Berlin – It was an inspiring glance into the future of the 21st century that the political scientist and Eurasia specialist, Jacopo Maria Pepe, offered his audience at the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC).
His key thesis: the term ‘Grander Europe’, fashionable following the Cold War, has given way to the concept of a ‘Greater Eurasia’. The US influence across large parts of the Eurasian landmass is in decline, and neither a Western-style ‘architecture’ nor a new hegemon, be it China or another, will ascend in the wake of the United States.
Instead, the continent, as Pepe sees it, will return to the structural status quo ante of half a millennium ago, when mutually dependent civilisations with rather different socioeconomic and value systems – in those days both nomads and sedentary communities – existed in a fluid, self-sustaining equilibrium. Pepe expects similar structural elements, in a version fit for the third millennium, to develop and slowly replace the modern nation-state.
That development will be accompanied by the emergence of a highly integrated industrial, trade, and logistics infrastructure, including neatly intertwined land and maritime transport routes.
The Eurasian continent will become increasingly interlinked within and closed off to geographically external powers. Winners will be the countries bordering the region, as well as the warm waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Mainly, that will be China, India, Iran, and Turkey. Eventually, these countries – in Mackinder’s terminology the ‘rimland’, in Pepe’s the ‘amphibian countries’ – will possess the power needed to repel the incumbent