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What won’t happen in the world in 2020

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JAKARTA – Last week I was in Southeast Asia, where I was invited to speak at a panel in Singapore and to give speeches at universities in Indonesia. Despite their differences in size, these two countries have one thing in common. They are two of the four island-nations surrounding the South China Sea.

A visit to the National Museum in Singapore helped me reconfirm a well-known fact: It was a member of the British East India Company who landed on a small island at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula in 1819. The isle at that time was called Singapura, which means a “city of lions” in Sanskrit.

In downtown Jakarta I stopped by the former residence of a young Japanese admiral, n the Imperial Navy, Tadashi Maeda. The declaration of independence of Indonesia was drafted in this house. Indonesian soldiers who Japan had trained between 1943 and 1945 went on to form the embryo of the national armed forces.

The British considered Singapore to be a stopover on their route from India to China. The Japanese came to Jakarta to secure sea lines of communication to ship Indonesian oil back to Japan. Those islands in Southeast Asia have been central to the concept of the Indo-Pacific at least since the 19th century,

It was in this setting that I contemplated what will not happen in the world in 2020 from a geopolitical perspective, just as I did a year ago for 2019. The following is my take.

1. The competition between land and sea powers will not end.

Last year I wrote that Eurasia’s........

© The Japan Times