While the preservation of American democracy should be a lodestar of any US foreign policy, having employed hard power over 200 times since the end of the Cold War, such events as Washington’s exit from Afghanistan and departures from Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere, with their human, economic and political costs, have demonstrated the limitations of using excessive military force as a leading component of foreign policy.
Paris’s anger at having lost the contract to supply conventionally-powered submarines to the Royal Australian Navy is redolent with unmitigated hypocrisy.
By bringing together around 3,000 young people rather than political leaders, the New Africa-France Summit sought to chart a new course for the countries involved, but the true measure of success will be the degree to which the views of the participants gain traction among those in power.
The “rebirth” of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or “Quad”, is an outcome of China’s assertive policies. Despite not yet being as comfortable in its relationship with the United States as it is with Japan, New Delhi’s ties to Washington are progressing faster than ever before, although Prime Minister Modi’s fixation on a “Hindu” India could act as a brake on that alignment.
There is a consensus in the global community as far as providing financial support for dealing with the economic and humanitarian challenges in Afghanistan is concerned. China, however, has been the only country which has said that economic sanctions against the Taliban should be removed and that the reserves of Afghan Central Bank should be released, given the multiple challenges the country is facing.
The evolving strategic alignment in the Indo-Pacific has ramifications for the region, which could well be the harbinger of a New Cold War, with potential catastrophic consequences. Therefore, American and Chinese leaders will be well advised to manage their strategic competition without any military confrontation(s). The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation’s (SCO) first real test would be to bring back normality and harmony in Afghanistan for overall peace, stability and prosperity in the wider region.
The marshalling of alliances in the Indo-Pacific region has rung the bell for the commencement of a New Cold War. Even though the United States and China must not fail to manage their rivalry, it is imperative to develop a clear understanding of the dangers and consequences of any possible New Cold War, including of the pitfalls for the allies of both the global powers.
While the world’s first “climate change famine” continues unabated, the Madagascan Government’s ambitious infrastructure plans and updates from two Australian mining juniors with projects in Madagascar bring some welcome good news.
Apart from the discussion of important connectivity projects and events in Afghanistan, the recent Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) Summit was also important because it provided India and China with an opportunity to engage on important issues. The SCO is likely to remain an important organisation in the evolving geopolitical landscape.
The United States is no longer interested in prolonged military engagements in foreign lands to effect regime change or in financial investment to enable nation building; the project of nation building is to be the job of the local populace and not that of the US military. Working with partners, Washington will continue to promote such democratic norms as basic human rights, humanitarian aid and regional diplomacy.