By Peter Zeihan
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For those with daddy issues, today’s installment in the ‘Post American’ series might be a bit triggering. If you’re still reading, we’ll be looking at the UK’s economic and security dilemmas as the global order falls.
The UK never quite came to terms with the end of its empire. Once the Brits joined the EU, they latched onto Europe for everything they needed and skipped over the transition that all the other imperial powers went through. So, they were already outdated, but had a crutch to rely on; then Brexit hit and it left the UK stumbling and fumbling.
With the UK’s future up in the air, there’s really only two paths forward. First, they could seek out new trade deals globally, but they’ll have to find some new non-imperialistic tactics to do so. Second, they could swallow their pride and nestle up under the Americans’ wings.
The UK will likely choose to align with the US, even if it means sacrificing some autonomy. The British mindset will be to push against this whole-heartedly, but it’s the most pragmatic way forward for our friends across the pond.
To kick off our ‘Post-American’ series, we’ll be looking at the Middle East. The best way to break this down is into three chunks: the role of the US as it leaves, the role of regional powers as they rise, and the role extra-regional powers might play.
The US has been bopping around the Middle East for quite a while now, but why were they there? The US didn’t need the oil, but their friends did…so the US stuck around to keep the allies in the game. But with the US now a net oil exporter, American interest in the region writ large has dwindled. Additionally, the US isn’t looking to help China – the region’s primary export customer – grow, so most of what is keeping the US engaged are just those legacy anti-terror fights.
The US exit strategy will play a role in what regional powers step up…the options are a ditch and run, appointing a successor, or crafting a strategic balance of power that the Americans can manipulate from a distance. Once the US is out, Turkey is the one to watch. The only thing that might keep them from leading the Middle East is being too involved in other regions. Saudi Arabia and Iran are the other two players to keep an eye on (and Israel could play a role, too).
The external powers that could play a role here are quite limited. Outside of the US, the only real country that could (and would want to) project power in this area of the world is … Japan. And with the Japanese/American partnership, the US will empower them to do so.
The best part of all this movement and power transition is that the US just doesn’t give a f***.
Peter Zeihan is a world expert in geopolitics: the study of how place impacts financial, economic, cultural, political, and military developments. He presents customized executive briefings to a wide array of audiences including financial professionals, Fortune 500 firms, energy investors, and a mix of industrial, power, agricultural, and consulting associations and corporations. Mr. Zeihan has been featured in, and cited by, numerous newspapers and broadcasts including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, AP, Bloomberg, CNN, ABC, The New York Times, Fox News, and MarketWatch.
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