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From the Arctic to the Indian Ocean: Making Sense of Eurasia's New Geopolitical Construct

10 Mayıs 2023 11:49

Geopolitics can be understood as “politics based on geography”. Eurasia is a term that covers the whole of the continents of Europe and Asia and constitutes approximately 1/3 (36%) of the world's land area. Already in terms of history, economy and culture, many experts accept the continent of Europe and Asia as a whole.

Eurasia, as an area of ​​political geography, is the area where world domination is established. To date, many theories have been propounded, true or false, in this field, and some of them have been put into practice. Starting from the Red Sea, the arrangements in the Eastern Mediterranean and Greece, the membership of countries such as Finland to NATO, and the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine do not make much sense when examined one by one. In order to better understand the events, a wider and in-depth analysis skill is needed, and it is not possible to understand the recent events in the Eurasian geography without analyzing and understanding this region well. When this point is understood, the struggles on the line starting from the Arctic Sea, through the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean are better revealed.

In fact, things are quite clear, if not influenced by the redirects.

In the last century, the United States had managed to achieve maritime dominance in the Eurasian geography by controlling the straits and passages on the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. During the Second World War, as the USA controlled these roads, Japan was defeated, which could not reach the energy resources it needed. Today, showing a rapid development in the economic field, China tried to overcome the circle with the cooperation it developed with Pakistan in the field of transportation and the "One Belt, One Road" project that would revive the old Silk Road.

However, at the beginning of the 21st century, an important issue that affected Eurasian geopolitics emerged: the Arctic Sea. The Arctic Sea has an area of ​​14 million square kilometers and is also known as the Arctic Ocean. This is an ice-covered sea that includes the North Pole. It is known as the "ocean" by the International Hydrographic Organization.

Due to climate change and global warming, the glaciers in this sea have started to melt. For this reason, this area, which could only be crossed by specially built ships, is now partially used in July and October. Moreover, the glaciers in the Arctic continue to decrease at a rate close to 14% every 10 years. In short, this sea finds more and more usage areas, and the time to be used is spread over a wider period of the year. Probably in the 2050s, the ice in this area will melt completely. This makes the area increasingly a strategic trade route. However, most of this trade route passes through the waters adjacent to the Russian economic zone, and ships to use it must obtain permission from the Russian authorities. Russia supports the shift of transportation routes to the Arctic region, using the piracy incidents in the Indian Ocean as an excuse. On the other hand, this trade route means bypassing the routes controlled by the US navy unless precautions are taken. Competition starts at this point.

This way: It significantly reduces travel time and transportation costs from regions such as China, Japan and Korea to Europe. For example, a ship departing from South Korea can reach a port in Germany in 45-46 days using the Suez Canal route, while this time can be reduced to almost 15-20 days over the Arctic Sea from the North. In other words, there is a shortening of almost 8 thousand kilometers on a 20-thousand-kilometer road. This situation carries the Eurasian geography to a different geopolitical point.

There are other issues that need to be addressed at this stage. Briefly, the most important of these is that almost 25% of the world's natural gas reserves and 6% of the oil reserves are located in the Arctic

China and Russia had begun to cooperate in this region since the early 2000s. During a scientific study in 2007, the Russians made their claims by planting a Russian flag made of titanium on the floor of the Arctic Ocean, in an area outside the borders of Russia's continental shelf. The cooperation of China and Russia was included in the "National Security Document" published in the USA in 2008.

In 2014, after Russia's invasion of Crimea, the United States began to take concrete steps to break Russia's energy dominance in the Arctic and other regions. These areas included potential resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. Especially in the 2020s, when the Pandemic Crisis was experienced, the military exercises of the Russians in the Arctic Region increased, and the area suddenly turned into a crisis area. NATO tried to respond to this move of the Russians with the "Dynamic Mongoose" exercise, which it started in the Arctic on June 29, 2020. In the exercise where advanced sonar capabilities were tested in a high-intensity anti-submarine warfare environment and 8 countries participated; He accompanied submarines from France, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as warships from Canada, Norway, England and the United States. Iceland, which hosted the exercise, provided logistical support to the allies in Reykjavik. Türkiye also participated in the exercise as an observer. After that date, the exercises and struggle for the Arctic Region continued until today. The increasing geopolitical and geostrategic importance of the Arctic caused the riparian states to review their strategies on both energy sources and transportation routes, and new sovereignty claims. Exercises, demands, military bases are reviewed accordingly. Even nuclear weapons are repositioned accordingly.

What the US was most uncomfortable with was the EU's energy dependence on Russia and the avoidance of some EU countries from policies that supported the US. The US, which controls the Red Sea entrance with its military base in Djibouti, is also very uncomfortable with China's military presence in this country and the Russian demand for a military naval base from Sudan. Russia wants to carry out its efforts to open up to Africa, especially the Central African region, through Sudan and to fill the gap in the decline of France in the African continent with its arrangement in Sudan. In the military field, Russia is trying to establish military bases on the strategic shores of the Red Sea. As a matter of fact, in December 2020, a military cooperation agreement was signed between Russia and Sudan for the establishment of a Russian naval logistics base in Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast. The American side openly opposed this step and the US Ambassador to Sudan specifically stated that it would destabilize Sudan.

The US does not want to leave this region under the control of the Russians. This is enough to explain the US attempt to create a line under its control from the Arctic Region to the Indian Ocean. Thus, it will be possible to control Russia and China by creating a US sovereignty area between the EU, Russia and China, not only in the energy field, but also economically.

The situation of China in the Red Sea and Africa is also important. In 2017, China activated its base in Djibouti, at the entrance of the Red Sea, where many countries want to acquire a base, and started to conduct exercises as soon as it became operational. This base, which has more than 10,000 soldiers, is stronger than the armies of many African countries with its weapons and capacity. This situation is enough to worry the USA.

The USA can use the airports, ports or military bases of these countries, when necessary, by making bilateral agreements with countries that do not have bases in the African continent. Its biggest base is in Djibouti, which controls the Red Sea, and it cooperates with France in this region. It should also be remembered that the USA cooperated with Israel in many areas in the Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea regions. It is seen that the USA is trying to create and even by creating fear of China, Russia and Turks, finding allies for itself and using these countries rather than its own power (European Countries against Greece and Russians in the Mediterranean and Aegean).

In short, without understanding the line that the USA is trying to create; The events in Sudan cannot be fully understood, the US activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and Greece cannot be understood, irrelevant comments continue to be made about the conflicts in Ukraine and why Finland, a small country of 5 million, is persistently trying to become a member of NATO.

In conclusion, The Arctic-Indian Ocean connection appears to have emerged as a geopolitical necessity for the United States. Taking this line under control means taking the entire Eurasian geography under control. Although the line cannot be closed completely, it seems to have been completed with Finland's NATO membership. It seems that for a while everything went smoothly exactly as the USA had planned. However, one should never forget the saying "If everything is going well, you may have been ambushed".