Posted 37 days ago
International relations often seem like they are hidden behind a curtain, deals done in back rooms with the public being poorly informed about them. But Paskal makes the strategy of the Quad's (the US, India, Japan, and Australia, but along with other countries) intentions pretty obvious in the Indo-Pacific. The largest headlines of the past year have been in that region. As Paskal writes:
As a reminder of just how much has changed, and how quickly, these events included: the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the global response to it; the aggression of China’s People’s Liberation Army in the Himalayas that killed 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops; changes of leadership in the United States and Japan; Chinese expansion in the South and East China Seas and large-scale war games off Taiwan; Brexit; a global economic downturn; crackdowns in Hong Kong; trials of a state-backed digital currency in China; cyber breaches of critical systems and much more.
This has led to some "retaliation" from the Quad: India banned TikTok and other apps, "knocking an estimated $6 billion off the value of TokTok's parent company," Australia has their goods slapped with "puniative tariffs" when asking for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, and the US's President Biden's "first multilateral summit was with the Quad." Additionally:
India, Japan and Australia also began working together on a supply chain resilience initiative to try to wean critical sectors away from China, which might be an indication of things to come.
Paskal argues that there has therefore been a "decrease in hedging," meaning that the Quad has shifted less from a balance between the US and China and more towards a direct support/relationship with Washington. She writes:
So, what will things look like two years from now? A lot depends on Beijing. If the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party decide to dial back their military aggression, make their economic engagement with other countries more transparent, allow international observers into their Xinjiang detention facilities to investigate allegations of genocide against its Uighur minority and repeal some of the more egregious laws involving Hong Kong, the world will breathe a sigh of relief and be eager to get back to normal business.
I'm not sure at all how this will play out, but it's curious to see such a clear picture with international relations. The Quad is worried about the rise of China, but I'm still skeptical if this is altruistic or not. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's not altruistic. The massive growth of China has scared the "hegemons" of the world into banding together to make sure they maintain their hegemon status. Of course, as part of the liberal order, Paskal argues that the fault here is due to China. I don't think that's 100% true. There is truth to it, but acting as if it's China's responsibility to change their international relations looks over the fact that the US and its allies are trying to maintain hegemon status. I'm not saying that's wrong or right, simply that ignoring the fact that they want a "submissive" China is overlooking a core issue that could escalate in the years to come.