Chinese Public Opinion: 73% Have Positive View of Pakistan, Second Only to Russia

A recent public opinion survey conducted in China revealed that 73% of respondents have a positive view of Pakistan, second only to Russia which is seen positively by 80% of respondents.  About 18% of Chinese survey participants have a negative view of Pakistan while 9% are neutral. The results of this survey show that the oft-repeated talk of China and Pakistan being "iron brothers" is not just official rhetoric; it is actually supported by the Chinese people. It is also evident in the fact that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is transforming Pakistan's least developed area

Other nations enjoying favorable views among the Chinese include Singapore (66%), North Korea (62%), and Germany (61%). Most negatively perceived countries include the United States (90%), India (56%), Japan (54%), Vietnam (48%), South Korea (47%), and Ukraine (46%). 

Chinese Public Opinion Survey of 25 Countries. Source: CEIAS

The survey in China was conducted by the Central European Institute of Asian Studies (CEIAS), an independent think tank based in Bratislava, Slovakia. It sought the Chinese view of 25 countries included in the survey. The survey respondents see both the United States and Russia as powerful, but American power is seen mostly in negative terms, while Russia’s is almost exclusively positive. 

US Tag Cloud in Chinese Survey Responses. Source: CEIAS

The Chinese survey conducted in March this year reveals that the most common word association with the United States is “hegemon,” while other frequent expressions are “advanced,” “developed,” and “powerful,” but also “bossy,” “war,” “bandit,” and “sowing discord.” In the Russian case, the most common association is “warrior nation,” followed by words such as “Putin,” “vodka,” “vast,” “bears,” “powerful,” “war with Ukraine,” and “Sino-Russian friendship.”

Russia Tag Cloud in Chinese Survey. Source: CEIAS

The survey results show that Russia is among the most recommended countries for pursuing higher education among the Chinese, behind only China itself (83%), Singapore (56%), and the United Kingdom (55%). More than 52% of respondents recommend university study in Russia, while India and South Korea are the least recommended countries for university studies, with 63% and 42% of respondents not recommending them respectively. 

Another major finding of the survey is Chinese people’s confidence in China. When asked about how militarily and economically powerful they perceive relevant major powers, China is seen as the most powerful one, while China’s culture is also perceived as the most attractive and Chinese universities are the most recommended ones.

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CPEC Transforming Pakistan's Least Developed Areas

The Chinese Miracle


Riaz Haq said…
S'pore is second most influenced by China in the world, according to Taiwan report (Does not mention Pakistan)

Singapore has been ranked second in the world - behind Cambodia and just ahead of Thailand - in a study measuring China's expanding influence on countries.

In the areas of technology, society and academia - but less so for domestic politics - the Republic was found to be especially susceptible to the exposure, pressure and effect of Beijing's influence, according to the China Index launched late on Monday (April 25) by Taiwan-based research outfit Doublethink Lab.

The inaugural index placed the Philippines in sixth, Malaysia eighth and Taiwan ninth with Australia rounding off the top 10.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia and Paraguay were identified as least influenced by China, in a list spanning 36 territories across Asia, Europe, Australasia, Africa and the Americas.

In 15th position was the United States, which remains embroiled in an intense multidimensional rivalry with an ascendant China.

The index is billed as the first to gauge the extent of Chinese influence using comparable data, collected from March to August 2021 and involving 99 indicators across nine domains: media, foreign policy, academia, domestic politics, economy, technology, society, military and law enforcement.

The indicators further fall into three categories: exposure - how vulnerable the country is; pressure - actions taken by China to change the behaviour of people in the country; and effect - the degree to which the country accommodates China, and the impact of these actions.

A committee convened by Doublethink Lab designed the indicators, each of which was then assessed on a four-point scale by at least two anonymous local experts - either academics, journalists, researchers or community leaders - who must provide corresponding evidence.

The eight-person committee largely comprised US and Western analysts such as Ms Bonnie Glaser from the US research institution German Marshall Fund and Ms Nadege Rolland from the Washington-based think-tank National Bureau of Asian Research, with the exception of Mr Roy Chun Lee from the Taiwan WTO and RTA Centre at the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research.

Singapore's percentage scores were higher than the world average across all domains except for domestic politics, which evaluates China's efforts to influence the political landscape in a country.

These findings follow a Pew Research Centre survey released in June 2021, which found that 64 per cent of Singaporeans had a favourable view of China, and that Singaporeans were the only ones in the world to view China more positively than the US.

In September last year, French think-tank Irsem (Institute for Strategic Research at France's Military College) also identified Singapore - where ethnic Chinese make up about three-quarters of the citizen and resident populations - as being particularly vulnerable to Chinese influence.

Singaporeans have also been observed taking to online forums to share anecdotes of fathers and grandfathers being "self-radicalised" by Chinese propaganda.
Riaz Haq said…
#US considering $4 billion additional support for #India, on top of billions of dollars extended earlier, #NewDelhi said on Monday after the two sides signed an agreement to keep such money flowing. #QuadSummit #ModiInJapan #Biden #HindutvaTerrorists
Riaz Haq said…
#US President #Biden looks to stress 'commonalities' with #Indian PM #Modi in talks with eyes on #China despite differences on issues including #Russia. #ModiInJapan #QuadSummit #Tokyo #Hindutva #islamophobiainindia #Muslims #Genocide
Riaz Haq said…
#Biden's #Taiwan comment hangs over #QuadSummit with leaders of #Japan, #India & #Australia on final day of #Asia trip. He said #US would be willing to defend Taiwan militarily if #China attacks. China has reacted angrily to Biden remarks. #Modi #Ladakh

President Joe Biden is set to wrap up his final stop on his first visit to Asia with a summit that's aimed at countering Beijing's expanding influence, a day after saying the United States would be willing to defend Taiwan militarily if China attacks.

Biden's statement is sure to loom over the day's meetings, as he's set to meet in-person with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia as part of a revitalized Quad Leaders' Summit in Tokyo, capping off his a four-day visit to South Korea and Japan. The comment, which was quickly walked back by a White House aide, sent a shock wave through both Washington and Beijing as Chinese government spokespeople issued sharp warnings over Biden's rhetoric, and the President's top military officials were forced to spend most of Monday attempting to explain the President's apparent disregard of American strategy toward Taiwan.
A day later, Biden was expecting to hold "very direct, very candid" conversations with the leaders of the Quad, a collective that has drawn China's ire as Biden's attempt at building an "Asian NATO." Ahead of the talks, a senior US administration official stressed the grouping is not a formal alliance bloc, without a central secretariat or headquarters.
"The goal here is not to create a lot of formal structures. The goal is to find ways to work together on issues that are of interest to the region," the official said, adding it was too soon to discuss expanding the grouping beyond the four current participants.

Still, Biden and the other leaders are expected to unveil new initiatives on maritime information sharing, Covid vaccines and climate as part of their meeting. And Biden's aides view the Quad as a critical component to a foreign policy strategy that puts heavy emphasis on cultivating relationships in Asia.
"I think that we've all been impressed how comfortable the leaders are with each other and how comfortable they are having very, very serious conversations," the official said.

