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Asian Century on a Knife-edge

Asian Century on a Knife-edge

by John West [Courtesy Asia Century Institute].China and other Asian countries will dominate global politics and the world economy in the 21st century. Right? That's the usual refrain. After all, Asia has stunned the world with decades of stellar growth, and by some measures, China has already become the world's biggest economy. And while China's economy has slowed sharply, it is still growing at the respectable rate of 6-7%. The rise of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States has only accelerated the global shift towards Asia. Trump's America has relinquished global leadership, notably through its withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Trans Pacific Partnership, along with burgeoning protectionism, while China is positioning itself as a defender of the liberal international order. Indeed, China is demonstrating remarkable global leadership through initiatives like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the Belt and Road Initiative. Today, China is increasing appearing to be a much safer and steadier global leader as Trump competes with North Korea's Kim Jong-un in the global hysteria stakes, and the White House and Washington have descended into turmoil, which is paralysing the capacity of the Trump administration to get things done. Washington's allies in East Asia and even Australia are now questioning the reliability of the US.

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American hangover of unipolar World

American hangover of unipolar World

The new US National Security Strategy 2017 has three cardinal points: “America First” shall be the underwriter of the US national security strategy; America shall compete against China and Russia; and, Climate change is no longer a priority. Strategy explicitly designates China and Russia as top national security threats, based on presumption that the two countries “challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity.” Policy has also hurled unsubstantiated allegations towards Pakistan. Pakistan has rejected these unfounded accusations that belie facts on ground and trivialize Pakistan’s efforts for fighting terrorism and its unmatched sacrifices. Document has also attracted strong rebuttals from China and Russia. Strategy is reflective of American hangover of unipolar World. American hangover of unipolar World American hangover of unipolar World Every NSS articulated since mandated by the Goldwater-Nichols Act 1986 has either been quickly forgotten or never implemented. Foreign policy follows its own trajectory, wars are declared whimsically, allies go their own way, unforeseen threats emerge more frequently than those forecast in the NSS. Congress does not appropriate funds in line with NSS predictions.

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Drivers of instability in South Asia

Drivers of instability in South Asia

South Asia is an instable region; two major drivers of this situation are hegemonic designs of Indian leadership, and continued occupation of Afghanistan by the United States. Other contributory factors are inter-state territorial and resource distribution claims amongst the constituent states. With simultaneous rise of ultra-right nationalist leadership in the US and India, both leaderships have found a common ground in operationalizing Machiavellian tactics by perpetuating instability in select hotspots. This convergence of interest is resulting in prolonging the hardship of Kashmiri and Afghan people. Impeding development projects of Pakistan is another facet of Indian strategy, while the US is ganging up South China sea and East China sea littorals to bog down China in its own proximity. Then, there is second ring having heavy weights like japan, India and Australia to blunt Chinese growth. Pakistan is paying a high price for instability in Afghanistan. Presence of terrorist safe havens in Afghanistan is an established reality. Latest report by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) confirms that more than 43 percent of Afghan territory is not under the control of the Afghan Government. This is alarming as it provides opportunity for all kinds of terrorist groups to use these as sanctuaries. Pakistan wishes to have friendly relations with all its neighbors. Pakistan, as a responsible member of the international community believes in peace and strategic stability—in South Asia and beyond.

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QCG Revival: Another Mirage?

QCG Revival: Another Mirage?

The four-nation Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) talks on exploring ways to revive peace process in Afghanistan, were held in Oman on October 16. Parleys ended without any breakthrough. And participants—Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States—preferred to stay quiet over the event and no joint statement was issued. The QCG, had held its previous meeting in Islamabad early last year. The QCG was set up in December 2015, by the Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad. The main aim of the initiative was to make collective efforts for arranging direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban; and since its inception, the group has been trying to carve the path to direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. The US has ever since been playing both sides, trying for negotiation with Taliban as well as systematically disrupting it, at will. The group had held five meetings before the process met a dead end after Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansur was killed in July 2016. Now Taliban’s military campaign “Operation Mansuri” is in full swing in Afghanistan.Whether Trump likes it or not, Pakistan remains vital for the United States as a route to supply American and Afghan war effort. Pakistan shares international community’s concerns about instability in Afghanistan. Pakistan is ready to work with every one and any one as a partner for achieving peace and security in the region. However, arm twisting and bad mouthing will not lead any party anywhere.

