Geopolitical Strategic Competition and Global balance – Pakistan Today

Ukraine provides a bad example
Geopolitical is defined as a struggle for the control of geographical entities with an international and global dimension, and the use of such geographical entities for political advantages. It may include territorial acknowledgements, border and trade agreements, war treaties, climate agreements and more. Debates on modern strategic competition consider states as key actors in the international context where competition takes place. The competition between states is ideological and mainly through state capabilities.
Strategic competition has many levels and operational dimensions, but when we talk about global competition, two issues are very important, military power and economic power. It also suggests that states balance each other by using their economic strength.  Hard power has also not lost its significance; nonetheless, soft power options have also become more available and less expensive for states to gain a clear competitive power advantage. However, as the strategic competition has become more pronounced, states have been looking for opportunities to use their geographical potential for their interests.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the most devastating event for the post-Afghan War world. The world is going through a new era of geopolitics. The world needs a new strategic approach to ensure unity to prevent future aggression. History has shown that aggression is like a contagious disease that is difficult to control, especially when it starts to spread.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is not alone in seeking to destroy the world order that was imposed to maintain peace in the world, but also the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese President Xi Jinping has outlined and predicted his vision. Supporting Putin’s aggression could advance China’s geopolitical and political interests. The president is convinced that Putin will succeed, but the unanticipated resistance of the Ukrainian people, the courageous leadership of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and the Western response are also astonishing.
Zelensky is satisfied that key European countries oppose President Xi’s aggressive deterrent design. China is also trying to transform the US coalition system into a “partnership” network. However, to create a new world order, The USA has to tear down the old world order. China and Russia believe the USA is playing the role of an arrogant player. This thinking has emerged in many parts of the world, including China. It places all responsibility for the violence and destruction in Europe on Washington. Russia supports the Chinese principle and affirms that Taiwan is a part of China and opposes any form of Taiwan’s independence.
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has shown that the world should take seriously what Xi and Putin are saying, especially when they speak in their own languages. Both countries are determined to destroy the US alliance by force whenever it would be possible. Xi and Putin mean that the US alliance has been formed over their opposition and they will oppose it. Statements by top Chinese diplomats should not be dismissed as mere propaganda. This is a clear warning to Washington to abandon its strategy in the Indo-Pacific, and Beijing reserves the option of resistance.
From this point of view, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sets an example. Beijing has also warned small countries such as Ukraine to stay away from US plots. According to Beijing, sympathy for Ukraine is good but it is not good to be used as a pawn in Washington’s efforts to maintain geopolitical dominance. These messages are also being heard in those countries that remain neutral in international politics. Russia and China continue to oppose any attempt by foreign powers to undermine security and stability in their respective territories. That is why China and Russia also oppose further NATO expansion and have called on NATO to abandon Cold War ideological methods.
China and Russia also oppose the formation of a bloc in the Asia-Pacific region and remain wary of the negative effects of the US Indo-Pacific strategy on peace and stability in the region. The two countries also express deep concern over the trilateral security partnership between Australia, the USA and the UK, which provides deep cooperation between its members in the areas of strategic stability, especially in the nuclear field.
Both Beijing and Moscow believe that such measures contradict the security and sustainable development goals of the Asia-Pacific region and it will increase the risk of an arms race in the region, which also poses a serious threat to nuclear non-proliferation. Xi’s and Putin’s opposition to the Biden Administration’s new Australia-British-US (AUKUS) initiative is because they feel it has led to violations of non-proliferation treaties. This opposition is also echoing in the West. On the other hand, Australia, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan are committed to supporting Ukraine. Most Southeast Asian nations have supported NATO, Ukraine and the USA. The Philippines and Indonesia also voted in favor of condemning Russia but India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam did not.
Indo-Pacific countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have also not backed coalition efforts against Russia. Such neutrality and indifference is a growing problem in international affairs and undermines counter-terrorism efforts. There is a growing sense in the West that a new Cold War is going to start but most of the world does not see things that way.
China is a bigger threat to Asian countries than Russia, but in the absence of a comprehensive US-led diplomatic campaign, Washington cannot support Taiwan in the Taiwan crisis. Many analysts believe that if China invades Taiwan, many countries will remain on the fence. Such a campaign by Beijing to tarnish Taiwan’s international image could be dangerous as if a dispute erupts, it may signal Taiwan’s diplomatic isolation and the view that Taiwan is only aprovince China will bring back.
China also has strong economic ties with every country. The USA will need to defend Taiwan, and it often uses its diplomatic and other tactics to keep it at bay. Many countries and US allies do not necessarily agree with all Chinese statements about Taiwan and justify their neutrality. US diplomacy should highlight that China is backtracking on its commitment to peace and endangering the stability of law and order in the region while it is committed to maintaining peace under the Taiwan Relations Act.
Washington needs to make sure that it does not distance itself from countries or regions that oppose China and Russia. However, the USA has also given China and Russia the opportunity to wield considerable influence in key regions such as the Persian Gulf. The lack of a US trade vision for Southeast Asia and the lack of a security system are obstacles to form a bloc. But Washington only sees how quickly military aid can be delivered and how quickly the right weapons system can get into the right hands in a crisis. Washington does not need to provoke China, but the two states must make promises and work for peace.
There are lessons to be learned from Ukraine’s failed deterrence efforts. It should be noted that the prevention of war in Ukraine has failed. The USA has no military ties with Ukraine, so it could not help Ukraine directly except through rhetoric. Although the USA has armed Ukraine with disproportionate weapons that could destroy Russia’s major weapons systems, but it has not been able to stop Putin from going to war. On the other hand, Taiwan is also under threat from China and a similar approach will not work to stop China because the USA is not militarily engaged with the island. The USA must build Taiwan’s military so that it can work together as an ally to counter the various threats of repression. But that requires careful coalition management, as Washington has been practicing with other potential coalition partners. China relies on global markets for everything from technology and energy to food and agriculture, major metals, minerals and capital. In fact, China’s dependency on the global economy did not stop it from trading with Russia. Washington will have to maintain strong ties with all major suppliers in China.
In short, President Xi is using the war in Russia and Ukraine to forge a “new era” that will either destroy or weaken the US alliance. Putin has taught the world that aggressive statements and threats can wreak havoc.
Washington must also review its strategy and highlight the growing threats posed by Beijing to peace and security in Asia in order to protect thousands of innocent people from the effects of war. It will take time for the two countries to come down from the mountain of arrogance and stand side by side. Although it is difficult to do so Asia can be saved from war.

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