Biden was also planning to meet individually with India and Australia's Prime Ministers Tuesday before returning to Washington. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese became Australia's leader only 2 days ago, and US officials have been cheered by his willingness to make his first order of business the Quad summit.
Talks with India's Narendra Modi are likely to be more fraught as he resists US pressure to condemn Russia for its war in Ukraine. India relies of Moscow for the majority of its arms purchases, a historical partnership that it is reluctant to break.
"The President is very aware that countries have their own histories. They have their own interests, they have their own outlooks, and the idea is to build on the commonalities," the senior official said.
On his first trip to Asia since becoming President, Biden -- who has long warned about China's growing influence as a world power -- has sought to strengthen the US' standing with Eastern alliances and seek more ways to cooperate. And though much of China's looming presence on the trip was unspoken, on Monday Biden said that the US would be willing to intervene militarily if China attempts to take Taiwan by force -- a statement that appeared to shift away from the deliberate ambiguity traditionally held by Washington.

Riaz Haq said…
#China-#India Border Crisis Has Quietly Resulted In Victory For #Beijing. China has in fact managed to establish its undisputed control over the Aksai Chin region. #Ladakh #Kashmir #Pakistan #Modi #BJP #QuadSummit

The most critical manner in which China has in fact managed to establish its undisputed control over the Aksai Chin region is evidenced by the evolution of China’s frontline positions. While initially composed of small outposts and then joined by temporary tent camps during the 2020 face-off, these positions have now evolved into permanent bases with cold weather shelters.

In essence, time has been on China’s side and India now faces a (quite literal) uphill battle to restore even a semblance of control over its territorial claims in this area while it simultaneously faces similar challenges at other locations of its shared border farther East.


During the border crisis in 2020, China established improvised positions at key locations along the edges of its own territorial claim in the region. Chinese forces established tent camps in the Galwan Valley, occupied critical patrol points, sent forces to camp atop mountain ranges along high altitude lakes and set up new bases in open plains. Negotiations during the crisis itself led China to abandon a small minority of these improvised frontline positions, but over the next two years, the vast majority of them developed into permanent all-weather military encampments.

The strength that China has rapidly developed along these borders will severely constrain India’s ability to ever recover access to the Aksai Chin region. Despite the public appearance of the crisis being settled in a Chinese withdrawal, this withdrawal has remained negligible compared to the scale of the territory that China has militarized. As such, China has achieved a form of territorial expansion by bringing Aksai Chin from a disputed status to a de facto militarily occupied status.

India has, of course, not been entirely passive throughout the course of the crisis and the two years that have followed. Initially, its stern response to Chinese expansions into the Galwan Valley quite literally pushed back the Chinese efforts to establish new positions, but its risk-averse approach did eventually allow the Chinese military to dig in at Aksai Chin.

Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, a Senior Fellow (Nuclear Security Program) at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, a New Delhi-based think tank focusing on South Asian affairs, notes that there has been a massive drive to improve infrastructure and better interconnectivity within disputed Aksai Chin, by China.

“This sort of development would have been a land warfare planner’s nightmare, but it offers India a unique advantage now, in the form of a target-rich environment for the Indian Air Force, the same air force that has, in the course of the last few years, replaced the army as the primary response to serious cross border threats,” according to Iyer-Mitra. “Unfortunately, the progress on the Chinese side, in his opinion, solidifies the fluid line of actual control into an actual border, one that will be more prone to friction. But on the bright side, this semi-formally ends the 'salami-slicing' the Chinese resorted to till around 2013.”

Riaz Haq said…
#Indian #media reports: #Biden Praises "#India's Success" Amid "#China's Failure" On #Covid. My question: How ridiculous can @POTUS be? Fact: India has lost 4.7 million people to COVID #pandemic, the highest in the world. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #Islamophobia
Riaz Haq said…
Who do the Chinese adore or detest most: India, US, Quad, Russia, Pakistan

Cut the Clutter with Shekhar Gupta, The Print, India

Central European Institute of Asian Studies has released a report on 'Chinese views of the world at the time of the Russia-Ukraine war'. In Episode 1008 of Cut The Clutter, Shekhar Gupta reads into this report giving out interesting numbers on liking towards Russia, Pakistan and particular disliking towards India, US. Do Chinese still like Russians after the Ukraine war?
Riaz Haq said…
#CPEC won’t be derailed by inflated economic woes of #Pakistan. #China will never leave the CPEC project unfinished. No matter what difficulties we encounter, we should be confident in the future of our two countries' closer cooperation - Global Times

By Hu Weijia
Published: May 25, 2022 11:43 PM Updated: May 25, 2022 11:40 PM

Economic headwinds in Pakistan have aroused concerns over whether the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project will be affected. It is neither the first time, and unlikely to be the last time that Western media outlets slander the CPEC. Some media may try to claim that a bad enough economic downturn could lead to a collapse of the CPEC, but those people are going to be deeply disappointed.

Some media outlets are keen on playing up tensions by saying Pakistan faces a "double whammy" from weak economy and growing debt levels. Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Pakistan may default for the second time in its history if the country cannot get a bailout from the IMF.

In the backdrop of the current economic situation, "Islamabad will for the next couple of years lack the resources to accelerate work on the CPEC," the South China Morning Post (SCMP) said recently, citing unnamed analysts.

Some people believe China and Pakistan may scale down the CPEC amid Pakistan's increasing debt problems because they mistakenly think the project has inflicted a rising debt burden on Pakistan. However, official data showed the debt incurred from the projects of the CPEC is only one-tenth of Pakistan's total foreign debt.

It is ridiculous to blame the CPEC for the current economic difficulties and challenges Pakistan is facing. With investment in road, railways and ports, the CPEC offers enormous potential for the South Asian country to boost its economy, reduce poverty and promote regional economic cooperation.

Currently, Pakistan seems to have a bigger problem to worry about as the country grapples with surging inflation. The annual inflation rate in Pakistan increased to 13.4 percent in April from 12.7 percent in the previous month.

High inflation is the result of multiple factors, among them the West's unilateral sanctions on Russia which have driven up the cost of energy and agricultural goods are one of the most important ones. A contrast between the impact of West's unilateral sanctions and the CPEC on Pakistan's economy give a hint to answer the question that who should take blame for Pakistan's economic woes.

Like some other developing countries, Pakistan has been facing economic headwinds. The South Asian country now needs to work hand-in-hand with China to safeguard the smooth implementation of the CPEC, a project that can make a contribution to help Pakistan get through the current tough period.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on May 16 that Pakistan is ready to work with China to speed up the construction of the CPEC, deepen cooperation on key projects and special economic zones to bring more benefits to the people of the two countries.

The CPEC has been a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and benefits local people through the improvement of local infrastructure. China will never leave the CPEC project unfinished. No matter what difficulties we encounter, we should be confident in the future of our two countries' closer cooperation.
Riaz Haq said…
Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin poses a clear and present threat. In attacking Ukraine three months ago, he also attacked the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, enshrined in the UN Charter, to protect all countries from being conquered or coerced. That’s why so many countries have united to oppose this aggression because they see it as a direct assault on the foundation of their own peace and security.

