For roughly a decade now, I’ve been advocating that America needs to be unsentimental in choosing its military allies for the 21st century. Europe and Japan are aging and seem increasingly less willing to protect their interests abroad, while India and China are becoming budding superpowers with global interests that, to a stunning degree, overlap with America’s. Most pointedly, we live in an age of “frontier integration” triggered by globalization’s rapid advance, a process in which China and India, and not the “old” West, are the two rising pillars. So it makes sense for America to focus future alliance-building efforts in their direction.
That kind of long-range argument logically requires a good couple of decades to actualize, especially given the strategic distrust visible today among all three parties. But that’s the whole idea about thinking strategically: You lock in on the “inevitable,” however inconceivable it may seem from today’s perspective, and you lay the groundwork for that future, year-in and year-out. Strategic shifts are generational tasks, so these seeds need to be planted with the Millennials now, in the hope of their fruition come 2030.
Readers familiar with my old column here will remember how I’ve taken to describing that 2030 future as the C-I-A world, as in, one run by China, India and America. But recently, thanks to a series of long-range simulations run by Wikistrat, where I serve as chief analyst, I’ve found myself thinking that renewing the trans-Atlantic bond with Europe may be the best way to assure the right kind of U.S. global leadership as we move toward that 2030 horizon.