connecting the dots

Image: Jack Gittoes


Reflections on Recent US Diplomacy with China, India and Iran

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has just completed his trip to china, which was the first by any top U.S. diplomat in half a decade and the most high-profile of the Joe Biden administration to date. The trip took place days before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Washington and follows the confirmation, last week, by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that its country held indirect talks with the US in Oman last month. Although seemingly disparate, each of these diplomatic engagements is indirectly linked to one another.

For starters, they prove that the US is no longer capable of going it alone as it once was, during the heyday of unipolarity in the 1990s and early 2000s. Gone are the days when the US felt it could ignore the interests of regional leaders such as India and Iran, not to mention China's speculative superpower aspirations. While they had already been involved with these three countries to varying degrees over the years, this had yet to happen in what is arguably the current post-unipolar context, which we have just described.

The global systemic transition to multipolarity was unprecedentedly accelerated by Russia's special operation in Ukraine and the ensuing NATO-Russia proxy war. the sabotage of the Istanbul peace process in the spring of 2022. Rather than serving to restore unipolarity, these aforementioned developments and Western sanctions have made multipolarity inevitable, even though this emerging system has not yet fully formed in such a clear way.

The second commonality between these diplomatic engagements is that these three multipolar leaders are in a much better position vis-à-vis the US than they were before the onset, last year, of the full-spectrum paradigm-shifting events. China has weathered the global economic storm that some thought its globalization-dependent model could not withstand, India solidified its strategic autonomy in the face of immense Western pressure and the rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia removed the risks of a proxy war.

The US cannot, therefore, apply the same levers of influence as before, in an attempt to coerce them into making unilateral political concessions to the detriment of their objective interests and to their own benefit. China has successfully adapted to the new global economic reality brought about by anti-Russian sanctions that have rocked the Western system, information warfare has been shown to have zero effect on India's reshaping of foreign policy, and Saudi Arabia no longer allows itself to be the regional proxy. US anti-Iranian.

Finally, the last point to connect is the fact that these three countries are all very close Russian partners, which suggests that the US will be able to involve them at the same time from now on, because it hopes that they can be seduced into distancing themselves. up from Moscow. However, this is a political fantasy, as each of them has huge interests in maintaining its sovereignty, continuing to comprehensively expand mutually beneficial ties with Russia, and thus keeping the global systemic transition on track.

The best possible scenario is the stabilization of the chino-american rivalry, so that a miscalculation war is no longer likely, that trade ties between India and the United States will drive global economic recovery due to their complementarity, and/or that a new nuclear deal will be reached between Iran and the United States, which would benefit everyone. All of this is possible if the US has the political will and realizes that it cannot continue to impose zero-sum demands on these countries, both generally and especially with regard to its ties with Russia.

Diplomatic engagement is always positive as long as it is not directed against third parties, which none of these examples are, despite the speculation unbelieved among some in alternative media, that India is the US's anti-Chinese proxy and its Trojan Horse in multipolar institutions. China, India, and Iran are not expected to sacrifice their sovereignty in exchange for something from the US, so no one should be concerned about the latest developments, as each of them would reject any deal that would require it.

*Andrew Korybko holds a master's degree in International Relations from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Book author Hybrid Wars: From Color Revolutions to Coups (popular expression).

Translation: Fernando Lima das Neves.

Originally published on newsletter from the author.

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