The Great Power Competition And Balochistan
The Balochistan Post
History of the world is but the history of continuous chaos and competition. Karl Marx interpreted it as a class competition between bourgeois and the proletariat, which is more likely a universal interpretation of history, while Hegelian philosophy maintains the ideological paradigm. However, both affirm the idea of dominance and submission in history.
The precision of the argument lies clash between Assyrian of Mesopotamia and the Babylonians. The power competition between Romans of Byzantine and the Persian of the Sassanid Empire was the consecution of the series. The mode of war changed in accordance with the requirements of the era, however, the primary cause was almost the same.
The ancient wars were material wars; a race between ethnic groups and tribes to occupy more resources. Then it turned to be more systematic, a war of crown ship. It was then, the larger scale wars took place between the greater civilizations. The medieval wars, on the other hand, were partly religious in spirit. The Jewish crown ship of King David was considered a direct threat to the newborn Christian Empire of Theodosius the one. The Islamic state of Madina alike became a firm standing threat to Christian Rome. Several international wars took place between the infant Islam and the Christian of the West, crusades aside. Consequently, the Islamic world order prevailed, pushing the west into dark ages. But then at the end of the day, it was unfortunate for the Muslim kingdom, indulging in ethnic and sectarian conflicts, which contributed to bringing the Islamic world order at the verge of its collapse. Here was when the enlightenment of the west took root.
The enlightenment period in the west was literally the yardstick to overcome the Islamic world order. Enlightenment or Renaissance period brought about new ideas, discoveries and inventions, that perpetuated social economic and political reforms in western society. Industrial and French revolution is the categorical examples it. With the command of the power structure, western nations expanded their grip on weaker societies of the East. Thus began the era of colonization, that maintained for a long-standing period as the new world order. The west became economically prosperous and socially more stable but political at a confused state. The clash between the European mighty powers began which changed the power dynamics of the West and caused splitting of the western society into smaller nation-states viz. treaty of Westphalia. The power competition was an unfortunate chapter of the west that indulged the west into a world war. It was mutual destruction.
Consequently, a new idea prevailed to counter the old but the destructive world order. The communist world order was the reliable rival of the multipolar world. After the second world war, the earlier capitalist world order became a systematic and organized force against communist Russia. The world was then dipolar after the second world war, communist USSR at one side and capitalist America on the other.
With that phenomenon on the ground, the mode of global power competition once again diverted and therefore the interests and the foreign policies of the nations changed once again. There was an undeclared and indirect cold war between the socialist and capitalist world order which came to an end with the defeat of Soviet forces in 1989. The world became monopolar, the United States with the sole superpower of the world. The new world order presented by Francis Fukuyama in 1991 was then Liberal Democracy which is still defended by the United States as a dominant global system. The collapse of the USSR was considered the end of history, assuming that no major incident will occur further. There will be no clash of civilizations and the world will ideologically, materially, socially and politically prosper as a whole.
But the fact is on the contrary. Unrest in the Middle East, uncertainty in western political dynamics, rising populism in the world, incidents of terrorism around the globe, an increasing number of refugees, religious violence and the rise of China comparatively make a single whole body of proof to repudiate the legitimacy of American World Order. American monopoly ceases to be legitimate as the clash of civilization is an upcoming episode.
In this circulation, China has emerged as an economic power and potentially ready to replace the American world order. Apparently, the power politics between China and the United States is economical in nature, but it is very likely that in the near future it turns to an Ideological war between the United States and China. And the emergence of the socialist republic of China can possibly be the resurrection of the5 socialist world order.
Therefore the emergence of China is a bone of contention for the United States. The world is no more a safe place and It’s inevitable that the great power competition has returned.