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Mad Dog confesses of Indo-US nexus against OBOR-CPEC

Mad Dog confesses of Indo-US nexus against OBOR-CPEC

India is a mediocre polity, with half of its population underfed, some of its social security indicators like infant mortality and school dropout rates are comparable with some of underdeveloped African countries. Indian has been able to keep a steady growth rate for over a decade and a half, or so. Strategically America has coopted it as a cheaper deterrence against China, in which it failed its first field test in Doklam. Cumulatively, paltry economic growth and American support to India for playing a regional gangster’s role has created a misplaced delusion in Indian strategic thinking of having become a global power. Behaving like a superpower has gone into its head and cost it a lot economically; for such role throwing money here and there to sustain a big power image is not sustainable by Indian economy. China was able to outsmart India in accruing rights for Hanbantota port. India pledged $ 20 billion investment for Iran’s Chabahar port, but has not been able to touch $ 20 million mark. China phobia is overtaking rational Indian calculus. And with Modi in the driving seat, India is more likely to be lesser inclined towards rational decision making. India is not likely to acquire the capability, any time soon, to take on China in an interstate war. However, with tools readily available to India for fighting China through proxies, in a third county–Pakistan, Balochistan could become the future arena for Indo-China proxy war, even though to the Chinese abhorrence. Pakistan needs to look into such an evolving scenario and take appropriate measure to nub the evil in the bud.

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Another ‘Ugly American’ in the making

Ugly American

So far Donald J Trump has not outgrown his campaign style, he continues to manage his transition in the same manner from the 58th floor of Trump Tower. Smart and experienced Republicans are being sidelined in favour of men having a track record of hate. Initial indicators point out that: a man associated with white supremacy may be the chief strategist; future attorney general may be a person dropped to judgeship on account of alleged racism; and an Islamophobe may be the National Security Advisor. Trump’s new partners in shaping world economy are likely to be ‘Brexit and make in India lobbies’. indeed another 'Ugly American' may be in the making.

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Donald Trump: Hillary’s President

Americas are still amidst electoral shock. First post-election Trump-Obama summit showed a grim looking Obama trying to put-up a brave face. Hillary may never recover from the shock, her lifetime ambition stands shattered, with no possibility of a third attempt. In his victory speech, Trump shunned electoral rhetoric and tried to convey a reconciliatory message towards Americans as well as …

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Meltdown of Post-cold war world order

Meltdown of post cold war world order

Chinese opposition to entry of non-NPT countries to Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and UK’s exit (Brexit) from the European Union (EU) have set the course for changes in the prevalent US led unipolar World Order. The US wanted the UK to stay in EU as it’s “Man” and wanted India getting into the NSG as full member while keeping Pakistan out, despite latter’s better credentials. In both cases, otherwise has happened indicated meltdown of post-cold war world order.Long awaited bipolarity in the World Order may be at a fairly advanced stage. Keeping in view Pakistan’s close relations with China, the evolving situation would expose Pakistan to challenges as well as opportunities, for which it needs to brace up. Pakistan would feel incremental squeeze from American side, it needs to make a bold course correction to come out of the trap of its critical dependencies on the US—especially direct budgetary support and military hardware. Moreover, Pakistan should take robust measures for its macro-economic stability to face the bumps of politico economic changes that are on their way.

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Fallout of containment strategies in Asia

Most of terror actions in Pakistan originate from Afghanistan. Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies are working conjointly to sustain such activities. TTP runaways in Afghanistan often attack this side of international border with impunity; they enter under the garb of Afghan refugees. Pakistan has long been raising these issues with Afghan, Indian and the US governments. Pakistan has also handed …

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China and Pakistan : 65 Years of Diplomatic Relations

In the past 65 years, China and Pakistan have strengthened friendship, deepened mutual trust and expanded mutual cooperation. Our relationship has been elevated to a robust all-weather cooperative strategic partnership and has grown to encompass many areas of cooperation including economy, trade, science and technology, people-to-people contacts, culture and education. We take pride  that China has always proved to be …

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