Ukraine is fighting valiantly to defend its people and its independence with unprecedented assistance from the United States and countries around the world. And while the war is not over, President Putin has failed to achieve a single one of his strategic aims. Instead of erasing Ukraine’s independence, he strengthened it. Instead of dividing NATO, he’s united it. Instead of asserting Russia’s strength, he’s undermined it. And instead of weakening the international order, he has brought countries together to defend it.

Even as President Putin’s war continues, we will remain focused on the most serious long-term challenge to the international order – and that’s posed by the People’s Republic of China.

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it. Beijing’s vision would move us away from the universal values that have sustained so much of the world’s progress over the past 75 years.

China is also integral to the global economy and to our ability to solve challenges from climate to COVID. Put simply, the United States and China have to deal with each other for the foreseeable future.

That’s why this is one of the most complex and consequential relationships of any that we have in the world today.

Over the last year, the Biden administration has developed and implemented a comprehensive strategy to harness our national strengths and our unmatched network of allies and partners to realize the future that we seek.

We are not looking for conflict or a new Cold War. To the contrary, we’re determined to avoid both.

We don’t seek to block China from its role as a major power, nor to stop China – or any other country, for that matter – from growing their economy or advancing the interests of their people.

But we will defend and strengthen the international law, agreements, principles, and institutions that maintain peace and security, protect the rights of individuals and sovereign nations, and make it possible for all countries – including the United States and China – to coexist and cooperate.

Now, the China of today is very different from the China of 50 years ago, when President Nixon broke decades of strained relations to become the first U.S. president to visit the country.

Then, China was isolated and struggling with widespread poverty and hunger.

Now, China is a global power with extraordinary reach, influence, and ambition. It’s the second largest economy, with world-class cities and public transportation networks. It’s home to some of the world’s largest tech companies and it seeks to dominate the technologies and industries of the future. It’s rapidly modernized its military and intends to become a top tier fighting force with global reach. And it has announced its ambition to create a sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific and to become the world’s leading power.

China’s transformation is due to the talent, the ingenuity, the hard work of the Chinese people. It was also made possible by the stability and opportunity that the international order provides. Arguably, no country on Earth has benefited more from that than China.

Riaz Haq said…
Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.

We are not perfect. But at our best, we always strive to be – in the words of our Constitution – a more perfect union. Our democracy is designed to make that happen.

That’s what the American people and the American model offer, and it’s one of the most powerful assets in this contest.

Now, Beijing believes that its model is the better one; that a party-led centralized system is more efficient, less messy, ultimately superior to democracy. We do not seek to transform China’s political system. Our task is to prove once again that democracy can meet urgent challenges, create opportunity, advance human dignity; that the future belongs to those who believe in freedom and that all countries will be free to chart their own paths without coercion.

The second piece of our strategy is aligning with our allies and partners to advance a shared vision for the future.

From day one, the Biden administration has worked to re-energize America’s unmatched network of alliances and partnerships and to re-engage in international institutions. We’re encouraging partners to work with each other, and through regional and global organizations. And we’re standing up new coalitions to deliver for our people and meet the tests of the century ahead.

Nowhere is this more true than in the Indo-Pacific region, where our relationships, including our treaty alliances, are among our strongest in the world.

The United States shares the vision that countries and people across the region hold: one of a free and open Indo-Pacific where rules are developed transparently and applied fairly; where countries are free to make their own sovereign decisions; where goods, ideas, and people flow freely across land, sky, cyberspace, the open seas, and governance is responsive to the people.

President Biden reinforced these priorities this week with his trip to the region, where he reaffirmed our vital security alliances with South Korea and Japan, and deepened our economic and technology cooperation with both countries.

He launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, a first-of-its-kind initiative for the region. It will, in the President’s words, “help all our countries’ economies grow faster and fairer.” IPEF, as we call it, renews American economic leadership but adapts it for the 21st century by addressing cutting-edge issues like the digital economy, supply chains, clean energy, infrastructure, and corruption. A dozen countries, including India, have already joined. Together, IPEF members make up more than a third of the global economy.

The President also took part in the leaders’ summit of the Quad countries – Australia, Japan, India, the United States. The Quad never met at the leader level before President Biden took office. Since he convened the first leaders’ meeting last year, the Quad has held four summits. It’s become a leading regional team. This week, it launched a new Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness, so our partners across the region can better monitor the waters near their shores to address illegal fishing and protect their maritime rights and their sovereignty.

We’re reinvigorating our partnership with ASEAN. Earlier this month, we hosted the U.S.-ASEAN Summit to take on urgent issues like public health and the climate crisis together. This week, seven ASEAN countries became founding members of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. And we’re building bridges among our Indo-Pacific and European partners, including by inviting Asian allies to the NATO summit in Madrid next month.

Riaz Haq said…
Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.

Our diplomacy is based on partnership and respect for each other’s interests. We don’t expect every country to have the exact same assessment of China as we do. We know that many countries – including the United States – have vital economic or people-to-people ties with China that they want to preserve. This is not about forcing countries to choose. It’s about giving them a choice, so that, for example, the only option isn’t an opaque investment that leaves countries in debt, stokes corruption, harms the environment, fails to create local jobs or growth, and compromises countries’ exercise of their sovereignty. We’ve heard firsthand about buyer’s remorse that these deals can leave behind.

At every step, we’re consulting with our partners, listening to them, taking their concerns to heart, building solutions that address their unique challenges and priorities.

There is growing convergence about the need to approach relations with Beijing with more realism. Many of our partners already know from painful experience how Beijing can come down hard when they make choices that it dislikes. Like last spring, when Beijing cut off Chinese students and tourists from traveling to Australia and imposed an 80 percent tariff on Australian barley exports, because Australia’s Government called for an independent inquiry into COVID’s origin. Or last November, when Chinese Coast Guard vessels used water cannons to stop a resupply of a Philippine navy ship in the South China Sea. Actions like these remind the world of how Beijing can retaliate against perceived opposition.

There’s another area of alignment we share with our allies and partners: human rights.

The United States stands with countries and people around the world against the genocide and crimes against humanity happening in the Xinjiang region, where more than a million people have been placed in detention camps because of their ethnic and religious identity.

We stand together on Tibet, where the authorities continue to wage a brutal campaign against Tibetans and their culture, language, and religious traditions, and in Hong Kong, where the Chinese Communist Party has imposed harsh anti-democratic measures under the guise of national security.

Now, Beijing insists that these are somehow internal matters that others have no right to raise. That is wrong. Its treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, along with many other actions, go against the core tenets of the UN Charter that Beijing constantly cites and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that all countries are meant to adhere to.

Beijing’s quashing of freedom in Hong Kong violates its handover commitments, enshrined in a treaty deposited at the United Nations.

We’ll continue to raise these issues and call for change – not to stand against China, but to stand up for peace, security, and human dignity.

That brings us to the third element of our strategy. Thanks to increased investments at home and greater alignment with allies and partners, we are well-positioned to outcompete China in key areas.

For example, Beijing wants to put itself at the center of global innovation and manufacturing, increase other countries’ technological dependence, and then use that dependence to impose its foreign policy preferences. And Beijing is going to great lengths to win this contest – for example, taking advantage of the openness of our economies to spy, to hack, to steal technology and know-how to advance its military innovation and entrench its surveillance state.