It is rightly forwarded that, “Whoever commands the ocean, commands the trade of the world, and whoever commands the trade of the world, commands the riches of the world, and whoever is master of the command, the world itself.” This idea was materialized by the British, France and other colonial powers at the 18th century and the United States after the second world war. Priorly the Hydro-Politics was confined in the Atlantic ocean region, however, the political experts presume that the hydro-Political competition has shuffled from Atlantic ocean to Indo-Pacific ocean. It is definite that whoever controls the Indo-Pacific ocean controls the world. US Secretary of state ratifies that, the Indo-Pacific politics will be the most consequential event of the 21st century.
In this context China is precocious, promoting its geostrategic plans. China has created a master plan of Belt and Road Initiative; a trade and infrastructure plan that spans Europe, Africa and Asia, reviving the ancient silk road trade route. The American believe that China’s rise is a direct threat to US national interests. They are aware of the fact that control of the seas determines the decisions on land. And this time the world’s centre of gravity shifted from west to east; the Indo-Pacific region. So the Americans have prepared to change their policies in the south Asian region and build a new strong coordinated economic and development policy for Asia in order to counter the Chinese expansionist policies in the region.
China’s supremacy in the region brings the two superpowers in direct confrontation. And this rivalry is not a good omen for the entire region. This hegemony can anyway be a product of several ethnic, religious, national and ideological confrontations in the region. The separatist insurgency of Balochistan, for instance, is a significant factor in this regard. Internal resistances are elements to invite the external hegemonic power to manipulate and disturb the inner conditions.
Now let us emphasis on the political dynamics of the region, concerning the cause of a free Baluchistan. The land of Baloch in the great power competition at the Indo-Pacific region is of great significance. The coastal belt of Baluchistan provides essential geostrategic preferences to the whole Indian ocean, consisting of one of the deepest warm water seaports and a great strategic location. Possessing these potentials Gwadar port has attracted the Chinese trade plane of BRI, making CPEC the backbone of their master plane.
But China Pakistan Economic Corridor is not recognized as a source of economic prosperity by the Baloch. They rather call it a tool of exploitation of their resources and deprivation. The Baloch militants have shown their anger against this project in several occasions. They have conducted several attacks on the CPEC projects, security personnel of Pakistan and Chinese citizens inside Baluchistan. The attack on Chinese consulate and at a luxury hotel in Gwadar is one of the major incidents that took place earlier. Baloch Liberation Army, BLA a separatist organization operating inside Baluchistan took responsibility of both of the attacks and threatened to expect more attacks. In a video message, a commander of BLA warned China to halt the CPEC project and stop manipulating the resources of Baloch without their consent.
Ultimately the Baloch insurgents have compelled China to regress. The current attack of Gwadar hotel attack has increased the security concerns around Beijing’s major development drive in Pakistan. China has expressed assertions over economic corridor’s viability, and sought an answer to Pakistan, stressing that “finding a solution to the violence is critical to the economic corridor’s continuing viability”. Beijing based military observer Zhou Chenming said, both the flagging Pakistan economy – hampered by high inflation, weak growth and limited foreign currency reserves – and security concerns cast doubts on the Gwadar port’s commercial viability. It is difficult, he said, for the Chinese people to conduct business in the region, further adding that “Gwadar wants to be in the shipping business, but it has failed to do so.
On the other hand, the Baloch insurgents have successfully attracted the attention of the hegemonic powers to support their cause. In this regard an ex-colonel of the United States, Lawrence Sellin has opined that it’s time to support the Baloch militants, equipping them with modern weaponry and train them to face the mutual enemy. However, there was no official declaration by the United States to support the Baloch cause. Even though American optimism for Baluchistan has great implications for the regional states. To sum up, the world has entered into an uncertain political condition. The great power competition that can possibly be a medium to change or maintain the existing world order is not confined to two major powers. It can inflame the whole region and beyond change global political dynamics. The centrality of the Indo-Pacific region in the great power competition is very crucial for the regional political struggle. And therefore the entire arena of political struggle is decisive for the people of Balochistan.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Balochistan Post or any of its editors.