Geopolitics of Technology and the Hydrocarbon Status Quo

The unrest in the Arab world, which has continued for
over a year now, implies one important conclusion beyond any ongoing regional
struggle for democracy: It is a reflection about the globally important
technological, even more about a crucial geopolitical breakthrough – an escape
from the logics of the hydrocarbon status quo, which – after Copenhagen 2009 –
failed again in Durban 2011.

“No one governs innocently” –
de Beauvoir noted in her 1947’s The
Ethics of Ambiguity…
After
a lot of hot air, the disillusioning epilogue of the popular McFB[1]
revolt is more firearms and less confidence residing in the Middle East and North
Africa (MENA) region, as well as a higher (moral and environmental, socio–economic
and political) carbon-energy price everywhere else. As if the confrontational
nostalgia, perpetuated by intense competition over finite resources, in lieu of
a real, far-reaching policy-making has prevailed again. Caught in the middle of
its indigenous incapability and the global blind obedience to fossil carbon
addiction, and yet enveloped in just another trauma, the Arab world and the
wider Middle East theatre remains a hostage of a geopolitical and geo-economic
chess-board mega drama[2].                            However, all that appears
over-determined now was not necessarily pre-determined in the beginning…

A Grand Dilemma and the MENA

The MENA theatre is situated
in one of the most fascinating locations of the world. It actually represents
the only existing land corridor that connects 3 continents. Contributing some
6% to the total world population, its demographic weight is almost equal to
that of the US (4,5%) and Russia (1,5%) combined. While the US and Russia are single
countries, the MENA composite is a puzzle of several dozens of fragile pieces
where religious, political, ideological, history-cultural, economic, social and
territorial cleavages are entrenched, deep, wide and long. However, the MENA
territory covers only 3% of the Earth’s land surface (in contrast to the US’
6,5%, coverage and Russia’s 11,5%). Thus, with its high population density and
strong demographic growth, this very young median population (on average 23–27 years
old) dominated by juvenile, mainly unemployed or underemployed, but socially
mobilized and often politically radicalized (angry) males, competes over finite
and scarce resources, be they arable or settlers land, water and other
essentials.

Competition in this theatre,
that has a lasting history of external domination or interference, is severe,
multiple, unpredictable, and therefore it is fluid and unsettled on the
existing or alternative socio-economic, ideological, cultural and
politico-military models, access, directions and participatory base.

Interestingly enough the
recent crisis, pejoratively nicknamed the
Facebook Revolution
[3], has so far ‘knocked down’ only MENA republics (declaratively
egalitarian and secular regimes of formal democracy). For the time being, it
has spared the Arab peninsular absolutistic monarchies (highly oppressive
theocratic regimes of real autocracy). The modern-day version of  Metternich’s Alliance of the Eastern Conservative Courts – the Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC) club has so far gained considerably from the calamities: (i) strategically
– more durable regimes and ideologies, translated into their political and
diplomatic offensive[4]; (ii) institutionally – besides dominating the Organization
of the Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC), the GCC theocracies now practically
control the League of Arab States (LAS), sets its agenda, political direction
and punitive actions; and (iii) geo-economically – huge petro-dollar revenues:
enlarged quotas caused by the delivery disruptions and embargoes in Libya and
elsewhere, as well as the general crude price increase due to MENA
uncertainties – e.g. the Bahrain’s State Information Agency reports nearly 20%
economic growth for 2011. Hence, if there was any Spring in the Arab world, it
was the budding of (Wahhabi sectarian) ideological and hydrocarbon exports of
the GCC autocracies in 2011.

Nevertheless, the announced
reductions of the American physical presence in Afghanistan[5], its limits in Pakistan, massive overextensions suffered
on the southwestern flank of the Euro-Asian continent as well as the recent US
Army pullout from Iraq, is felt within the GCC (in France, Israel and Turkey
too) as dangerous exposure to neighboring (increasingly anticipated as assertive)
Iran, as well as Russia and China behind it. Right now, Syria pays a prize for
it: This multi-religious country may end up entirely combusted, creating a
dangerous security vacuum in the heart of MENA. Oil, its suppliers and its consumers
are resolute to fortify and eventually diversify and intensify their bitter
fight in maintaining the status quo course. 

