Trade Wars

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict forces the reversal of the American Indo-Pacific strategy

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) is greeted by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (R) before a bilateral meeting at the Berlaymont, European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 4, 2022. / CGV

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) is greeted by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (R) before a bilateral meeting at the Berlaymont, European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 4, 2022. / CGV

Editor’s note: Thomas W. Pauken II is the author of the book “US vs. China: From Trade Wars to Reciprocal Deal”, and consultant on Asia-Pacific affairs and geopolitical commentator. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN.

US President Joe Biden had harbored bold plans to implement a “containment of China” strategy that he believed would succeed on a large scale. He had sought to recruit nation states around the world to unite in efforts to weaken China’s economic and diplomatic influence on the world stage.

Nevertheless, the Biden administration found that their plans could not succeed, as China had already enjoyed strong and vibrant economic ties with many countries and was reluctant to break with that.

Consequently, Biden and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had to change course by revamping previous foreign policy directives, such as the “pivot to Asia”, the “quadrilateral security dialogue” (the United States States, Australia, India and Japan) and the White House. released a revised report on US Indo-Pacific strategy on January 11.

Washington Beltway thought leaders, the US State Department and Pentagon officials thought they were concocting brilliant plans to sabotage China’s rise. They received backing from the UK, EU, Japan, Australia and India, but their “China lockdown” fantasies crumbled when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the “special military operations” in Ukraine on February 24.

Therefore, the world changed forever the moment Russian troops entered the recognized territories of Ukraine. Washington has had to rethink its stance on which nation is its “biggest threat”, and for now it appears to be Russia and no longer China. As a result, the United States had to refocus its eyes on the European continent and place its beloved “Pivot to Asia” on a brief hiatus.

India does not want to abandon Russia

Also, the US, EU and UK impose very tough economic sanctions on Russia, but not everyone agrees with them. The US Indo-Pacific strategy could be abandoned, as India, a key US partner, refused to join Russia’s sanction and also called on the United Nations Security Council to support further investigation. investigation into the allegations that the United States has weapons laboratories in Ukraine.

Delhi and Moscow still maintain close bilateral relations while the Indian Ministry of Defense buys or manufactures more than 60% of its weapons which are tied to Russian contractors who have just been sanctioned by the United States. Hence, Delhi will not act on the sanctions as they risk being “demilitarized” by default.

Indian students, returning from Ukraine amid the current crisis, are received by emotional parents and other relatives at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India, March 7, 2022. /VCG

Indian students, returning from Ukraine amid the current crisis, are received by emotional parents and other relatives at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India, March 7, 2022. /VCG

Washington, by luring Russia into the Ukrainian conflict, severed its bilateral relations with Delhi. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was keen to support the United States in the Indo-Pacific strategy, but they will not let go of their longstanding ties with the Kremlin, especially as India continues to buy more supplies of Russian oil and gas and energy. needs to import energy to keep its transmission networks operational.

The Indian government takes its formal neutrality pact seriously and does not seek or wish to meddle in the foreign affairs of other nations. By adhering to the position of neutrality, Delhi intends to embark on “the path of diplomacy and dialogue” to resolve the Russian-Ukrainian crises and this is in the interest of the world.

Meanwhile, India’s permanent representative to the United Nations, TS Tirumurti, has expressed concern over the biological weapons labs that Russian troops have uncovered in Ukraine. Together with Brazil, China and Russia, they support further investigation into the matter under the “Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention (BTWC)”.

In this context, we would like to stress the importance that India attaches to the BTWC as a key global and non-discriminatory disarmament convention, banning an entire category of weapons of mass destruction,” Tirumurti said as quoted by NDTV. .

India’s courage to fend off Brussels, London and Washington will create a growing rift between Delhi and the Western powers. The United States cannot succeed in the Indo-Pacific strategy without a strong partnership with India.

Modi will not abandon his endearing friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to score short-term political points with Washington and India recognizes that unless other nations deploy troops to Ukraine, Kiev will not win Moscow in a protracted military conflict scenario.

The world sees Biden as weak

Putin’s “special military operations” in Ukraine also exposed a serious flaw in US Indo-Pacific strategy. The Washington considered an ardent military defender of its friends and allies is no more. Perhaps Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky foresaw that the US, EU, UK and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) would come to Kiev’s rescue if Russian troops entered. on its territories, but the Ukrainians were wrong with their optimistic assumptions.

Biden announced in his State of the Union address on March 2 that he would not deploy US troops to Ukraine. All other European nations have followed Biden’s lead in doing the same. The United States has shown no strength and the Ukrainians cannot escape their doomed fate.

As such, the Indo-Pacific strategy has lost its relevance. India has previously shown skepticism in opposing sanctions against Russia. Delhi does not see Washington as their savior and savior if they choose to increase diplomatic tensions against Beijing.

Consequently, the US Indo-Pacific strategy ceased to exist as a key tactic of Washington’s “containment of China” pact. The US State Department will have to go back to the drawing board to rewrite a new “stop China” plan. They are unlikely to be successful with this new venture in the future as well.

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