A geopolitical shift is not in the landscape, and will not be for some time yet.
My personal view is that the geopolitical shift is not in the landscape, and will not be for some time yet.
The geography of the United States of America, and a comprehensive review of their (relatively short) history hints that our allies on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean have built their economic power through a combination of advanced (in relative terms, during the course of time) technology and direct access to natural resources. Being the first in time to reach this target on a world scale, they quickly realized that the dominance of the trade routes across both the Pacific and the Atlantic was essential to accelerate (and expand: see also the strong bonds built with the Saudis) such economic dominance. The need of a world class military became immediately after self-evident in order to protect it.
Germany and Russia both attempted to aggregate – by military force – a state of the art technology and natural resources, which was an event attempt to challenge the geopolitical balance before having achieved a superior economic dominance. We all know how it went for Germany, with USSR state imploding on itself at a later stage.
Ancient China has shifted in waves of opening up and isolation during the course of the centuries – thanks to a geography that allows it. Its millennial history, the lessons learnt from the rise and fall of dynasties, the Mongol invasion, the complex mix of Confucianism and Taoism taught China prudence and a superior capability to assess the context and plan a longer time scale. This is why Modern China, no matter how the media will try to twist the narrative, is not planning to challenge the US on its world geopolitical dominance. At least, not yet.
What China is trying to establish today is a strong regional geopolitical influence on South East Asia that is strongly economy driven. What I think we are experiencing today is a regional geopolitical rebalancing in the South China Sea, and the attempt to execute an economic rebalance that requires a major technological upgrade. This is at least a 20 years plan [if done with peaceful means].
It definitely shall not fear the geo-political dominance from its NATO ally, which is already in place and shall be considered a status quo. As well, it has nothing to fear from stronger economic and trade bonds with China, even if based on technology-market access deal: China is too far – and uninterested – to be a geopolitical threat to it. This is why I believe European Countries and its enterprises shall embrace – without hesitation – the Belt and Road Initiative (without bother trying to acquire its paternity with a so-called “European Economic Corridor”, and similar clones).
This brings to a highly probable scenario where China has at least another 20 years to surpass the USA on a geo-economic level (resources and state of the art technology plus capability to master it at a superior level than anybody else), and probably another 10-15 years to establish a military that can realistically challenge that of the USA. In between, China shall be aware of the potential pitfalls of a rebalancing economy with an eye at its Gini index. We are therefore looking at around 30-35 years of substantial peace until the time a major geo-political rebalance will take place. By that time, the USA shall have learned to accept and adjust to the new shifting scenario) or a crack will happen.
South America does not have an option on what lord to serve [so to say], due to its geographical location. So does not South East Asia.
Europe and European firms today are in a great position to play their best cards across both sides, as Africa does. Europe has the technology, Africa the resources. Each and both of them can play separately or as allies: but they should act now.
 Unless cornered in such a way that no other alternative is possible. That would be, for example, interference in internal political and security matters like Taiwan or Tibet.
 Europe is so complex that not even Europeans are able to govern it as one.
 Hardware and software.
CEO, Ambrosetti (Beijing) Consulting Ltd