Petro-retro Status Quo:
Petrodollars and petro-security

The US has a lasting geo-economic
interest in the Gulf of a rather extensive agenda, which is inevitably coupled with
its overarching global security concerns. As is well known, oil is the most
traded commodity in the world– roughly 12% of overall global trade. By far the
largest portion of internationally–traded crude originates from the Gulf. Thus,
the US imperatives in the Gulf are very demanding: (i) to support the friendly
local regimes, with their present socio-political and ideological setups; (ii)
to get, in return, their continued approval for the massive physical US military
presence and their affirmative vote in international fora; (iii) to maintain its
decisive force in the region, securing unhindered oil flows from the Gulf; (iv)
to remain as the principal security guarantor and tranquilizer, preventing any
hostile takeover – be it of one crude-exporting state by another or of
internal, domestic political and tribe/clan workings; (v) to closely monitor the
money flow within the Gulf and to recycle huge petro-dollar revenues, usually
through lucrative arms sales and other security deals with the GCC regimes[6]; (vi) will not enhance, but might permit (calls for) gradual
change of the domestic socio-economic and politico-ideological frames in the
particular Gulf state, as long as it does not compromise the US objectives in
the region as stated above, from (i) to (v).

On the other side of Hormuz,
Iran is a unique country that connects the Euro-Med/MENA with Central and
South, well to the East Asia, so as it solely bridges the two key Euro-Asian
energy plateaus: the Gulf and Caspian. This gives Iran an absolutely pivotal
geopolitical and geo-economic posture over the larger region – an opportunity
but also an exposure! No wonder that the US physical presence in the Gulf represents
a double threat to Iran – geopoli- tically and geo-economically. Nearly all US governments
since the unexpected 1979 Shah’s fall, with the G.W. Bush administration being
most vocal, have formally advocated a regime change in Teheran. On the international
oil market, Iran has no room for maneuver, neither on price nor on quotas.
Within OPEC, Iran is frequently silenced by cordial GCC voting[7]

The US hegemony in the Gulf,
a combination of monetary control (crude is traded exclusively in US dollars,
predominantly via the New York-based NYMEX and London-based IPE) and physical
control (the US Navy controls all transoceanic oil transports), is the
essential confirmation as well as the crucial spring of the overall US global posture[8]. In exchange for the energy inflow security, the US anchors
loyal bandwagoning in many places around the globe. As long as oil remains
priced in USD, it will represent the prime foreign reserve currency (some 68%
of global reserves is held in USD), as the functional tie between the major
currencies’ exchange rates, (economic and politico-military) security and
fossil-fuel energy cannot be derailed and delinked.  Finally, this hegemony is not only based on the
exclusivity of oil currency, but also on the exceptionality of the very policy
of pricing.

Throughout most of oil’s short
history, the price for ‘black gold’ was high enough to yield profits (via the 7-Sisters,
mostly for Wall Street – besides the US military, another essential pillar of
American might), still without pricing it overly high which would in return
encourage sustained and consequential investments in alternative energy
sources. Basically, the main problem
with
Green/Renewable (de-carbonized) energy
is
not the complexity, expense, or the lengthy time-line for fundamental
technological breakthrough; the central issue is that it calls for a major geopolitical breakthrough. Oil and gas are convenient for
monopolization (of extraction and international flows, of pricing and
consumption modes) – it is a physical commodity of specific locality. Any green
technology (not necessarily of particular locality or currency) sooner or later
will be de-monopolized, and thereby made available to most, if not to all. Therefore,
the overall geopolitical imperative for the US remains preservation – not
change – of the hydrocarbon status quo[9].

Ergo, oil (and gas) represents far more than energy. Petroleum
is a socio-economic, cultural, financial and politico-military construct, a phenomenon
of civilization that architectures the world of horizontalities which is currently
known to, possible and permitted, therefore acceptable for us.
In a broader historical, more vertical or philosophical
sense, the hydrocarbons, its monetization (and related weaponization) is to be
seen as serving rather a coercive and restrictive status quo than a
developmental incentive. That essentially calls not for an engagement but
compliance[10]. It finally reads that the fossil fuels’ consumption (along
with the policy of prizing it) does not only trigger one CC – Climate Change
(repeated failure in Durban), but it also perpetuates another global CC – planetary
Competition and Confrontation (over finite resources) – to which the MENA
calamities are only a tip of an iceberg. Therefore, this construct logically
permits only a (technological) modernization which is defensive, restrictive
and reactive.

