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Every nation needs to stay aloof from the QUAD trap

Quadraliateral Security Dialogue, Quad, Preisident Xi Jinping, China, Quad mechanism, Bangladesh, India, Japan, Belt and Road Initiative, BRI, Myanmar, Rohingya, Beijing, Dhaka, Washington, US strategy

Oped

Every nation needs to stay aloof from the QUAD trap

It seems, Biden administration has become desperate in obstructing China’s tremendous socio-economic prosperity by forming a ridiculous platform named Quadraliateral Security Dialogue or Quad. Main concern of the US and anti-China bloc is, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China not only is making progress, it also is sincerely helping other nations in Asia and beyond in attaining economic self-reliance, success of which will permanently liberate China’s allies from cruel shackle of US dominance and unexpected interferences. Members of Quad also fear, implementation of Xi Jinping’s brainchild – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will drastically help in infrastructural development of the BRI member countries, thus connecting them to other continents, which will also help in significantly increasing exports and foreign investments. In brief, friendly relations with China and joining BRI would help every nation in becoming economically strong within the next two decades, which not only will hamper hostile supremacy of the US, it also will also stop countries like India, for example, in emerging as pseudo superpower in the region.

On Friday, leaders of the US, Japan, India and Australia met in Washington for the first in-person Quad summit. And as expected, despite claims of “maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region”, the Quad mechanism is engaged in splitting the region and inciting various forces to oppose China. The summit in Washington was seen as a twisted ribbon-cutting of shaping this confrontational pattern.

Although the main purpose of the Quad mechanism is to “encircle China”, while the four Quad countries all regard China as a rival, they are not in complete agreement on actual practices and their respective national interests. America’s goal is to completely suppress China. For Japan, however, its economic dependence on China has led to a split in its strategy. Australia shares the US strategy in terms of culture and values, but also has a need for China in terms of economics and regional cooperation. India is trying to improve its international status with the help of the US. But New Delhi is not strong enough and can’t get the comprehensive help from Washington — so it also needs to cooperate with China economically.

Its geographic situation gives a sense of comfort to the political elites of the four countries. It remains vague as to what to be encircled about China. Every element contains a great deal of imagination. As a result, the agenda of the Quad is rather distorted and full of paranoid extensions, like argots which are ambiguous but can be understood by conjecture.

According to analysts, through Quad, the US is trying to form a confrontational structure in the Indo-Pacific region to strategically contain and exert pressure on China. In the Quad mechanism, the US and Japan are the axis. Australia is the accomplice. India is the coordinator. All four countries want to address the perceived pressures and challenges posed by China’s rise. Washington wants to take the lead in institutionalizing the Quad. China will undoubtedly become the focus of this project.

As first step of Quad, the four countries are attempting to establish a vaccine community to limit China’s influence. But many countries have complained about US vaccine nationalism and hoarding. In terms of infrastructure, India is in a significant position for the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Therefore, the US wants to use India to hinder the development of the BRI. Its aim is to tear Asia apart and strengthen its own dominance in the Indo-Pacific region.

In my opinion, China’s potential is huge. China has its own strategic confidence. The US and other Quad countries can hardly achieve their goals. There also are many areas, where Quad members may not succeed in reaching into unanimous decision. For instance, Quad members’ “opposing challenges to the maritime rules-based order” is such an argot. The maritime order, including the freedom of navigation, has never been challenged. The so-called maritime order referred to by the US and Japan is maritime power, while the “rules” are the hegemony or vested interests of maritime countries such as the US and Japan. When talking about this subject, the Quad mechanism often confines it to the South and East China Seas, in a bid not to touch the Indian Ocean, a sensitive spot for New Delhi.

“Creating a safe supply chain” is another argot. Transnational supply chain is the natural result of global division of labor, which itself is the product of marketization. In order to curb China, the US has begun to develop the supply chain of key technology products excluding the Chinese mainland. The semiconductor sector is the first to bear the brunt. No matter how much rhetoric is applied, these attempts in supply chain are anti-market, politically prioritized, aimed at creating confrontation, and thus immoral and evil.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, ahead of his trip to Washington said that “The changing power balance brought by the rise of China in the Indo-Pacific, along with the increasing inward focus spurred by the pandemic have increased uncertainty”. He also hyped that China’s growing military strength “could present a risk to our [Japan] country’s peace and prosperity”.

Development is the sacred right of 1.4 billion Chinese people. An economic rise has brought about the constant growth of China’s GDP, which will inevitably bring about an increase in military spending and modernization. However, China’s military budget is less than 1.5 percent of its GDP. China adheres to the principle of no-first-use of nuclear weapons, and hasn’t launched any war against other countries in decades. Even though countries like Japan are inherently concerned about China’s rise, they should express their concerns in a restricted way. From this perspective, engaging in the Quad that aims at confronting China is a seriously irresponsible move. It has been accelerating the uncertainties that are perceived by many countries to the certainty of confrontation.

The Asia-Pacific region needs to struggle with the “sinister gang” represented by the Quad and AUKUS, giving geopolitical hysteria no chance to destroy the future of the Asia-Pacific. Although the Quad claims to be a values-based alliance, the members obviously know they are engaging in controversy and creating strategic risks. Therefore, they dare not clarify how they exactly define the Quad, with the four members interpreting the bloc in different ways.

The US intends to turn the Quad and AUKUS into “sinister gangs” containing China. On one hand, it stubbornly strengthens to deepen the anti-China cooperation of the Quad mechanism. On the other, it will gradually lure other countries in the region to join the gang. We appeal to other regional countries not to be fooled by Washington. They should refuse to be geopolitical pawns of the US against China, or to become cannon fodders of Washington.

Bangladesh, China and Quad

In my opinion, while Bangladesh and China’s continued development and strength can never be stemmed, it is responsibility of Beijing to much sincerely look into Dhaka’s interest, considering Bangladesh’s high-importance in geopolitical perspective. For this reason, China needs to exert pressure on Myanmar in immediately taking-back the 1.20 million Rohingyas from Bangladesh, as further delay in resolving this issue would not only cause additional socio-economic burden to Bangladesh, it would also finally become a dangerous threat to China and the region if Rohingyas become impatient and wage armed jihad against Myanmar. Any armed jihad by the Rohingyas will not only cause serious security threat to Myanmar, it will eventually further expand within mainland China, once Rohingyas find allies within Islamist and jihadist groups in Xinjiang province and other parts of China.

Secondly, Bangladesh’s unwillingness in joining Quad should not be negatively seen by India, as in this case, Bangladesh has taken such decision considering national interest. However, Bangladesh’s not joining Quad does not mean the country is moving towards anti-India bloc. Instead, Dhaka is maintaining its neutral position by refraining from joining any anti-Beijing block like Quad. Another important point that Indian policymakers should now is – the very initiative of Quad was because of America’s desire of checking China. There really is no intention of the US in letting Quad become any effective tool to India or any other members of this group. And it is quite obvious that in course of time, the US will start behaving as the boss or big brother of Quad, thus mostly ignoring interests of India and other member countries. In brief, the sole purpose of Quad though is quarrelling with China, it eventually will become a quarrel house of all the member countries.

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An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, research-scholar, counter-terrorism specialist, and editor of Blitz. Follow his on Twitter Salah_Shoaib

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Grace

    September 29, 2021 at 15:43

    I wonder what Bangladesh would do to fight armed jihad by the Rohingyas.

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