Synopsis: The middle powers like Japan, Iran, Turkey, and India are looking forward to strategic autonomy. It will make the emerging global order into a multipolar world instead of a new Cold War type bi-polar world.
- The confrontation between greater powers (The US on one side and the Russia-China axis on the other side) is giving rise to a New Cold War.
- Some following examples are a sign of the Cold War,
- The hard negotiations of the US with China at the Alaska summit.
- An allegation by the US over Mr Putin as a “killer”
- The reluctance of the US to rejoin the nuclear agreement with Iran are some.
- Further, the development of QUAD, to ensure a “free, open, resilient and inclusive” Indo-Pacific region to contain China.
- US enmity towards Russia and China has encouraged them to strengthen their relations under the ‘Greater Eurasian Partnership’.
- Now, the New Cold War is being reflected as the Indo-Pacific versus Eurasia.
- The final shape of this divide will be determined by four middle powers, namely Japan, Iran, Turkey and India.
Why the middle powers are reluctant to join the alliance?
The middle powers will not join the alliance (either Indo-Pacific or Eurasia) due to their compelling national interest. Instead, they will pursue Strategic autonomy.
- First, Japan has a more friendly relationship with the US than China. While Japan has territorial disputes with China (the Senkaku Islands dispute in the East China Sea), it has signed a security treaty of 1951 with the U.S. to safeguard its interest. Yet, Japan will not be willing to join the US bloc because,
- One, Japan is dependent upon China in trade. For example, in 2019, 24% of Japanese imports came from China, while 19% of its exports went to China.
- Two, Japan is emphasising Self-reliance and aims to reduce its security-dependence on the U.S. Thus, it wants to pursue an independent role in the Indo-Pacific. For example, Japan’s $200 billion ‘Partnership for Quality Infrastructure that funds infrastructure projects in Asia and Africa. It also wants to work on BRI projects on a selective basis.
- Second, since 2016, India has moved very close to the US by expanding its Defence ties, frequent military exercises and elevation of the Quad to the ministerial level. Yet India will not be willing to join the US bloc because,
- One, neither the U.S. nor the Quad can address the challenges it faces at its 3,500-kilometre land border with China.
- Two, US intervention in Human rights issues in India is forcing India to realign its strategies with china and Russia. India now wants to manage its ties with China through its own efforts and retain Russia as its defence partner.
- Three, sanctions on Iran by the US have made Iran a natural ally of the Sino-Russian axis. Yet, Iran will be willing to pursue its strategic autonomy once sanctions are lifted instead of an alliance with the Sino-Russian axis.
- Four, Turkey has benefitted more by increasing geopolitical, military and economic alignment with Russia and China. Yet, Turkey will not join the Sino-Russian axis as it wishes to continue ties with the US parallelly. For example, its “New Asia” initiative, involves the strengthening of east-west logistical and economic connectivity backed by western powers and China.
“Strategic autonomy” defined by flexible partnerships, with the freedom to shape alliances to suit specific interests at different times will shape the emerging global world order.
Source: The Hindu