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US and China: An Arms Race and the World's Division

US and China: An Arms Race and the World's Division

Saturday, 25 September, 2021 - 11:30

Taking the world towards a new Cold War serves no one. At a time when the peoples of the world are seeking stability, coexistence, security and peace, we see that several countries are heading, with unparalleled enthusiasm, towards the world of nuclear armament.

The US and Chinese presidents affirmed, in their statements at the UN General Assembly this week, that their countries do not want a new Cold War. Nonetheless, their soft statements do not correspond with what we see on the ground. The submarine crisis between France on the one hand and the US, Britain and Australia on the other, is a concrete example of the conflict, tension and imbalance of international relations. It is a dangerous omen and one of the repercussions of Chinese-US confrontation, if we are being honest.

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asked China and the United States to repair their “completely dysfunctional relationship before problems between the two large and deeply influential countries spill over into the rest of the planet.” He added that the two countries’ geopolitical and military strategies pose major “dangers” and divide the world and that, “we need to avoid a cold war at all costs.”

In my estimation, the United States is annoyed and worried only about China firstly and Russia secondly, and thus, its strategic vision is that these two countries are rivals and enemies. Meanwhile, despite all that has happened, Europe remains the primary ally and partner in US eyes. The US succeeded in the past, towards the end of the nineteenth century, in ending the British threat, and as time went on, it managed, in the early twentieth century, to defeat the Japanese empire and Nazi Germany. After that, it was able to focus solely on the Soviet Union, making use of all kinds of tools to eventually bring it down and kill off its ideology. For that reason, it is now preparing for China and to use all sorts of means to undermine its influence.

The US and Britain tried to calm Paris down, but it seems that the stab in the back, as the French foreign minister described it, was very painful indeed. Australia pulling out of the deal with France and giving it to the US is a strong economic blow to Paris, which said that all options are on the table. The deal that was negotiated in secret infuriated the Chinese, and as well as France, which had signed a 56-billion-dollar agreement to manufacture submarines powered by diesel and electricity.

In truth, the crisis is much bigger than an economic deal struck between two countries and we can see a bone-breaking atmosphere in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Nuclear submarines and missile tests will become a recurrent seen in this already tense part of the world that is home to North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Singapore. China’s policies worry those countries. They see it as a rising power whose influence is expanding by the day. Some experts believe that China’s increasing political and economic reach has become a source of genuine concern for the West, particularly the United States, which it sees only as a strategic competitor.

The emergence of a rift and a crisis of confidence within NATO is natural. In all likelihood, the US looking past France, due to its concerns about the Russian and Chinese threat, was an error and a misstep on the American administration’s part. We have seen allies quarreling and adopting acrimonious rhetoric in public, perhaps marking the start of the rise of new axes. We may never see the alliance we are accustomed to again, as the rules of the game seem to be changing, and new countries joining the new alliance (AUKUS) is not a far-fetched prospect. Washington is fortifying its presence in the region by forming an Asian NATO, so to speak, to curb China’s influence.

Some have seen the US effort to talk up the new alliance (AUKUS) as an attempt to cover up its failure in Afghanistan. The irony, of course, is that Afghanistan could become China’s gateway to dominating the region and to the Silk Road. That is evident from China’s support for the Taliban alone.

The Europeans are convinced that the US is a primary ally and a unipolar power. Still, they do not believe that it can just do what it wants. The awkwardness that had emerged was attributed by some to the absence of terms, rules and regulations stipulating what constitutes acceptable communication and engagement between the allies. Solving this issue demands a reexamination and reformulation of alliances in a manner that benefits all, and partnering up with the Europeans in that region is therefore very much in its interests. Thus, despite the rise in tensions between the US and the European Union, they will opt to settle matters and find solutions. They are allies who share mutual interests, and it would be unwise to undermine a strategic relationship of such significance, regardless of the fact that European countries are divided over how to deal with China.

Billions spent on weapons have pushed the world closer to a breaking point, and the arms race heating up threatens the world’s efforts to contain it.

There is general opposition to the arms race and support for the promotion of peace and stability around the globe we all share. The world must focus on dealing with the pandemic, climate change and terrorism. This unprecedented impulsivity is advancing nuclear weapon armament in many regions around the world and creating real concerns given the threats being exchanged between North Korea, Japan and South Korea, to say nothing of the US-China rivalry.

The global game has moved to the Pacific and Indian Oceans amid China’s rise as a global power, American strategic dysfunctionality and obvious problems within NATO. No one knows for sure; where are things headed?

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