Riaz Haq said…
Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.

So as we make sure the next wave of innovation is unleashed by the United States and our allies and partners, we’ll also protect ourselves against efforts to siphon off our ingenuity or imperil our security.

We’re sharpening our tools to safeguard our technological competitiveness. That includes new and stronger export controls to make sure our critical innovations don’t end up in the wrong hands; greater protections for academic research, to create an open, secure, and supportive environment for science; better cyber defenses; stronger security for sensitive data; and sharper investment screening measures to defend companies and countries against Beijing’s efforts to gain access to sensitive technologies, data, or critical infrastructure; compromise our supply chains; or dominate key strategic sectors.

We believe – and we expect the business community to understand – that the price of admission to China’s market must not be the sacrifice of our core values or long-term competitive and technological advantages. We’re counting on businesses to pursue growth responsibly, assess risk soberly, and work with us not only to protect but to strengthen our national security.

For too long, Chinese companies have enjoyed far greater access to our markets than our companies have in China. For example, Americans who want to read the China Daily or communicate via WeChat are free to do so, but The New York Times and Twitter are prohibited for the Chinese people, except those working for the government who use these platforms to spread propaganda and disinformation. American companies operating in China have been subject to systematic forced technology transfer, while Chinese companies in America have been protected by our rule of law. Chinese filmmakers can freely market their movies to American theater owners without any censorship by the U.S. Government, but Beijing strictly limits the number of foreign movies allowed in the Chinese market, and those that are allowed are subjected to heavy-handed political censorship. China’s businesses in the United States don’t fear using our impartial legal system to defend their rights – in fact, they’re frequently in court asserting claims against the United States Government. The same isn’t true for foreign firms in China.

This lack of reciprocity is unacceptable and it’s unsustainable.

Or consider what happened in the steel market. Beijing directed massive over-investment by Chinese companies, which then flooded the global market with cheap steel. Unlike U.S. companies and other market-oriented firms, Chinese companies don’t need to make a profit – they just get another injection of state-owned bank credit when funds are running low. Plus, they do little to control pollution or protect the rights of their workers, which also keeps costs down. As a consequence, China now accounts for more than half of global steel production, driving U.S. companies – as well as factories in India, Mexico, Indonesia, Europe, and elsewhere – out of the market.

We’ve seen this same model when it comes to solar panels, electric car batteries – key sectors of the 21st century economy that we cannot allow to become completely dependent on China.

Riaz Haq said…
Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.

We’ve seen this same model when it comes to solar panels, electric car batteries – key sectors of the 21st century economy that we cannot allow to become completely dependent on China.

Economic manipulations like these have cost American workers millions of jobs. And they’ve harmed the workers and firms of countries around the world. We will push back on market-distorting policies and practices, like subsidies and market access barriers, which China’s government has used for years to gain competitive advantage. We’ll boost supply chain security and resilience by reshoring production or sourcing materials from other countries in sensitive sectors like pharmaceuticals and critical minerals, so that we’re not dependent on any one supplier. We’ll stand together with others against economic coercion and intimidation. And we will work to ensure that U.S. companies don’t engage in commerce that facilitates or benefits from human rights abuses, including forced labor.

In short, we’ll fight for American workers and industry with every tool we have – just as we know that our partners will fight for their workers.

The United States does not want to sever China’s economy from ours or from the global economy – though Beijing, despite its rhetoric, is pursuing asymmetric decoupling, seeking to make China less dependent on the world and the world more dependent on China. For our part, we want trade and investment as long as they’re fair and don’t jeopardize our national security. China has formidable economic resources, including a highly capable workforce. We’re confident that our workers, our companies will compete successfully – and we welcome that competition – on a level playing field.

So as we push back responsibly on unfair technology and economic practices, we’ll work to maintain economic and people-to-people ties connecting the United States and China, consistent with our interests and our values. Beijing may not be willing to change its behavior. But if it takes concrete action to address the concerns that we and many other countries have voiced, we will respond positively.

Competition need not lead to conflict. We do not seek it. We will work to avoid it. But we will defend our interests against any threat.

To that end, President Biden has instructed the Department of Defense to hold China as its pacing challenge, to ensure that our military stays ahead. We’ll seek to preserve peace through a new approach that we call “integrated deterrence” – bringing in allies and partners; working across the conventional, the nuclear, space, and informational domains; drawing on our reinforcing strengths in economics, in technology, and in diplomacy.

The administration is shifting our military investments away from platforms that were designed for the conflicts of the 20th century toward asymmetric systems that are longer-range, harder to find, easier to move. We’re developing new concepts to guide how we conduct military operations. And we’re diversifying our force posture and global footprint, fortifying our networks, critical civilian infrastructure, and space-based capabilities. We’ll help our allies and partners in the region with their own asymmetric capabilities, too.

Riaz Haq said…
Forbes Says the Quiet Part Out Loud About NATO | by Mitchell Peterson | May, 2022 | Medium

A few months ago, I heard a very astute political analyst say that when it comes to the ‘Western’ media, the financial press is typically more accurate. The Guardians, Fox News, and MSNBCs are always sycophantically in line with the geopolitical consensus, no matter how propagandistic or inaccurate.

We’ve been seeing a lot of that ridiculously out-of-touch coverage on Ukraine and NATO — if you see the Ghost of Kyiv anywhere, let me know ’cause I want to interview that cat.

But seemingly out of nowhere, CNN did have a decent and surprisingly revealing piece back in mid-April regarding weapons sent to Ukraine. The synopsis: we don’t know what happens to them. In their words, it’s a ‘black hole.’ They also admitted the information we’re getting isn’t always accurate and will always be curated to improve the case for more military aid.

The ‘newspaper of record’ NY Times has been embarrassingly bad, but they’re admittedly starting to shift their rhetoric.

But because investors need accurate assessments, outlets like the Financial Times can’t be quite as propagandistic and have to cover things a bit closer to reality — although the Economist is a pathetic cheerleader of all things ‘West is Best.’

Forbes — bless their hearts — recently went full mask-off.

The title of this piece says it all, ‘Expanded NATO Will Shoot Billions To US Defense Contractors.’

That’s it, that’s the game, and that’s why the US is so militaristic — of course, naked neocolonialism and resource extraction play a role. But never-ending conflict is big business in itself, and so America has never met a war it didn’t like. It especially hasn’t met a proxy war it didn’t like.

Selling billions in weapons while no caskets of US service members are being flown home draped in flags is their favorite kind of business.

For that reason, Forbes says now is a great time to invest in the American corporate war machine.

The financial press like the Financial Times can’t be quite as propagandistic and has to cover things a bit closer to reality because investors need accurate assessments…

Is NATO an overall good? It’s debatable, and I’m open to hearing arguments, but I lean towards no. I understand why countries like the Czech Republic wanted to join a military alliance after centuries of oppression, especially the 1968 incursion by Soviet troops. And it makes sense for smaller nations like Lithuania to want some backup from the mafia don that is the US military.

But NATO was created to counter the Soviet Union. That union no longer exists and yet NATO is larger than ever. In the early nineties, there was talk of cooling tensions and cutting military budgets. The Red Menace had collapsed, couldn’t we all calm down? Of course not.

