Jika Gurun Sahara dan Gobi Tidak Pernah Ada

Tulisan saya yang satu ini mungkin akan sedikit nyleneh. Terinspirasi dari alternate history channel (by cody) di youtube yang membahas kemungkinan-kemungkinan skenario sejarah jika sebuah peristiwa atau tempat mempunyai skema yang berbeda dibandingkan dengan kenyataan yang ada saat ini. Sekarang saya mencoba membahas mengenai bagaiman jika Gurun Sahara dan Gobi tidak pernah ada. Atau jika kedua tempat itu adalah tanah yang subur, dibandingkan tanah tandus dan tak berpenghuni seperti sekarang ini.

Gurun Sahara dan Gobi

Mengapa harus Gurun Sahara dan Gurun Gobi? Selama sejarahnya, kekaisaran besar di timur dan barat dibatasi oleh dua gurun ini. Dari Romawi, Ching, Ming, Tang, (dan kekaisaran China lain), Abasiah, hingga ke Ottoman semua mempunyai perbatasan kedua atau salah satu dari Gurun tersebut. Kecuali masa pemerintahan Genghis Khan yang menyatukan sebagain besar Asia dan Eropa Timur.

Tidak dapat dipungkiri, gurun merupakan pembatas alami yang sebisa mungkin dijauhi oleh kekuatan besar dunia. Padang tandus yang tanpa akhir, hewan liar yang berbisa, dan belum lagi bandit-bandit penghuni lokal yang meneror. Tidak hanya gurun sahara dan gurun gobi, beberapa gurun lain seperti kalahari, namibia, dan sebagian gurun arab tidak berpenghuni sampai akhir abad ke 19. Bahkan Great Basin desert di Amerika tidak pernah di kolonisasi oleh Inggris dan Perancis. Rata-rata mereka membiarkan gurun menjadi batas alami dari teritori kekuasaan. Toh sampai masa modern, tidak ada sanggup untuk tinggal dengan layak di sana tanpa pertolongan teknologi.

Kembali ke masalah gurun sahara dan gurun gobi. Bagaimana jika kedua gurun itu tidak pernah ada? Kita lihat ke masa Romawi terlebih dahulu. Jika Gurun sahara adalah dataran subur yang layak huni, maka kemungkinan besar Kekaisaran Romawi, tidak pernah ada! Loh kok bisa?

Continue reading →

Asian Military Modernisation Continues 2013 – 2014

From: Military Balance IISS

Most Asian states have been expanding their military budgets and attempting to improve their armed forces’ capabilities in recent years. This is largely a result of increasing uncertainty about the future distribution of power in the region and widespread suspicions, in some cases increasing tension, among regional armed forces. While these efforts are intended to deter potential adversaries, there is substantial evidence of action-reaction dynamics taking hold and influencing regional states’ military programmes.

Anindita Saktiaji - Military Asia

Analysts were waiting at the end of 2012 to see what effect China’s once-in-a-decade leadership change might have on the wider Asian region. New capabilities displayed in 2012 provided further evidence of China’s efforts to expand the capabilities of its People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The United States’ ‘rebalance’ to the Asia-Pacific and associated Air–Sea Battle concept were both widely seen as responses to Beijing’s growing power and assertiveness in the region.

Concerns about Beijing’s growing assertiveness were also reflected in rising tensions over maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas. China’s maritime agencies have continued to send paramilitary vessels to promote and defend its extensive but ill-defined claims in the South China Sea. Meanwhile, China finally commissioned its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, in September 2012. Some Chinese commentators emphasised the significance of the Liaoning’s commissioning in relation to the maritime disputes around China’s littoral, and the Liaoning’s commissioning certainly affected other regional states’ assessments of Chinese power.

North Korea continued efforts to develop its nuclear-weapons capability and its closely related long-range missile arsenal. Japan has made significant, if incremental, capability improvements in the face of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes and the escalation of maritime disputes. Many factors, not least the deterrent effect of the US–Japan alliance, militated against the likelihood of open conflict, but the continuing deterioration of Japan’s regional strategic environment provided impetus for efforts to implement the ‘dynamic defence force’ idea.

India’s defence policy retained a substantial focus on deterring Pakistan, primarily through the larger country’s nuclear-weapons capability, but its defence planners increasingly view China as a potential strategic challenge and New Delhi has continued to invest in developing its military capabilities.

Southeast Asian states party to the dispute in the Spratly Islands have focused on using diplomacy, particularly through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and related institutions, to constrain Chinese adventurism. Nevertheless, continuing tensions in the South China Sea have unnerved several Southeast Asian governments, contributing to a greater or lesser degree to their attempts to improve their military capabilities.

In the Philippines, a funding shortage continued to stymie armed-forces modernisation. The 2013 military modernisation budget, approved in September 2012, only provided one-third of the US$120 million which the armed forces required annually for the latest five-year modernisation programme. In April 2012, Manila requested military assistance from the United States in the form of second-hand F-16 combat aircraft, naval vessels and radar systems. However, by the following month, the potential cost of operating F-16s had apparently led to this idea’s abandonment; new plans for reviving the air force’s combat-fighter capability involved acquiring 12 TA-50 advanced trainers from South Korea. In May 2012, the US transferred a second former Hamiltonclass Coast Guard cutter to the Philippine Navy. The first ship of the class to be transferred, commissioned in March 2011, was involved in a stand-offin April 2012 with Chinese maritime surveillance paramilitary vessels offthe disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Navy plans call for the frigates to be fitted with new weapons, including Harpoonanti-ship missiles.

Continue reading →