China-India-US power balance at stake in 2 elections - Asia Times

The rectangular balance of power between China, India, and the US may change after two elections this time.

After the American elections, which are scheduled for April 19 to June 1, Prime Minister Narenda Modi is expected to be reelected. Donald Trump, who is vying for re-election as US senator in November, and Modi have a close connection.

During his first term as president, Modi established a close connection with Trump. Both men have powerful political credentials, own larger- than- living personas and concentrate on immigration policies. If Trump and Modi are elected, India-US relationships are most likely to be stronger than ever.

However, the China- US connection is not doing well. Trump’s taxes, which remained in place throughout Biden’s president, may be increased if Trump re-enters the White House. Trump stated in an interview with Fox News ‘ Sunday Morning Futures that tariffs on Chinese products may rise to 60 % if he is re-elected.

But that’s not all. Trump wants to increase US dependence on the Chinese business by doing so.

Additionally, it is likely that Trump will do the same under his second administration because he prohibited US companies from funding Chinese companies that may compromise US stability during his first presidency.

China needs foreign aid to strengthen its ailing business and boost exports as the country’s children poverty rate is still high at 14.9 % and the economy’s is weakening. However for Beijing, Trump’s plan would not only harm China’s economic treatment, but US restrictions on American tech companies from investing in China may also harm Beijing’s efforts to become a world leader in synthetic knowledge by 2030.

Fall of India

The high tariffs imposed on Chinese goods offer enormous trading options for India, despite Trump’s intentions to impose a baseline tax of 10 % on all imports. US businesses will look to expand their supply chains by sourcing products from abroad as the US economy becomes more disconnected from the Chinese market.

India is poised to become China’s solution for three factors:

Given how Beijing’s influence in southern Asia has increased as a result of the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s effort to build a global business networking, advancing ties with the US would be well received by Delhi.

The US has always been interested in supporting India as a” counter to China,” and it works with the security organization the Quad, which has four people: the US, India, Japan, and Australia, to halt China’s effect.

The price issue

Trump imposed a 25 % tariff on Chinese imports in January 2018, starting an unprecedented trade war with China. Beijing retaliated by imposing its personal taxes on US products, and Sino-US relationships deteriorated culminating in the 2019 recalls of Chinese giant panda from the San Diego zoo in California ( a highly symbolic sign by the Chinese government ).

The taxes, which duty Chinese imports, were supposed to protect American interests. However, US consumers and businesses have had to spend more for items because the US economy depends heavily on Chinese exports. By 2019, Trump’s taxes cost the US an estimated 300, 000 tasks. The US business shrank, and in 2020 the taxes cost the US a staggering US$ 316 billion.

Beijing is worried about a second Trump presidency. Since 2018, China has sought to minimize the effects of Trump’s trade conflict by adopting a plan of self- reliance. This resulted in a decrease in China’s imports of production inputs into the high tech, electric, and automotive sectors.

However, China’s ability to minimize its dependence on the international community is highly limited. According to experts, the Chinese leadership is aware of this, and Xi’s main motivation for attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in San Francisco was to rekindle ties with the West and entice much-needed foreign investment.

The Taiwan problem

The phrase” The Supreme Art of War is subdue the enemy without fighting” was a well-known line from the Chinese classic Sun Tzu’s Art of War in 2012. But if he had read the rest of Sun Tzu’s work, he would be aware of the following:” When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Avoid pressing a desperate opponent too hard.

Trump should realize that Washington’s increased aggression towards China may only undermine Taiwan’s security. Beijing’s desire to unite with Taiwan was largely a nationalistic exercise meant to legitimize the “one China policy.” Given the island state’s advancement in semiconductor technology and China’s current economic problems, the need to acquire Taiwan has transcended historical fervor to economic desire.

Artificial intelligence is important because it will confer major economic, technological, and military benefits to China. China needs to acquire semiconductor chips if it wants to be the world’s AI leader by 2030. China may forcefully occupy Taiwan if it ca n’t access that through trade.

Chee Meng Tan is a visiting assistant professor of business economics at the University of Nottingham in Malaysia.

The Conversation has republished this article under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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What six BRICS new members are buying into

One key outcome of the 15th BRICS summit, hosted by South Africa, is the decision to invite six more countries to join the group with effect from January 2024. They are Argentina, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

All six had applied for membership. The enlargement will grow the association’s membership to 11 and increase its envisaged role as a geopolitical alternative to global institutions dominated by the West.

