times bigger compared to the volume of international trade. According to BIS (Bank of International Settlements- BIS) in April 2007 the daily volume of transactions in the global markets stood at $3.2 trillion. Thus during the 1980-2007 period the wealth was collected by the banks and shifted from states, enterprises and households. However, when the 2007 crisis erupted, banking institutions demonstrated their vulnerability.
By 2007, the wealthy player of the global economy (the financial sector) had to be rescued by the poor players (enterprises-households-states). This occurred and resulted in public debt increase. The 2007 crisis imposed $1 trillion cost to the global economy, whereas the COVID-19 crisis imposed (by the end of May 2020) $12 trillion cost globally.
Furthermore, a problem was generated with the bank loans. In the EU banking sector alone the amount of Non-Performing Loans, (NPLs) by August 2020 stood at $1.7 trillion! In Asia NPLs during 2019 stood at $640 billion, whereas in the USA the NPLs were constantly reduced, thus did not cause any alarm to the monetary authorities.However, across the globe at least $3,5 trillion (or even higher) are considered Non-Performing Loans, a trait which undermines economic stability.
The bomb of the overvalued financial markets.
Τhe fourth problem is the inequality between the financial and the real economy. The global stock-market wealth was reduced from $35,005 trillion in 1999 to just $22,833 trillion in 2002, but was increased again to $37,169 trillion in 2004 and to $49,924 trillion by 2006. By August 2019 the Wall Street (US stock exchange) was 5.5 times higher compared to the «Main Street» (that is the real US economy), when during the 1950-2000 period the rule was that the difference between the two stood around 2.5-3.5 times. Thus financial capitalism produces bubble values which are fragile in the long run in case of crisis.
If the stock-market bubble erupts households will see an immense wealth decline. This decline will reduce household consumption, which will trigger decreased production by the factories, thus increased unemployment.
The rise of China.
In this environment the rise of China has been immense. By December 2020, due to COVID-19 crisis, the Western economies reported huge GNP decreases, reduction of industrial production and increased unemployment. However, in China, the country where the COVID-19 was first appeared, reported an astonishing economic process for the 2020 year. To illustrate, GNP increased by 2.3%, yearly production of natural gas stood at 188 billion cubic meters and the foreign currency reserves of the Central Bank by December 2020 stood at the astonishing level of $3.5 trillion!
Containers are seen at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port in Shanghai, China October 19, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
In addition to this, China reported that by December 2020 a staggering number of 275,000 high-tech enterprises were operating across the country (triple number compared to 2015). Turning to foreign trade the number of freight commercial trains which moved from China to Europe was 12,400, which transported 1,140,000 containers with goods (this number was 50% higher compared to 2019). The year ended for China with two important trade pacts: Τhe signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership with the countries of Asia and the signing of the EU-China trade pact. Finally according to UNCTAD data, total global FDI during 2020 stood at $859 billion. From those China absorbed $163 billion (18.9%), whereas the US absorbed the $134 billion (15.59%). Thus for the first time China became the first country in the world in terms of inward FDI inflows.
The fourth industrial revolution and the role of the semi-conductor industry (or microchips).
In this scene the global industry (civilian and military) needs semi-conductors (or microchips) in order to produce all kinds of consumer goods (fridges, domestic electronic appliances, mobile phones, PCs and their screens, tablets, electronic car systems, satellite systems, airplanes, navigation systems etc.
This global market is dominated by US companies (Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, NVIDIA, Micron, Texas Instruments), however the US produces the 21% of global semi-conductor production. The remaining global production is spread as follows: Taiwan (17.4%), South Korea (25.3%), Japan (11.6%), China (15%), the rest of the world (9.7%).
International trade and shipping.
The 2018 International Chamber of Shipping report pointed out that sea-trade was 90% of global trade. However the UN UNCTAD report pointed out that sea trade had a vital role to play for the development of Asia. Thus 42% of loading and 61% of unloading occurs in Asia. The figures for Europe are 17% and 20% respectively. For the American continent the figures are 21% and 13% respectively. Oceania, follows, with 13% and 1% respectively; Africa with just 7% and 5% respectively. It goes without saying that sea trade is essential for the economic development of Asia; whereas its role for the development of Europe and the Americas is smaller. According to the UNCTAD report, sea trade increased from 4,008 million tons in 1990 to 10,702 million tons in 2017.
