As election season draws closer for the US, it seems not a moment of rest can be expected for the ‘leader of the free world’.
At home, Joe Biden faces prospects of impeachment, a strike amongst automakers in Detroit, and rampant inflationary pressure with rising oil prices.
Abroad, North Korea, China, and Russia seemed to have formed a triad of power, most recently with Russia hosting the N. Korean leader for a dialogue. China has already been providing military support to Russia and trading extensively with N. Korea. Russia will now provide support to N. Korea’s rocket technology and space ventures, and N. Korea will provide armament support to Russia for its ‘just war’ against Ukraine.
In China, the launch of a new Huawei smartphone coincided with Apple’s iPhone 15. With Huawei’s Mate 60 series emerging as the talk of the town, American sanctions on chip technology being exported to China seem to have had little effect on its ability to produce an advanced chip domestically. The Chinese government also placed internal bans on the purchase and use of the iPhone.
Reduced sales led to share prices for Apple dropping soon after the launch. But perhaps the more concerning aspect of the Huawei/Apple launch coincidence for the US is China’s independence from US tech to produce its own chips. Consequently, an American probe into the Huawei device is likely to result in tougher sanctions against Huawei.
American geopolitical prowess may yet prove to be a success as it renews its presence in the Gulf. A new security and economic agreement with Bahrain has laid the groundwork for similar accords with the UAE and KSA as well. Complete normalization of relations between Israel and KSA is also on the cards, although negotiations could take a while.
Successful negotiations would mean the US would be able to convince KSA to reduce its economic links with China in exchange for Israel conceding to a Palestinian solution. In the midst of internal disturbances in Israel vis-a-vis protests against judicial reforms and ongoing strikes against Palestinian territories, this piece of diplomacy could be tricky to achieve.
Additionally, one of the Saudi demands is civilian uranium enrichment, which will likely lead to a stalemate for the US-Israel alliance as the latter are vehemently against nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, a la Iran. With Iran also having recently barred IAEA inspectors from conducting an inspection of uranium traces found at undeclared sites, the goal of nuclear proliferation in the region has once again come under scrutiny, raising Western eyebrows and potentially forcing any cooperation to take a step back.
US-GCC dynamics are further complicating global geopolitics. While it seems for the moment that the ‘triad of power’ is being sidelined with GCC states moving closer to India economically and the US diplomatically, however, China still remains a key economic partner for GCC, and Russia an OPEC plus member which has to be managed in the ME. In the untethered global order, mid-powers will continue to shift allegiances & take advantage of the superpower rivalries.
Diplomacy could make or break the American position in Geopolitics as it strives to be friends with both Israel and Saudi Arabia. Strikes, impeachment, and domestic inflation aside, success in foreign relations and sidelining China could give Biden some semblance of an edge over Trump that he desperately needs at this time.
(Image Source: Ankasam.org)