Moscow’s declaration of war is a product of geography, history and great power rivalry, and must be understood in the context of an international relations system motivated by self-interest. Refusing to be clear-eyed about Russia’s security interests could result in the country reacting with overwhelming force.
The US occupation of Iraq was a foreign policy catastrophe that allowed China’s influence to grow and Russia’s resurgence while elevating Iran’s regional status. Given this troika, and the risk of an Isis resurgence, it would be no surprise if the US reinstated combat troops in Iraq down the line.
Amid US tensions and increasing international hostility, and with domestic issues to tackle including an economic transition and inequality, Xi provides the stability China needs.
Don’t expect America to come back stronger after its Afghanistan debacle, like it did post Vietnam. The difference between 1975 and now is that neoliberalism has hollowed out the US, undermined its government, and deepened inequality and social tensions.
US military adventurism and predatory capitalism are allowing Beijing to entice nations aggrieved with the West, as China’s rise intersects with the US’ decline. To turn things around, the US and its allies need a radical shift in their foreign policy thinking.
While transplanting China’s system won’t work, hybrid forms can succeed, especially when supported by Chinese investment. Countries looking to prosper will inevitably consider China’s model, and it is only natural that China will entertain these overtures.
China is now expected to leapfrog the US by 2028, and amplify its power projection to a new level. To the US, this will be an ego-shattering moment, as it has long leveraged its economic advantage into strategic power.
With America divided and uncertain, expect the president to position himself as the saviour of the US and exploit to great effect Biden’s weaknesses. The Democratic Party’s position of holding the moral high ground, as Hillary Clinton did in 2016, will also enrage many voters.
Possible shortages in vital commodities, such as medicine, during the coronavirus pandemic call policies based on the Ricardian theory of comparative advantage, neoliberalism and location economics into question.
China’s shared border with Afghanistan through the Wakhan Valley and its model of non-intervention are advantages it can exploit to cement its foothold in the region.
A resurrection of the Obama-era pact would put the US back in the driver’s seat in the Asia-Pacific, with the power to divert trade away from China. The TPP would be more effective in containing China than Trump’s current suite of tariffs and export bans.
Disputes over trade practices are only part of the larger power struggle between the two. Despite recent conciliatory remarks, the conflict is unlikely to wind down any time soon. Expect it to drag on, if not escalate.
The US has tipped its hand too much in the current trade dispute while China has come out of the conflict looking better.