Anything terrific between Arctic and Pacific?

“…bold Russian Arctic
policy is (yet) another signal that the Federation… will increase its (non
territorial leverage and geopolitical) projection as a major energy supplier of
the world throughout the 21st century…”
– I noted in 2009[11]. To clarify: Neither Russian territorial size and
historical passions, nor pride and socio-economic necessity will cause Moscow to
sink down to second-rank power status[12]. How will the Federation meet its strategic
imperative? We have already discussed the two important pillars of the US
strength (the so-called ‘East Coast twin might’: the Pentagon and Wall Street).
Well, there is the ‘Pacific Coast twin might’ too. The post-Soviet Russia has
neither the ideology – global soft power appeal of the US entertainment
industry and its ravenous (Hollywood), nor has it the vibrant, world-leading
and highly lucrative High-Tech and IT[13] sector (Silicon Valley) that the US possesses.

Let us generously assume the
quantitative and qualitative parity between the US and Russia’s armed forces. Still,
military modernization requires constant cash injections. How to maintain that?
Moscow holds a big advantage: the US imports hydrocarbons while the Federation
exports it. Nevertheless, Wall Street controls the international (petrodollar)
monetary flow – even the post-Soviet republics are not trading oil in Rubles,
but in US dollars. Hence, to meet and finance its strategic imperatives as well
as to respond to the growing international energy demands and to the domestic pressures,
Moscow has only non-high tech exports – fossil-fuels – at convenient disposal
(no Silicon Valley, no Hollywood). Ergo, Russia is more exposed and vulnerable
than the US[14], and therefore it is an even stronger supporter of
both current international market conditions[15] and the hydrocarbon status quo.    

On
the eastern, ascendant flank of Eurasian continent, the Chinese vertigo economy
is overheated and too-well integrated in the petrodollar system. Beijing, presently,
cannot contemplate or afford to allocate any resources in a search for an
alternative. (The Sino economy is low-wage- and labor intensive- centered. Chinese
revenues are heavily dependent on exports and Chinese reserves are
predominantly a mix of the USD and US Treasury bonds.) To sustain itself as a
single socio-political and formidably performing economic entity, the People’s
Republic requires more energy and less external dependency. Domestically, the
demographic-migratory pressures are huge, regional demands are high, and expectations
are brewing. Considering its best
external energy dependency equalizer (and inner cohesion solidifier), China
seems to be turning to its military upgrade rather than towards the resolute alternative
energy/Green Tech investments – as it has no time, plan and resources to do
both at once. Beijing (probably falsely) believes that lasting containment,
especially in the South China Sea, is unbearable, and that – at the same time –
fossil-fuels are available (e.g., in Africa and the Gulf), and even cheaper
with the help of warships[16].

Opting for either strategic
choice will reverberate in the dynamic Asia–Pacific theatre. However, the
messages are diametrical: An assertive
military – alienates, new technology – attracts neighbors
. Finally, armies
conquer (and spend) while technology builds (and accumulates)! At this point, any
eventual accelerated armament in the Asia-Pacific theatre would only strengthen
the hydrocarbon status quo. With its present configuration, it is hard to
imagine that anybody can outplay the US in the petro-security, petro-financial
and petro-military global playground in the following few decades. Given the planetary
petro-financial-tech-military causal constellations, this type of confrontation
is so well mastered by and would further only benefit the US and the closest of
its allies.                                                
    

To complete the picture,
both Russia and China are supporting the hydrocarbon status quo. Other major
theaters are all too dependent geo-economically; on a supply end (Central Asian
republics, Brazil, Canada[17], Mexico, Norway, Venezuela, etc.) and on a receiving
end (India, Australia, South Africa, etc.) – none is geopolitically emancipated
enough to seriously consider any significant tilt towards de-carbonization.[18]

EU-genic or Dynamic?

