The mounting tensions between the United States and China will pose a challenge to China’s Arctic strategy. At the same time, China’s involvement and behavior related to the South China Sea dispute might pose its own hindrance to the bigger goal. It will be beneficial for China not to engage in confrontational behavior due to the strategic value of the Arctic. At the same time, through various economic and commercial commitments, China has taken constructive diplomatic steps to cultivate relations with the Arctic Council that will facilitate Chinese interests. China has entered into joint ventures with Russian gas companies, in addition to building an embassy in Iceland and financing the Kouvola–Xi’an train in Finland. China has also warmed relations with Norway and Greenland through various investments. This inflow of investments will, in turn, help Greenland to lessen its reliance on Denmark. Moreover, all this has helped China to increase its foothold in Arctic nations. Though China has maintained positions that it is concerned about the climate and environment of the Arctic region and has economic interests there, it cannot be ruled out that all this may be only a small portion of the larger geopolitical narrative that China is pursuing as it strives to be recognized as a responsible major power with growing global reach at a time when the United States is stepping back from international commitments.
The new Arctic has already changed the dynamics of international commerce, the search for raw materials, access to the Far North, and military presence. History has shown that when America is slow to react to global challenges, the nation may find itself in a game of catch-up with the nations that acted quickly. However, the realities of US global commitments make it impossible to focus on the Arctic without accounting for the other regions of global competition. Only by thoughtfully executing, evaluating, and improving the nation’s Arctic security strategies will the nation be able to achieve the allocation and sharing of critical resources that secure US national Arctic interests to better guarantee the Arctic’s future as a secure and stable region.
ASEAN leaders would be wise to work creatively around the principle of noninterference to prevent figures such as Min Aung Hlaing from further installing themselves in the organization’s halls of power. They need to do so not on behalf of the often-absent forces of good that claim to bend the arc of history toward progress, or even for liberal values, but for their own self-interest. It does not matter why they do the right thing, only that they actually do it. If selfishness forces ASEAN to act, the region and the United States will be better for it.
India’s dominance in South Asia is due to its large geographical area, economic might, military strength, and strategic positioning over the Indian ocean. But the coming of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has shaken up this hegemonic balance and given other, smaller regional nations a chance to rise up against the dominant influence in the region. China has been penetrating regional diplomacy in South Asia, all the while keeping in mind its larger aim of further securing its sources in the West. For countries in the region such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the BRI is seen as a more neutral, if not benign force and has pushed India to become more considerate of changes and more responsible for its own actions. With the rise of China, many scholars and think tanks have aggressively researched this issue and proposed theories such as the “String of Pearls,” which has become a topic of discussion and worry not only for India but also for the nations that have become a part of China’s projects. This article will delve into the issue and discuss how China’s rise in South Asia has changed the course of India’s regional and bilateral policies and relations. Although China may seem to have a drastic impact on India’s position, it has not panned out that way. India has been a dominant power in the region and unilateral in its diplomacy, but the rise of China gives smaller nations power at the negotiating table with India and thus pushes India to place more focus on neighbors.
Australia’s relationship with the United States, and the current diplomatic tensions with China, will have larger geopolitical impacts than just within these nations. China’s growing economic and geopolitical influence, which in some cases has bordered on coercion, has caused grave concern in the Asia Pacific region and globally. Any conflict arising out of territorial disputes—specifically on Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan—will only further exacerbate diplomatic tensions around the world. China has expanded its boundaries in the South China Sea, and its claim on islands in the East China Sea have caused anxiety in Southeast Asian nations. If the United States or China prove incapable of avoiding direct military conflict, it will be unavoidable for Australia to become deeply involved and at great cost.
Volume 04 Issue 5 - Fall 2021
Canada’s obligation to its allies and to the Afghan people evolved in several distinct phases. To bureaucrats and governmental apparatchiks, each phase came with its own goals, opportunities, and difficulties and were seen as natural responses to the commensurate threats facing the mission in Afghanistan. To the public, poor communication and divides in regional attitudes turned the populace’s perception of the conflict into an ungainly and unending military morass. From the wider strategic perspective, Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan must be viewed through the lens of the American unipolar moment at its imperious zenith, facilitating an international superstructure that permitted and encouraged such an outsized Canadian contribution.
Many Canadians see the plethora of problems in the Indo-Pacific region through the NIMBY lens—Not in My Back Yard so it is not our problem. In reality though, what happens in the Indo-Pacific matters for Canada. This is especially the case if China is successful in creating and shaping “an ideological environment conducive to its rise and counter Western values.” If successful, Canada will be less secure, less prosperous, and more vulnerable to a might-is-right approach to regional and international affairs.
A selective engagement strategy in East Asia requires diplomatic and economic cooperation and confrontation, as well as information and military competition. This article will provide a background on China’s growing influence in East Asia, outline a grand strategy of selective engagement, and describe how the United States should utilize the instruments of national power to realize its interests.
In this third installment of Indo-Pacific Perspectives, Dr. Peter Harris and his assembled scholars tackle the issue of Sino-Indian border conflicts.
The border dispute is one component of the Sino-Indian relationship. In recent years, unwanted skirmishes and clashes along the LAC have been highly politicized, exacerbating antagonistic domestic dynamics as well as furthering the perception of an international competition. To continue intensifying cooperation among China, India, and the rest of Asia, leaders would do well to remember that “divide and rule” remains a powerful strategy in world politics. Indian and Chinese leaders should each avoid falling into that trap.
The United States must utilize a new source of power to address the China dilemma: its ability to develop and influence liberal multilateral institutions. This grand strategy uses diplomacy to leverage liberal cooperative security and financial institutions to both bound and reshape China’s power within the system to bolster US national security.
The views and opinions expressed or implied in JIPA are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or their international equivalents. See our Publication Ethics Statement.