As Forbes rightly admits, expanding NATO shoots billions to US military contractors. Easing tensions, resolving conflicts, and reducing military budgets would have meant billions in unrealized profits. And so, NATO marched east.

Of course, if any sovereign nation wants to join, they have the right to do so, but ask the Libyans, Afghans, or Serbs if it is purely a ‘defensive’ alliance. Like America, NATO goes against the UN Security Council whenever it wants to bomb non-compliant states into oblivion and there are never any consequences.

It’s not purely defensive. That’s a fact. It is mostly about weapons sales. And as the AUKUS Submarine episode showed, America is NOT a reliable partner. Europeans always surprise me with how much they trust Uncle Sam and how little they know about his criminal record.

The US will throw any ally under the bus to make a buck at the drop of a hat. Would NATO really exert itself to back up member state Montenegro if it didn’t align with America’s self-interest? Hell no.
Riaz Haq said…
Forbes Says the Quiet Part Out Loud About NATO | by Mitchell Peterson | May, 2022 | Medium

The piece by Forbes contributor John Markman that inspired this started by talking about Finland and Sweden joining NATO, and how it’ll be a big win for Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. He laments how Europe has benefitted from a “peace dividend” and their governments “spent lavishly on social safety nets while forgetting the world is a dangerous place”— you know, all those big waste items like tax-payer-funded higher education, functioning healthcare systems, and civilized maternity leave.

Forbes seems to think European nations forgot about America’s appetite for global domination and conflict. Then, as Markman wrote, “images of the destruction of Ukraine changed everything.”

If allowed to join NATO, Finland and Sweden would have to spend at least 2% of their GDP on their militaries and those increases in weapons systems will need to be NATO compatible, which “directly benefits the big U.S. contractors.”

Forbes is pumped and remarked how Finland was already suckered into buying sixty-four F-35s — the worst fighter ever made and one the US military is reluctant to use — for $110 million a pop. They say that’s a nice boost to the failed fighter’s designers and manufacturers Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and BAE Systems.

‘The market for their goods is expanding and they will face no competition for the forseeable future…In addition to the cost of the units, corresponding ground support, spare parts and maintenance, there is lock-in factor. Europe is now committed to America-made gear for decades to come. — J.M.

Read that again, “Europe is now committed to America-made gear for decades to come.”That’s the game. Finland might as well light a few billion on fire. Or immediately take the F-35s apart and sell them for parts.

In the short term, the revenue increase is going to be minimal. Defense contractors recognize sales when systems are delivered, and that can take several years. In the interim, the sector will benefit from supplementary bills passed to aid the war effort in Ukraine. President Biden signed last week a $40 billion Ukrainian war package. The United States is sending existing equipment to the war-torn country. Those systems will later be replenished at an additional cost to U.S. taxpayers. — J.M.

Is anybody else shocked Forbes is saying this all so openly?

NATO is further expanding, meaning these educated and socialized-medicine abusing Europeans will be spending more on weapons, they’re even buying billions in useless fighters from America, and, while we wait for those profits, Washington is dumping tens of billions into a black hole of a proxy war and sending all spare weapons systems which will need to be replenished at the expense of the taxpayer! Invest dudes! Let’s make bank and then get some of the devil’s dandruff and throw a coked-fueled rager!

American defense contractors are reliable technology partners. The companies are also backed-up by the largess of the U.S defense budget, a record $810 billion in 2021. There is no appetite politically to decrease military spending. And that sentiment is spreading globally, thanks to the carnage in Ukraine. — J.M.

It’s a win-win, boys! The defense budget is basically seventy cents of every dollar the federal government spends and there’s ‘no appetite politcally’ to reduce it. The Pentagon asks for a number and the freaking Congress usually increases it by 15% themselves.

And now, “that sentiment is spreading globally, thanks to the carnage in Ukraine.”

The piece then talks about the stock price of each corporate contractor and how they’re ‘inexpensive’ given the outlook of new markets in Europe.

It’s all so freaking cynical.
Riaz Haq said…
Forbes Says the Quiet Part Out Loud About NATO | by Mitchell Peterson | May, 2022 | Medium

Everybody these days is familiar with Eisenhower’s warnings regarding the military-industrial complex, and I often wonder what he’d say if he saw the state of America and the federal budget. The top marginal tax rate was freaking 91% when he was in office and the military budget was actually reduced for a few years in the 1950s. These days, the highest marginal tax rate on the richest of the rich is 37%, most billionaires and corporations pay next to nothing, and military spending will very soon surpass $1,000,000,000,000 a year.

Ike would shit himself, give a speech on the barbarity of the nation, and then get called a pansy-ass socialist and never be invited back onto mainstream television — seriously.

How the hell did Forbes write this piece? And how does America justify this level of military spending with almost third-world-level poverty and social problems domestically?

This Chris Hedges quote says it all:

The United States, as the near unanimous vote to provide nearly $40 billion in aid to Ukraine illustrates, is trapped in the death spiral of unchecked militarism. No high speed trains. No universal health care. No viable Covid relief program. No respite from 8.3 percent inflation. No infrastructure programs to repair decaying roads and bridges, which require $41.8 billion to fix the 43,586 structurally deficient bridges, on average 68 years old. No forgiveness of $1.7 trillion in student debt. No addressing income inequality. No program to feed the 17 millionchildren who go to bed each night hungry. No rational gun control or curbing of the epidemic of nihilistic violence and mass shootings. No help for the 100,000 Americans who die each year of drug overdoses. No minimum wage of $15 an hour to counter 44 years of wage stagnation. No respite from gas prices that are projected to hit $6 a gallon.

It’s a death spiral. Everyone can see it. And as I said, the financial press is usually more accurate when portraying it; they just do it in their own way. It’s still propagandistic, but just a little closer to reality.

Investors are moving money around and need real information so the Financial Times does its best to call balls and strikes while the other outlets are Kim-Jong-un-level home refs and say ‘we good guys are on the right side of history and winning’ no matter how detached that might be from the Newtonian reality.

It’s wise not to expect much from any of them, but they do offer a window into the mainstream ‘Western’ consensus.

And sometimes, like Forbes, they remove the mask entirely, accidentally reveal the truth, and cheerlead the orgy of profits brought on by mass death.
Riaz Haq said…
Handle the India-U.S. Relationship With Care
The world’s largest democracy often sees things very differently than America.

By Walter Russell Mead

Superficially, the U.S.-India relationship looks like a success. With both countries focused on China, business ties steadily deepening, and U.S.-Pakistan relations in a deep freeze, many of the old obstacles to the relationship have disappeared.

But an intense week of meetings in Bangalore and Delhi with politicians, think tankers, religious leaders and journalists made clear that while Americans and Indians share strategic and economic interests, and we both value democracy, we remain divided by important differences in values and perceptions. Unless managed carefully, these differences could derail U.S.-India cooperation at a critical time.