The five current member countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – have argued that their size, in economic and population terms, is not represented in the world’s institutions, particularly the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The BRICS five represent about 42% of the world’s population and more than 23% of world GDP. The enlarged grouping will account for 46.5% of the world population. Using the IMF’s 2022 GDP data, we can deduce that it will account for about 30% of global GDP.

The disparate nature of the six new members is bound to spark debate about the real nature of BRICS.

In his welcoming remarks at the summit (22-24 August), the host, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, stated:

BRICS stands for solidarity and for progress. BRICS stands for inclusivity and a more just, equitable order. BRICS stands for sustainable development.

The group has been remarkably consistent on these values and aspirations.

Understanding the nature of BRICS

“What is it?” often is one of the first questions about BRICS. This is telling. This question does not come up, for example, about the European Union or even the G20.

BRICS is not an organization. (It has no headquarters, secretariat or treaty.) But it does have a formal institution that is jointly owned – the New Development Bank. Confusion about BRICS’s precise nature is understandable.

At various points it has referred to itself as a forum, a platform, a mechanism, a partnership, or a strategic partnership, to name a few.

Others have called it an alliance or a bloc, but it is neither of those. In international relations, both terms are strictly defined. The term “alliance” refers to a mutual defense pact and implies military cooperation. A “bloc” refers to ideological consistency (political bloc) or a free trade agreement (trade bloc). BRICS has none of these characteristics.

The members also disagree on some key issues. China and Russia are noncommittal (at best) on the aspirations of India, Brazil and South Africa to become members of the UN Security Council. Their declarations have over the years reiterated the same phrase:

China and Russia understand and support the aspirations of India, Brazil and South Africa to play a greater role in the United Nations.

This shows there is some serious disagreement within the group.

As a political scientist interested in global politics, I have written about BRICS and its potential for changing the status quo. With hindsight, I can assert that certain principles have informed it since its establishment and first summit in 2009. In my view, at a material level, the 15 years of summit declarations point to four fundamental values:

  • mutual development
  • multilateralism
  • global governance reform
  • solidarity.

The association self-reportedly seeks secure sustainable development for itself and the global south, to safeguard and advance multilateralism, to institute reform for the goal of representative institutions and to achieve solidarity among members.

Economic development

Economics comes first in the group; at its root, it is a collective of emerging economies eager to sustain and improve their economic trajectory. Their insistence on reform is, after all, based on their perceived disproportionate under-representation in global financial institutions.

The group’s first, and so far only, notable establishment is the New Development Bank, primarily to finance infrastructure development.

BRICS’s New Development Bank in Brazil. Photo: La Prensa

There’s also a contingent reserve that members can draw from in emergencies. It is valued at US$100 billion.


The second value refers to the group’s concern about the use of entities outside the UN to pursue global objectives. Most notable is the use of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to invade Afghanistan in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks in the US, and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the US and the UK, circumventing the UN Security Council.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed this concern in his speech to the 2007 Munich Conference on Security:

The use of force can only be considered legitimate if the decision is sanctioned by the UN. And we do not need to substitute NATO or the EU for the UN.

Global governance reform

Thirdly, the BRICS countries have long pushed for leaders of global institutions to be elected in a transparent and democratic way. For example, the president of the World Bank has always been an American, and the managing director of the IMF a European. The World Bank has 189 member states and the IMF 190.

The idea of the New Development Bank was not to substitute it for the World Bank but to “supplement” existing international financial institutions. BRICS still envisions a World Bank in which its members have voting rights proportional to their economic weight, and with staff drawn from across the world in a geographically balanced way.


Finally, the members have articulated solidarity with one another in a number of declarations, beginning in 2010. It comes down to mutual assistance in times of humanitarian disasters, respecting one another’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In light of criticism of, and sanctions plans against, China, for its alleged suppression of the Uighur-Muslim population, and Russia, for invading Ukraine, solidarity has come to mean silence or nonalignment.

A blank slate

BRICS is a nebulous entity. This has proved beneficial for member countries hosting BRICS summits. They get to set the agenda and use it for their ends – without upsetting the consensus. One common pattern has been the use of summits to set overarching themes that are favorable to the host country’s domestic policy and regional leadership or foreign policy stance.

Thus, for example, all BRICS summits hosted by South Africa foregrounded Africa in their names: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for mutually accelerated growth, sustainable development and inclusive multilateralism” in 2023. Brazil and Russia have inserted issues that are important to their regions, and often invited leaders of neighboring countries to retreats.

This shows how much clout they enjoy, as they get to funnel access to a now-renowned association that is simultaneously well established but also evades easy definition. With the addition of the six new members, such evasiveness is set to continue.

Bhaso Ndzendze is an associate professor of international relations at the University of Johannesburg.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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