Monday, January 20, 2020

US's lack of leadership creates opportunity for Russia & China

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As we head into this new year, the world must brace itself as it is becoming more obvious that the rules of the game are changing. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States has led the international order with mostly no challengers; the rise of China, re-emergence of Russia, North Korea’s nuclear program, and Iran’s desire to obtain its nuclear arms are changing the landscape of international affairs.

Despite a few mistakes, the United States has led a mostly peaceful world order. It argued and fought for democracy around the world and has provided economic assistance to most impoverished nations. But things are changing. The rise of populism is present and alive, and the US is the prime example. The America first policies is headed towards isolation and creates a power vacuum in which the US’s rival, China & Russia can come in and exert influence. Donald Trump’s instability makes it hard for allies to rely on US coming to their aid, if they were attacked. For example, shortly before the G-20 summit last year, Trump expressed concern over the mutual defense treaty with Japan that was signed in 1951. He did not see any values to it and thought that it was mainly beneficial to Japan. Moreover, in his move to reach a nuclear agreement with North Korea, the Trump administration scaled back joint military exercises with South Korea.

What we’ve seen in the past year is our allies’ willingness to engage with our foe Russia. For instance, India decided to purchase the known Russian missile system, S-400 which is direct violation of American sanctions. On the same line, Turkey’s Erdogan and Saudi Arabia have also bought arms from the Russians. The US is no longer a player and the referee in the international order. They are a player just like Russia, China, Germany…perhaps a case could be made that the US is the most aggressive of them all. That said, we should work in concert with our allies and build a bigger coalition in order to maintain the world peace, expand democracy and economic opportunities for people around the world.

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