Less explicitly, the EU will
turn consensual to the hydrocarbon status quo, too. If taking a closer look at any
of the previous and current Brussels’ transportation and energy policy
initiatives, it would clearly show us that the notion was primarily driven by
the closest common security consideration denominator – as an attempt to decrease
the external vulnerabilities, that includes those of an energy dependency (e.g.
energy efficiency initiatives: EEP, Europe 2020, EUFORES, etc.).[19]

Hence, the Union was, first
and is, most of all a peace treaty for the post WWII Europe recovery. Therefore,
both settings (ECSC and EuroAtom) served the confidence building purpose, not
as the energy-related clearing house/s[20]. The energy policy (suppliers for and composition of
the primary energy mix, taxation, etc.) as well as the transportation (means
and modes) strictly resides in the individual competence of the Block’s Member
States (MS). Any change in the present status quo would assume the common platform
of the MS via the Council of the EU (and the subsequent formalization of such a
position, at least through the EU Parliament’s promulgation). The absence of
such a commonly agreed policy means more of the hydrocarbon status quo. Lastly,
it is not only that Atlantic Europe and Central Europe manage their respective
energy inflow, its composition and external dependences differently (and
selectively)[21]. The issue of the hydrocarbon status quo is closely
related to the very question of the Euro (and the US dollar-alternate: the British
Pound).

For the severely exposed
Euro-zone (unsettled global financial crisis), it is a bitter choice between a
petrol-pampered dollar (as a stability pillar) and the return to gold (meaning
to the pre-Nixon Shock times, before
the Bretton Woods consensus was renounced). Brussels and the European Central
Bank (ECB) believe they can exercise an influence on the American dollar, via
the US Federal Reserves, while nowadays gold resides everywhere – least of all
in the US or EU reserves or their mines. Simply put, the post-Nixon
currency/ies is/are negotiable; gold is a solid, non-corrosive metal. Also, one
should never forget that the politically most influential segment of the Union
– Atlantic Europe – shares the same ocean with the US, and all that comes with
it.  

However, besides Japan, Brussels
will remain a main promoter of the “Kyoto II” mechanism. The UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with its protocol from Kyoto of 1997 placed
China and India in the “emissions tolerant” Annex II, so both subsequently ratified
the Instrument. The US and Russia were situated in the much less forgiving
Annex I. Past the collapse of the Soviet Union and contraction of the
post-Soviet economy and demographics, Kremlin knew it could easily meet the
pre-1990 emissions target. Still, it was bargaining until the end of 2004. With
the 17% pollution allocation, Russia’s ratification was sufficient enough to
activate Kyoto, which eventually entered into force shortly after, in 2005.

The EU’s loyal support to
the Kyoto protocol and “spirit of UNFCCC/IPCC” has several levels. Without
ambition to elaborate it all in detail, let us just note that the Union’s
reasons are of political (declared principles) and economic (pragmatic) nature.
As the conglomerate of states committed to the supranational principle, it is
natural for the Block to (at least declaratively) support any multilateral
endorsement which assumes the supranational notion as well as the full
horizontality of implementation and monitoring of compliance mechanism.

The Kyoto provisions of the
late 1990s were in perfect harmony with the two grand strategy roadmaps of the
EU: the Lisbon (2000) and Goteborg (2001). This virtue out of necessity was
clear: in the globalized competitive world, the Union of modest economical and
of no demo-graphic growth has only the option to become a knowledge based economy, re-architectured as the fair and balanced
post-Industrial society[22]. Both strategies were gradually abandoned, the Block
enlarged (to Eastern Europe, mostly the states whose economies also contracted
past the breakup of the Warsaw Pact lager countries – meaning, who are able to
meet the Kyoto targets), and the Union’s post-industrial Green-tech renewal
waits for better days.[23] 

How swift is the shift?

