In discussions about the ‘roles’ countries play in the new multipolar world, it is often said that Russia provides the geo-political muscle while China provides the economic engine of a world where the US is no longer a singular hegemon.
However, with Russia’s economy turning from resilient to growing and with China becoming ever more involved in world-affairs ever since the announcement of One Belt—One Road in 2013, it is becoming clear that China too has a great deal to say about the wider geo-strategic environment.
For the last three years, the US had crossed several geo-strategic red lines for Russia. First there was the fascist coup in Kiev which occurred in February of 2014. Simultaneous to the US engineering a coup that brought a deeply hostile regime to a country which for centuries was an integral part of Russia and which since 1991 represented a fraternal nation, America was busy arming and funding Salafist terrorists in Syria, a country where Russia has maintained a Navy base at Tartus since 1971, one year after Hafez al-Assad became President.
Russia was not going to idly sit by as the US crossed a bridge too far. The answer came in two forms: first there was instant recognition of Crimea’s referendum on re-joining Russia and in September of 2015, it came in the form of Russia agreeing to militarily support the Syrian government’s fight against terrorism.
For China, Donald Trump is rapidly crossing as many redlines in his first years of office as Obama did vis-à-vis Russia in his second term.
From Trump sabre rattling over Korea to repeated violations of Chinese maritime sovereignty in the South and East China seas to Trump’s burgeoning public friendship with Prime Minister Modi of India, China is not at all happy with Trump.
Now by threatening a trade war with China and by accusing China’s ally Pakistan of being inept and unhelpful in Afghanistan while calling on India to particulate actively in the conflict, China may have reached a similar boiling point that Russia did over Syria and Ukraine.
China has already made its position clear on the matter, defending the actions of its Pakistani ally and warning both Washington and New Delhi not to make any moves that could threaten Chinese interests in the region.
China’s Foreign Ministery spokeswoman Hua Chunying has stated that Pakistan “has made great sacrifices and contributions to fighting terrorism”. She added,
“The international community should fully affirm the efforts by Pakistan”.
Hua further stated,
“Donald Trump talked about close US-Indian relations, we are glad to see the development of normal and friendly relations between these countries if these relations do not harm other countries’ interests and create positive conditions for regional development”.
The meaning of this message is clear enough: Do not use India to interfere in China’s regional interests, namely its economic cooperation with Pakistan and other endeavours to begin the initial phase of One Belt—One Road in South Asia.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is vital to One Belt—One Road and both Beijing and Islamabad openly acknowledge this. The prominence of Pakistan in One Belt—One Road is such that neither country can afford to have anyone sabotage or interfere with the process.
Therefore, it is in China and Pakistan’s joint interest to finalise a tentative Afghanistan peace process as quickly as possible. This means a peace process that would involve dialogue between Kabul and the Taliban.
Donald Trump has said that at some stage the Taliban could come into an America led peace process, but not before US troops re-double their fight against the Taliban, a fight which Taliban leaders have promised America will lose. In other words, Trump’s strategy is hardly worthy of the name, just as the same could be said of his two immediate predecessors in the White House.
The US has continually agitated China on all sides of its One Belt—One Road commercial superhighway. By brazenly inviting India to dig deeper into Afghanistan while criticising Pakistan in very definite terms, Donald Trump may just have done enough to lead China to do in South Asia what Russia did in Syria—stand up for an ally and drawing a line firmly in the sand against US expansionism and geo-political meddling.
Thank you very much for this interesting article. I would like to highlight that Afghanistan in-between all powers, pays the toll. Whether being it Taliban killing civilians or the US bombing the villages. Please note that Pakistan has its own interest of destabilizing Afghanistan, since Afghanistan never accepted the Durand line treaty by British India. Also Afghan intelligence has revealed the involvement of Iran and Russia supporting the Taliban with money and weapons to oppose US inside Afghanistan. This fact needs also to be addressed to balance such articles as yours.
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yes pakistan have its own interest in afganistan. but overall it always came for help of afganistan even for its own interst. you afghan have put all blame to pakistan. russian invassion, civil war and now taliban. yes pakistan was involved but it want to stabilize afghanistan and have a frndly govt. we still have 1.5 million afgan refuges. and these things are natural for every country. what about usa?
This is a very good article explaining the implications of US and India meddling in Afghanistan. The problem with Afghanistan is that foriegn countries like US and India, who don’t share borders or ethnic lineages with Afghanistan, want to impose their will. But the majority of Afghans are of Pakhtun ethnicity who sympathise with the Taliban and feel disenfranchised under the US puppet government in Kabul. Pakistan who hosts million s of Afghan refugees and shares a 2000 km border has legitimate interests there.
Its evident from Trump’s tweets he remains clueless about Afghanistan; foreign boots have to leave the country and let the Afghan decide their own future unless that happens there will be no peace in Afghanistan!
Nice informative informative article.
But, why the Pakistan Map is not correct? Right where it says INDIA, it is part of Pakistani Kashmir. This map is giving K2, the second highest mountain that is at the border of Pakistan & China to India. The city of Skardu & many other places those are in Pakistan, according to this map will be in India
Kara Korum Highway does not go through Indian Kasmir, it goes through Khunjrab Pass, That is the part of Pakistan This pass has the highest paved road in the world. It goes up to the height of 15,342 feet, popularly known as going through the roof of the earth. .
The border between Pakistan and China is nearly 523 kilometres long and is situated in the northeast of Pakistan. A number of agreements took place between 1961 and 1965 in which the borderline was determined between the two countries. The famous agreement called the Sino-Pakistan Agreement or the Sino-Pakistan Frontier Agreement, was passed in 1963 between Pakistan and China, according to which both countries agreed on the border between them.
Why this map is handing over 523 Kilometers border between Pakistan & China to India. Please correct the map