A new world order is emerging before our eyes, a new era is on the rise. In aftermath of the 2008 crisis, new forms of cooperation, new ways of thinking, new actors, new solutions, new value systems appear. With the upsurge of geography and economic geography, former geopolitical achievements are being replaced by geo-economic ones, the race now goes for markets rather than territory.
Geoeconomics simultaneously shows up as the antithesis and greatest triumph of globalisation.
Another major landmark is the coming of the age of technology. In the new era after hyperglobalisation, one of the most pressing questions is the role location might play in a technology-driven space. In case data becomes the raw material of the 21st century, knowledge, creativity, and experience will turn out to be ubiquitously accessible services. We are heading towards an age of fusions and networks, with two critical buzzwords: interconnectedness and complexity.
A third major geopolitical trend is multipolarisation.
In a multipolar world order, the economic centre of gravity is shifting towards the East again, marking the end of a 500-year long Atlantic period.
While the 19th century was considered the age of the British Empire, the 20th century that of the US, the 21st will be the century of Eurasia. Europe and Asia are about to reconnect to form a new supercontinent, Eurasia. In the framework of post-Atlantic globalisation, any initiatives that aim to facilitate connectivity between the two, will play a decisive role in the future deepening of relations between Europe and Asia.
Such initiatives include international lending and investment, infrastructural developments, cooperation in R&D&I, the propagation of technical and regulatory standards, and the expansion of political decision-making institutions. In recent years, one of the most ambitious programs has been the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.
The Belt and Road Initiative was launched by the Chinese government in 2013. The essence of China’s long-term plan is to restore Eurasia’s historical, cultural, economic, and trade significance by creating/setting up a new intercontinental economic belt. The New Silk Road would comprise railways, sea and land-based ports, extensive motorways and modern logistic centres; in other words, networks that are realised in the form of advanced economic corridors. The main ambition behind the Belt and Road Initiative is to move the axis of the world economy from the oceans to the land, restoring and reinforcing Eurasia’s old politico-economic and cultural role.
As Europe and Asia are ever more connected, the Eurasian supercontinent might turn the most important cooperation in the world order. The Central and Eastern European region previously considered a buffer zone may become a gateway region, open to future flows.
The writer is head of Pallas Athene Innovation and Geopolitical Foundation