Brussels is well-positioned
but it will not be a global frontrunner in any technology shift[24]. For such a turn, it has neither an inner coherence,
visionary strength, nor an external posture. The EU’s economic growth is very
symbolic, despite all the huge territorial enlargements of the past decade.
Actually, the Union’s growth could be portrayed as negative in many categories.
It always serves as a good reminder that a Europe of (economic and demographic)
growth was a Europe of might. Europe without growth is a Europe of principles –
the Eastern enlargement of the EU was this virtue out of necessity: a last territorial
expansion, exceptionally based not on coercion but on an ‘attraction’ of the EU’s transformative power

Within the OECD/IEA grouping,
or closely; the G-8 (the states with resources, infrastructure, tradition of
and know-how to advance the fundamental technological breakthroughs), it is
only Japan that may seriously consider a Green/Renewable-tech U-turn. Tokyo’s
external energy dependencies are stark and long-lasting. After the recent nuclear
trauma, Japan will need a few years to (psychologically and economically) absorb
the shock – but it will learn a lesson. For such a huge formidable economy and considerable
demography, situated on a small land-mass which is repeatedly brutalized by devastating
natural catastrophes (and dependent on yet another disruptive external
influence – Arab oil), it might be that a decisive shift towards green energy
is the only way to survive, revive, and eventually to emancipate.

An important part of the
US–Japan security treaty is the US energy supply lines security guaranty given
to (the post-WWII demilitarized) Tokyo. After the recent earthquake-tsunami-radiation
armageddon, as well as witnessing the current Chinese military/naval noise[25], Japan will inevitably rethink and revisit its energy
policy, as well as the composition of its primary energy mix. That indicates
the Far East as a probable zone of the Green-tech excellence and a place of
attraction for many Asians in the decade to come.


[1] McFB (the McDonalds–Facebook) is the author’s
neologism.  

[2] Analyzing the so-called Arab Spring and similar
revolts elsewhere, some authors went so far as to allegorically proclaim 2011 –
by paraphrasing the Time’s Magazine’s Person of the Year – as a year of the useful idiot. (Toni
Cartalucci, 24 DEC 2011, Global Research).  

[3] At least one outcome is certain: During the
‘revolutionary’ year of 2011, when mounting sovereign debt, painful austerities
and fracturing social protests ruled the day of many nations across the globe
including the Euro-zone, the popularity of  Facebook soared up steep. It now approaches
the magic number of 1 billion users, out of which 85% are outside the US and
Canada. Additionally, and contrary to the planetary recession, FB nearly
doubled its revenues: from 2 billion in 2010, to 3,7 billion USD in 2011. Since
its launch in early 2004, the FB founder Zuckerberg kept a stubborn resistance
to any public monetization. Finally, he himself rested to the tempting
pressures and set the moves to be listed at the NY Stock Exchange. The Initial
Public Offering (IPO) occurred on 01 February 2012, anticipating the instant
initial investment of minimum 5 billion USD. Up to now, these amounts were
associated only with the military and petro-chemical industries.      

[4] Recent membership invitation that the GCC has extended
on two remaining, but mild and moderate, parliamentary Arab monarchies, is felt
by both Morocco and Jordan more as a sign of pressure than a token of their
sovereignty appreciation.  

[5] Internationally and domestically, it becomes
increasingly difficult to justify that the US spends more than $100 billion per
year for a presence in a country whose annual GDP is roughly $14 billion, for
its 100.000 troops to fight Al Qaida, recently decapitated – when the Saudi
Rasputin/Wahhabi Houdini was located outside Afghanistan and eliminated.      

[6] Contrary to the typical moral condemnations and usual pacific civil
sector outcries, war and similar insurgencies (inter-state or intra-state) are
– in strict Machiavellian or perhaps ‘commercial’ terms – desirable
occurrences. Especially in countries where arms manufacturing and supply are
detached from the state-owned military complex (situated in the hands of
corporations), war-related military spending is usually good news for an
economy.   

[7] This is the reason why the second largest OPEC oil producer has opened
its own Oil Bourse in early 2008. The IOB/Kish Bourse was intended for Iranian
and regional crude, gas and petrochemicals to be traded freely in other currencies
than the USD. Until July 2011, this stock market traded only in oil-derived
plastic and pharmaceutical semi-final products using the basket of ‘petro-euro’
currencies – primarily Euro and Indian Rupee. Since fall 2011, oil has been
traded at the Kish Commodity Exchange too.

