Spearhead Analysis – 11.04.2017
By Farrukh Karamat
Senior Research Coordinator, Spearhead Research
The winds of change appear to be upon us. The world is experiencing a transformational shift with rapid changes in allegiances and alliances. China is emerging as a dominant player not just regionally, but in a global context. The influence of USA appears to be heading towards a gradual decline, with growing discontent over its unilateral policies. The recent case in point is the bombing of Syria over a ‘purported’ Chemical attack by the Assad regime. Many are drawing parallels with the Iraq invasion and the ‘false’ Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) claims. The fact is that the world appears to be tiring of the US rhetoric and one-sided gun-slinging approach.
China on the other hand appears to be focusing on securing strategic gains through opening up of trade routes and trade alliances. Pakistan is potentially a major beneficiary of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Recently, the United Kingdom has opened up a freight rail trade route with China. Others are expected to follow suit as the One Belt, One Road initiative gains steam. China offers a potentially huge market, and with stagnant-to-declining populations in most Western nations, China and the regional economies around it offer tremendous opportunity with rapidly growing populations and markets.
The approval of the Chinese Renmibi as a main currency by the IMF, served to demonstrate that the World was ready to recognize the growing economic might of the Chinese. In the years to come it could very well be a dominant currency in world trade. The United States has to understand that the World is moving on and new dynamics are entering the global arena. The policy of “if you are not with us, then you are against us” is outdated, and has lost credibility, given the dismal track record of US and US-backed invasions. The world appears to be tiring of the American tirade. The destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria are glaring examples of the US military ineptitude, and the limited capacity of the US to actually rebuild nations.
China has taken the alternate route. It has extended the hand of friendship and taken the economic route through developing trade and securing strategic assets. There is no denying the fact that China would ensure that its interests are served foremost, but in the process it is providing the opportunity for economic benefit to the other countries that it is engaging with. Pakistan has the opportunity to capitalize on the CPEC initiative and develop trade with China. Whether it is able to do so, depends entirely on the policies of the government and their ability to bring about internal sustainable reforms to support the initiative. The United Kingdom, once it exits the European Union, will also have the opportunity to develop strong trade linkages with China, which could serve it very well. The opportunities are there and it is up to the World, whether they want to continue policies of military aggression and intervention or focus on developing economically for mutual benefit.
While China’s focus remains on an inclusive policy based on trade, and gaining dominance through the economic route; the USA appears to be pursuing a policy of exclusion, whereby it is alienating certain population segments based on broad self-styled generalizations and biases. Creating nationalistic hysteria leads to isolation, and the world needs integration and inclusion. Trade and the economy are strong components for achieving such inclusion. The transformational shift has the potential to revive the ‘old’ trade routes and linkages. It is for us to capitalize on the linkages to gain maximum economic benefit and align our priorities with the ‘right’ partner. After all, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”.