South Africa will be looking forward to working with a more globally-attuned White House from January 2021, but the scale and nature of the domestic issues in the US mean that Pretoria will have to work hard to capture the attention of the new president.
If reports that US Marines are training Taiwanese troops in Taiwan are true, it would appear that the US is deliberately challenging China. That would be seen regionally and beyond as a deliberate insult to the Chinese Communist Party, one that is calculated to provoke a response from China’s leaders or see them diminished in the eyes of the region and domestically.
The reactions of France, India, Turkey and Pakistan to the killing of Samuel Paty, a French middle-school teacher, are characteristic of regional powers interacting in a multipolar world. All are utilising the situation to acquire advantages where achievable, and the implications of Monsieur Paty’s killing extend far beyond the streets of Paris.
China may be right to be wary, if not of an Indo-Pacific NATO, at least of a Quad with teeth, but Beijing only has itself to blame for a more aggressive Quad.
The bilateral relationship with Indonesia is at the foreground of US foreign policy as the presidential election unfolds. The outcome of the election could sway the US approach to Indonesia and the wider region.
Rather than physical expansion, India is actually working towards enhancing its commercial and financial strategies, with the overall focus being the Indian economy. As such, Akhand Bharat is an internal policy of the Modi Government to motivate Indians into realising their nationalistic responsibilities for progressing India’s economy, while “Greater India” is an external policy to re-develop the influence of Hindu culture, also with the aim of enhancing economic benefits for India.
Former PM Nawaz Sharif’s attack against the Pakistan Army and current Prime Minister Imran Khan has elicited strong responses. Sharif’s claims could mobilise the opposition, at a time when Khan, who needs to deliver improved economic and governance outcomes, also needs to dispel his image of being a puppet of the army (which is unlikely to take Sharif’s criticism without some form of retaliation).
Although India is keen to grant concessions to Bangladesh to keep it from China’s sphere of influence, domestic politics have prevented New Delhi from solving the long-standing water-sharing dispute with Dhaka.
ASEAN’s struggle to remain a neutral force for the advancement of regional interests has been tested by the ambitions of major external powers. To survive as a cohesive unit, ASEAN may be forced to consider evicting some of its weakest members in the near future.