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United States of Alliances

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For the past seven decades, there have been 3 power corridors in the Middle East viz. Persian Peninsula, Arabian Peninsula, and Israeli Peninsula. Their importance is self-explanatory as the outside forces have always struggled to choose among them. Israelis and Arabians have fought sundry wars in the past but 50 years of indefatigable efforts of the US have brought Israel and Arabian power corridors closer coupled with the recognition of Israel by various Arab countries.
Camp David’s Accord of 1978 holds very substantial importance in this regard as it helped reconcile Israel-Palestine furor brokered by the US president, Bill Clinton in 1996. Last year, under the auspices of Donald J. Trump, few other Arab countries have followed the suit such as UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, and Sudan. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia also endured pressure for recognition, however, it didn’t happen.
What product these recognitions cultivated is that 3 power corridors have been withered into two i.e. merger of Arabian and Israeli corridors into one – to much extent, and the Persian corridor. It had been alleged last year in November that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman hosted Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu in Neom, the futuristic techno-city in northwest Saudi Arabia to help remake Kingdom’s economy. Earlier in October, Israel opened its pavilion with a big bash at Dubai’s Expo 2020.
The US presence in the Middle East was engrossed by oil for 7 decades. For this to consolidate, even more, the US in the past 2 decades commenced wars at various fronts i.e. Afghanistan and Iraq coupled with brotherly relationships with Israel. However, somehow the US presence didn’t earn its strategic benefits as witnessed in the Afghanistan saga. Meanwhile, China, on the contrary, continued to get economically invincible over the engagement of the US in different wars; Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is its biggest beacon. Where the US was trying to intervene in the South China Sea in order to irritate China in that region, China was extending its legs into the American stronghold – the Middle East to earn an advantageous hand.
Downfall in Afghanistan per se is a huge setback for the US itself, however, since the US has pulled out from Afghanistan, it is not planning to bequeath this very region at the mercy of China to get economically leviathan. For this, the US is following a “contain China policy” and has developed Quad – an alliance of the US, India, Japan, and Australia – to restrict Chinese rise in the South China Sea.
Trading worth 5.3 trillion USD or more than 60pc of global maritime trade passes through the South China Sea. If obstructed, it will affect no other country of the region than China the most. An identical alliance has also been made this September called AUKUS including Australia, the UK, and the US. It is aimed at strengthening Australia by providing nuclear submarines to encumber Chinese naval advancement in the Indo-Pacific region.
China has been investing bulk in the Middle Eastern countries such as port construction at Haifa, Israel. The US is irked at Chinese colossal investments in Israel and expressed dissent averring it would pose a threat to US security in the Mediterranean Sea. China is receiving rapid gains over the US in the Middle East. For instance, UAE vaccinated its people of Chinese Sino-pharm than American-made vaccination first; Chinese 5G settlements with the Middle Eastern countries to embolden digital Silk Road bypassing the US. Iran also holds a very crucial value here as China has agreed to support the Iranian collapsing economy against oil supply to China. The US is being sandwiched in the Middle East as the circle of confidante countries is getting narrower upon the US.
To wrestle Chinese economic immortality in Central Asia and the Middle East, the US has recently announced Quad 2.0 akin to Quad. Howbeit, their strategic importance varies as Quad 2.0 will focus on containing China in the Middle East. Quad 2.0 includes the US, India, Israel, and UAE with the main focus on recompensing recent setbacks to the US in the region. For this, India is the main captain of the US in Asia, Israel in the Middle East, and Australia in the Indo-pacific to shield the interests of the US. Four months back, at the G7 meeting Cornwall, UK, a nexus of the developed nation mainly to confront BRI introduced Build Back Better World (B3W) economic strategy with zero progress hitherto.
New Quad, if viewed analytically for a deeper insight is a combo of power (the US), technology (Israel), huge market (India), and finance (UAE). One thing worth notable is, India is repeating the Pakistani version of affable relations with the US in the 1960s largely centered on patronizing interests of the US. India being polarized in this very region is but substituting its economic interests over strategic interests. As far as Pakistan is concerned, we have so far failed to transmogrify our strategic successes into economic successes. It has been reported that Dubai has struck a deal to build infrastructure in occupied Kashmir which would be a massive setback for Pakistan if happens.
Biden has been very open in countering China and to cope-up with like-minded countries. The Pentagon-based task force, Quad, B3W, AUKUS, and now Quad 2.0 are the considerable initiatives by Biden in this regard. The US has been scapegoating countries for its vested interests in various regions. China has retorted quite ferociously to all the diabolical maneuvering of the US in containing China. If history is the best teacher, India and Australia should revisit and shuffle through the pages of history to learn from the mistakes of the other countries in the past to duck the damage.
Already the world is bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic ergo, enhancement of economic and military animosity between two economic giants at this time would precipitate further damage to the world economy than ever. China and the US need to put aside their differences and develop a potential reciprocal framework to swift out the world from the shackles of economic downturns.