[8] The US is often criticized for its omnipresence, but frankly speaking,
maintaining the security of global fossil-fuel energy flow is silently taken
for granted (e.g. the Pacific Command of the US Navy covers and patrols 50% of
the Earth’ surface). To imagine any alternative, nobody dares contemplate. 

[9] Thus, the stubborn American resistance to provisions of the UNFCCC’s
protocol (Kyoto) is logical, if not justifiable. 

[10] Analyzing the directions of policy makers on particular items and
trying to interpret the policies adopted, it often appears that the main stream
scientific community is exclusive and conservative, dismissive and reactive, compartmentalized
and isolationistic, lacking the systematic and sincere inter-disciplinary
exchanges and constant horizontalization of debates. As if this community rather
cohabitates in consensus with and within, then it scientifically progresses
through a challenge and question, towards the bigger picture synthesis. Far too
often, politics of today suffers a deficit of true advice which would make operative
policies visionary and courageous, inspiring and convincing, broad and
inclusive, ultimately a far-reaching beneficial.

[11] Bajrektarevic, A. (2010), “Arctic and Antarctic – Security Structures
Surrounding the Two Poles”, GHIR 2 (2): 218-219.    

[12] Besides the late Romanov–early Bolshevik period, historically the
weakest Russia ever since the times of Peter the Great was certainly
Gorbachev–Yeltsin era. Past the dizzy Yeltsin days, the Putin administration
has recovered much of the Russia’s economic sovereignty. No wonder that Putin
is admired at home and feared abroad: his Russia has finally absorbed the shock
of loss of its historical empire. His third term in office (swop deal with
Medvedev) would further solidify the Russia’s overall standing.      

[13] Just an example: Google is the most powerful database
of informations ever searched on internet. Facebook is the most powerful
database of persons ever on internet. Not only that these two IT giants are in
the same country or same region, the HQ of Facebook is just 200 meters away
from Google’s former main building. 

[14] The ‘Arab Spring’ challenges Russian geopolitical positions in the
region, but it is not that bad for the Russian oil exports. 

[15] Trapped in a severe and lasting political deadlock (over the Doha
Development Round – DDR), and in the meantime silently eroded by many, the WTO
was still an international trade club that the Russians desperately wished to
join. After an 18 years-long negotiation marathon, Moscow was eventually
admitted to the Trade Organization in December 2011. 

[16] In effect, the forthcoming Chinese military buildup will only
strengthen the existing and open up new bilateral security deals of neighboring
countries, primarily with the US. Ultimately, it may create a politico-military
isolation for China that would just consequently justify the bolder American
military presence in Asia-Pacific, especially in the South China Sea. It
perfectly adds up to the intensified demonization of China in parts of
influential Western media. Hence, the Chinese grab for the fossil fuels or its
military competition for the naval control is not a challenge but rather a
boost for the US Asia-Pacific, even an overall, posture. A real challenge would
be a resolute turn of China towards the green technology, coupled with the firm
buildup of the Asian multilateralism. Without a grand rapprochement to the
champions of multilateralism in Asia; that are Indonesia, India and Japan,
there is no environment for China to seriously evolve and emerge as a
formidable and lasting global leader. More on the pan-Asian architectures in my
2011 work: “Preventive diplomacy: No Asian century…”     

[17] The recent Canadian withdrawal from the Kyoto mechanism (announced
during the Durban Kyoto II negotiations), thus appears rather rational and very
logical. 

[18] Modern history is full of examples where the crude exporting countries’
development was hindered by the huge revenues. Far too often, the petro-cash
flow did not assist but delayed or derailed necessary economic diversification
and political reform. Conveniently using revenues to buy and otherwise
subsidize social peace, those regimes (of rentier states) were/are actually
creating self-entrapment – ever stronger psychological and political dependence
on hydrocarbons.      

[19] When studying the institutions-making genesis of the phoenix
known as the EU, the three pillars are always illuminated. Apart from the Common
Agricultural Policy (CAP), two other pillars are of energy related names: the
European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the EuroAtom. Here comes the
paradox: how does it happen that the Union – resting for over 50 years on those
two energy-related entities – operates without a common energy policy to this
very day? Well, the answer is not in the name but in the very nature of these
entities. Both the ECSC and EuroAtom were only seemingly energy-related. Up to
the end of WWII, the nation’s output in coal and steel was commonly related to
military strength, and after Hiroshima, nuclear energy joined the basket of
these closely monitored (military/security) ingredients. 

