Considerable policy analysis has been devoted to bilateral strategic relationships between Pakistan and India, India and China, and China and the United States. But the strategic dynamics among these four nuclear powers cannot be understood or effectively addressed on a strictly bilateral basis. While Pakistan responds strategically to India, India responds both to Pakistan and China, which in turn responds both to India and the United States.
On December 17, 2016 Barnett Rubin made a presentation on the subject of “Security and Development Along the Belt and Road Initiative” at a conference hosted by the Belt and Road Building and Central Asian Studies Institute of Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an, China.
Donald Trump likes attacking soft targets, and the United Nations is about as soft as they come. Over the past two months, U.N. officials have been bracing for an entirely inevitable clash with the next U.S. administration. Their only question has been exactly what would set off the showdown. Would it be climate change? Torture?
Before examining the issue of nuclear armed cruise missiles (NACMs) a quick global geopolitical overview is warranted. The short post-Cold War period of cooperation between the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the P5 in common parlance) has given way to greater direct interstate contestation between them today. Consider the US-Russia confrontation over Ukraine and Syria, the US-China tensions in the South China Seas, not to mention the latent conflict between China and US allies like Japan.
The United States’ presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific is transforming from a traditional alliance network (of Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand) into a web of strengthened alliances, new partnerships and creative linkages.
Washington must manage this transformation carefully, so its alliance network maintains a deterrent function and reassures allies, but does not exacerbate USChina tensions.