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Kavita Chhibber has been a journalist and astrologer for many years. To know more about Kavita and her work, please visit www.KavitaChhibber.com. Kavita also writes for Deepak Chopra's intentblog.com.
The World is Reorganizing into Regional Blocs Send Gifts to India!
In a freewheeling interview, with KAVITA CHHIBBER, Dr Jag Sheth comments on some of the issues discussed in his new book Tectonic Shift. co-authored with Raj Sisodia 

TECTONIC SHIFT REVIEWED 
BY KAVITA CHHIBBER

Iím quite intrigued by this Russia, Europe, Israel connection, especially since Russia is close to the middle eastern countries and Israel isnít exactly very gung ho about the middle east. And that you think Israel will move away from the USA, in spite of so much investment by both countries in each other? And what about the Indo-Israel relationship then, since India is forging such strong ties with USA?

Letís talk about Russia first. I think one of the most powerful leaders in the world today is Vladimir Putin, and Russia has become a very important entity. Under Gorbachev, Russia had aligned with USA and Britain. But Yeltzin began to steer the Russian economy towards the European Union and Putin continues executing what Yeltzin had orchestrated. The Russian trade with Europe has reached 90 billion dollars and is likely to cross 100 billion dollars by next year. This has happened only in the last decade.

Europe cannot survive on its own energy resources and therefore is turning to Russia for both gas and oil. Russia is also a very strong military power and as Americaís influence over European union begins to decline, Russiaís involvement deepens.

Again Russia has an enormous potential market which is also an educated one. As Europeans are aging they will turn to Russia just as USA is turning to Mexico. 

As far as India is concerned, India will become multi-lateral and will have a partnership with Japan and China. In fact already there is a massive capital investment from Japan in eastern India, while Americans are concentrating on the IT markets in South India. India will also have a strong relationship with Israel and especially Russia because of its past history with the Russians.
In fact last May when Congress came to power the political pundits were predicting that India-China and Russia will unite against the western world, but it didnít happen, because India felt it would limit them.

Russiaís influence on the middle east has been tremendous and that relationship will be leveraged from an economic viewpoint rather than from an ideology point of view. Indiaís relationship with the middle east will remain friendly.

Israel will distance itself slowly from America because it will believe that it will be better off if it remains independent of America. The alliance with America had gained strength when Ariel Sharon came to power but now that he is incapacitated, the Russian Jews who form a large number of the Israeli population are leaning towards Europe, since they have family and businesses all over Europe. Also as you can see, while politically, the Taiwanese donít see eye to eye with mainland China, their capital investment and factories are all being moved there. Itís the same with Hong Kong. So I feel Israel too will become part of the middle east architecture and the Middle east will become part of the European architecture

You painted a pretty dismal picture of the US post George W Bush. What is going to keep USA afloat and still a power to reckon with?

Americaís market power is already declining as China and the European union markets are becoming bigger than the American market. The only area where USA remains an undisputed leader is in military power.

Politically we have lost a lot in terms of public opinion, partly due to Bushís ruling style in the past 5 years and partly due to our invasion of Iraq. However there are several reasons why America will continue to do well. US has the largest number of research oriented universities and philanthropists donating millions to them so new technology and new innovations will keep coming out from there.

This is also a knowledge based economy and due to continuing immigration, the economy has grown 4-5 percent each year and that is a huge jump in an 11 and a half trillion dollars economy.

Also American families are outsourcing home making activities as two income families becomes more the norm than an exception and you cannot outsource these out of the country-they have to be done here at home. Today 75 percent of women with young children work full time, so household chores like cooking, cleaning, baby sitting, laundry etc are all being outsourced. When you buy these services commercially the GDP grows, creating new industries pertaining to these needs.

America is also the only country where the average family is rich. Home ownership has always been a key asset building mechanism for Americans. Sixty fiver percent of the average Americans own homes worth 200,000 dollars, 50 percent of which is in equity, $110,000 in pension plans, an additional accumulated value of life insurance policies and these days the trinkets their ancestors left them have a retail value on eBay and the PBS channel. Also lottery has become very big. We have created many millionaires through it and today even the well educated and rich play it. Wealth generates more wealth, so I see America continue to thrive.

So what do you think of the word globalization?

Itís a buzz word used to describe an approach to more liberalization of markets, but except for the British economic power in the 1800s we never really saw a globalized world-it was always a fragmented world. Today it is reorganizing into regional blocs and I will go beyond the book and make a prediction that the middle east may become a stand alone bloc.

If you look at its 1.5 plus billion population, it is obvious they can integrate and create their own bloc. It may not happen soon and for now the Islamic nations will integrate with the European union.

How do the three blocs thrive without treading on each others toes?

They have to make themselves self sufficient and successful internally. Within the bloc, each country must look at its resources and specialize in 2-3 things and serve the entire bloc. Like Finland can take over the entire pulp and paper industry and serve the entire region. Encourage free mobility of all the resources-products, people and culture should move freely within the bloc.
I think the most pragmatic bloc will be Asia-there is no deep rooted belief here, and the only religion is money.

TECTONIC SHIFT REVIEWED  BY KAVITA CHHIBBER

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