Biden says US should align with other democracies to set global trade rules to counter China’s influence

On Monday [16 November 2020], US President-elect Joe Biden said that the United States needed to negotiate with allies to set global trading rules to counter China’s growing influence – but declined to say whether the US would join the 15-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, the new trade pact that includes China, which was signed in Hanoi on Sunday [15 November 2020].

Read more

The open secret of US war plans: what does Australia know?

The influence of the US in Eurasia will continue to falter, and as its economic, diplomatic, and moral potency dwindles, America’s military will become its primary asset. In America’s strategic logic, loss of leadership demands a military response – and the nature of the military preparations for war on a recognised emerging Asia hegemon are now well known. While the trajectory to war is not irreversible, and the step to launching a war is huge, the consequences would be calamitous. Is Australia complicit in the preparations?

Read more

Strategic autonomy in the face of competing US and China technology strategies: a European perspective (IFRI)

An invaluable introduction to the complex and critical struggle for technological superiority which will the characterise the geopolitical environment for decades to come. This report sets out all the key issues and addresses the question of how the EU could maintain strategic autonomy in the face of this competition between China and the US.

Read more

Chinese, US military chiefs hold crisis communication amid heightened South China Sea tensions

It is reported that officials from China and the US held a video conference meeting about crisis communication on 28-29 October, amid amid heightened tensions in the South China Sea. According to Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper denied a media report suggesting the US was “studying” a plan to attack Chinese islands and reefs in the South China Sea using an MQ-9 drone.

Read more

US and India sign Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement on Geospatial Cooperation

Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement on Geospatial Cooperation As anticipated, the United States and India have today [27 October 2020] signed an agreement for the sharing of sensitive satellite data during a biannual “2+2” security dialogue in New Delhi. According to Indian defence sources, the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) on Geospatial Cooperation will provide India with access to a range of topographical, nautical and aeronautical data necessary for more accurate use of missiles

Read more

US State Department approves a further $2.37 billion in potential arms sales to Taiwan

The US State Department is reported to have approved the potential sale of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems to Taiwan, at a cost of up to US $2.37 billion. The move comes days after the State Department approved the potential sale of three other weapons systems to Taiwan, as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China in the runup to the November presidential election.

Read more

China and Germany heading for superpower status as U.S. influence wanes, says Putin

In comments made on 23 October 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin is reported to have suggested that the role of the United States had waned, along with that of Britain and France, while Beijing and Berlin – in terms of political and economic weight – were heading for superpower status. He reportedly said that Washington could no longer lay claim to exceptionalism and questioned why it would want to.

Read more

India, US set for signing of geospatial cooperation agreement during Pompeo visit

Reuters reported on 22 October 2020 that an agreement on geospatial cooperation that, amongst other things, will give India access to US satellite data for better accuracy of missiles and drones, might be concluded during the visit next week of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper to New Delhi for talks with their Indian counterparts Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh.

Read more

The strategic aspect of human rights in a multipolar world: a tool of hegemony

The UDHR is being challenged by the rise of competing understandings of human rights, and very different interpretations of the relationship between the state and the governed. The US response has been an attempt to redefine ‘unalienable rights’ in a dangerous formulation that is aimed at restating the primacy of the US world view, and adding to the US’s reasons to confront, and perhaps fight, China and Russia.

Read more

Divided we stand: Democrats and Republicans diverge on US foreign policy (Chicago Council)

Based on the results of its 2020 Survey of American Public Opinion and US Foreign Policy, this Report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs provides insight into the potential differences in US foreign policy settings depending on the outcome of the presidential election. The Report finds that there are profound differences between Democrats and Republicans on which foreign policy issues matter most today. And that they are even more sharply divided on how the United States should deal with these issues and engage the rest of the world.

Read more

Point of no return: the 2020 election and the crisis of American foreign policy

A victory for the incumbent will represent crossing a “tipping point”, beyond which “alliances may come to an end, the global economy could close, and democracy could go into rapid retreat”, Thomas Wright writes in a comprehensive analysis of the likely future foreign policy direction under either a Joe Biden or Donald Trump presidency. This is an important and informative analysis by a well-credentialled and intelligent observer of the contending camps struggling over foreign policy in the US.

Read more

The US role in the world: a new normal

President Trump has pursued a different vision of the US’s role in the world – one which has had an undeniable impact on relations with allies and competitors alike, and has reshaped perceptions of the US as a global actor. A robust debate over its future global role has ensued. US allies like Australia should be paying close attention, because whether or not Trump wins re-election, the US will not be able to resume some quasi-mythical past role, and the world will need to adjust to a new normal.

Read more

Global order in the shadow of coronavirus: China, Russia and the West (Lowy)

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a harsh spotlight on the state of global governance. Faced with the greatest emergency since the Second World War, nations have regressed into narrow self-interest. The concept of a rules-based international order has been stripped of meaning, while liberalism faces its greatest crisis in decades. In this Lowy Institute publication, the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI)’s Bobo Lo argues that it’s time to rethink global governance and its priorities.

Read more