Another Great Game?

The world’s famous biologist E.O Wills puts it that human evolution has been defined by conflict; the war being embedded in human nature. The conflict of interests of nations has always led to war and the extent of ruination on account of war depends upon the level of severity of clash of interests. United States of America that emerged world champion out of world war-2 has thus ruled the modern world order that brought her enormous politico-economic turn outs till recently. Access to managerial role in the economy of nations harnessed tremendous political and military powers for her to prevail upon the matters related to world nations. The socio-political death of communism in erstwhile USSR and Yugoslavia abruptly led to Balkan Spring and thus Balkanisation and liberation of Central Asian and East Caucasus nations leaving behind the state of Russia aloof. America and its economic and military partners in the West (European Union and NATO) cashed everything to their credit. Over the time internal economic conflicts within the European Union brought about Brexit and disharmony with US on economic issues. The US-European Union (EU) and the NATO linkage has much weakened over the past half a decade owing to newly emerging economic challenges across the globe. China has without restrain emerged as a world economic Giant with the most modern state of the art and sophisticated industrial soft ware and military technology having been garnered by Beijing. This has been witnessed to have come so rapidly and concretely over the past two decades that seems simply incredible. The one belt one road (OBOR) initiative and a 46 billion dollar CPEC extending from Gawadar port city until Xinjiang in China is a constantly growing pain for US economic monopoly that connects more than 100 nations from North Africa, Middle East, Turkey, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia to this game changing Chinese economic nexus. During the ongoing lockdown attributed to the Covid 19 pandemic due to sharp decline in oil prices globally the American economy has suffered a severe jolt. The main oil producing titans Russia and Saudi Arabia do not seem to obey the American SOPs on controlling the supply of oil into the world market. This led to the Trump’s warning to Saudi Arabia to remove her security cover of the Monarchical Empire particularly the US anti ballistic missile system THAAD shielding the entire kingdom from incoming missile attacks. Reciprocally the Monarchs threatened to sell oil in Chinese currency Yuan. This would further add to a trouble maker for slowing down US economy. Currently the US economy’s linchpin is the arms and weapons sale followed by software and android phone manufacturing but due to competition with Chinese products which are cheaper, Trump has been forced to blacklist some of the Chinese firms in the US. Obviously, China has responded with the same steps. Not only this but US is mulling to cancel the citizenship to non Americans in order to ensure job security for her hundreds and thousands of citizens who have been frustrated by unemployment that has been jeopardizing the economic growth. The U.S jobless claims have topped 30 million over the last six weeks as Corona virus rocks economy, new data released by the Department of Labour has revealed. US President Donald Trump is set to sign a bill that authorises sanctions against Chinese officials who are allegedly responsible for the mass incarceration of Muslim Uyghur, according to a report by Reuters. It calls for the assets of officials identified as responsible for the persecution of Uyghur and other Muslim minorities in China’s north-western Xinjiang province to be frozen. Inevitably, it is seen as a politically motivated drive covertly meant to harm overseas Chinese economic assets rather mere a human rights issue that does not concern US when it comes to Israel war crimes and rights abuses in certain other war torn regions in the world. Ostensibly US have shifted the turf of great game from USSR and war on terrorism to China but it would be arduous and intriguing for China has risen to the tier of a world power. Among the host of factors one significant cause of worry for the US is China having succeeded in developing a number of economic allies particularly Russia its arch military rival. In the modern world strong economies rule the roost that seem to be true with China pushing US to only rank 2. The US without question would not so easily relinquish the possession and is reasonably expected not to leave any stone unturned. Any future war against China and its economic allies may not involve US directly but the fact that US would be enjoying a mother factor indirectly is irrefutable. On the other hand China’s OBOR and its CPEC limb are feared to trigger a war in future. If that happens South Asia would be caught in a catastrophe that may engulf a vast human population. The standoff between US and Chinese navel war ships in South China Sea several times in the past is a worry. The aim being visibly clear; disturbance of the Chinas oceanic trade route. Likewise US is eyeing the restive Hong Kong and Taiwan to engage China on that side besides contemplating undercover plans to thwart CPEC emerging as a world trade route opening gates to economic boon for China. The US is on the verge of making exit from Afghanistan and thus losing ground to secure her interests in the region. Ashraf Ghani led regime in Kabul can no longer be a guarantor to look after her stakes. This regime may collapse any time in near future owing to the rise of Taliban and its heightened offensive. The US has gradually lost the combat-ready support of NATO and Japan post China-Russia defence co-ordination. However she can still have England as a hail-fellow.

If ever a war breaks out in this region US would be for sure at the centre seat. Obviously this should be in the mind of Chinese policy makers. The Israel’s interests ought to be homebound. Netanyahu’s deal of the century with Donald Trump has vitiated the political atmosphere of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and parts of Middle East owing to her overt inclination to expansionism in order to actualize the state of Greater Israel. The Russian presence in Syria and Turkeys growing military and economic influence in the region are frustrating her designs. More over Tel Aviv has a perception that China as a world power might intervene in Middle East affairs to secure its economic stakes.

Dr. Muzaffar Shaheen is Professor SKUAST-K