Americans and Indians often see the same problem in very different ways. India, for example, does not see Russia’s attack on Ukraine as a threat to world order. While Americans have been disturbed by India’s continued willingness to buy oil from Russia, Indians resent the West’s attempt to rally global support for what many here see as a largely Western problem in Ukraine. Pointing out that Europeans scarcely noticed China’s attacks on Indian frontier posts in 2020, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told a conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, last week that “Europe has to grow out of the mindset that Europe’s problems are the world’s problems.”

More generally, Indians bristle when they sense Americans and Europeans getting together to write global rules. The more that American Wilsonians talk about a values-based international order, the more that Indians worry about Western arrogance. Many Indians want a strong Russia and, within limits, a strong China precisely to help guard against the kind of world order President Biden and many of his advisers want to build.

This is more than the postcolonial suspicion of Western intentions that India has long shared with many other non-Western countries. The Hindu nationalist movement that has replaced the long-ruling Congress Party with a new political system built around the Bharatiya Janata Party and its charismatic leader, Narendra Modi, has brought a new dynamism to Indian foreign policy. This new nationalist India wants to increase and develop Indian power, not submerge Indian sovereignty in Western-designed international institutions.

The domestic agenda of the Hindu nationalist movement can also cause problems for the U.S.-India relationship. For Hindu nationalists, the rule of the Muslim Mughal emperors, some of whom destroyed ancient Hindu temples and built mosques on their ruins, was as much a disaster as British colonialism for Indian civilization. It is not enough to send the British packing; the liberation of India means placing Hindu civilization back at the center of Indian cultural and political life. Many BJP supporters want the Indian government to defend India’s Hindu civilization and culture from Islam, Christianity and Western secular liberalism.

Riaz Haq said…
Handle the India-U.S. Relationship With Care
The world’s largest democracy often sees things very differently than America.

By Walter Russell Mead

This form of Hindu nationalism leads to controversial policy initiatives. Tough restrictions on the ability of foreign organizations to fund civil-society groups in India threaten to disrupt the activities of American charities ranging from the Ford Foundation to the Catholic Church. Anti-conversion laws put obstacles in the path of both Christian and Muslim missionary efforts, and Hindu women wishing to marry out of the faith sometimes face severe social and governmental pressures. Communal violence, a problem in India since the days of the British raj, has risen in recent years. Indian Muslims often express fears for their personal security.

American human-rights groups have responded to these developments with increasing concern, and last week Secretary of State Antony Blinken named India as a country “where religious freedom and the rights of religious minorities are under threat.” Such statements do more to trigger anticolonial and anti-Western sentiments than to relieve minority communities. Hindu nationalism is, among other things, a demand that Indian civilization be accepted as the moral and spiritual equal of the West. America has its racial problems and mass shootings, Indians say. What gives Americans the right to tell India how to live?

These conflicts aren’t going away and will likely get worse over time. Hindu nationalism is here to stay. So are India’s communal tensions, and so too for that matter is the belief of many Americans that they have a solemn duty to tell people in other countries and cultures how to live—and to impose sanctions on those unhappy occasions when they fail to take our advice. If bilateral relations are to prosper, Indians and Americans need to find better ways to manage these chronic issues.

India and the U.S. are raucously democratic societies, and their foreign policies cannot ignore public opinion. Managing this critical relationship is never going to be easy. Building deeper ties between the two societies will help; so too will quiet, low-key conversations aimed at preventing blowups before they occur. Both sides need this relationship; we both need to focus on making it work.
Riaz Haq said…
Opinion The best China strategy? Defeat Russia.

By Fareed Zakaria

Ironically, one of the people who attended Blinken’s speech was Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who during his presidential campaign in 2012 warned that Russia posed the single largest threat to the United States. Those, including myself, who dismissed his prognosis were wrong, because we looked only at Russia’s strength, which was not impressive. But Romney clearly understood that power in the international realm is measured by a mixture of capabilities and intentions. And though Russia is not a rising giant, it is determined to challenge and divide America and Europe and tear up the rules-based international system. Putin’s Russia is the world’s great spoiler.

This phenomenon of a declining power becoming the greatest danger to global peace is not unprecedented. In 1914, the country that triggered World War I was Austria-Hungary, an empire in broad decline, and yet one determined to use its military to show the world it still mattered and to teach a harsh lesson to Serbia, which it regarded as a minor, vassal state. Sound familiar?

America’s dominant priority must be to ensure that Russia does not prevail in its aggression against Ukraine. And right now, trends are moving in the wrong direction. Russian forces are consolidating their gains in eastern Ukraine. Sky-high oil prices have ensured that money continues to flow into Putin’s coffers. Europeans are beginning to talk about off-ramps. Moscow is offering developing nations a deal: Get the West to call off sanctions, it tells them, and it will help export all the grain from Ukraine and Russia and avert famine in many parts of the world. Ukraine’s leaders say it still does not have the weapons and training it needs to fight back effectively.

The best China strategy right now is to defeat Russia. Xi Jinping made a risky wager in backing Russia strongly on the eve of the invasion. If Russia comes out of this conflict a weak, marginalized country, that will be a serious blow to Xi, who is personally associated with the alliance with Putin. If, on the other hand, Putin survives and somehow manages to stage a comeback, Xi and China will learn an ominous lesson: that the West cannot uphold its rules-based system against a sustained assault.

Most of the people in top positions in the Biden administration were senior officials in the Obama administration in 2014, when Russia launched its first invasion of Ukraine, annexed Crimea and intervened in eastern Ukraine. They were not able to reverse Moscow’s aggression or even make Putin pay much of a price for it. Perhaps at the time, they saw the greatest threat to global order as the Islamic State, or they were focused on the “pivot” to Asia, or they didn’t prioritize Ukraine enough. Now they have a second chance, but it is likely to be the last.

Riaz Haq said…
The U.S. Is Losing Its Military Edge in Asia, and China Knows It

John Custer

While the U.S. military is globally dispersed, China can concentrate its forces on winning a future conflict in its own neighborhood. It now has the capability. China has the world’s largest navy and Asia’s biggest air force and an imposing arsenal of missiles designed to deter the United States from projecting military power into the Western Pacific in a crisis. China’s third and most advanced aircraft carrier is nearing completion, and other new hardware is being developed or is already in service.

To turn things around, the United States must prioritize the threat from China, reinforce its military strength in Asia and provide Australia, Japan and India more sophisticated military and technological capabilities to bolster a strategy of collective defense.


Washington should support Australian and Japanese aims to build long-range missiles on home soil by sharing intellectual property, provide more U.S. weaponry to India and beef up foreign military financing in the region, starting with a dedicated fund to boost Taiwan’s deterrence capabilities.

A Chinese fighter jet veered in front of an Australian military surveillance aircraft over international waters in the South China Sea last month and released metallic debris that was sucked into the Australian plane’s engines.

No one was reported hurt in the encounter, which Australia’s defense minister called “very dangerous,” but it added to a string of recent incidents that demonstrate China’s growing willingness to test the United States and its partners in Asia militarily.

China has systematically tracked U.S. warships in the region, its air force has staged intensifying incursions into Taiwanese and Japanese airspace, and its coast guard routinely harasses Philippine, Malaysian and Indonesian vessels. In recent weeks, Chinese fighter pilots have repeatedly buzzed Canadian military aircraft on a U.N.-sanctioned operation — sometimes raising their middle fingers at the Canadians.

