The paradigm shift in geopolitical dynamics in Asia-Pacific has been in sight since President Biden took office. The Biden administration has taken an apparent departure from the foreign policy of its predecessor, Trump, with respect to this region. Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty, which left the region open to Chinese rule, and Beijing took full advantage of the opportunity and strongly established its influence over the Asia-Pacific. However, for now, Mr Biden’s emphasis on democratic values and human rights as a security strategy, reviving his leadership position in the Asia-Pacific theater, will create a world polarized and can galvanize a shadow of Cold War 2.0.
The Biden administration is strengthening its alliances, especially with the EU, and focusing more on the Asia-Pacific region than its predecessor. During Donald Trump’s presidency, the easing of US-Russian relations raised eyebrows among many US policymakers and allies. As a result, Trump was indicted by the Congressional Committee on the charge of Russian interference in his presidential election. But Mr. Biden recalibrated the Washington-Moscow relationship. U.S.-led NATO military alliances are fueling tensions near the Moscow border. The West has approached Russia on the issue of the forcible subjugation of the rule of law and its opposition leader. Russia is also responding with military-technical measures in the two neighborhoods of the EU (East and South), through gas pipelines and refugees used as leverage, which naturally has a disconcerting impact on the EU sector. energy and migration.
In 2022, the world appears to be on the verge of reorienting its long-held politics towards US-China polarization. China’s cash-rich Belt and Road Initiative (BIS) announcement has disturbed and destabilized the United States’ traditional Asian allies. President Xi’s “deep pocket” policy for his neighbors has proselytized US loyalists to China in the Asia-Pacific region. The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia have moved closer to China’s orbit of influence, which will upset the geopolitical orientation of ASEAN countries. In Asia, China invests around $ 100 billion a year. The clatter of the Chinese-backed North Korean saber worries US allies Japan and South Korea. China has warned Western leaders over the Taiwan issue and threatened not to “play with fire”. The situation is deteriorating more and more in the South China Sea, in the Korean peninsula, the opening of the Arctic routes and the trade wars. Thus, China is gradually asserting itself and begins to challenge the leadership of the world power.
In 2022, the eyes of the world will be on the United States and its Western allies; more specifically on how they polarize Asian states towards its orbit of influence. We experienced this political polarization by the United States during the Cold War and after World War II. The United States’ efforts to align the countries of the Asia-Pacific are reflected in the 2021 trips by U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense to the region. China’s BRI is countered by US initiatives to revive the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) – a strategic security dialogue between the United States, Australia, Japan and India and another security pact strategic within Australia, United Kingdom and United States (AUKUS). The most important events in 2021 were the G-7 Summit, the NATO Summit and the Democracy Summit. The future threats from China and Russia were made clear by the US-led Western leaders at these summits. Their rivals reverberate equally across all regions as well. As a result, a worrying worry of another Cold War looms on the horizon.
In the Indo-Pacific region, China has serious economic, political and military influences. Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh are pursuing various multi-billion dollar infrastructure development projects funded by China. These South Asian states have multi-billion dollar military deals with China. Thus, Quad is a strategic posture for the American presence in this region in order to curb and counter-measure the influence of China. China has exposed political divisions with India through border skirmishes or increasing threats against India’s “chicken neck”. President Biden seeks to build a strategic framework to counter China’s growing influence in this region. The recent punitive actions of the United States against Bangladesh and Myanmar are framed in the Indo-Pacific strategy against China and the incitement to geopolitical polarization. Meanwhile, China is expanding the horizons of its global influence in Africa and Latin America.
The Covid-19 pandemic is widening the chasm and pre-existing dissatisfaction with vaccine diplomacy. We will see the initiative to form broader strategic alliances, more political attempts at destabilization in vassal states. Future and unpredictable competition in technology and the arms trade could revolutionize state-to-state defense, cooperation and economy. Asian states will witness a confrontation between development and the rule of law, which is why economic, political and military alliances may no longer follow the same trajectory as before. Right now, this region offers China an advantage over America, but one thing is certain, things will never be the same again as we enter the “age of uncertainty”.
The writer is a political and defense analyst. His Twitter handle is: @ writemah71