Assuming that the United States (US) will take a hard line on China after the presidential election of November 3, 2020, potentially against Russia too, there is a strong likelihood that the US, the UK and the European Union would be on a collision course with China and Russia and their allies. Invariably, their satellites states too. It is a Cold War that can potentially lead to a hot war all over the world.
What all of the above amounts to is the revival of everything the world has ever witnessed in the Cold War between 1950 and 1989 but more.
First and foremost, the world will not be bipolar. It will be a bloc of purportedly democratic nations arrayed against the seemingly non democratic ones.
Whether they deserve the title of being the pioneer or leader of the democratic world, the US, UK and the European Union will insist, they are democratic. It is this insistence that makes them more determined to win or defeat any Communist bloc again.
China, having successfully contained Covid 19, for now, will claim time and again that their one party state works. Pandemic can be minimized, and contained as and when there is a cluster of outbreak. China will, on the same basis, claim that the wide use of surveillance technology is vital to creating a bio-security state to ensure the well-being and health of all its citizens, even if this leads to a sheer violation of citizens’s right and privacy.
The state of the world is becoming increasingly chaotic as multilateralism has been abandoned. President Donald Trump does not seem to take the United Nations (UN) seriously nor the Group of Seven (G7) or Group of Twenty (G20).
While China encourages all parties to respect the importance of multilateralism, China itself cannot control the process of multilateralism too.China prefers to coopt international institutions such as the United Nations (UN), World Health Organization, even Interpol, to their advantage. Yet, within these institutions other powers are there to roll back the influence of China, which can only make Beijing very upset.
When Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia sponsored a motion to have an independent enquiry on the origins of Wuhan Virus or SARS Cov II, Canberra was singled out by Beijing as an agent provocateur of the international community, if not the US too.
Beijing almost instantly slapped a tax duty of almost 90 per cent on the exports of the Australian barley on Canberra. Although Australia and China’s trade relationships are hit by this issue, overall China would still want to import more precious minerals from Australia, according to Bloomberg news on July 21st 2020.
Such a dynamic does not portend well for all other countries in the Indo-Pacific region. The countries that call this place home either have to conform to Beijing ‘s dictates, or, be perpetually mindful of the Western warnings of China’s “debt trap diplomacy” and “predatory economics,” and the increasing scale of China’s domination of the South China Sea.
The current world is functioning on two dyads. Dyad A would involve the US, UK, European Union, New Zealand and Australia, against China. Dyad B would have China ganging up with Russia to block any efforts to put Chinese and Russian VIPs on a black list. This is the world order to come. And if the Association of Southeast Asia Nation’s (ASEAN) still behaves in an egregious manner of keeping one eye closed on the misadventures of China – be it in Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, or, South China Sea – ASEAN can fold its card and concede they have lost to China, hands down.