The world is once again in dismay after the use of chemical weapons was reported in Douma. In response, the U.S. struck, together with the UK and France, chemical weapons facilities in Syria on April 13 and 14. The stated purpose was to uphold international law, but the action could have far-reaching—and destabilizing—consequences.
Australia, India, Japan, and the United States make up the Quad, often seen as a response to an increasingly powerful and competitive China. But the commonality and contradiction of interests that India shares with China makes New Delhi’s perspective somewhat different from that of the other Quad countries. One may argue that India’s participation in the Quad is not a move to antagonize China.
The leaders of the ASEAN countries are set to meet in Singapore between April 25th and 28th. With the region feeling the effects of great power competition, it might be time to remember and revive the pacifying role Southeast Asia played in trade, people, and religious exchanges over the centuries.
Last month, the first session of China's 13th National People's Congress enacted a much discussed constitutional change, opening up a path for Xi Jinping to be president for life. Beyond this spectacular measure, promotions and appointments indicate the direction of the winds for China's foreign partners and competitors.
Following the flurry of political announcements and promotions at the 2018 National People's Congress, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China released a Plan on Deepening Reform of Party and State Institutions. These reforms elevate foreign policy and aim to make institutions more efficient as interfaces between the Chinese Communist Party and global integration.
India is scheduled to launch the lunar rover Chandrayaan-2 in 2018, an emblematic sign of the country's will to step up its space policy. Its efforts in this arena include a revival of international partnerships and a change in its position on space militarization. In the absence of an adequate global governance regime, such activity extends geopolitical tensions to outer space.
In tandem with China’s rise, America's geopolitical predominance in Asia has been waning, and this decline in influence has accelerated under the presidency of Donald Trump. Looking further ahead, however, it is not obvious that this "new normal" will be sustained in light of America’s deep economic and security interests in Asia and China’s fundamental fragilities.
North Korea has agreed to march alongside South Korea and to have a joint women’s hockey team with its neighbor at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. The sports diplomacy of North Korea is often unpredictable, but could this particular instance signal a geopolitical détente in an East Asia gripped by nuclear fears?
The continents-spanning Belt and Road Initiative may appear to be a leviathan, but a closer look at both it and China’s global quest for resources tells a more nuanced story. Even for the most authoritative of actors, situations don’t always work out as they do on paper.