Audit of geopolitical capability 2019


Since the Great Recession in the late 2000s it has been claimed that a number of emerging economies, particularly the so-called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), are rapidly closing the gap in national power with the Western democracies. This trend has recently merged with the political situation in the West giving rise to a plethora of declinist narratives. Building on the Audit of Geopolitical Capability from September 2017, this study provides an assessment of the geopolitical capabilities of twenty major countries, drawn from the Group of Twenty (G20), with the addition of Nigeria. As more countries have been added, the original framework and methodology have had to be refined. Thus, this updated Audit reorders geopolitical capability (the ability to overcome the tyranny of distance) and influence physical space, including counterparts located within that space into a framework with four central attributes: National Base, National Structure, National Instruments and National Resolve. The Audit of Geopolitical Capability (2019) reveals that, aside from China, the major Western democracies still hold a substantial lead over their emerging competitors. With the exception of China, the other BRICS nations “the BRIS“ rank among the bottom half of the major powers, suggesting that declinist narratives in the West are rather inflated.

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