As China’s armed forces grow in strength, sophistication and confidence, U.S.-led military deterrence in the Indo-Pacific is losing its bite.

Take the United States’ military presence in the region. It has about 55,000 military personnel in Japan and 28,000 in South Korea. Several thousand more are deployed across Australia, the Philippines, Thailand and Guam. This posture has barely changed since the 1950s. But plans to reinvigorate the U.S. presence have been stymied by inadequate budgets, competing priorities and a lack of consensus in Washington on how to deal with China.

The Pentagon has increased investments in cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, and cyber- and space-based systems to prepare for a possible high-tech conflict with China in the 2030s. But the balance of power is likely to shift decidedly in China’s favor by the time they are deployed unless the United States brings new resources to the table soon.

President Biden this year submitted the largest defense budget ever in dollar terms, but much of the increase will be swallowed up by skyrocketing inflation. Mr. Biden, like former President Donald Trump, is thus falling short of a target of 3 percent to 5 percent real annual budget growth, a bipartisan goal set even before the Ukraine war and often cited as the minimum the Pentagon needs in today’s era of great-power competition.
Riaz Haq said…
Ex #British PM Tony Blair: #Ukraine war shows West's dominance is ending as #China rises. China's Xi has continued supporting #Russia's #Putin & criticized sanctions "abuse" by the West. Putin has forged what he calls a "strategic partnership" with China.

The world, Blair said, was at a turning point in history comparable with the end of World War Two or the collapse of the Soviet Union: but this time the West is clearly not in the ascendant.

"We are coming to the end of Western political and economic dominance," Blair said in a lecture entitled "After Ukraine, What Lessons Now for Western Leadership?" according to a text of the speech to a forum supporting the alliance between the United States and Europe at Ditchley Park west of London.

"The world is going to be at least bi-polar and possibly multi-polar," Blair said. "The biggest geo-political change of this century will come from China not Russia."

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands and triggered the most serious crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when many people feared the world was on the brink of nuclear war.

President Vladimir Putin says the West has declared economic war by trying to isolate Russia's economy with sanctions and the Kremlin says Russia will turn to powers such as China and India.

The war in Ukraine, Blair said, had clarified that the West could not rely on China "to behave in the way we would consider rational".

Chinese President Xi Jinping has continued supporting Putin and criticised sanctions "abuse" by the West. Putin has forged what he calls a "strategic partnership" with China.

China in 1979 had an economy that was smaller than Italy’s, but after opening to foreign investment and introducing market reforms it has become the world’s second-largest economy.

Its economy is forecast to overtake the United States within a decade and it leads in some 21st century technologies such as artificial intelligence, regenerative medicine and conductive polymers.

"China’s place as a superpower is natural and justified. It is not the Soviet Union," said Blair, who was prime minister from 1997 to 2007. Its allies are likely to be Russia and Iran.

The West should not let China overtake militarily, he said.

"We should increase defence spending and maintain military superiority," Blair said. The United States and its allies "should be superior enough to cater for any eventuality or type of conflict and in all areas."

Riaz Haq said…
As the world lurches through the growing pains of massive geopolitical change, the US’ relationship with India will increasingly take center stage. Washington likes to see itself as providing a geopolitical center of gravity that is inherently attractive to nations like India, especially against regional competitors such as China. As the US is about to discover, however, India and China have a shared ambition about who should dominate the Pacific in the coming century, and it doesn’t include the US. Op Ed by Scott Ritter

On Aug. 19, India’s minister of external affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, gave a speech at a university in Thailand where he stated that relations between India and China were going through “an extremely difficult phase” and that an “Asian Century” seemed unlikely unless the two nations found a way to “join hands” and start working together.

For many observers, Jaishankar’s speech was taken as an opportunity for the US to drive a wedge between India and China, exploiting an ongoing border dispute along the Himalayan frontier to push India further into a pro-US orbit together with other Western-leaning regional powers. What these observers overlooked, however, was that the Indian minister was seeking the exact opposite from his speech, signaling that India was, in fact, interested in working with China to develop joint policies that would seek to replace US-led Western hegemony in the Pacific.

Struggle for Leadership

More than six decades ago, then-US Senator John F. Kennedy noted that there was a “struggle between India and China for the economic and political leadership of the East, for the respect of all Asia, for the opportunity to demonstrate whose way of life is the better.” The US, Kennedy argued, needed to focus on providing India the help it needed to win that struggle — even if India wasn’t asking for that help or, indeed, seeking to “win” any geopolitical contest with China.

Today, the relationships between the US, India and China have matured, with all three wrestling with complex, and often contradictory, policies that are simultaneously cooperative and confrontational. Notwithstanding this, the US continues to err on the side of helping India achieve a geopolitical “win” over China. One need only consider the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or “Quad,” conceived in 2007, but dormant until 2017, when it was resurrected under US leadership to bring together the US, Japan, Australia and India in an effort to create a regional counterweight to China’s growing influence.

There was a time when cooler heads cautioned against such an assertive US-led posture on a regional response to an expansive, and expanding, Chinese presence in the Indo-Pacific region. This line of thinking held that strong Indian relationships with Tokyo and Canberra should be allowed to naturally progress, independent of US regional ambitions.

These same “cool heads” argued that the US needed to be realistic in its expectations on relations between India and China, avoiding the pitfalls of Cold War-era “zero-sum game” calculations. The US should appreciate that India needed to implement a foreign policy that best met Indian needs. Moreover, they argued, a US-Indian relationship that was solely focused on China would not age well, given the transitory realities of a changing global geopolitical dynamic.

The Asian Century

The key to deciphering Jaishanker’s strategic intent in his Thailand comments lay in his use of the term “Asian Century.” This echoed the words of former Chinese reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, who, in a meeting with former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, declared that “in recent years people have been saying that the next century will be the century of Asia and the Pacific, as if that were sure to be the case. I disagree with this view.” Deng went on to explain that unless China and India focus their respective and collective energies on developing their economies, there could, in fact, be no “Asian Century.”
Riaz Haq said…
The Asian Century

The key to deciphering Jaishanker’s strategic intent in his Thailand comments lay in his use of the term “Asian Century.” This echoed the words of former Chinese reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, who, in a meeting with former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, declared that “in recent years people have been saying that the next century will be the century of Asia and the Pacific, as if that were sure to be the case. I disagree with this view.” Deng went on to explain that unless China and India focus their respective and collective energies on developing their economies, there could, in fact, be no “Asian Century.”

While Washington may not have heard the subtle implications of Jainshankar’s words, Beijing appears to have done so. Almost immediately after the text of the Indian minister’s comments was made public, the spokesperson for China’s foreign minister declared that both India and China “have the wisdom and capability to help each other succeed rather than undercutting each other.” The takeaway from this exchange is that while both China and India view their ongoing territorial disputes as problematic, they are able and willing to keep their eye on the bigger picture — the ascendancy of the so-called “Asian Century”.

The fact is that India and China have been working toward this goal for some time now. Both are critical participants in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which envisions the growth and empowerment of a trans-Eurasian economic zone that can compete with the economies of the US and Europe on a global scale. Likewise, India and China are actively cooperating within the framework of the Brics economic forum, which is emerging as a direct competitor to the Western-dominated G7.

