The present era has changed its paradigm from military strength to economic power. The economy became a weapon of warfare to defeat rivals, without being involved in a direct war. The new mode of war is to capture the markets and natural resources of your rivals. The world has understood that traditional wars are not beneficial for the prosperity of countries, instead, trade is the tool to increase financial gains.
In the past, military capabilities were considered the sole power to defeat rival states. The state with the largest military can easily capture the land of its rival. The largest the military, the greater the power. But after world war II, the world pattern has changed, the economy is considered as the new power. Countries with greater economies are ruling the world. The traditional wars are now converted into trade wars, where states are indulging in increasing their market share. In the next paragraphs, we will discuss various economic conflicts prevailing in the world.
The strategies of traditional wars, now replaced with economical wars. The countries with more economic power considered as a strong force. Economically powerful countries are also strengthening their military capabilities to protect their interests and borders. In the present era, the countries are battling on economical fronts to produce cheap products from their competitors to acquire larger markets. This competition is both fruitful and alarming at the same time. Due to the competition, the costumers are getting high-quality products at a low price, but at the same time, the superpowers won’t allow new competitors to challenge their established hegemony.
The biggest example that we have on economic confrontation is the trade war between China and America. This trade war has changed the prominent doctrine of liberalism and capitalism, which had propagated the free flow of capital and products. America intends to enhance its domestic industry, and for doing so, it has reduced the Chinese imports. Trump’s ‘America First’ policy is to stop China from becoming the economic superpower of the world by discouraging imports from China and at the same time, increasing industrialization in America to produce maximum products to counter China’s rise. Analysts are predicting that this will eventually lead to further conflicts.
China is emerging as the largest industrial zone of the world as thousands of renowned companies have shifted their manufacturing units in China. China also surpassed Japan in producing cheap products. But there is another country that can be the biggest competitor to China, and that is India. It is estimated that in the next few years, India will be the most populated country in the world. A huge population means a huge consumer market. Due to poverty, the labor is cheap and the Indian government also providing facilities to foreign companies to invest in India. Both India and China are competing to create their hegemony in the Asian region. China perceives India as the biggest threat to its hegemony and economic power.
Further, the South China Sea is emerging as a new conflict among many nations due to the abundance of natural resources in the depth of water bodies. It is estimated that trillions of dollars worth of resources are available in the South China Sea. China created artificial islands in the South China Sea to establish its monopoly over the whole sea. China, Philippine, the USA, Japan, Vietnam are struggling to get control over the South China Sea. If this matter escalates, it will lead to disastrous consequences.
Also, the official reasons for the American invasion in Iraq were all a bunch of lies. The main motive was to get control over the oil fields of Iraq to run the industries and economic cycle of Iraq. Both the governments of the USA and the UK lied to their public about the core reasons for the Iraq war. The elite class wanted to extract the black gold from the wells of Iraq to fulfill their industrial needs. It is the biggest example that Superpowers invade other countries to extract natural resources.
Moreover, it is propagated through media that the Saudi-Iran tussle is due to the religious or sectarian hatred. This is total nonsense because, in the pre-revolution era of Iran, both Saudi Arabia and Iran had friendly ties, and both were allies with the USA. After the Iranian revolution, the new power in Iran wanted to create its hegemony in the Middle East by using the name of religion. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia want to create their dominance over the region. Both countries are rich with oil and other natural resources and want to capture the markets of the world. This economic warfare has led to the bloodshed of millions of innocent people in the Middle East region.
Furthermore, China is investing heavily in African countries in building infrastructure. It is estimated that China invested around $100 billion in various African countries to build roads, ports, markets, etc. China invested in African countries to expand its market and sell products in this region. The USA and European countries are viewing this as a threat to their established hegemony in Africa.
Similarly, India invested heavily in Afghanistan to trap Pakistan from both east and west boundaries. The investment led to a pro-Indian government in Afghanistan. The friendly ties between India and Afghanistan are a threat to the security of Pakistan. India is investing in Afghanistan to gain support from the Afghan government to create a nuisance in Pakistan. India is creating a disturbance in Pakistan from both the boundaries, through its agents. The Afghan government openly supports India on all the forums. If Pakistan’s integrity is threatened, this economic support of India to Afghanistan will turn into a dangerous war.
However, the conflicts in the Indian Ocean are inevitable as many countries are trying to create their hegemonic role in this region. Development of Chahbahar and Gawadar ports negatively influenced the role of regional and international powers like India, UAE, USA, Japan, China, etc. Gawadar port in Pakistan was built by China to shorten its trade routes, while India built Chahbahar port in Iran to counter Gawadar port. Politics over the Indian Ocean is a mess because many regional and superpowers are competing to gain control over this ocean. According to various analysts, the conflicts in the Indian Ocean can lead to devastating outcomes.
Besides, the Belt initiative road is a game-changer that will complete in 2030. China soared many countries into its economic web of BRI. This project will re-shape the entire region. China has resolved conflicts with many countries and included them in their BRI project. Although, the relations of India and Japan are not great with China due to several reasons, however, China has adopted policies that haven’t affected its trade with both of them. China has also adopted the policy of co-operation with its neighbors. China has established “String of pearls” from the South China Sea to the European continent. China also started providing financial assistance to various countries that were once considered allies of the USA. The USA is considering BRI as a threat to its hegemonic power in the world because China included more than 120 countries in its BRI project. The economic coordination between China and its BRI partner countries will minimize the leading role of America in the world. This can further escalate the tensions between China and the USA and the consequences will be dreadful.
Lastly, OPEC is a set of oil-exporting countries that decide the price of petroleum products worldwide. The current tussle between the two biggest members of OPEC Russia and Saudi Arabia, on oil prices, destroyed the oil industry in America. The USA threatened both countries to negotiate, otherwise, the consequences will be severe. The USA also threatened Saudi Arabia for withdrawing its troops from Saudi soil if the latter doesn’t stop oil price war with Russia. America is willing to wage another war to safeguard its economic interests.
From the above-mentioned issues, we can conclude that economy is the most important thing for any country, and countries go to any extent to safeguard their economic interests. The economy is a weapon for developed countries to gain superiority and establish hegemony over other regions.