[20] It is more the International Energy Agency (IEA), and
informal settings such as the G–7 and Davos that serve the energy clearing
house purpose than it is the EU Commission. 

[21] In late spring 2011 Chancellor Merkel has surprisingly but repeatedly
and firmly promised to her fellow Germans the closing of all national nuclear
plants. Mixing it with the growth and stability move, many applauded to this
heated political rhetoric, as a long-waited and badly needed plan for the
High/Green Tech renewal of the EU. Adding a flavor of emotional charge to it,
most analysts have interpreted the Chancellor’s bold word of promise with the
safety concerns related to that time brewing Japanese Fukoshima drama, as if
Germany shared Japan’s geography, reactor technology and seismic activity. However,
the majority of commentators remained silent on the timing which was well
coinciding with the successful completion of the first phase of the so-called
North Stream. It was the first of several planned, long pipelines that delivers
hydrocarbons from Russia directly to Germany via the North Sea seabed. This
arching pipeline eliminates any transit bargaining premium from the Eastern
Europeans and poses in effect a joint Russo-German pressure on the Baltic
states, Poland, Ukraine, and even as far as on Azerbaijan and Georgia. 

[22]The Prodi and Barroso Commissions have both repeatedly stressed that:
“at present, some of our world trading partners compete with primary resources,
which we in the EU/Europe do not have. Some compete with cheap labor, which we
do not want.  Some compete on the back of
their environment, which we cannot accept.”  

[23] The over-financialization and hyper-deregulations of the global(-ized)
markets has brought the low-waged Chinese (peasant converted into a) worker to
the spotlight of European considerations. Thus, in the last two decades, the EU
economic edifice has gradually but steadily departed from its traditional
labor-centered, to the overseas investment-centered construct. This mega event,
as we see now with the Euro-zone dithyramb, has multiple consequences on both the
European inner cultural, socio-economic and political balances as well as on
China’s (overheated) growth. That little, rarefied and compressed, labor which
still resides in aging Union is either bitterly competing with or is heavily
leaning on the guest workers who are per definition underrepresented or
silenced by the ‘rightist’ movements and otherwise disadvantaged and hindered
in their elementary socio-political rights. That’s how Europe departed from the
world of work, and that’s why the Continent today cannot orient itself(both critically needed to identify a
challenge, as well as to calibrate and jointly redefine the European path).The present-day Union, aged but not
restaged, is (in) a shadow of the grand taboo that the EU can produce
everything but its own life. The ‘Old Continent’ is demographically sinking,
while economically just keeping afloat. The cross-generational social contract
is silently abandoned, as one of its main operative instruments – the Lisbon
strategy – has been eroded, and finally lost its coherence. The end game of the
so-called Euro-crises will reveal that the financial institutions are neither
under democratic control nor within the national sovereignty domain. (E.g. 20
years ago, the value of overall global financial transactions was 12 times the
entire world’s gross annual product. By the end of 2011, it was nearly 70 times
as big.)

[24]To worsen a hardship, nearly all European states have responded wrongly to
the crisis by hammering down their respective education and science/R&D
budgets. It is not a policy move, but an anti-visionary panicking that cuts on
future (generations). 

[25]Tokyo is well aware that the Asian geostrategic myopias are strong and
lasting, as many Asian states are either locked up in their narrow regionalisms
or/and entrenched in their economic egoisms. Finally, Japan is the only Asian
country that has clearly learned from its own modern history, all about the
limits of hard power projection and the strong repulsive forces that come in
aftermath from the neighbors. Their own pre-modern and modern history does not
offer a similar experience to other two Asian heavyweights, China and India.  