By contrast to the statistics of the shipping agencies the International Air Transport Association (ΙΑΤΑ), in its 2016 report, pointed out that global air trade was 35% of global trade. It is obvious that shipping agencies overvalue the size of global shipping trade; whereas air transport agencies do the exact opposite. However in spite of different estimates, global sea trade surpasses the 70% of global trade and is categorized as follows: dry cargo, liquid cargo mainly oil, other cargoes.
There were 35 main naval commercial shipping countries in 2017 with 44,036 ships of 1,755,783,748 tons of total tonnage. The total value of the ships was $770,109 million ($770 billion) and the average price per ship was $17.5 million. All the remaining other countries of the planet had just 6,119 ships with a total tonnage of 91,847,146 tons with a total value of $58,509 billion and the average price ship was $9,6 million. The main five naval states are illustrated below (Table 1, UNCTAD data).
From the Table it is obvious that China has the biggest number of ships (5,206) but of smaller tonnage (165.4 million tons compared to the 308.8 million tons of Greece). Its worth mentioning, that the US is in the 8th place (2,104 ships with 51,150.767 tons tonnage, valued at $96,182 million, with an average ship price of $45.7 million). Russia is in the 19th place with 1,707 ships with a total tonnage of 22,050,283 tons, valued at $9,081 million and with an average per ship price of $5.3 million. India has 986 ships of 22,655,452 tons, valued at $6,938 million with an average per ship price of $7 million.
The energy revolution and the green economy.
Τhe problem of climate change is illustrated by professor Zerephos who points out:
«In the twentieth century humanity has used ten times more energy compared to that used in the previous one thousand years...in the last forty years we perished the quantities of ozon layer which nature managed to produce in the previous 1.5 billion years. In the last century we created in the atmosphere as much carbon dioxide (CO2) as nature was able to remove in the past 1 billion years via photosynthesis process».
Climate change triggers migration movements, wars (for water), changes in temperature and climate, as well as forest fires in such an extent never seen before. In this framework, thereduction of carbon emissions, the pause of oil use and its replacement by shale gas or natural gas, as well as from wind, solar, water energy is an immense challenge for humanity.
THE GEOPOLITICS OF THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM
Having analyzed international economics we turn our attention to geopolitical evolution. Traditionally geopolitics distinguishes between land and sea powers. The former historically include Russia, China, Europe, whereas the latter include the Anglo-Saxon world. We point out that from 1588 until nowadays, the primary status in the international system was achieved by the naval powers who were victorious across several military conflicts [Seven Years War (1755-1763), Napoleonic wars (1799-1815), World Wars (1914-1918 and 1939-1945), Cold War (1948-1991)]. Throughout the period the Anglo-Saxons prevailed having under their control: 1) the flows of global trade, 2) pecuniary flows via banks, 3) industrial raw materials and energy.
However in the new international system the control of the above elements is jeopardized. Turning to international sea trade we distinguish four major trade routes:
1.The first route is the south. A ship based in an Asian port has to cross the South China Sea, the Straight of Malacca, pass the Indian Ocean and Aden, the Red Sea, Suez Channel, the Mediterranean, Gibraltar in order to terminate to the port of Antwerp. This is a 21,000 km. sea route and takes 48 days. This route nowadays is the prime one in international trade.
2. The second route is again from an Asian port departure towards the Panama channel, passing the Atlantic and terminating in Antwerp (Europe). This is the second-best naval trade option.
3. The third route is the North-West. In this case the departure from Asia continues between Alaska and Siberia and then between Canada and Greenland towards the Atlantic and Europe. This route is of limited use.
4. The fourth route is the Northern or Arctic Silk Road route. In this case again departing from Asia a ship will pass again between Alaska and Siberia (Barring straight), and then continue towards Siberia, pass the Archangel and finally terminate in the ports of Western Europe. This is a 12,800 km. route, and requires just 35 days of travel however –for the time- due to the Arctic ice this travel option is not attractive. However by 2050, due to climate change and ice melt, the importance and dynamism of the Northern route will increase. To illustrate in 2011 just 41 vessels had used it; by 2013 the number was increased to 71 vessels and by 2020 a total of 331 ships had used this route. Therefore, as time goes by, the importance of the Northern route will increase and the South route will lose some navigation traffic.
5. Thus the control which the naval powers enjoyed over international trade shall be reduced by the use of the Northern route for the first time in history. In addition the constant development of terrestrial, rail and air routes by China and Russia aims to increase terrestrial and air transportation of goods viz. a viz. the sea trade routes, thus eventually a bigger portion of international trade (and the wealth generated by trade) will be controlled by them (via the land silk road).
