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What’s The Future Of Afghanistan After Trump?

What’s The Future Of Afghanistan After Trump?

13 JANUARY 2021

What

Russian Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov is fairly certain that President-Elect Biden won’t do much to turn the tide on outgoing President Trump’s drawdown from Afghanistan despite newly promulgated legislation hindering the prospect of further cuts, but he’s also concerned that US troops might be replaced by private military contractors in a scenario that he warned would be a mistake.

Russia’s Prediction For Afghanistan

Many questions are swirling about President-Elect Biden’s foreign policy upon his impending inauguration next week, but one of the most relevant for all of Eurasia is what his stance will be towards the US’ seemingly never-ending War on Afghanistan. Russian Special Presidential Representative for Russian Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov is fairly certain that President-Elect Biden won’t do much to turn the tide on outgoing President Trump’s drawdown from Afghanistan despite newly promulgated legislation hindering the prospect of further cuts, but he’s also concerned that US troops might be replaced by private military contractors in a scenario that he warned would be a mistake. This is a pretty sound prediction which deserves to be elaborated upon more at length in order to better understand the logic behind it.

The US’ New Central Asian Strategy

The author explained last year how “The US’ Central Asian Strategy Isn’t Sinister, But That Doesn’t Mean That It’ll Succeed”. It was pointed out that Trump’s official vision for the region as articulated by his administration’s “Strategy For Central Asia 2019-2025” sharply contrasts the unstated one pursued by his predecessors. Instead of focusing on terrorist-driven divide-and-rule Hybrid Warfare, it concentrates mostly on peaceful regional connectivity in order to calmly expand American influence into the geostrategic Eurasian Heartland. The non-violent means that are to be relied upon to this soft power end should be commended, though one shouldn’t also preclude the possibility of some elements of the former informal strategies remaining in place, especially following Biden’s inauguration.

The Argument Against Another “Surge”

The former Vice President is bringing a bunch of Obama-era and -influenced officials (back) to the White House, hence why many feared that he might even seriously countenance repeating that administration’s infamous but ultimately failed “surge”. The geopolitical times have greatly changed since then, however, and there doesn’t seem to be any real interest in doing so under the current conditions. Not only is the planet reeling from what the author described as World War C — which refers to the full-spectrum paradigm-changing processes unleashed by the international community’s uncoordinated efforts to contain COVID-19 — but America is on the brink of launching a domestic version of its “War on Terror” in response to Capitol Hill’s storming last week and the US must also adapt to China’s growing leadership role in the world. These take precedence over the Taliban.

Improved US-Pakistani Ties Augur Well For Afghanistan

The author touched upon those last developments as well as the Biden Administration’s lack of trust in the Modi one in his analysis earlier this week for Pakistan’s Tribune Express about “The Three Factors That Will Shape The Future Of US-Pakistani Relations”. It was concluded that bilateral relations will improve as a result of these pressures, which in turn will further reduce the possibility of the US doubling down on its failed War on Afghanistan. The Taliban peace process, for as imperfect as it is, has veritably led to some noticeable results over the past year. Not only would it be a waste for Biden to scrap all of that just for the sake of spiting his predecessor, but it wouldn’t serve much of a grand strategic purpose anyhow considering the progress that’s being made on implementing the Trump Administration’s Central Asian strategy.

Trump & Biden: Different Visions, Shared Interests

In fact, it’s in Central Asia where Trump and Biden have a unique confluence of interests. The former’s economic-driven policy of engagement dovetails well with the latter’s plans to assemble a so-called “Alliance of Democracies”. Both are non-military means for expanding influence and perfectly complement one another. While Biden will probably retain the US’ troop presence in Afghanistan or even slightly increase it for domestic political reasons should he find it convenient to do so, he’s unlikely to devote as much military time and effort to the conflict as Obama did for the earlier mentioned reasons. While the Central Asian Republics don’t practice Western forms of democracy, the US nevertheless subjectively regards them as being different in substance from Russia and China’s governing models, and thus comparatively more “legitimate” to partner with.