References:

1.       
Muhic, F.,
(1983) Teorija Drzave I Prava (Theory
of States and Law), Svjetlost Sarajevo;

2.       
Cleveland, W. L.,
(2000) A History of the Modern Middle
East
, WestView Press, Oxford;

3.       
Bajrektarevic,
A. (2005) Destiny Shared: Our Common
Futures – EURO-MED Human Capital beyond 2020
, Crans Montana Forum, Monaco;

4.       
Maalouf, A., (1984) Les Croisades vues par les Arabes (The Crusades
Through Arab Eyes), Schoken Books
Inc. New York;

5.       
Rakove, J.N.
(1997) Original Meanings – Politics and
Ideas in the Making of the Constitution
, First Vintage Books

6.       
The UN
Development Program: Human Development
Report 2011
(IHD Index, Poverty and Inequality);

7.       
The World Bank –
World Poverty Index, (2005 PPP), Statistics: 1990 – 2010;

8.       
Bajrektarevic,
A. (2010) Arctic and Antarctic – Security
Structures Surrounding the Two Poles
, Geopolitics, History and
International Relations 2 (2): 218-219, Addleton Publishers 2010

9.       
Bajrektarevic,
A. (2011) The Melting Poles: between
challenges and opportunities
, Central European Journal of International and
Security Studies, CEJISS 1/2011– Special Edition: Arctic and Antarctic Meltdown

10.    
IAE, International Energy Agency – World Energy
Outlook 2011
, IEA Paris 2011;

11.    
The UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change, UN FCCC/1992/84,
GE.05-62220 (E) 200705 and the Kyoto Protocol to the UN FCCC of 1998, UN Office
of Legal Affairs;

12.    
The UN Climate
Change Conference, Durban 2011, Reports
November – December 2011
(COP 17,
Bali Action Plan and Cancun Agreements)
, Secretariat of the UN FCCC, Bonn
Germany

13.    
Stieglitz, J.
(2002) Globalization and Its Discontents,
Penguin Books

14.    
Brzezinski, Z.
(2004) The Choice, Basic Books
(Perseus);

15.    
Fukuyama, F.
(2004) State Building, NY Cornell University
Press;

16.    
Mawdsley, E and
McCann, G. (2011) India in Africa –
Changing Geographies of Power
, Pambazuka Press/Fahamu;

17.    
Kagan, R. (2003)
Of Paradise and Power, Vintage Books
New York

18.    
Primakov, Y.M.
(2004) A World Challenged, Brookings
Institution Press/Nixon Center

19.    
Kissinger, H.
(1999) Years of Renewal, Touchstone-
Rockefeller Center;

20.    
Ivanov, I.S.
(2002) The New Russian Diplomacy, Brookings
Institution Press/Nixon Center

21.    
Leonard, M.
(2005) Why Europe Will Run the 21st
century
, Fourth Estate London

22.    
Ignatius, D.
(2008) America and the World – Zbigniew
Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft
by
David Ignatius
, Advanced Uncorrected Proof Text, (September 2008) Basic
Books Washington

23.    
Friedman, G.
(2009) The Next 100 Years, Anchor
Books/Random House NY;

24.    
Future Conflict
Studies (2009) Understanding Human
Dynamics
, Report of the US Defense Science Board Task Force, March 2009;    

25.    
Mulgan, G.
(2006) Good and Bad Power – The Ideals
and Betrayals of Government
, Penguin Books

26.    
Bajrektarevic,
A. (2011) The Hydrocarbon Status Quo – Euro–Asian
Imperatives
, Geopolitics, History and International Relations 3 (2),
Addleton Publishers 2011

Bajrektarevic, A. (2012) Why Kyoto Will Fail Again, Geopolitics of Energy, 34 (1), CERI
Canada 2012 

Anis H. Bajrektarevic is former legal practitioner and the president of Young Lawyers Association of BiH Bar (late ‘80s). Former MFA official and career diplomat (early ‘90s). Research Fellow at the Institute for Modern Political-history analyses, Dr. Bruno Kreisky Foundation and the Legal and Political Advisor for CEE at the Vienna-based Political Academy, Dr. Karl Renner (mid ‘90s). Later, he served as a Senior Legal Officer and Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Vienna (Liaison unit with Governments and IOs) at the HQ of the Intergovernmental Organization ICMPD. Prof. Bajrektarevic is the author of dozens ILAW/JHA– and SD–related presentations, publications, speeches, seminars, research colloquiums as well as of numerous public events (round tables & study trips, etc.). He lives in Vienna, Austria. 

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