Therefore, the Anglo-Saxon powers must continue to exercise control over the South Sea route (Pacific-Indian Ocean-Red Sea-Suez-Mediterranean-Gibraltar) in the following decades. This is an immense strategic priority. If the South Sea route is lost (i.e. goes under the control of Beijing and Moscow) then, -with the development of the North Sea route and the aerial and terrestrial networks of Eurasia- the control of global trade (and wealth) will pass completely to the land powers, and if this happens, it will be a tremendous milestone in global history.
6. Unfortunately for the naval powers the control of the South Sea route is difficult due to the immense instability associated with this geographical axis:
- Arctic cycle, (the ice melt makes possible for the first time the economic exploitation of the region). In this region the interests of US, Russia, China, Japan, Canada clash.
- North Pacific, (the dispute between Japan and Russia over the Kuril islands remains unresolved as well as of fishing rights)
- North-South Korea, (the bilateral relations remain problematic and the nuclear program of North Korea creates additional frictions).
- South China Sea, (here there is an issue of uninhabited islets as well as an issue associated with natural resources and an additional issue of sea-trade routes). In the region the interests of China clash with those of other states (Japan, Ιndia, Philippines, Αustralia, Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia, Brunei.). The US oppose Chinese moves as well. The establishment of the US-Japan-India-Australia mechanism (QUAD) aims to block Chinese moves.
-Ιndian Ocean Here is a clash between Chinese and Indian interests. In addition across the Chinese-Indian borders there are multiple border incidents (Galwin valley etc). We stress the 1962 war between the two states, and the incidents of 2020.
- Ιndia-Pakistan, here the tension is associated with the region of Kashmir and also with the strong Pakistan-China alliance which is the biggest headache for Indian security analysts.
- Afghanistan, the Islamic fundamentalist threat remains and there is always the risk of terrorist threats against Western citizens and targets.
-Ιran, here the issue is complex. The country is considered by various Muslim states (Saudi Arabia) as a threat and from Israel. The nuclear program of Tehran creates additional concern and instability. The strong Iranian-Russian-Turkish nexus has puzzled Western analysts as well.
-Middle East here the old Arab-Israeli conflict, has been expanded with additional geopolitical headaches such as the Syrian crisis, the rise of ISIS and the Yemen civil war. In addition the Kurdish issue and the control of the water flows create additional instability.
-North Africa where the Libyan civil war has not terminated yet in spite of a provisional government in power.
-Caucasus, various problems occur here as well. The Armenian-Turkish relations are always poor, the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflicts and disputes remain, the Georgian-Russian relations are problematic, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, the energy corridors-pipelines some backed by the US and others by Russia all create a challenging picture.
- Ukraine, since the 2014 de-facto split of the country and the Russian invasion of Crimea the crisis remains unresolved.
- Baltic, the concentration of Russian forces has caused immense concern to NATO and the long-term intensions of Russia in the region cause extreme concern.
- North Atlantic, The return of Russian naval power forced the US to re-instate the Second Fleet and cooperate more closely with the Royal Navy of Britain.
-South Eastern Europe, The Kossovo issue can trigger again a conflict between Serbia and Albania. In addition the dispute between Hungary and Romania over Transylvania remain open although both states are in the EU. Finally the Hungarian-Serbian dispute over the province of Vojivodina remains unresolved. Recently Hungary requested changes in Trianon Treaty and this triggered Romanian diplomatic reaction.
-The Eastern Mediterranean remains another flash-point with Cyprus issue unresolved and with raising tensions in the Aegean and in the Greek-Turkish borders of Evros river due to Turkish expansionist vision.
- In Latin America Venezuela is another hot-point. The current crisis began on 10/12/2018 when two Russian strategic bombers Τupolev-160 landed at Caracas airport travelling 12,000 km. with air-refuel. The planes returned to Russia five days later but Moscow had sent a clear signal to Washington that its forces can be deployed south of the US. On 23/1/2019 the leader of the opposition Huan Guido was self-proclaimed president under the cheering of many supporters. In two days the US and 14 EU states as well as 11 Latin American countries recognized him as a legitimate new president. However Russia and China re-acted to this development immediately. Both Moscow and Beijing pointed out that Nicholas Maduro remains the only legitimate president. However the assertion of Russia and China is problematic since the people of Venezuela faces immense economic difficulties under the rule of Maduro. In addition to this, an economic power game was triggered, in which Turkey is involved, since according to Western sources, Venezuela sold to Turkey 73 tons of gold and another 127 million Euros were transported from Venezuela to Russian banks.
