Geopolítica en evolución, una visión global de las últimas décadas

Evolving geopolitics, an overview of the last decades


07 | 03 | 2022


Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, the book examines the international dynamics that have led to the present strategic rivalry between the US, Russia and China.

In the picture

Cover of Lucas Martín Serrano's book 'Global vision. Un mundo en constante evolución' (Amazon, 2021) 333 pages

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has opened a new global geopolitical stage. Although logically 'Global Vision', by Lieutenant Colonel Lucas Martín Serrano, head of the Spanish Army Intelligence Regiment's Ground Systems Procurement group , does not include the new war taking place in Eastern Europe, as the book was published in November 2021, the international dynamics it presents are those that have led to this conflict and those that also fuel the strategic rivalry between the United States and China. The new order we are arriving at has been taking shape over the last few decades, and Martín Serrano's work focuses on them.

Global Vision' is result both from research and from the author's professional experience in the field of International Office and security. It is a detailed compendium of the main events that have shaped global geopolitics from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the present day. By addressing the most relevant conflicts in each region, the book highlights intertwined elements that allow us to understand that the actions of a power in a specific place and at a specific time end up having consequences at the international level.

The volume begins with a brief reflection on the beginning of the 21st century and the 9/11 attacks, and how these have conditioned world geopolitics in the following years. These events gave prominence to new international actors - from countries such as China and the United Arab Emirates to non-state actors such as Al Qaeda and Daesh - which joined existing ones such as the United Nations and NATO. All of this shaped an increasingly complex and convoluted scenario, reflected not only in diplomatic relations between countries but also in the Economics, society, etc.

After this overview, the book moves on to analyse the most significant events in each region. In the case of Africa, the author begins by narrating the Darfur conflict, drawing on his experience staff, between 2005 and 2006, as part of the African Union's mission statement AMIS II at partnership with the European Union. It is a conflict that has disappeared from the media spotlight, but is still alive. Two of the three main actors, Sudan and Ethiopia, remain highly unstable countries with ongoing national and provincial conflicts, ideal conditions for Islamist radicals to spread their ideology and create a large-scale conflict. Morocco and Algeria, for their part, are trying to jostle for position as a regional power. Rabat's concerns are centred on anti-terrorism policy, the prevention of violent religious extremism and the control of illegal immigration. According to Martín Serrano, this is a country that is learning how to operate with great agility in the international arena. Its intention is to establish itself as a predominant actor in the region, a role that Algiers has played until now; this has led it to return to the African Union and to reduce its dependence on the European Union, which is a burden and reduces its room for manoeuvre. Lastly, the author closes the overview of Africa with a review of Mali's status and its negative evolution due to the European Union's lack of effectiveness in failing to promote more effective measures to improve governance and Malian confidence in its institutions.

On the other hand, the Middle East continues to present an uncertain future, especially Iran. The author wonders what Tehran's real goals in the region are and how it will go about achieving them. It is true that its position has been weakened in recent years, especially after the death of General Qassem Suleimani at the hands of the US. However, the recent partnership with North Korea on development ballistic missiles has set off alarm bells, as it could jeopardise the tenuous balance achieved in the last months of 2020.

Martín Serrano pays special attention to the emergence of the United Arab Emirates as a geopolitical power. It is a country that enjoys the support of the US and other G8 members due to its economic importance, which also strengthens its role as a political and military power. Finally, Israel has established itself as a strong, prosperous and dynamic country, with great potential in sectors such as the defence industry, dryland farming, high technology and pharmaceuticals, which has favoured its relations with neighbouring countries. status The chapter on the Middle East concludes by describing the current situation in the region as one of tense calm, stressing that the actors are very measured in their movements, as it continues to be a very unstable area.

As for Russia's status and its relationship with NATO, Martín Serrano points to hybrid warfare as the main challenge for the West. Putin's 2014 technique in the Crimean peninsula caught the international community off guard and marked a before and after in terms of the way war is waged. It was the first time that the concept of a "hybrid threat" or "grey zone" had materialised in such an obvious and clear way, which has led states and actors such as the European Union and NATO to focus much of their activity on distinguishing and identifying this subject of hostilities, which are usually difficult to discern or clarify. Although Putin's current war in Ukraine has much in common with the traditional campaign, beyond the insistence on the art of disinformation, the hybrid threat continues to be a security threat for the West. challenge .

The book concludes this overview with an analysis of Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean. After years of maximum tension in the area due to the conflicts in Syria and Libya, which led to constant friction between Russian, Turkish and US troops, the status has been calming down. The author also points to the importance of the qualitative leap made by the Turkish defence industry. So far, Ankara has been able to play its cards very well with the European Union, NATO, Russia and its Eastern neighbours, and its geographical location allows it to play a leading role, especially in an area of major concern for Europe: gas. topic . The possibility of finding new gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean could reignite latent tensions in the area, increasing Turkey's influence.

To conclude, the book refers to the impact of the pandemic in the field of International Office and how, almost two years after its outbreak, it can be said that it has changed the world, the relations between people and, of course, the relations between nations. It seems that the consequences of the pandemic will continue to affect us for some time yet, and there will be those who will try to take advantage of status to achieve their own interests. However, the author stresses that the position of the major powers on the chessboard has changed very little. It is true that tensions between the US and China have increased, and that the solidarity of the countries of the European Union has been called into question due to the economic crisis affecting its members and due to the conflicts in Eastern Europe, where Russia has been acting in a very assertive manner.

This Russian assertiveness, highlighted by Martín Serrano, is what has led Putin to invade Ukraine, without it being clear for the moment where he intends to stop his advance towards Western Europe.