The Military-Industrial Complex’s Pernicious Influence

Even so, the US’ powerful military-industrial complex won’t take too kindly to its most direct interests being threatened in the region through the civilian government’s decision to keep troop levels at an all-time low. Bearing this in mind, it makes sense for Biden for execute the Trump Administration’s reported proposal to privatize the conflict through private military contractors (PMCs) as the latter are an important cutting-edge part of the military-industrial complex, albeit one which enables Washington to retain a degree of “plausible deniability”. Many former servicemen transition from the Armed Forces to PMCs upon their honorable discharge because it pays much better, thus making these entities practically one and the same except in the legal sense, with both fulfilling the important task of guarding Afghanistan’s $1 trillion in rare earth minerals.

Concluding Thoughts

Looking forward, Biden (or rather, the power structure behind him) might not make much political progress on resolving America’s War on Afghanistan, but he probably won’t make things much worse either. Rather, this “endless war” might continue to persist, but simply become more and more “forgettable” so to speak. Should he feel that it would be politically convenient to do so in the domestic sense, then he might either slightly raise the troop levels or publicly announce that some of the existing ones will be switch out for PMCs. His intelligence agencies will probably continue to foment low-intensity destabilization scenarios across the region, but likely won’t concentrate too much effort on this as the US’ grand strategic focus shifts elsewhere in light of the new domestic and international conditions in which the fading unipolar hegemon is forced to adapt.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: US, Afghanistan, Russia, Pakistan, Trump, Biden, Central Asia.


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MIDDLE EAST:

ISRAEL/PALESTINE:

  • Foreign ministers of Egypt, Germany, France and Jordan discussed ways to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, a week before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. The Palestinians suffered numerous setbacks under the outgoing administration of President Donald Trump and have complained about what they say were pro-Israeli steps from Washington.

SOURCE: DAILY MAIL


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The Arctic Is America’s Next Theater For The Dual Containment Of Russia & China

The Arctic Is America’s Next Theater For The Dual Containment Of Russia & China

21 DECEMBER 2020

The Arctic Is America

The US Navy’s recently unveiled “Advantage at Sea” doctrine identifies the Arctic Ocean as the next theater for America’s attempted dual containment of Russia and China, to which end the document proposes that Washington resort to desperate means such as deliberately deploying its naval forces in harm’s way for supposed “de-escalation” purposes that actually run the risk of provoking a nuclear war.

America’s “Advantage At Sea” Doctrine

Last Thursday was a very important day for more reasons than one. While the world was watching President Putin’s year-end press conference, the US Navy unveiled its “Advantage at Sea” doctrine. The latter caught the attention of RT for identifying Russia and China as the US’ main rivals, but has since failed to generate any meaningful traction in the Alt-Media Community. That’s a mistake because the document is a must-read in full for anyone who wants to better understand America’s naval strategy across the coming century. After all, the very first words of its foreword ominously read that “Our actions in this decade will shape the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century”, thus emphasizing the supreme strategic significance of this doctrine. There are many aspects of it that can and should be analyzed, but perhaps the most forward-looking among them relates to America’s attempted dual containment of Russia and China in the Arctic Ocean.

Polar Competition

Not much is written about this in the text, but it’s still abundantly clear that this region will become the next theater for that hitherto failed strategy to unfold. Both multipolar Great Powers have near-identical interests there in terms of using what Russia regards as the Northern Sea Route and China considers to be the Polar Silk Road as a shortcut for facilitating maritime trade with Europe. They’re also both very interested in the region’s enormous hydrocarbon deposits too. America is therefore naturally compelled to interfere with both of these goals in a bid to delay its fading unipolar hegemony for as long as possible. It makes its intent transparent by writing the following in the text:

We cannot cede influence in areas of emerging day-to-day competition, including U.S. regional waters and the Arctic. The coming decades will bring changes to the Arctic region that will have a significant impact on the global economy, given its abundance of natural resources and strategic location. China views this region as a critical link in their One Belt One Road initiative. Arctic nations are reopening old bases, moving forces, and reinvigorating regional exercises. These trends will persist in the decades ahead. We must continue to operate forward and posture our forces appropriately.”