- The Great Power Rivalry (Washington-Moscow-Beijing tensions and Ibsen Triangle ). Beyond the geopolitical conflicts and disputes across Eurasia and Latin America we observe a Second Cold War between US on the one hand and Russia-China on the other (a new Great Power Competition). This second Cold War is far more intensive compared to the first one.
The analysis of the Great Power Competition across fields cannot fully analysed here due to size limitations however, I shall point out just three incidents to prove the above assertion:
1) During the Russian military drills “Vostok-2018” (11-17 September 2018) in which both China and Mongolia participated, the Russian side deployed 300,000 men, 36,000 tanks and armour vehicles, more than 1,100 airplanes helicopters and drones. The Chinese participation was 3,200 men with 900 tanks and vehicles, 30 airplanes and helicopters. During the drills in just 28 seconds, eight Chinese rocket launchers fired 320 rockets and the aggregate ammunition consumption of the Chinese PLA was above 100,000 shells and bullets. The exercise was the biggest demonstration of conventional forces power since the 1980s. The US and ΝΑΤΟ replied with “Trident Juncture 2018” (25 Οctober- 23 Νοvember 2018), with the participation of 29 states and with a force of 45,000-50,000 men, 150 airplanes, 60 warships including US carrier “Harry S. Truman”, and more than 10,000 tanks, self-propelled guns and armour vehicles. Although, the Western response was smaller in terms of numbers the political message was clear. Just one month after the Russian-Chinese drills the West was also able to respond.
2) The second military incident is associated with the nuclear drills of 2019. During the period 15-17 Οctober 2019 Russia used strategic nuclear forces during the exercise “Thunder 2019” (“GROM-2019”) using ICBMs type RS-24 YARS, as well as Iskander, Sineva (SS-N-23), RS-50 (SS-N-18) type missiles. In the drills an overall 12,000 men of the Russian Space and Strategic Forces used 213 missile launchers, 105 airplanes, 15 surface ships, 5 submarines, 310 special units etc. (Moscow publicized the drills by October 21st). The next day of the Russian drills, October 18th 2019 the US, UK, Canada and Australia replied. Three US military commands (US STRATEGIC COMMAND=USSTRATCOM, NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENCE COMMAND=NORAD and US NORTH COMMAND=USNORTHCOM) made the drills “GLOBAL THUNDER” and “VIGILAND SHIELD20”. Thus we have observed simultaneous drills with strategic nuclear forces; a clear proof of the tense environment between the two sides.
3) In the middle of 2019 the Commander of US Marine Corps, General David Berger pointed out that after twenty years of Marines focus in the regions of the Middle East and Afghanistan the interest (and deployment) is shifting in the Asia-Pacific, and this is caused due to Chinese actions.
It is the first time in global history that we have so many high-risk and high-intensity disputes or open conflicts in vast geographical regions. Across these regions the interests of US, Russia, China and other regional powers clash. It goes without saying that any additional tension in the Eastern Mediterranean, Balkans and North Africa increases the instability of the fragile international system and does not create any benefit to international relations.
Turning again our attention to the South Sea route we point out that any instability generated across the Pacific-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf-Yemen (Άden-Red Sea), and Eastern Mediterranean regions has a direct harmful effect on the sea passage. To be more specific if Russia and China attempt to exercise control in the South Sea route they have the following options:
1) Control of the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. This can be achieved if the PLA Navy and the Russian Navy achieve dominant regional control.
2) Control of the Persian Gulf-Hormuz Straight and the outer sea. This can occur if the Iranian Navy dominates the area with the assistance of Russia and China.
3) Control of Aden. This can occur if Yemen is under the control of the Houthi rebels which are assisted by Iran and opposed by Saudi Arabia.
4) Control of the Eastern Mediterranean. This can occur after a Greek-Turkish war with Turkey being under the control of Russia and China.
GREECE-USΑ AND THE HELLENIC-ΑMERICAN STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIP
Under this complex environment the traditional Greek-US relationship is strengthened. The control of Eastern Mediterranean by Russia is partially achieved by the deployment of S-400 anti-aircraft missiles in Turkey, Syria, and Crimea. These deployments put the control of the air-space of the region in the hands of Moscow and any increase of Russian naval deployment in the ports of Syria and Turkey will put the complete control of the region in the hands of Russia.