While it is possible for India to navigate a policy path balancing the US and China in the short term, eventually it will need to go all in on China if its aspirations for an “Asian Century” are ever to be met. This narrative is overlooked by those in the US pursuing zero-sum policies with India when it comes to China.

Given the destiny inherent in the collective embrace of an “Asian Century” by India and China, the US could well find itself on the outside looking in when it comes to those wielding influence in the Pacific going forward. One thing is for certain — the “American Pacific Century” which encompasses the period between the Spanish-American War and the post-Cold War era, where US military, political, and economic power reigned supreme, has run its course. Whether or not India and China will be able to supplant it with an “Asian Century” is yet to be seen. But one thing is for certain — the strategic intent is certainly there.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer whose service over a 20-plus-year career included tours of duty in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control agreements, serving on the staff of US Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf during the Gulf War and later as a chief weapons inspector with the UN in Iraq from 1991-98. The views expressed in this article are those of the author.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistanis Perceive China as Their ‘Best Friend’
While perceptions of China have soured in many parts of the world, very few Pakistanis have anything but positive sentiments toward Beijing.

As part of the Sinophone Borderlands public opinion survey in Pakistan in June 2022, over 1,200 Pakistani respondents were asked two open-ended questions about their perception of China. Respondents were drawn from all regions of Pakistan and included a representative sample of age groups and genders. The same questions have also been asked in many other countries and very rarely have the answers been as significantly positive as in Pakistan.

The first survey question asked what first came to people’s minds when thinking of China. The most common answers, as the word cloud reveals, were “friend,” “best friend,” “good friend,” and even “trusted friend.” Chinese people were perceived as friendly and hardworking. The country itself was seen as being strong, and developed, with many respondents labeling it a superpower. Also, China was seen as helpful and supportive of Pakistan. The connection between the two countries was described as a “brotherhood” and many people celebrated it by saying “long live Pak-China friendship.”

The second question asked whether people’s general view of China got better or worse during the previous three years and why. An overwhelming majority of the Pakistani respondents (85 percent) gave a positive answer. Only 9 percent indicated a worsening of their perception, and 6 percent stayed neutral. Those who indicated seeing China in a worse light than before identified reasons like COVID-19, China working only for its own benefit, and China’s treatment of Muslims (this was the most common answer among the negative answers). People whose perception got better focused mostly on China’s support to Pakistan in the form of CPEC, Chinese investment, or even China’s COVID-19 support.

The results prompt an important question: Why are the attitudes of Pakistanis so overwhelmingly positive toward China, and why so much more so than in other countries? The answer is that their positive attitudes are linked to China’s long-term support for Pakistan, especially through CPEC, and Pakistan’s otherwise rather isolated position in South Asia, where it lacks other firm allies.

In particular, the positive attitude correlates with Chinese investments flowing into the country under the label of CPEC, which was frequently mentioned by the respondents. Although the CPEC investment program has progressed more slowly than expected, especially with regard to the development of Gwadar port in Balochistan province, there have been notable successes. Transport and energy infrastructure, so badly needed in Pakistan, have been built. New power plants have added energy to Pakistan’s power grid. Roads and railways are being constructed. The ML-1 connection linking Karachi with the northern city of Peshawar is the most significant project under construction by Chinese companies. ML-1 is employing an estimated 24,000 workers and will ultimately cost around $6.8 billion. However, more work needs to be done, especially with regard to energy, since Pakistan is still prone to blackouts.

Nevertheless, what drives China’s popularity among the citizens of Pakistan is that China is really Pakistan’s one and only stalwart ally. It is the only country that is currently willing to invest in Pakistan on a large scale. India is a mutual enemy, while the United States has clearly given up on Pakistan since the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The U.S. is also China’s geopolitical rival. As far as other possible candidates for aid are concerned, Russia is supplying arms to India, and Pakistan has mixed relations with its other neighbors such as Iran and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, even though there are problems with the CPEC megaproject, it is the only game in town. China also continues to supply Pakistan’s military with the majority of its arms imports.
Riaz Haq said…
Kissinger: Beijing “expects…to be the dominant power in Asia…The ideal solution…is a China so visibly strong that that will occur through the logic of events.”

What Mr. Kissinger sees when he looks at the world today is “disorder.” Almost all “major countries,” he says, “are asking themselves about their basic orientation. Most of them have no internal orientation, and are in the process of changing or adapting to the new circumstances”—by which he means a world riven by competition between the U.S. and China. Big countries such as India, and also a lot of “subordinate” ones, “do not have a dominant view of what they want to achieve in the world.” They wonder if they should “modify” the actions of the superpowers (a word Mr. Kissinger says he hates), or strive for “a degree of autonomy.”

Some major nations have wrestled with these choices ever since the “debacle of the Suez intervention” in 1956. While Britain chose close cooperation with the U.S. thereafter, France opted for strategic autonomy, but of a kind “that was closely linked to the U.S. on matters that affected the global equilibrium.”

The French desire to determine its own global policy gave rise to awkwardness with President Emmanuel Macron’s recent visit to Beijing. While critics say he pandered to the Chinese, Mr. Kissinger sees an example of French strategic autonomy at work: “In principle, if you have to conduct Western policy, you would like allies that only ask you about what contribution they can make to your direction. But that is not how nations have been formed, and so I’m sympathetic to the Macron approach.”

It doesn’t bother him that Mr. Macron, on his return from Beijing, called on his fellow Europeans to be more than “just America’s followers.” Mr. Kissinger doesn’t “take it literally.” Besides, “I’m not here as a defender of French policy,” and he appears to attribute Mr. Macron’s words to cultural factors. “The French approach to discussion is to convince their adversary or their opposite number of his stupidity.” The British “try to draw you into their intellectual framework and to persuade you. The French try to convince you of the inadequacy of your thinking.”

And what is the American way? “The American view of itself is righteousness,” says the man famed for his realpolitik. “We believe we are unselfish, that we have no purely national objectives, and also that our national objectives are achieved in foreign policy with such difficulty that when we expose them to modification through discussion, we get resentful of opponents.” And so “we expect that our views will carry the day, not because we think we are intellectually superior, but because we think the views in themselves should be dominant. It’s an expression of strong moral feelings coupled with great power. But it’s usually not put forward as a power position.”

Asked whether this American assertion of inherent unselfishness strikes a chord with other countries, Mr. Kissinger is quick to say: “No, of course not.” Does Xi Jinping buy it? “No, absolutely not. That is the inherent difference between us.” Mr. Xi is stronger globally than any previous Chinese leader, and he has “confronted, in the last two U.S. presidents,” men who “want to exact concessions from China and announce them as concessions.” This is quite the wrong approach, in Mr. Kissinger’s view: “I think the art is to present relations with China as a mutual concern in which agreements are made because both parties think it is best for themselves. That’s the technique of diplomacy that I favor.”

In his reckoning, Joe Biden’s China policy is no better than Donald Trump’s: “It’s been very much the same. The policy is to declare China as an adversary, and then to exact from the adversary concessions that we think will prevent it from carrying out its domineering desires.”

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