Book: THE NEW SILK ROADS: THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF THE WORLD
Author: PETER FRANKOPAN
Review By: Shamshad Haidary
The practice of international affairs requires an understanding of the richly connected and complex world, both the west and the east. In order to understand the east, it’s pivotal to know about the Silk Roads inasmuch as it is moulding the issues and affairs of the west into what it wanted to be. Asia is presently an epicentre and hothouse of economic, cultural, military and political affairs for global players. Peter Frankopan, Professor of global history at Oxford University, in 2018 he published his bestselling “The New Silk Road” with the subtitle ‘The Present and Future of the World’. In addition to concentration on the big picture of the East, and gaining information on the overall hydro-political, geo-economic, geostrategic and geopolitical situation of the region, it’s very constructive to pick up the book – challenge the myopic refusals of the achievements of the rest of the world that are based on thought-provoking assumptions. The book is a paean to current affairs of the rising eastern powers.
Frankopan made it quite plain that how the seismic waves of development are reshaping the East and West. His calculations are based on assumptions, and are enunciated in the book. The epic struggle of hydro-political dominance is not a new phenomenon. Water resources are becoming scarce. During the last three decades the water-wars in different parts of Asia proved the significance of the strategic waterways that connected different countries of the east to the west. It reflects that the Silk Road is important for the development of maritime transports. Frankopan attaches a lot of importance to the strategic waterways like Horn of Africa, Indus River, Helmand River, Bosporus, The Gulf, and Indian Ocean for there is a foreign competition and renewed commitment among nations to cooperate closely on the question of water resources in the region. As the book says, “Asia would regain the dominant economic position it held some 300 years ago, before the Industrial Revolution.”
Frankopan claims that Asian economic development is faster than the west and it may become world’s economic heavyweight. East and west are engaged in geo-economic competition, and bilaterally their actions are opposing each other’s interests. Further to understand, The New Silk Roads bothers the reader to read between the lines. Asia is militarily deeper sunk into a quagmire of fierce rivalry. The west has been involved in a sinister game, and indeed bloody with serious consequences for the east. External invasion by USA and NATO aided the fanatic and heretic organizations have added fuel to the fire. The proliferation of arms and arms-races is souring the life of innocent people wherein the war zone looks like a cesspool. The league of benevolently imperialistic nations suppresses the world, play a political football with them. They want wrest control of the power-structures, oil, food, water and other natural resources. Asia is strategically important but politically weak, and the key players of this multi-pronged game want to misuse this fragile region for their strategic interests, whereupon the Silk Roads will be violently moved.
Afghanistan is part of the big game and heart of Asia. It is at the meeting point of trade routes, and the apogee of Silk Roads. Thereby, a big push towards the targets set for the development of Asia for the next two decades will require decisive action. The government of Afghanistan should take drastic steps towards change, both domestically and internationally. The country should set the stage for the coming projects, find easy solutions for the challenges, make solemn commitment to the international stakeholders of the initiative, and immediately fulfill the criteria of the international agenda placed high for the region. Before Afghanistan makes all the assumptions on-the-go, the country should thoroughly know about the theoretical and technical know-how of the Silk Roads – therefore, the New Silk Roads is a crystal ball for you to gaze in and see what will happen.
Shamshad Haidary (Twitter:Shamshad Haidary) is a freelance writer. He is a researcher and analyst in the field of archology, IR & IA, Leadership, neuroscience and Political & Administrative System of Islam. He has worked for different organizations. He is the author of four books in the field of IR and Leadership. Besides, he is a Leadership trainer and consultant at Mosbat Badloon Association.