In addition to this, any Greek-Turkish crisis will be associated with changes in the Lausanne Treaty, but also in the Montreux Treaty, resulting in Russian exodus to the Mediterranean.
At the economic level the recent visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister in Iran and Turkey resulted in the signing of multiple economic and trade accords with these two states. The aim is clear: i.e. to bypass the South Sea route, thus giving an additional blow to the Anglo-Saxon dominance. In this framework the alliances between the USΑ-Greece-Cyprus-Ιsrael and between Greece-Egypt-UAE-Saudi Arabia (with France and India added) guarantee the Anglo-Saxon control of the South Sea route.
In the current period Greece, in terms of hard power, is not considered important due to small population, high debt, and limited industrial base. However, in spite of these meretricious disadvantages the country is:
-Pro-Western and pro-American (since the old anti-Americanism is reduced and has been replaced by Euroscepticism due to the austerity measures which have been imposed),
-Due to historical reasons the country enjoys excellent relations with the Arab World and Israel.
-In addition to this, although the current industrial basis is limited, the existence of rare earths items in Greece, which are the raw material for the production of semi-conductors, creates a unique business filed for joint US-Greek entrepreneurial action. Joint venture enterprises between Greek and US enterprises can be established in this market segment and semi-conductor production can occur in Greece which will cover the needs of the US civilian and military industry. (We point out that the US President signed an Executive Order (21-2-2021) which seeks to increase the US production of critical resources and raw materials. Furthermore, Grek-American joint ventures can exist in many other industries such as telecommunications, satellite systems, natural gas and shale gas exploitation, the latter especially from sea via methane hydrites, broader energy network projects, sea trade, pharmaceutical industry, medical equipment industry, timber industry, food and beverages industry, furniture industry, construction industry, steel industry etc.
In addition the geographical location of Greece provides to the US Armed Forces immense geographical location advantages for the establishment of military bases in numerous places from Crete to Alexandroupolis and elsewhere for land, naval and air forces which can operate in different zones.
Fighter jets fly over the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill, during the last day of the multinational aviation exercise "Iniochos 2021" in Athens, Greece, April 22, 2021. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
Finally the soft power of Greece has global impact. Greece is rightly considered the birth place of Western civilization. Greek ideas and values were for centuries pivotal to humanity. In spite of the current retreat of humanistic ideals due to the technological evolution Greece remains a link between peoples with different cultures and ideologies. This Greek trait can assist US policy in various geographical locations of the planet.
AN OPPORTUNITY NOT TO BE MISSED
The current global instability can –and must- be faced. For centuries the Anglo-Saxon World has promoted the ideas of democracy, economic development, free trade and progress. In this path Greece can be a supporter and a companion.
The success of the US and Britain in the twenty first century is associated with the constant control of the South Sea route which connects the critical geopolitical territories of the Anglo-Saxons (USΑ, Canada, UK, Australia, Νew Zealand), and starts from the Pacific, continues to the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, and Gibraltar.
The South Sea route has to be under the constant US control not only for geopolitical but also for geo-economic reasons since most commercial enterprises use it to transport the majority of traded finished goods and raw materials. The South Sea route can collapse either form regional military conflict, or from large scale terrorist attacks, or from the complete or partial control of the sea passage by Russia or China. If any of the above occurs the military, geopolitical and economic interests of the Western free world will suffer an immense blow.
Greece in this South Sea route has a pivotal role to play due to its geographical location and because it belongs to the liberal free Western world for decades. Greece was always an ally in the great battles for liberty and imposition of human values. That is why Greece can become a core state of the South Sea route in the following decades if the current economic rigidities are overcome. For this to occur the relationship with the US is critical. The relatively unlimited US economic strengths can bring to Greece massive Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and numerous joint venture enterprises between US multinationals and Greek companies in new and traditional economic sectors with mutually beneficial outcomes.
The pace of Greek reforms will accelerate. The solid allied nexus, and the the historical lessons can become the driving force for the new strategic dialogue which has started between Greece and the USA, in order to modernize the country even further at technological and cultural levels. Τhe triptych of strong defense, political will and national solidarity is the driving force which will utilize the benefits which will occur. In contrast, another historic opportunity shall be missed, and Greece will wonder as a rambling rose under the stress caused by antagonistic powers and conflicting interests in the Eastern Mediterranean crossroad.
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