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Editorials/Opinions Analyses For UPSC 14 December 2021

Contents

  1. Fathoming the new world disorder
  2. A global gateway to creating links, not dependencies

Fathoming the new world disorder

Context:

The year 2021 will most likely go down in history as one of the pivotal years in the post-Cold War period.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Background
  2. Significance Aspects of American Politics
  3. Possible Solutions
  4. Conclusion

Background

Superpowers experiencing military failures at the hands of inferior forces would produce a sense of great power weariness, prompting both friends and adversaries to reconsider their strategic assumptions.

Examples:

  • It took time for post-war Britain, whose imperial glories ended with the Second World War, to accept that reality. Britain has never regained control over West Asia.
  • In the 1970s, the United States’ departure from Vietnam was interpreted in Moscow as a weak point in the Western bloc’s Cold War strategy.
  • The progressive deterioration of the United States’ ability to shape political outcomes in distant places has already shaken the foundations of American unipolarity.

Significance Aspects of American Politics

Afghanistan Withdrawal:

  • There are two dominant narratives about the American withdrawal. One is that the United States left the nation on its own as part of a bigger reorientation of its foreign policy. Even after 20 years of struggle, the world’s most formidable military and economic force failed to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • The alternative is that the United States failed to win the war in Afghanistan and was forced to withdraw from the nation, as it was in Vietnam.

US failures:

  • Following invasions, it failed to restore political stability and order in Iraq and Libya.
  • It was unable to prevent Russia from annexing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Vladimir Putin outmanoeuvred it in Syria.

Reoriented Strategy:

  • The current reorientation of American foreign policy toward China undoubtedly played a part in the Afghan disengagement.
  • The Taliban’s return to power fueled this impression of great power weariness and empowered America’s adversaries to openly question the US-centric “rules-based system.”

Three Challengers to the Superpower Status of the US:

Almost four months after its withdrawal from Afghanistan, the U.S. is already facing intense geopolitical competition from three of its rivals.

  1. Russian Threats: Russia has assembled a large number of troops on its border with Ukraine. According to Western intelligence services, Russia’s President might launch an invasion of Ukraine. Russia has also backed Belarus in its response to the refugee problem on the European Union’s Polish border. Russia is clearly signalling to the West that the region running from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is a Russian sphere of influence.
  2. Cut to West Asia: After the Trump administration unilaterally removed the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran has sped up its nuclear development. It has refused to engage in direct discussions with the United States. As both parties maintain their stances, attempts to resurrect the accord through discussions in Vienna have met a brick block, raising the prospect of a collapse.
  3. Enter the South China Sea: China has sparked fears that it may take the self-ruled island of Taiwan by force. As the United States attempts to shift its emphasis to the Indo-Pacific area in order to counter China’s ascent, China is growing more aggressive in its perimeter, seeking strategic depth.

Possible Solutions

  1. America’s options abroad have been restricted as a result of the shift to Asia. US has rightly ruled out a military conflict with Russia over Ukraine. What the United States and its European partners might do is put stronger sanctions on Russia.
  2. Economic penalties will also force Russia farther into China’s arms, deepening the Eurasian alliance, which the US considered as a vital risk to American interests during the Cold War.
  3. In the case of Iran, if the United States blinks first and relaxes the sanctions, it might be interpreted as another display of weakness.
  4. If the Vienna negotiations fail, Iran may continue to enrich uranium to higher purity, which would be contrary to America’s stated aims in West Asia.

Conclusion

The withdrawal from Afghanistan and the drawdown in West Asia indicate that America’s geopolitical priority has switched to China. As the mechanisms of the new Cold War take shape, the United States would prefer not to become embroiled in another battle.

-Source: The Hindu


A global gateway to creating links, not dependencies

Context:

The European Union (EU) and India signed the Connectivity Partnership, which broadens our collaboration in the digital, energy, transportation, and people-to-people sectors.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Collaborations of EU for Sustainable Infrastructure
  2. Areas of Cooperation
  3. Conclusion

Collaborations of EU for Sustainable Infrastructure

  • Financially, socially, and ecologically sustainable connection is Europe’s calling card and offer to Europe’s partner nations in addressing infrastructure investment requirements. Since 1993, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has supported India for major connectivity projects.
  • Earlier this year, the EU and Brazil unveiled a new fibre-optic connection that would transport gigabytes of data between the two continents more quickly and securely. This enables experts from Europe and Latin America to collaborate on subjects ranging from climate modelling to catastrophe avoidance.
  • The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the cooperation agencies of France, Spain, and Germany collaborated with the European Commission to select projects to fund in the energy, transportation, and digital sectors.
  • The EIB signed a loan line to assist African small and medium-sized enterprises in recovering from the epidemic and capitalizing on development prospects provided by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The EU’s new Global Gateway policy continues to support green and digital transformation on a global scale.

Areas of Cooperation

  • Investments: Between 2021 and 2027, India and the EU will mobilize investments in public and private money for global infrastructure development, including funding for climate and digital transitions, as well as health, education, and research.
  • Infrastructure projects: The EU and India have agreed to build joint infrastructure projects around the world, notably in Africa, to be described as a connectivity partnership. Such infrastructure projects in India will strengthen transport linkages with the EU.
  • Focus on Connectivity: Focus on data flows, energy sources, rare earths, vaccinations, and semiconductors are all instruments of power that will benefit India significantly. To meet the challenge of connectivity, the EU will help India to appropriate resources.
  • No ‘debt traps’: Indian sovereignty is strengthened when India has multiple options when making investment decisions. There will be no ‘white elephants’ or ‘debt traps,’ between India and EU initiatives. The initiatives will be long-term and meet the requirements of the local community.

Conclusion

The relationship between the European Union (EU) and India is about demonstrating how democratic ideals provide confidence and fairness for investors, sustainability for partners, and long-term benefits for people all around the world. The EU and India have the potential to be leaders in this undertaking.

-Source: The Hindu

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