The system of nation-states

Ah, the past. It's so comforting because it's already happened and we can control it. Economic and political subjects are also welcome.
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The system of nation-states

Post by sharoma »

As I write this in early 2024, we can safely assume it will be business as usual until at least 2030. In this post, I suggest we imagine which borders will transition from open warfare to politically and economically stable between 2030 and 2060.

The system of nation-states may have ended in a century, or two at the most. Before a planetary union is in place a system of regional unions will exist. The European Union is the best example. In time there may be a North American Union, composed of Canada, Mexico, USA. Wars speed up border settlements wherever they take place. Since France and Germany joined together, they do not have wars. Even better, there is practically zero risk of another war. Before they joined together in a union, war was a constant risk and devastating occurrence on at least three occasions. The Second World War sped up the eventual union of France and Germany. Simply, unions are a good thing. At worker level, at international level. People agreeing to work together and integrate leads to peace and prosperity. Capitalism is still the dominant economic system; as a result, wars still exist over population, land, resources, and political esteem.

By 2060 it is feasible a sovereign entity which is still powered by America, but which also includes Canada, Mexico, South America, and the UK, will exist. It would be known as the American Union because its power (both soft and military) will still be based in that region. In the Pacific rejoin, this union will also include Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Malaysia, and other smaller nations. In the northern hemisphere, the military of this state will inherit the entity known as NATO. It could also incorporate all the nations currently within the CPTPP. It will not be actively involved in the defence of the European Union’s eastern border. It will be focussed on defending the Pacific Ocean, the South China Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and all major trade routes between the continents.

Europe’s nations joined together within the European Union is the successful creation of an economic and political entity united behind German power. The EU currently projects soft power only and relies on its member states’ NATO alliances to defend itself. Before 2040 it is expected that NATO will abandon its military commitments at the border between the European and Russian regions. NATO will transfer to the EU all its European commands and withdraw its assets. The European Union will create a military by merging the commands of all member states, with no exceptions. Germany and Poland will contribute the most to the formation of the armies to be deployed on the eastern border. The UK will be the American Union’s European foothold – ‘Airstrip One’, in fact. Ireland will be the EU’s Atlantic position. These areas will maintain their prime importance as areas where American and European interests meet peacefully. If Ireland doesn’t unite before 2050, future unification questions will ask, should Ireland be closer to the American system or the German system? Either way, it will exist within similar democratic systems. The defence of the Atlantic Ocean entry points will be shared between the AU and EU, by virtue of Ireland’s position and France’s coastline.

An American Union, a European Union, a Russian Union, a Chinese Union, an Indian Union, an African Union. When the future planetary union is formed, it may be made up of these regional signatories. It is predictable that between now and then, warfare will determine where some of the borders settle. Border settlement is the language of the imperialist. Capitalism is imperialist in nature, so to adopt the language of the imperialist is necessary. Ukraine may become the new Germany, split between east and west. Historically, it is more likely it will fall within the Russian sphere. Unless the power of the NATO system intervenes, the EU must form a military to fight for Ukraine. If it is determined to bring Ukraine into the European system and prevent all of it falling under the Russian sphere, the EU will have to transform itself into a military power. This will see the rebirth of the Eastern Fronts seen in both world wars: Germans fighting Russians for economic resources and populations.

Today, it is possible there are leadership vacuums throughout the world. The sovereign-state system isn’t challenged yet. There may be no leaders in the west who are able to fully grasp the centuries-long processes at play. There is confusion in the west over who should defend Europe against Russia. NATO is not doing it and the EU is incapable. The United Nations, unable to prevent major war in Europe, is becoming obsolete. If there is continued conflict in Ukraine for a decade, the UK may be forced to side with an American Union, a process already under way with the UK government’s new ‘pivot’ to Asia strategy. By joining the CPTPP, the UK is reinforcing the Japanese projection of American economic power in the Pacific region. It is logical for the USA to eventually join and lead the CPTPP; if China does too, peace may continue in the Pacific. The UK will maintain its prime importance geographically as a base for American forces, but also economically as the European Union’s closest entrance point to the nations of the CPTPP and eventually, the American Union.

Although the war in Europe was important, establishing enduring spheres of influence in the Pacific was the USA’s focus. Its European front is protected by alliances. By 1945, Europe was occupied and controlled primarily by the USA and the Soviet Union. After World War 2, the USA and the Soviet Union both had the capacity to dominate the European continent, or at the least exhaust each other fighting for it. From 1945 until now we have seen a vacuum open in central Europe as America withdrew and the Soviet system collapsed. It is natural for Europe that this vacuum should be filled by the military power of the European Union, not the USA or Russia. The 20th century saw the UK abandon its 19th century policy of not committing military forces to the European continent. The 21st might see the UK transition back to a policy, aligned with America, of military isolation from the European mainland. A century after German military power was destroyed on the continent, it could emerge again as the central command in the military of the European Union. If this union remains friendly with America and Britain, all will be well. We can assume it will be this way forever. There is no longer a risk of Germany destroying French power, which was a major concern from 1890 to 1945. Ironically, it will be France with contributes nuclear capability to the European Union. This is a vital card it will have need to assert itself on the international stage as a superpower. Poland, today forming a large army, will be allied with Germany in taking on the bulk of defence responsibilities after NATO starts withdrawing.

In this world, the European Union will decide policy over where its eastern land border settles. This is not an issue which unites the UK, USA, Canada, Mexico, etc. Eastern Europe is a European regional question. At what year the American, European, and Russian unions merge into one, it is impossible to determine. The 22nd century, perhaps. Until then, there will be a decades long process of border settlement. This is played out globally, with each region in possession of areas where sovereign states have conflicts over land ownership. These conflicts over land are continuations of the usual capitalist conflicts for demographic reasons: workers and the infrastructure they build and maintain, women and the future workers and soldiers they are projected to have.

We are witnessing the increasingly violent unravelling of the status quo established after 1945. British Army commitments in Europe have been reduced continually for decades now, as has the size of the army itself. If the European Union is to insist on joining together the Baltic states, Poland, and Ukraine, within a German economic system, then the EU must be the entity responsible for the defence of its own member states. The current crossover which exists between the EU and NATO is confusing and unstable. Today, if Russia invaded the EU via the Baltic nations, the EU would have to appeal to NATO for assistance. The UN would be revealed for what it is: a failure.

In the long term we may perceive a positive of Brexit being the UK’s ability to disentangle from the costly defence responsibilities it has in Europe. The USA may need to prioritize its Pacific front and withdraw from Europe entirely. This is something which could happen under Trump, although USA accession to the CPTPP certainly will not happen under him. There is no longer a risk of German military domination on a global scale. It is a peaceful partner of the UK and USA. It can now ‘be trusted’ to form the basis of a European military alongside its old antagonists, such as France and Poland.

The instability we see now is the unravelling played out at various levels in all the colonial hot spots: in Ireland, Sudan, Pakistan, Syria, Myanmar, Israel, Ukraine. The UN is failing as the League of Nations failed before it. The UK has a foot in Europe and a foot in the Atlantic. NATO is overextended in the Baltics, being firmly committed to defend Finland or the EU nations in that region. The EU isn’t yet ready to defend Europe. What we can observe is the UK and USA continuing to work in tandem, Germany and Poland rearming, Russia seeking to establish an empire, Israel expressing extreme territorial insecurity, and instability in areas outside the American spheres of influence. As this happens, China watches and as always, urges “restraint”.
Robin Sharrock
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