Biden’s fixation on Putin strains ties in Asia
Many of Biden’s current policies are helpful to the PRC and a liability to those seeking to keep the Indo-Pacific free from control by the rising hegemon.
The hangover of American political groups from the heady days when their country was the sole superpower has persisted in India’s essential partner in ensuring a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. The effect of such a retro mindset in Beltway’s policy decisions is evident even in some of the think tanks that have not sufficiently adapted to the reality of the 21st century Indo-Pacific world order. There are indeed excellent minds at both Brookings and the Heritage Foundation, and fewer and fewer analysts remain in the grip of the Europeanist view that Moscow, not Beijing, is the main threat to American interests. Despite the diversion of attention the Ukraine imbroglio has caused, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Hudson Institute are also increasingly less committed to looking at the world through a Cold War 1.0 lens (USSR-US ). Unfortunately, even the younger generation of European politicians, like Emmanuel Macron, who was twice elected President of the French Republic, remains anchored to the fantasy that Europe rather than Asia remains the focal point of geopolitical gravity. . It is such a vision that makes Macron talk of a Europe stretching from Paris to Vladivostok once a clone of Boris Yeltsin replaces Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. In reality, the prospect of a Euro-Cetic Asia is a fantasy, though it is embraced by some of the top Biden administration officials. Given the current stream of events and responses, what is more likely is a band of early PRC influence and later primacy stretching from Beijing to Berlin. Already, in a few EU member states, the PRC has accumulated enough influence to almost certainly ensure a veto of any EU initiative that goes against the interests of the CCP. The war in Ukraine has been seized upon by the chancelleries of Paris, London and Berlin as a catalyst for Washington to revert to its traditional policy of viewing European rather than Asian countries as the country’s most important strategic partners.
That the White House would favor such a change in direction became clear with the creation of AUKUS. A simple pact between Australia and the United States (US) on nuclear technology would have met Canberra’s need for nuclear-powered submarines. Now that Shinzo Abe’s emphasis on national defense as Prime Minister of Japan is being continued by Kishida, AUKUS should have been JUSA (Japan-USA-Australia) from the start, given that neither Japan nor Australia is no nuclear weapon state the way India is. President George W. Bush has made British Prime Minister Tony Blair his partner in managing post-Saddam Iraq. This put anti-American sentiments in Iraq on steroids, as the United States was seen as teaming up with the colonial power that had stripped Iraq (not to mention India and several other countries) of great part of its resources in the past. Tony Blair, of course, was delighted to join the attempt to administer post-Saddam Iraq. Incongruously, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was invited by US President Joe Biden (courtesy Jake Sullivan and Tony Blinken) to join what should have been an all-Indo-Pacific group. This is what JUSA or even USA (US-Australia) would have been. Biden bringing the UK into the mix resulted in the creation of a perception in Asia that President Biden should be listed among those who favor foreign and security policies designed on the assumption that the US are a slice of Europe separated only by the Atlantic. Ocean. The effort of some members of the Biden team aims to persuade some Asian countries to accept NATO as the guarantor of their security, despite the organization’s disastrous record in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan results in the daily and worse capture of individuals who have been reckless enough to aid this alliance against the Taliban. While Ukraine benefits from a US lend-lease program, India does not, despite being incalculably more important to Washington than kyiv. The transfer of less than a dozen naval platforms to the Indian Navy on the lines of the USS Trenton, and access to weapons and platforms on the same terms granted to Ukraine for the air force and military would guarantee that the next time the PLA launched a conflict that affected Quad’s security, the PRC would pay a price too heavy for Xi Jinping to bear politically. No chance. Instead, India is being offered weapons systems at unaffordable prices. Taiwan suffered the same fate, being sold weapons rather than obtaining them on Ukrainian terms or at knockdown prices. Until President Biden matches words with deeds, few in Taiwan or India will believe he is serious about helping in the event of an attack by the PLA. Currently, Foreign Minister Wang Yi is on a reconnaissance tour of several Indo-Pacific island nations, seeking to repeat the Solomon Islands precedent of giving bases to the PRC, or rather the ‘APL. None of this seems to have lessened the Biden administration’s obsession with Ukraine.
Several of Biden’s current policies are helpful to the PRC and a liability for those countries. Anthony Blinken’s speech praising the PRC under Xi casts doubt on the resolve of the United States to seek to keep the Indo-Pacific free from control by the rising hegemon. Saudi Arabia is an example of how the Biden administration’s Europe-obsessed policy is ceding ground to China, even among its longtime allies. There remains considerable negativity within the White House and Foggy Bottom towards the reformist Crown Prince, Muhammad bin Salman, who perhaps as a result has significantly strengthened his country’s ties with China, including through substantial imports of Chinese anti-drone systems and high-speed guns. . Russia could be the next supplier of defense platforms to the GCC. Of course, the Saudis are mistaken if they believe that China will long continue to be a major buyer of Saudi crude. This role will increasingly be filled by Russia, which has become much more dependent on China following US, EU and UK sanctions against it. Another crucial country for security in the Indo-Pacific, South Africa, has also begun a process of replacing Washington with Beijing as the most important partner. The measures taken by the United States and the EU to punish the democracies which refuse to demonize Putin and abjure Russia do not help to protect the Indo-Pacific from the rising hegemony, quite the contrary. The clumsy diplomacy of the Biden team always gives more advantages to the PRC. The longer it takes President Biden to realize that many of his policies unwittingly give Xi an advantage, the greater the damage to Project Quad aimed at ensuring a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.