It is evident that China is fast losing friends, besides the US, in Europe too. With its expansionist agenda becoming more and more pronounced, it is a question of time before China is totally cut off from the international community and gets branded a pariah state.
(Image source: Nobat.com)
Is it possible for someone to “gang up” against a group? Though it may be perceived as impossible, yet that is precisely what is happening in today's global scenario. A single country has practically ganged up against the rest of the world! Despite being the second biggest world economy, it has been noted for blatantly practising unethical means, including war, to secure its end goal of establishing unchallenged supremacy in global politics. This rogue communist country believes that no price is too high nor any means too unethical to reach the seat of commandeering the world affairs. Seen through the prism of international perceptions, it could, therefore, be truthfully stated without an iota of prejudice that China has verily achieved the mission impossible.
All Time Low in Relations
China has already hit an all-time low in international relations. The litany of charges by the peace-loving free world against China is practically endless: human-rights violations, ruthlessly suppressing political dissension, ethnic cleansing, refusing civil liberties to the people of Hong Kong, rejecting Tibetans’ right to self-determination, coveting an independent Taiwan, grabbing by force swathes of territories from unwary neighbouring countries and laying claims on places and areas that are part of established nations. Furthermore, China has also been bullying and lording over the South China Sea and the East China Sea where it has made many a territorial claim, openly supporting international terrorist groups by extending financial assistance and weapons and training them to subvert the stability of nations like India, which are competing with it in the economic sphere.
In addition to the above, China has been single-handedly responsible for bringing about the global economy to a near collapse. The coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan in China and its worldwide spread was the trigger point. More than the outbreak of the pandemic, it was the mishandling of the killer virus in ground zero that turned the world against China. The rogue nation’s secretive ways of concealing the truth about the origin of the virus and its audacious refusal to cooperate with the other countries to reach the heart of the problem in order to come up with a cure clinched the issue.
It became more and more apparent with the passing of time that there was much steam in the conspiracy theory that the novel coronavirus was man-made with the intention of using it as a weapon against the prevailing world order. It was obvious that the Chinese world view was grossly at variance with the existing world order. It is no wonder, therefore, that the world is seeking to establish a new world order where there would be a distinct delineation of China's place in the international affairs in the post-Covid-19 era. Suffice it to say that China has painted itself to a corner.
It needs to be seen as to how long can a friendless China sustain its economy before it succumbs to the combined pressure by a realigned and fast-emerging new world order in the post-Covid-19 era.
In the past, the US and China were engaged in disputes focussed on trade imbalance and the technology front that triggered trade wars, with the fallout of escalation of tariffs. Now they are fighting on more fronts ranging from the origin of the novel coronavirus to Hong Kong to the South China Sea to race for supremacy in the military and artificial intelligence field. Earlier, the US had special arrangements for preferential financial treatment for Hong Kong. Now with the tightening of the Chinese control over Hong Kong, the US position of special arrangements is becoming opaque, if not downright murky.
International experts have expressed concern over fears that the US-China relations are in for the darkest chapter yet. The US has accused China of stealing intellectual property and violating tariff and subsidies set down by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the World Trade Organization. It has staked a claim for retribution against China for the disastrous consequences to its economy caused by the pandemic. Several countries have joined the US in making similar claims.
(Image source: DainikBhaskar.com)
Trade analysts and political observers believe that China may prefer the re-election of President Trump over former Vice President Joe Biden. The re-election of Trump is likely to be followed by more bluster, threats and higher tariffs, whereas the election of Biden may throw up uncertain times ahead. President Trump is known to have sent in the past his traditional European allies into a tailspin by openly criticising them with his America First policy. However, he may still be expected to carry their support in the matter of arraigning China for recalcitrance.
Japan has disputes with China over the Senkaku Islands in the South China Sea and Ryuku Islands and the Air Defence Identification Zone and the Exclusive Economic Zone in the East China Sea. In the wake of the Galwan Valley incident precipitated by China, Japan has initiated a legal process to change the legal status of the Senkaku Islands. This, together with Japan's participation in the Quad talks with the US, India and Australia, has angered China.
Japan has expressed concern over the recent sighting of a submarine, suspected to be Chinese, close to the Japanese territorial waters. It has also spoken about the need to raise awareness about China's intentions and capabilities, citing references to China's actions in Hong Kong and the South China Sea and military action along the India-China border in Tibet. In the given circumstances, Japan is considering the acquisition of pre-emptive capabilities to strike down anti-missile launchers.
Britain's relations with China started deteriorating when the former offered the political dissidents in Hong Kong citizenship rights following the Chinese clampdown on Hong Kong. The relationship took a further hit when Britain joined the chorus for a free international probe into the origin of the novel coronavirus. Britain has since banned the Chinese tech giant Huawei from bidding for expansion of the 5G network. China has warned of repercussions. Meanwhile, Britain is bracing for a crippling cyberattack as happened in Australia recently.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has recently stated that the increasing influence of China in geopolitics has led to a shift in the global balance of power. He has also warned that China was coming ever closer to Europe's doorstep, which must be fought together by the NATO allies. It is evident that China is fast losing friends, besides the US, in Europe too. Already in the diplomatic doghouse of many a country, China’s sole lifeline in international relations is dependent on its economic and trade ties. With its expansionist agenda becoming more and more pronounced, it is a question of time before China is totally cut off from the international community and gets branded a pariah state.
Stretched to Tether's End
Besides the growing political dissension among the intelligentsia, divisive fissiparous tendencies within CCP coming to the fore and secessionist forces waiting to break away from the stranglehold of the totalitarian regime, China is facing a new threat. How long can a friendless China sustain its economy before it succumbs to the combined pressure by a realigned and fast-emerging new world order in the post-Covid-19 era is a moot point that now demands serious consideration.
(The author is a Chartered Accountant, author and blogger. He has served as an Independent Director on the Boards of India’s most influential public sector banks. He tweets at @cadrsunilgupta)