The multi-layered conflict between China and the USA and their relationship with Russia and Europe determine the current geopolitical discussions and antagonisms. Especially in the transatlantic discourse, the crucial role of the ‘Global South’ in this hegemonic realignment is often overlooked. However, the South’s role will determine whether the conflict will escalate into a new bipolar bloc confrontation or whether the adversaries will incorporate their hegemonic ambitions into a new, more equitable multipolar world order.
According to the Western view, China and Russia were successful at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg with their objective of strengthening BRICS as an anti-Western alliance. It is indeed surprising that India, South Africa and Brazil have joined the invitation to six other countries, including Iran, albeit after some resistance. Western commentators are now faced with the mystery of why important countries of the Global South are behaving in a completely unreasonable manner.
The draft of Germany’s China strategy, which was presented on July 13, vacillates between the demand to checkmate the enemy and the desire to continue reaping the benefits of cooperation – both of which will be expensive in any case. The Federation of German Industries (BDI) immediately demanded that ‘Germany as a business location’ be made more attractive again. And the partners in the Global South courted for the balancing act between ‘risk reduction’ and ‘decoupling’ are predominantly skeptical.
The Euro-transatlantic view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine largely ignores its significance for Central Asia. The Kremlin’s martial stop signal for further NATO expansion should probably also send a message to Russia’s eastern neighbours: We are still capable of defending our sphere of influence and interests in the region. The outcome of the Ukraine war is therefore also of decisive importance for the future credibility of this claim.
CONTENTS: Posts: Upgrade for Belt&Road to BRI 3.0? / The Dance Around China’s Overseas Projects // News: Russland und China bauen Brücken in Fernost / Mongolei: Kooperation mit Skylla und Charybdis // Countercurrents: China-Watch / Environmental Justice Atlas / Internationale Solidarität mit ‚Riders’ in China // Reviews: Redefining Asia as ‚Indo-Pacific’
Applying the principle ‘winner takes all’ to the competition between China and the USA would probably mean, according to widespread view, that the one of them takes over world hegemony, either ‘authoritarian’ or ‘free’. However, the situation is far from that point, and the battle between the two rivals is continuing to rage unabated.
For its answer to the war against Ukraine, the Western world is looking for partners all over the world. But after the unexpectedly widespread support in the United Nations for Russia’s condemnation, many countries of the Global South have since taken a rather more neutral attitude, because the escalation of the conflict goes against their own interests. There are signs of a new alliance emerging, which could benefit China in particular.
In the last week of March, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi was on a whirlwind tour in South Asia, where the relations of several countries with Beijing, and thus the geopolitical constellations, seem to be shifting. After talks in Pakistan, where a serious political crisis is darkening the future of a Belt & Road flagship, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor CPEC, and a fly-by in Kabul, which has already been interpreted as a first step towards recognising the Taliban government, he made a visit to Nepal after a sensational detour into India.
Global geopolitics, especially the conflict between China and the USA, plays a central role in the future of the war against Ukraine: For many observers, Beijing could play a key role in a negotiated solution. The attempt to square the circle of distancing itself from Putin’s war, but not letting Russia go under could be helpful. However, a further intensification of the confrontation with the USA in Asia would stand in the way here.
CONTENTS: Posts: Going out responsibly / Empire building with DCS? / China imperial? / Ukraine: Wenn Russland und China zusamm’ marschier’n … // News: Green BRI with Nuclear Power / Nepal: An offer, that can’t be declined // NEW: Protests against Belt&Road: Hun Sens Airport in Cambodia / Conflicts in Peru’s copper mining // Reviews: A New Development Paradigm in the Making?