Fresh Foreign Policy Challenges on the Horizon By Hassan Khan

Fresh Foreign Policy Challenges on the Horizon By Hassan Khan

The dominance of the West under the influence of the United States is likely to sustain for a long time regardless of China’s rapid rise in the last forty years. It has much to do with technological prowess, cultural impact, cutting-edge military hardware and linguistic influence.

The world may not be safer than before given sporadic conflicts emerging in key flashpoint regions in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and South Asia but strategic interests of the West in these regions are increasing with each passing day and as a consequence we see new alliances coming up.

The formulation of the Quad to counter China is one such example where the US managed to bring in India, Australia and Japan under a single umbrella. While India is still reluctant to call it a ‘military alliance’ despite some similarities with NATO’s objectives, the US also managed to form another such alliance with the United Kingdom and Australia called AUKUS just last year for similar reasons, which ironically France, a key Western power, strongly objected to owing to differences over defence contracts with the Aussies during the initial stage.

Coming to the Middle East, the signing of the Abraham Accords under the Trump Administration opened doors for the handful of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, a longtime ally of Washington. It has further paved the way for another notable alliance to be formed in October 2021.

The formulation of the Quad to counter China is one such example where the US managed to bring in India, Australia and Japan under a single umbrella.

Informally called the I2U2, a short form for India, Israel, the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the alliance is unique in that it would allow New Delhi to act as a bridge for defence and trade-oriented politics between some longtime adversaries. The newly formed alliance is holding its first virtual summit next week when President Biden would be visiting Israel and Palestine.

In the face of these momentous and in some way ominous developments, what exactly can Islamabad do to counter or even balance things out for securing its strategic interests, given that Israel has also been formally added to the US CENTCOM as part of its realignment policy? The issues of Kashmir, instability along the Western border, underlying issues with both New Delhi and Beijing and maritime security along the Indo-Pacific region have acquired another dimension of complexity, which Islamabad needs to tackle smartly.

A number of reports regarding alleged informal talks between Islamabad and Tel Aviv have emerged in recent times with a Pakistani-American delegation, which included a former PTV anchorperson (considered close to the establishment and some GCC states) hopping along, becoming a bone of contention in Pakistan’s public sphere. The bigger question is whether Israel’s diplomatic status can be accepted in light of a lack of progress on a two-state solution in line with pre-1967 borders? This is something the movers and shakers need to duly consider as the world has changed a lot in 55 years. The plight of the Palestinians has been ignored for far too long by key multilateral forums and perhaps the two-state solution needs to be fast-tracked with due consultations with Palestine.

Hopefully, the new leadership in the Foreign Office will be able to come up with a balanced and viable approach to counter these emerging challenges in a way that relations with some of its most important partners are not affected adversely.

The writer is Associate Editor (Diplomatic Affairs), Daily Times. He tweets @mhassankhan06.

Fresh Foreign Policy Challenges on the Horizon By Hassan Khan

Source: https://dailytimes.com.pk/964183/fresh-foreign-policy-challenges-on-the-horizon/

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