Speculation: A New Silk Road
The Crown Jewel of the Empire hasn't been this relevant since the Brits needed cotton
Recently, the United Kingdom has been in talks for new trade deals with India, which has been getting downright demolished by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been a very convenient disaster for the ruling class and the wealthy.
As the United Kingdom shifts away from the European Union, it’s becoming clear that perhaps all parties involved in this affair can benefit from Britain’s separation from the EU. If the British government plays it’s cards right, and it may not. The UK should be playing the role of the middleman for what could be a manufacturing revival outside of China.
Getting the Band Back Together
As the Biden administration slowly eases towards cold war with China, they seem to be dragging the European Union with them, putting the United Kingdom, which has just recently left the EU due to Brexit, in a unique position. In the articles linked above, the UK is seeking trade deals with India and the United States, both of whom have huge labor power potential to meet European demand for goods. Historically, the economy of the EU has been quite protectionist and insular, and for all of the dramatic theatrics of Britain leaving the EU, there is now an opportunity for Britain to sort of “spread” EU manufacturing standards abroad in the form of trade deals and investment in foreign manufacturing. In that fashion, I suspect Britain may begin to see the leverage in being a kind of global minority that’s not a member of any trade partnerships but their own.
From this vantage point of being a NATO member and UNSC member, but not a NAFTA or EU member, the UK stands to gain quite a lot through economic power projection and their historic relationship with several nations overseas. Only if they play their cards right though. British parliament has not been doing well since the Brexit vote and it might decide to remain so unwell that they miss this opportunity.
Britain being a hub for high finance and money laundering has the perfect relationship with the globe for such an arrangement as well. But if the trade deal signings aren’t enough, there has been a stronger push for military presence in Egypt, an important infrastructure point in our New Silk Road. Recent arms sales to Egypt from G7 economies suggest that it is in the interest of both France and the US (at this time of writing) to keep Egypt protected. In addition to this, the entire Western world was reminded that the Suez exists and is important when it was blocked earlier this year. The Suez canal is critically important for global trade now, but it will be even more-so if the West/NATO decides it’s going to invest heavily in India to counter-act Chinese manufacturing.
These trade deals are probably gonna be bad for the Indian working class, since it means competing with Chinese labor power and thus, costs. As well this will continue the historic trend of capitalist exploitation in India if the subcontinent ends up as the new “big sweatshop” of the West, where our New Silk Road begins. Hindu nationalism would be a very very useful tool for the Western powers, as India is surrounded by powers that the West currently has problems with. Namely, Iran, Russia, and China. India is in the perfect geo-political position to extend Anglo-American influence in the area and to make a shitload of money in the process.
As well, having the United Kingdom head these deals makes for a better face than the imperialist United States. It’s been a long time since the UK exploited India in an unfair manner that led to famines and outrage, but that was a long time ago. Surely, it is totally cool now. With enough time maybe they’ll even be dealing with a new monarch.
As a final observation, uranium stocks have been climbing recently and in the wake of the coming green-heavy energy economy. India will not be able to support a manufacturing sector so large that it could support both European and American-sized consumerism running their factories on power generation as inefficient and hungry as fossil fuels. Coal power across all of India is nightmarish from a logistics perspective due to the immense weights, poor infrastructure, and frequency of re-fueling. While nuclear power would lend itself better towards centralization, which is a problem all of it’s own sure, but it would provide quite a lot of power in a given range and wouldn’t require re-fueling anywhere near to the scale of a coal plant. The trick in India will be placing the nuclear plants away from earthquake hotspots and away from coasts. India is even suited to the waste management from nuclear energy due to the vast northern mountain ranges where the spent fuel can be contained.
The Crypto Question
So with that in mind, surely they could spend the wasted and unused energy on supporting cryptocurrency right? Well, India has banned cryptocurrency, at least for the time being. Making it an excellent candidate for the formation of a large class of people dependent entirely upon having their labor exploited for the benefit of wealthier economies that may be shifting towards a cryptocurrency based energy economy.
The growing inflation problem in many western economies is likely to push the Western economies towards adoption of a cryptocurrency and energy heavy economy. As mentioned earlier, the UK is also seeking trade deals with the United States, which would work out very well for Biden’s platform for returning American manufacturing jobs, if he plans on actually living up to the promise. This would spread the load of manufacturing demand across two large nations and the world’s strongest economy being one of them. I think that even China might have a hard time dealing with that if the West can shift where it chooses to sate demand from.
Regardless of how much of this speculation ends up being true, India and the region around the subcontinent is growing politically tense. They are situations worth keeping an eye on.