The other very few references to the region relate to the geostrategic impact of receding sea ice there, China’s construction of polar icebreakers and other vessels “at alarming speed”, and Beijing’s alleged ambitions to exploit its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) for the purpose of “enabling its forces to operate farther from its shores than ever before, including the polar regions”. There’s also a brief mention of the Coast Guard’s planned acquisition of the “Polar Security Cutter”, but these are the only times that the Arctic or polar regions are mentioned in the doctrine. Nevertheless, they’re sufficient for proving that this is an emerging theater of Great Power rivalry.

Provocative Proposal

What’s so concerning about all of this is that the “Advantage at Sea” doctrine makes a very provocative proposal about the US’ naval posturing across the world, including the Arctic considering its inclusion in the document. The most worrying one involves the observation that “Activities short of war can achieve strategic-level effects”, which is exploited as the basis to claim that “Operating our naval forces far forward—in harm’s way and in contested environments— raises the risks for rivals considering the path of escalation and prevents crisis from escalating into war.” This is supposedly intended to preemptively thwart Russia and China’s “likely attempt to seize territory before the United States and its allies can mount an effective response—leading to a fait accompli”, but it in reality creates the conditions for nuclear war in the worst-case scenario that this reckless move leads to one by miscalculation.

Biden’s Brinksmanship

President-elect Biden will therefore inherit what might perhaps be the US’ most dangerous military doctrine ever of deliberately putting its naval forces in harm’s way for the supposed purpose of “preventing (a) crisis from escalating into war.” In other words, it seeks to provocatively insert US naval forces into the center of a crisis with the expectation that no one will dare to fire upon them otherwise they’d risk triggering nuclear war. This brinskmanship is extremely dangerous and can theoretically play out anywhere across the global ocean, but its potential occurrence in the Arctic could very easily come to involve both of America’s nuclear-armed rivals considering that this is the only place in the world where they have very close overlapping interests as was earlier explained. Since the US is thought by some to already be far behind on this front, it might therefore resort to such desperate measures for the purpose of forcing concessions from its rivals or risking nuclear war.

Concluding Thoughts

The US Navy’s “Advantage at Sea” doctrine doesn’t auger well for global peace, especially considering the fact that it proposes a policy of what can only be described as de-facto nuclear brinskmanship by deliberately inserting its forces into the center of a crisis with Russia and/or China for supposed “de-escalation” purposes. The Arctic Ocean is the point of convergence between all three parties’ naval interests, which thus makes it the theater in which this policy could have the most destabilizing effect. While it’s true that the US could employ it in the Baltic, Black, or South China Seas, none of those would risk involving its other Eurasian rival and thus provoking a truly global crisis like if this played out in the Arctic. America might even prioritize this if it thinks that its nuclear war bluff could lead to the regulation of military forces there since it’s so far behind Russia in this theater that thus stands to gain the most by reverse-engineering that outcome.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: US, Russia, China, Arctic, Brinksmanship, Biden, Trump.


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What Kind Of Secretary Of State Might Antony Blinken Be?

What Kind Of Secretary Of State Might Antony Blinken Be?

25 NOVEMBER 2020

What Kind Of Secretary Of State Might Antony Blinken Be?

While Pompeo is brash, Blinken is humble, and this key difference might play a leading role in repairing America’s damaged reputation abroad after the past four years of current US President Trump’s bombastic foreign policy statements. Nevertheless, this impression shouldn’t be taken to mean that Blinken isn’t decisive.

Democrat presidential candidate and popularly projected winner of this month’s elections Joe Biden announced that he’ll nominate his close advisor Antony Blinken as the US’ next Secretary of State. Blinken is a veteran Democrat expert in the foreign policy field who comes from a family of diplomats. He previously served as Biden’s National Security Advisor when he was Vice-President as well as Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor and Deputy Secretary of State. The tremendous experience that Blinken will bring to a possible Biden Administration means that the world can expect a return to the US’ Obama-era foreign policy.

Media reports indicate that his personality is the complete opposite of current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. While Pompeo is brash, Blinken is humble, and this key difference might play a leading role in repairing America’s damaged reputation abroad after the past four years of current US President Trump’s bombastic foreign policy statements. Nevertheless, this impression shouldn’t be taken to mean that Blinken isn’t decisive. Other reports claim that he was in favor of former President Obama bombing Syria during the 2013 chemical weapons crisis, and former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul revealed some other interesting details.

According to the Financial Times in their article titled “Biden’s ‘alter ego’ Antony Blinken tipped for top foreign policy job”, McFaul said that Blinken was part of a secretive group of Democrats called the “Phoneix Initiative”. The former ambassador claimed that they began assembling in 2004 after former Democrat presidential candidate Kerry’s loss to incumbent President Bush Jr. Their debates allegedly consisted of passionate arguments in support of more robust national security strategies, including Blinken advocating very strongly for “human rights” according to McFaul.

This correlates with the US’ Obama-era foreign policy of supporting Color Revolutions and so-called “humanitarian interventions” across the world in countries as diverse as Ukraine and Libya respectively under such pretexts. Observers might thus be worried that these policies could repeat themselves under a possible Biden Presidency, which could in turn be destabilizing for Eastern Europe and the Mideast, especially if those aforesaid processes were weaponized for the purpose of geopolitically containing Russia and Iran. It’s too early to tell whether that’ll be the case, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.

Blinken was also critical of Russia over the past few years and even dramatically claimed in 2017 that “The president’s ongoing collusion with Russia’s plans is really striking, intentional or not.” It’s therefore unlikely that he’ll oversee any improvement of relations with Russia, which is worrisome because the two nuclear powers should renegotiate a new strategic weapons treaty after the New START expires early next year. Failing to do so for reasons possibly related to Blinken’s groundless suspicions of then-former President Trump’s relations with Russia (which were never proven despite several years of investigations) would worsen global insecurity.

On the topic of Iran, however, he seems to be much more pragmatic. Blinken supported the 2015 nuclear deal and would likely see the US attempt to return to it under a possible Biden presidency. While that might repair American-Iranian relations, it could also inadvertently worsen the US’ historical ties with Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of which are totally against the agreement. Still, it would represent a symbolic return to the UN-enshrined rules-based order if Blinken were to oversee the US’ return to that pact. Thus far, it can be concluded that he’d probably be harder on Russia but more flexible with Iran, but his stance towards China is unclear.

The same earlier cited Financial Times piece reported that Blinken told an interviewer during a recent podcast that “the US had to rebuild alliances to tackle the ‘democratic recession’ enabled by Mr Trump that let ‘autocracies from Russia to China . . . exploit our difficulties’.” This suggests that he might share some of his predecessor’s suspicions of China and thus be less pragmatic towards it than some had initially hoped after first hearing that Biden was projected by the media to be the next President-Elect. His ideological views towards governance hint that he might even try to strengthen the US’ regional alliances on a “democratic” basis.

It can only be hoped that Blinken wouldn’t let his personal opinions blind him to the fact that the US has no choice but to pragmatically cooperate with China despite those two countries’ different governing systems. Seeing the world in black-and-white terms of us-versus-them with respect to democracies versus what he regards as autocracies would be the wrong way to approach relations with the People’s Republic. It might even result in a possible Biden Administration ruining the chance to enter into a comprehensive rapprochement with China towards what some have predicted could even become a New Detente between the two if successful.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: US, Biden, Blinken, Russia, Iran, China, Color Revolutions, Regime Change, Hybrid Wars, Obama.


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Russia & Turkey Stand To Lose The Most From A Biden Presidency

Russia & Turkey Stand To Lose The Most From A Biden Presidency

9 NOVEMBER 2020

Russia & Turkey Stand To Lose The Most From A Biden Presidency

In the event that Biden’s “projected” presidency become a reality, Russia and Turkey would stand to lose the most during America’s new era of engagement with the world due to the former Vice President’s intense dislike of the Eurasian Great Power and the regional consequences that his possible return to the Iranian nuclear deal could have for Ankara’s grand strategy.

Multilateralism Doesn’t Mean That Everyone Wins

Analysts are scrambling to predict what American foreign policy might look like under a possible Biden presidency in the event that his “projected” (but crucially, not yet legally certified) victory becomes a reality. It’s already known that he intends to return to the Obama-era strategy of multilateral engagement and will probably appoint many officials from that former administration or at the very least those who’ve been tremendously influenced by them. There’s also little doubt that the US’ de-facto military alliance with India will remain intact considering the bipartisan consensus regarding its grannd strategic importance. Nevertheless, although it’s still a bit early to make any confident predictions, it can be argued that Russia and Turkey will probably stand to lose the most from a Biden presidency for reasons that will now be explained.

Political Russophobes Return To The White House

Regarding the Eurasian Great Power, it has legitimate concerns about the political Russophobia of former Obama-era officials. The (soon-to-be-former?) opposition spent the past four years concocting one of the craziest conspiracy theories in modern history by imagining that Trump was secretly an agent — or at the very least, an asset — of none other than President Putin himself. These dangerous allegations have since been officially debunked, but their destructive impact on bilateral relations will persist for the indefinite future. The anti-Russian members of the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) which literally conspired with their Democrat and Mainstream Media proxies to delegitimize and subsequently subvert Trump’s presidency have no interest in a rapprochement with Russia.

A Strategically Convenient “New Detente” With China?

To the contrary, they’ve signaled every interest in clinching a “New Detente” with China instead through a series of pragmatic compromises on a slew of issues such as trade, military, and technological ones for instance. This isn’t just for pragmatic reasons, but clever geostrategic ones related to freeing up the US’ full potential to more assertively “contain” Russia for the ideological reasons that drive Obama-era officials and those influenced by them. Should this scenario come to pass, then Russia would come under unprecedented pressure along its western flank, building upon the military advances along its borders that were overseen by Trump but aggressively solidifying and possibly even expanding them. Being in the midst of a systemic economic transition away from its disproportionate budgetary dependence on resource revenue, Russia is presently real vulnerable.

Russia’s Most Vulnerable Moment

The next year or two is therefore the best possible time for the US to put maximum pressure upon it for the purpose of compelling it to agree to a lopsided “New Detente” which could foreseeably result in a so-called “new normal” of relations between the West and Russia. The intent, however, is to subjugate Russia to America’s military will, which is understandably more difficult to pull off than the political Russophobes might imagine considering Moscow’s recent advances in hypersonic missile technology which restored the nuclear balance between the former superpowers. Still, all that Russia has done was buy itself some more time while it sought to domestically restructure all aspects of its society while the US was distracted with “containing” China under Trump, but now the pendulum might swing back against Russia with a vengeance under Biden.

Strengthening The Regional Anti-Turkish “Containment” Coalition

On the topic of Turkey, it’s also expected that this country will stand to lose from a possible Biden presidency. The US’ strategy of assembling a regional anti-Turkish “containment” coalition between itself, Armenia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, the GCC, Greece, “Israel”, and even Syria to an extent will likely remain in place, as will its use of more subversive measures such as economic warfare and even coup plotting in order to “finish the job” that Obama failed to do during the summer 2016 coup attempt against President Erdogan. Just as importantly, however, are the regional consequences that the US’ possible return to the Iranian nuclear deal could have for Ankara’s grand strategy since they could result in it and Tehran drifting apart after their recent rapprochement.

The Turkish-Iranian Strategic Partnership

About that, these neighboring Islamic civilizations are presently enjoying some of their best-ever relations after the failed summer 2016 coup attempt saw Iran become the first country to publicly support Turkey’s legitimate government against the plotters. This wasn’t only for pragmatic reasons regarding the rule of law and international norms, but also ideological ones as well since Turkish society has been gradually Islamifying under President Erdogan’s rule in ways which align with Iran’s ideal vision for the region’s societies. Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran saw the Islamic Republic move much closer to Turkey for the purpose of much-needed sanctions relief, which in turn resulted in them agreeing on Azerbaijan and Libya despite Iran’s Syrian ally having a different position towards those two conflicts to the surprise of the Alt-Media Community.

Decoupling Turkey & Iran’s Mutual Strategic Interdependence

As Iran began to rely more on Turkey, so too did Turkey began to rely on Iran, thus establishing a relationship of mutual strategic interdependence. Where Iran sees Turkey as a pressure valve from sanctions, Turkey regards Iran as an indispensably influential regional partner which helps hold back the emerging US-led anti-Turkish “containment” coalition. Nevertheless, if a breakthrough is reached on the US returning to the Iranian nuclear deal, then there’s a credible chance that their mutual strategic interdependence might eventually weaken and the two countries could gradually “decouple” with time. That would place Turkey in a very disadvantageous regional position, but one which could interestingly improve its already solid relations with Russia so long as both have the political will to do so.

Could The Russian-Turkish Strategic Partnership Transform Into An Unofficial Alliance?

The analysis has thus far argued that Russia and Turkey will lose the most from a Biden presidency, but the proverbial silver lining is that they’d have more of a reason than ever to strengthen their cooperation with one another in response. In fact, should similar pressure be placed upon them in a semi-coordinated manner, they might naturally move a lot closer together. Issues of occasional discord such as differences of vision over certain conflicts might remain, but they wouldn’t be insurmountable and in fact might be more easily resolved in the event that they enter into a stronger relationship of mutual strategic interdependence which might even eventually become an unofficial alliance. The exact contours of such a scenario are difficult to forecast at this point, but the possibility itself shouldn’t be discounted for the earlier mentioned reasons.

Concluding Thoughts

While many across the world are celebrating what they’ve been (mis?)led to believe is Trump’s impending ouster from the White House, it’s all but certain that Russia and Turkey are fretting over what might come next if Biden is able to execute on his regional vision of repairing relations with China, doubling down on the US’ anti-Russian and -Turkish pressure campaigns, and returning to the Iranian nuclear deal. Taken together, these variables could prove extremely troublesome for their grand strategies, but might also present an opportunity for these two Great Powers to work more closely together in the future. Having said all of that, nothing’s set in stone of course and a Biden presidency might end up surprising a lot of observers just like the Trump one did in some respects, but it’ll still likely be difficult for either Russia or Turkey to secure their interests during this time.

Tags: Biden, US, Russia, Turkey, China, Iran, JCPOA, New Detente, NATO, Sanctions, Regime Change, Color Revolution, Hybrid War, Containment.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

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The US’ Alliance With India Is A Bipartisan Issue Of Grand Strategic Importance

The US’ Alliance With India Is A Bipartisan Issue Of Grand Strategic Importance

30 OCTOBER 2020

The US

The US’ alliance with India will remain a mainstay of its grand strategy regardless of who wins next week’s elections since it’s a bipartisan issue of the highest importance for its permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”).

The US-Indian Alliance

Analysts are scrambling to speculate the possible foreign policy changes that a Biden presidency might bring if he wins next week’s election, but one aspect of American grand strategy that isn’t likely to change is the US’ alliance with India. The two Great Powers formalized their military partnership earlier this week with the signing of the “Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement” (BECA), the third so-called “foundational pact” after the “Logistics Exchange Memorandum Of Agreement” (LEMOA) and “Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement” (COMCASA) which collectively improve these countries’ military interoperability. Neither side hides their shared anti-Chinese intentions either, as the author explained at length in his September analysis about how “It Was Inevitable That India Would Seek To Actively ‘Contain’ China”, which is a trend that he’s been closely following since mid-2016 when it was still “taboo” for the Alt-Media Community to discuss it. This trajectory will remain on track for several key reasons regardless of whoever wins the presidency.

Step By Step, President By President

The first is that the American bureaucratic machine has already kicked into gear and is intensely focusing its military, intelligence, and diplomatic (“deep state”) efforts into actualizing this alliance. It will therefore be extremely difficult to reverse this trend even if Biden sincerely wanted to, yet there’s no reason to suspect that he does since he was one of the overseers of the Obama-era “Pivot to Asia” which laid the basis for Trump’s formalization of America’s alliance with India. In fact, it can be argued that Obama — who built upon the progress pioneered by Bush Jr. such as the nuclear cooperation pact during that time — is one of the forefathers of this alliance since it wouldn’t have happened had it not been for his decision to continue his predecessor’s policies in this respect. As such, there’s no doubt that America’s alliance with India is a bipartisan issue for the US establishment.

Pivoting” From West To East Asia Via The South

Another point to made is that the “Pivot to Asia” naturally transitions the US’ strategic focus from West Asia to East Asia while traversing through the South Asian space between both. India isn’t just an ordinary country in US foreign policy planning, though, since its demographic and economic capabilities pair perfectly with its geostrategic location atop the Afro-Asian (“Indian”) Ocean to make it attractive as a “counterweight” to China. This explains its pivotal importance in the emerging Quad military network of anti-Chinese states, as well as the fact that its location is almost smack dab in the center of the Eastern Hemisphere which thereby makes it more important than any of that bloc’s other members. Neither Trump nor Biden could afford to ignore this unprecedented geostrategic opportunity, hence why they’re predicted to actually double down on it regardless of whoever wins since it best serves their nation’s interests to do so.

India’s Role In Trump & Biden’s China Strategies

While Trump and Biden have different attitudes towards China, that still won’t change the importance of India for their foreign policy visions. The incumbent will likely employ a more aggressive strategy of openly exploiting India as China’s foil in “Greater South Asia” (Central Asia/Afro-Asian Ocean/Southeast Asia) whereas Biden might be “gentler” with his approach out of a desire to reach a “New Detente” with China (whether for pragmatic or corrupt reasons). The Democrat candidate would continue the US’ growing trend of arms sales to that state but might care more about political and economic cooperation with India than any military-driven approach to “containing” China. If the prediction about Biden’s desire for a “New Detente” with the People’s Republic plays out, then India’s role would simply be to keep China “in check” as opposed to actively countering it like Trump envisions. Either way, India still serves a very strategic purpose for both presidential candidates.

Russia Must Urgently Recalibrate Its “Balancing” Act

This fact should be taken into consideration by all relevant stakeholders, especially Russia, which is already intensely competing with the US simply to retain its decades-long dominant position in the Indian arms market. That’s not at all to say that Russia should “dump” India, but just to propose that it must begin seriously countenancing contingency plans in the event that it loses more influence in the South Asian state otherwise it stands to become New Delhi’s “junior partner” and risk provoking an unintended “security dilemma” with China. The author warned about that scenario in his September analysis asking “Is Russia ‘Abandoning’ Or ‘Recalibrating’ Its ‘Balancing’ Act Between China & India?” and recommended that decision makers consider the dual response of reaching out to India to form a new Non-Aligned Movement (“Neo-NAM”) while enhancing strategic relations with Pakistan in order to restore “balance” to Russia’s “balancing” act. Failing to do so might destabilize the central tenet of Russian grand strategy, which is become Eurasia’s supreme “balancing” force.

Concluding Thoughts

No observer should doubt for a moment that America’s alliance with India will remain among its top grand strategic priorities regardless of the outcome of next week’s election. The gears of government are working in unison to promote this goal, which represents the culmination of Trump, Obama, and Bush Jr.’s efforts in a truly remarkable display of bipartisan agreement on a pressing issue of foreign policy significance. While Trump and Biden have different visions of how best to utilize their country’s alliance with India, the fact remains that they’ll nevertheless employ this partnership with increasing frequency to advance their respective goals, be it actively “containing” China like the incumbent envisions or more “gently” keeping it “in check” to uphold the “New Detente” that his opponent wants to clinch during his (or even more likely, his Vice Presidential pick’s) potential term. As this game-changing trend accelerates and increasingly becomes one of the main geostrategic determinants of Eastern Hemispheric affairs, Russia will be forced to recalibrate its “balancing” act with India.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

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