George Friedman, respected geopolitical forecaster, author, and founder of Stratfor and Geopolitical Futures, recently discussed the growing military tensions between China and India along their respective border (and the border of Bhutan), a theme frequently covered in our Top New Stories Column on the left hand side of The Sounding Line. Mr. Friedman dismisses that these tensions are not likely to boil over into a larger conflict any time soon but emphasizes the larger power geopolitical themes that drive the issue.
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George Friedman notes:
“Right now it’s not very serious at all. It’s dueling up in the Himalayas. What it really is meaning here is that the Chinese are developing an interest in crossing over the Himalayas at some point, not now, pushing southward into contact with Bangladesh perhaps, a country that sometimes has hostile relationships with India, and developing a presence in the India Ocean. Is this going to turn into that? Probably not. Are we in a situation that we really haven’t seen to quite this extent in over 50 years? Yes.”
“What is going on is that China is going through a transition. It was the majestic economic power of the world up until 2008. It no longer is. Its exports have fallen. It has social tensions. It has shifted from an authoritarian regime to a pretty full dictatorship, and that dictatorship has to legitimize itself. It has to show that it is powerful. By taking these minimal moves all around its frontiers, it can publicize that the Indians are falling back in front of the Chinese forces, not that they are, but they can claim that… They can do all these things for internal reasons, but in the end, having access to the Indian Ocean really matters to them (the Chinese). So one thing that is happening is just political. The other thing that is happening is geopolitical in the sense that these are the natural movements of great powers against each other.”
There is more to the interview, so enjoy it below: