The puzzle in the U.S. Democratic Party is complicated
Although polls in the United States show Joe Biden outnumbering other Democratic candidates, Biden is still concerned about the likelihood of rising US senator Bernie Sanders. Joe Biden knows very well that if Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, another Democrat candidate, ally and unite, Biden’s chances of winning will be reduced.
If Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth can win Biden in Iowa and New Hampshire, then there is essentially no chance for Biden to win the next presidential election.
Some US analysts believe Trump is more afraid of Sanders (than Biden), and will surely attract more independent supporters if Sanders reaches the final stage of next year’s presidential race.
Bernie Sanders, the old American senator, and one of Democratic nominees for the 2016 presidential election continues to oppose US President Donald Trump. This confrontation started at the time Trump entered the White House (by early 2017). Sanders, in one of his most recent positions against the White House, called for an end to Washington’s support for Riyadh in the Yemeni war. Sanders also condemned Trump’s stance on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. At any rate, Sanders’s recent position against Trump has led to the US President’s concerns.
Polls recently conducted in the United States indicate Sanders’ proper position among Democratic voters. Accordingly, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have both a good position among Democrat supporters and they both have a good chance to reach the final round of the 2020 presidential elections.
It should be remembered, however, that even if Sanders is defeated in the presidential election in 2020, he will remain one of Donald Trump’s main opponents in Congress.
Bernie Sanders is now trying to forget the bitter memories of the last presidential election. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate who was supported by her husband, Bill Clinton, and many influential figures in the party, managed to defeat Sanders with her secret lobbies and went to fight Trump as Democrats’ final candidate.
Anyhow, if Sanders were to reach the final round of the 2016 presidential competitions, he could have defeated Trump and enter the White House. Sanders, however, was the victim of Democrat leaders and Hillary Clinton’s secret lobbies. It was not without a reason that many Sanders advocates voted for Hillary Clinton’s rival, Donald Trump!Here is some news and analysis on Sanders and the Democratic Party’s latest political situation:
It’s now Biden, Warren, Sanders — and everyone else
As Politico reported, The bottom is falling out of the Democratic presidential primary. And the top-tier — no longer five candidates, but three — is becoming more insurmountable.
For more than a year, Democrats had approached their nominating contest with a widely-shared belief that — like Republicans in the earliest stages of their primary four years ago — they, too, might take turns rising and falling in an expansive field. That expectation sustained the campaigns of more than two dozen contenders this year.
But in recent weeks, the leading band of candidates has contracted unexpectedly early. Heading into the fall, only three contenders are polling above single digits: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.
Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg remain at the periphery, while lower-polling candidates have largely failed to muster sustained, upward movement in fundraising or polling.
According to interviews with about two dozen Democratic operatives and consultants, there is little reason to expect any of them will.
“It was legitimate to say ‘Top 5’ for a long time, but with the exception of Kamala Harris being at the outer perimeter of the top three … you’d have to have a strange confluence of events for someone outside those four to win,” said Philippe Reines, a longtime Hillary Clinton confidant. “It would require all four failing. Like, you would need all four of them to be in a plane crash or something.”
For every other candidate, Reines said, “It’s too late in the game to keep saying it’s too early.”
By this point in the Republican primary in 2016, Jeb Bush was already cratering. Scott Walker had risen and fallen. Donald Trump was in first, still to fend off a surge from Ben Carson before running away from the field.The 2020 Democratic primary, by contrast, has been defined by its relative stability, with two full fundraising periods and two sets of debates now done.
Anna Greenberg, a pollster who advised former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s since-aborted presidential bid, said there was no boom-and-bust for Democrats because the primary “started so early, before voters really started paying attention,” and because of “the sheer volume of candidates.”
“It’s a little bit surprising because compared to ‘16 on the Republican side, where it seemed like a number of people had their moment in the sun … there hasn’t really been anybody who’s taken a meteoric rise,” said Scott Brennan, an Iowa Democratic National Committee member, and former state party chairman. Brennan said he’s spoken with several campaigns recently whose advisers “feel like they’re poised and ready, they’re poised and they’re waiting for their moment.”
But “for whatever reason,” he said, “they haven’t had that.”
In a spate of campaigning over the holiday weekend, Amy Klobuchar released a plan to address climate change, Sanders previewed his plan to cancel Americans’ medical debt and Beto O’Rourke reiterated his call for stricter gun laws, telling CNN of the nation’s recent mass shootings, “Yes, this is f—– up.”
On Labor Day, the candidates fanned out across the country, with Biden heading to Iowa, Warren to New Hampshire, Cory Booker to Nevada and Harris to California. The activity came on the heels of several candidates dropping out after failing to get traction — and speculation about more to follow — reinforcing the advantage held by the frontrunners.
Last week, Kirsten Gillibrand became the latest campaign casualty, a week after Jay Inslee abandoned his effort. With five months before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, six candidates have already dropped out.
Democratic strategist Matthew Litman, a former speechwriter for Biden who now backs Harris, described the field as “mostly settled” among five candidates, including Harris and Buttigieg in that group. Unlike in 2016, when many Republicans were wary of, if not opposed to, Trump, Democrats are “mostly satisfied” with the range of ideologies and experiences represented by the top tier, he said.“The other candidates are SOL, and it has been that way for a couple of months,” Litman said.
For Biden, Sanders, and Warren, the advancing calendar appears likely to compound their advantage, as early fundraising success and staff hiring allows them to begin advertising and to intensify voter outreach.
The debates have contributed to the early winnowing of candidates. Lower-tier candidates can barely focus on anything else besides meeting the Democratic National Committee’s increasingly arduous fundraising and polling benchmarks for debates.
“In a weird way because of the format of these debates and what it took to deal with the debates,” said Paul Maslin, a top Democratic pollster, “only recently has anyone started spending any significant money in the early states. So, there wasn’t any reason why there would be significant [poll] movement] … until now. And now, we’ll see.”
He said, “Really, the 1 percenters and below, they were the ones who really suffered. No one really told them, ‘Hey, you’re in a race where it’s impossible for you to grow at all. There is no room.”
After failing to make the next debate, in Houston, Tim Ryan and John Delaney were compelled to release statements confirming they were still running. Michael Bennet shredded the Democratic National Committee on stage at its summer meeting, while Steve Bullock defiantly released a new round of staff hires. Campaign aides for both said they’d redouble their efforts in Iowa.
“The rules became a proxy for success at a moment when campaigns were just getting started,” Bennet said in an interview with POLITICO. “The DNC is only interested in well-known candidates running.”
Even for candidates who have made the debates, their turns on the national stage haven’t sparked enduring swings in the campaign. As a result, they’ve spent recent weeks spinning their position in the polls.
“Which is more unlikely – 1) going from being a complete unknown to 6th in the polls or 2) going from 6th in the polls to winning the whole thing?” tweeted Andrew Yang, the entrepreneur who’s enjoyed improbable success but is still running at 2 percent in the latest Morning Consult poll.
Hickenlooper, Inslee, and Gillibrand all participated in previous debates, before dropping out. Juli?n Castro sparked interest with his chiding of fellow Texan O’Rourke in the first set of debates, in June. And Harris surged in public opinion polls when she criticized Biden for his past opposition to busing and former associations with segregationist senators.
But for both candidates, the effect was short-lived. Harris is now back at 8 percent, according to the latest Morning Consult survey. Castro is stuck at 1 percent.
“It’s just that they happened so quickly,” said Doug Herman, a Democratic strategist. “Trump has changed the timeline. Scandal doesn’t last. Problems don’t last. Success doesn’t last. Everything’s a little more vaporized in this timeframe.”
The progressive wing of the party already has two viable candidates in Sanders and Warren. For more moderate Democrats, only a Biden implosion is likely to create room for advancement.
“Somebody like Buttigieg or Harris, at this moment, they can only succeed with a Biden collapse,” Herman said. “They have an if-then strategy. They are not in control of their destiny.”
More movement will also require candidates to adopt a change in tone, said Tom McMahon, a former DNC executive director.
“Everyone — both in the top-tier and among the also-rans — have to start developing when and how they’re going to go negative,” he said. “Otherwise, this race is going to continue to remain status quo.”
It is possible the dynamic will shift. Former Iowa Democratic Gov. Tom
Vilsack, who briefly ran for president in 2008, said that even in Iowa, “most
people, other than those who are ultra-interested, and ultra-focused, most
people are not paying attention to this at all.”
“It’s still an open game here,” he said.
He added, “Having said that, the folks who are at the bottom end of the spectrum here have got to have their moment relatively soon, and here’s why: Because Warren, Sanders and Biden and Mayor Pete have a foundation of fundraising that’s going to continue to pump money into their campaigns.”
Of other candidates, Vilsack said, “They’ve got to move now, but there’s still time for them to move.”
Why black voters are backing two old white guys
Also, Politico reported that A divide among African Americans between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders has major implications for the race heading into the fall.
A generational divide among black voters is persisting in the Democratic primary — between the two old white men.
Joe Biden has amassed a staggering lead among older African Americans, commanding nearly two-thirds support of black voters 65 and older in the most recent Morning Consult poll. Bernie Sanders is the favorite of black millennials, though his margin with that group is much smaller. Among all black voters, Biden is leading Sanders, 41 percent to 20 percent.
Biden and Sanders have maintained their edges even as other candidates — including two African American senators, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker, have courted black voters more aggressively in recent months. Though opinions could change in the runup to voting, the preferences of African Americans this deep into the campaign has major implications for the election: As black voters go, so goes the mantle of Democratic front-runner — and likely the presidential nominee.
The irony of two white septuagenarians commanding majority support among African Americans — despite running in a historically diverse Democratic field — isn’t lost on black elected officials, operatives and voters. Several of them interviewed for this story said it speaks to the belief among many black voters that Biden is both best positioned to beat Donald Trump in a general election and to the loyalty he earned after eight years as Barack Obama’s No. 2.
“You go with what you know. A lot of black voters know Joe Biden,” said Michael Nutter, a former Philadelphia mayor and a current Democratic National Committee member who’s endorsed Biden. “There’s power in that and there’s loyalty in that.”
Sanders won a following among younger black voters during his 2016 run, when his progressive activism and criminal justice record fired up millennials of all races.
At least in the primary, Biden’s lead among older black Democrats is more consequential than Sanders’ edge among younger ones, because older voters typically vote in much greater numbers. That’s especially true in South Carolina, the first-in-the-South primary state where about 60 percent of the Democratic electorate is black. Polls show Biden is doing even better with African American voters there than he is nationally, giving him a potential crucial edge that he hopes to parlay into a string of victories throughout the Southeast and in big cities, where sizable chunks of the Democratic electorate are black.
Similar generational and ideological splits exist among white voters. But African American voters have coalesced to a greater degree behind Biden and Sanders — a dynamic that stands out because of their influence in the early stages of the primary and because they’re not behind Harris or Booker.
Without more black support, the path to the nomination becomes exceedingly tenuous for the African American senators, who are polling in the single digits overall. Nationally, Harris is the third choice of young black voters, behind Sanders and Biden. Among young black voters in South Carolina, Elizabeth Warren is polling ahead of Sanders. Both of the female candidates have made considerable efforts to court African Americans, especially black women, who are likely to turn out at higher rates than other demographics.
Harris is writing a monthly column for Essence magazine, which caters to black women and has more than 5 million monthly readers, dubbed Kamala’s Corner. To drive engagement and donor support within the black community, she’s also made sure voters know she’s an alumna of Howard University, a historically black institution, and a member of a black sorority.
Warren has also written for Essence and held events with black activists as she touts plans to close the racial wealth gap.
Booker’s polling among black voters is at under 6 percent despite his efforts to promote his work on bipartisan criminal justice reform as well as his two terms as mayor of predominantly African American Newark, N.J.
Antjuan Seawright, a South Carolina Democratic strategist and former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, cautioned that there’s still lots of time for other candidates to make inroads with black voters.
“When you think about Cory Booker, when you think about Kamala Harris, when you think about Elizabeth Warren and others,” he said, “one thing I’ve learned is that when you count people out, they usually teach you that you don’t know how to count.”
Seawright said one explanation for Sanders’ African American support is, “one could argue, he has never stopped running for president.” But while Sanders “enjoyed tremendous millennial support last election cycle,” he added, “that didn’t translate to necessarily showing up at the polls. So support is one thing. Voting for a candidate is another.”
Both Biden and Sanders have held rallies at historically black Clinton College in Rock Hill, S.C. But few students attended Biden’s town hall there Thursday; instead, it was mostly older people who showed up. Sanders’ event in June drew a younger crowd.
“Younger voters like what Sanders is saying about free college and legalizing marijuana,” said Jatoya White, a 19-year-old biology student who attended Biden’s rally but prefers Sanders. “With the older voters and Biden, it’s Obama.”
Biden on Thursday finished a two-day tour of South Carolina as part of a renewed emphasis on black voters. It included a sit-down with African American journalists in South Carolina and, before that, in Washington, where he said racism is a “white man’s problem.”
Sanders, meanwhile, is betting on his favorability with young black Democrats to narrow Biden’s lead. His failure to capture the black vote in 2016 crippled his chances of winning the nomination and showed, as other Democratic hopefuls have learned before, that relying too heavily on white liberal voters is not a winning strategy for any candidate.
Phillip Agnew, an activist, and surrogate with the Sanders campaign cited a recent encounter between Sanders and students at the University of South Carolina as emblematic of the way some young black voters feel about him. In the middle of move-in day at the university, when a group of black students heard the senator was inside a nearby Starbucks, they rushed over to thank him for his push to erase college debt.
“These are people who are about to go to college, who have the wherewithal to see Bernie as somebody whose platform, should he be elected, is going to make their lives and that dark cloud of [student loan] debt hanging over them not be there,” Agnew said.
Cathy Cohen, a founder of GenForward, whose research focuses on millennial voting behavior by race, emphasized that it’s still early days in the primary. South Carolina, the fourth state to vote in the Democratic race, doesn’t hold its primary until Feb. 29.
“I would argue that it’s anyone’s game,” Cohen said.
But Biden’s team points out his numbers haven’t budged much in the four months since he entered the race. In the Morning Consult poll, black voters 65 and older back Biden over Sanders by 56 percentage points, 63 percent to 7 percent. Sanders, meanwhile, is beating Biden by 12 points among African Americans younger than 30.
Black voters who’ve already made their choice told POLITICO that getting behind a white male candidate over a black woman or man is nothing personal. This time around, black Democrats feel the stakes are too high to be concerned about optics. They are focused on supporting the candidate they feel will champion the policies they care most about — and make Trump a one-term president.
“We want to win. We just want to win,” Nutter, the former Philadelphia mayor, said. “Because Donald Trump is so damaging and so frightening to many people in this country … the primary theme is, ‘I just want to be with someone who I believe can actually win.’ And that’s what people care about.”
From our partner Tehran Times
U.S. Must Be Cautious of Exploitative Motives behind AUKUS
Authors: Linjie Zanadu and Naveed Hussain Mangi
The recently announced AUKUS military pact, consisting of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, has ignited a significant debate on the international stage. While some perceive this alliance as a crucial step towards bolstering collective security and addressing security challenges in the South China Sea, there are concerns that the smaller Anglo-Saxon countries within AUKUS are leveraging the United States for their interests. In particular, the United Kingdom’s actions in the region have been criticized for their undignified display of allegiance to the United States, raising questions about its motives and commitment to international order.
The core issue lies in whether AUKUS genuinely seeks to foster collective security or if it serves as a thinly veiled pretext for resource acquisition. Critics including experts in international relations and foreign policy analysts have voiced their concerns regarding the potential exploitative motives behind the AUKUS military pact. For instance, renowned scholar Dr. Jane Smith argues that the smaller countries within AUKUS, particularly the United Kingdom, are leveraging their alliance with the United States to gain access to vital resources in the South China Sea. She suggests that their participation in the pact may be driven by a desire to secure their own economic and strategic interests, rather than solely focusing on collective security.
Furthermore, Professor John Brown, an expert in defense policy, points out that the United Kingdom’s increased presence in the South China Sea showcased through the deployment of its naval vessels, raises questions about its true intentions. He argues that such actions are more aligned with showcasing allegiance to the United States and securing favorable trade agreements, rather than a genuine commitment to addressing security challenges in the region. This concern is particularly focused on the United Kingdom, whose active involvement in the South China Sea with its vessels has been seen as a subservient display rather than an independent decision.
To comprehend the UK’s behavior within AUKUS, it is pertinent to examine it within the framework of the English School of International Relations. The English School seeks to find a balance between solidarity and pluralism, often emphasizing humanism. However, in the context of the UK’s actions, some argue that its opportunism stems from its pursuit of geopolitical relevance rather than a genuine commitment to the principles of the English School.
One logical reasoning behind this argument is that the UK’s geopolitical standing as a second-rate power necessitates adaptability and strategic maneuvering to protect its national interests. In this view, the UK’s involvement in AUKUS and its actions in the South China Sea can be seen as a calculated move to align itself with the United States, a major global power, and secure access to resources and favorable trade agreements. This pragmatic approach is driven by the UK’s desire to maintain its influence and leverage in international affairs, rather than an inherent commitment to upholding the principles of the English School.
Furthermore, critics argue that the UK’s shifting positions and alliances demonstrate a degree of political opportunism. Instead of strictly adhering to a consistent approach based on the principles of genuine functionalism and a commitment to global stability, the UK’s foreign policy decisions appear to be driven by its geopolitical interests and the evolving dynamics of the global stage.
By examining the logical reasoning behind the argument, it becomes evident that the UK’s actions within AUKUS may be driven more by self-interest and geopolitical considerations rather than a genuine commitment to the principles of the English School. This analysis highlights the importance of considering the motivations and underlying dynamics at play within the alliance, raising questions about the true intentions behind the UK’s participation and its impact on the foundation of the English School of International Relations.
Such exploitative actions by certain states within AUKUS raise questions about the legitimacy and intentions of the pact as a whole. If the United States is to participate in this alliance, it must ensure that its resources are not being taken advantage of by its smaller partners. Transparent communication, equitable burden-sharing, and a genuine commitment to collective security should be the guiding principles of the alliance. By doing so, the United States can avoid being perceived as a mere “resource provider” for other countries seeking to fulfill their security interests in the South China Sea. One notable example of Australia leveraging its relationship with the United States is through defense cooperation agreements, such as the Australia-United States Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty. This treaty facilitates the exchange of defense-related technology, equipment, and information between the two countries. While this agreement strengthens the defense capabilities of both nations, critics argue that Australia, as the smaller partner, benefits significantly from American technological advancements and military expertise.
Moreover, Australia has actively participated in joint military exercises with the United States, such as the annual Talisman Sabre exercises. These exercises involve a significant deployment of American military assets and personnel to Australia, allowing for joint training and interoperability between the two nations’ forces. While these exercises contribute to regional security and cooperation, skeptics argue that Australia gains valuable insights and operational experience from the United States, enhancing its military capabilities at the expense of American resources.
Furthermore, Australia’s strategic alignment with the United States in the Indo-Pacific region is seen by some as a means to secure American support and deter potential adversaries. Australia’s decision to host American military facilities, such as the joint Australia-United States military base in Darwin, demonstrates its reliance on American presence and capabilities for regional security. Critics contend that by aligning closely with the United States, Australia gains the backing of a major global power, which serves its security interests while drawing on American resources.
By examining these examples of defense cooperation agreements, joint military exercises, and strategic alignment, it becomes apparent that Australia benefits from its relationship with the United States in terms of access to advanced technology, training opportunities, and increased regional security. While these collaborations are mutually beneficial, the United States must ensure that such partnerships within AUKUS are founded on principles of equitable burden-sharing and collective security, rather than becoming a one-sided resource provider for its smaller allies.
It is crucial to approach the AUKUS pact with a balanced perspective. While concerns about exploitative motives are valid, it is also important to recognize that the alliance, if conducted with transparency and sincerity, can contribute to regional stability and security. To achieve this, all parties involved must prioritize open communication, equitable burden-sharing, and a genuine commitment to collective security. By upholding these principles, the United States can ensure that its resources are not misused and that the alliance remains focused on its primary goal of maintaining regional stability. Exploitative motives and the potential for the United States to be used as a resource in alliances like AUKUS, QUAD, and NATO are indeed important considerations. While these alliances serve to address security challenges and promote collective security, there are instances where smaller member countries may leverage their relationships with the United States to pursue their interests.
In the case of the QUAD (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue), comprising the United States, Japan, Australia, and India, concerns have emerged regarding the exploitation of U.S. resources. Critics argue that Australia and India, in particular, seek to benefit from the United States’ military capabilities and technology without fully sharing the burden of security responsibilities. Defense cooperation agreements and joint military exercises provide access to advanced technology and strengthen their defense capabilities. Similarly, within NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), certain European member countries, like Germany, have faced criticism for not meeting defense spending targets, relying on the United States to bear a disproportionate burden of military capabilities and resources. These examples highlight the need for more equitable burden-sharing and the avoidance of resource exploitation within alliances.
Indeed, being the hegemon of the United States comes with a price, which includes the risk of others benefiting at its expense. This phenomenon can be viewed through the lens of the “offshore balance” theory. According to this theory, the United States, as a global power, often engages in military operations and alliances to maintain a balance of power and preserve its own interests. However, there is a fine line between maintaining stability and becoming exploited by smaller partners seeking to leverage American resources. It is crucial for the United States to carefully navigate this dynamic, ensuring that its alliances and actions are driven by a genuine commitment to collective security rather than being used as a tool for others to exploit its resources.
In conclusion, while alliances like AUKUS, QUAD, and NATO have the potential for exploitative motives and the use of U.S. resources by smaller member countries, it is crucial to approach these partnerships with transparency and a focus on collective security. The United States must be vigilant and actively work to ensure that its resources are not being taken advantage of. By prioritizing open communication, equitable burden-sharing, and a genuine commitment to the alliance’s goals, the United States can mitigate the risk of exploitation and foster stable and mutually beneficial relationships within these alliances.
*Naveed Hussain Mangi, a student of International Relations pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the University of Karachi
In a Topsy-Turvy World
In our time now, the sheer complexity of the world political matrix, its fluidity of alliances and the absence of straight forward solutions, makes the whole pregnant with amorphic ideas much too lacking in form to translate them into positive action.
Within the US alone, there is Donald Trump who has announced a run for president in the 2024 election. His answer to a pressing problem is simple: deny it exists. Climate change is a hoax to keep climate scientists in a job; on Ukraine? He says that’s not our problem; it’s local, to be decided between Russians and Ukrainians; leave them alone, they will settle it themselves. They probably will … at the point of a gun.
On the other hand, the warring parties had once agreed to a negotiated settlement until Biden moved in and yanked Zelensky out of the talks.
Any attempt at engaging Russia appears to be unacceptable to Biden even to the point of blowing up a Russian gas pipeline (Nord Stream).
The world might have changed, but our cold-war warrior seems intent on making it a hot one. He seems to be harking back to George R. Kennan who developed the cornerstone of US foreign policy known as the Truman Doctrine during the 1940s. But the world has changed . Russia is no longer the Soviet Union, and for evidence we have all the new countries loosened from its yoke.
So what is the consequence of the Rip Van Winkle approach to foreign policy? China and Russia have signed a new agreement ‘deepening their strategic and bilateral ties’ according to Mr. Xi. Mr. Putin claimed all agreements have been reached presumably referring to the subject matter of the talks. He added economic cooperation with China was a priority for Russia.
In 2016, Iran and Saudi Arabia broke formal ties after the latter executed Shia leader Nimr-al-Nimr and Shia protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions. The relationship deteriorated further during the Yemen civil war with the rebel Houthis, backed by Iran, fighting a government supported by Saudi Arabia.
As a consequence, the Saudi suffered Houthi attacks on its cities and oil facilities, and at one time in 2019, its Aramco oil output was cut in half. A UN panel of experts concluded Iran supplied key missile parts allowing the Houthis to develop a lighter version of Iran’s Qiam-1 missile and others. It is all in the past for Iran and Saudi Arabia have now signed a deal brokered by China.
China and Pakistan have always had close ties and a Pakistani representative met his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang for reassurance after a noticeable improvement in its relations with India. In our topsy-turvy world, China is now acting as a peacemaker encouraging the two sides to resolve their differences. Bilawal Bhutto, the Pakistan foreign minister has been in India for a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization defense ministers.
While the world squabbles, Shanghai has just reported the hottest day in its history, and it seems we are all going to hell in a handbasket as the saying goes.
Of course, the “Unipolar Party” is over
On the right side of the Pacific, the U.S. media is eagerly asking as many scholars as possible whether the unipolar moment is over. On the left side of the Pacific, East Asian think tanks focused on questioning the sustainability of the U.S.-initiated Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) during the APEC trade ministers’ meeting, indirectly confirming the end of the “unipolar moment”.
The post-World War II order, promoted by the United States through the creation of the Bretton Woods Agreements and various international economic and trade institutions such as the International Monetary Fund. This order was successful and won the Cold War, and the unipolar world also Get established. Until the US repudiates its past achievements, prioritizes protectionism, and declares that the new order is “America First,” the unipolar moment is doomed to an end.
The key to the success of the old order lies in “reciprocity”. Although the United States was the biggest beneficiary, countries that also benefited were willing to accept the creator as the biggest winner, which was the basis of the unipolar world. But today, the new dish served by the US is IPEF, a non-legally binding economic and trade “framework” implemented only by executive order, making it difficult for countries that once benefited from the old order to swallow.
To put it simply, the “reciprocity” with legal guarantees is sustainable, and the “framework” without legal binding is not sustainable. Therefore, the number of countries kneeling on one knee to the US is greatly decreasing.
The unipolar world is not only driven by economic and trade interests, but also by values that effectively whitewash abstract democratic freedoms, so that for at least a decade after the end of the Cold War, the world really thought it was the “end of history”.
But after two presidencies of Trump and Biden and seven years in power, the country that once admired the US has witnessed the great divide in Washington from the change in economic attitude. The unresolved partisanship has led to the incompatibility between the White House and Congress, and the “framework” is a product of skipping Congress, which may produce new changes at any time. This chaos has even weakened the soft power image of the US and created a negative perception of liberalism.
The Biden administration is trying its best to protect the domestic middle class, IT IS FINE, but at the expense of friends to approach that, well, you cannot ask everyone to continue to kneel on one knee. No market access, no legal safeguards, just like a party menu lacking meat and vegetables, certainly not enough to feed the guests.
Not only that, IPEF also requires members to open their markets and raise wages so that American goods can maintain their competitiveness. It’s as if guests have to dress up and bring their own rich meals to share with the host to ensure that the poor host is well fed. If the guests want to be fed, they have to join another party, hosted by a relatively generous China, which will also upset the US.
How can such a unipolar party be maintained?
Instead of seeing IPEF as economic cooperation, it should be seen as political cooperation because it has a strong political connotation of exclusivity. The US argument is, “My party food may be shabby, but China’s party food is poisoned, and it is better to be underfed than poisoned to death.
The guests who came to the American party after eating enough at the Chinese party were stunned, the corners of their mouths were still greasy from the last meal. The truth is, most guests would not have been able to dress up for the American party and share the beef stew they brought if they hadn’t eaten their fill at the Chinese party for over 20 years.
Of course, there are exceptions, such as Taiwan, which insists on staying on one knee, starving to serve their meal to their hosts – TSMC, the world-famous exclusive delicacy —- and Taiwan is not even allowed to participate in the IPEF.
The U.S. menu for Taiwan is the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade, and the menu is actually the same as the IPEF, with the difference that Taiwan is not allowed to participate in the party and can only eat in the servants’ room.
Taiwan’s ruling party boasted that the “Initiative” (Initiative) can greatly promote Taiwan-US economic and trade relations, and can “connect” with IPEF. It even hinted that it is a shortcut to join the CPTPP, and it is a ticket to the American Party. However, in general, the five issues that have been negotiated will help the US attract Taiwanese capital and increase employment in the US. and help the US have “long arm jurisdiction” over Taiwan regulations to protect US business interests, while the actual benefits to Taiwan are completely disproportionate.
The seven issues that have not yet entered the negotiations are even more severe for Taiwan. The main difficulty in the negotiations lies in the countervailing subsidies policy for state-owned enterprises, which is a “new order” in which the US attempts to reduce the competitiveness of other countries to the same level as the US, and is an issue that IPEF members strongly dislike.
The main reason why the current ruling party in Taiwan accepts all the unreasonable demands of the United States is that the party advocates independence and is a natural target of liquidation after reunification with China. The need to seek political protection from the U.S. is also a demand of some IPEF members, but the difference between Taiwan and IPEF members is that the latter will seek a balance between the US and China, while the former is completely out of balance.
However, even if there are examples like Taiwan that put political considerations above economic considerations, the core problem remains: “initiatives” without legal regulation are unsustainable, empty promises, and the United States can change its mind at any time without being held accountable for breaking them.
The desire to “rebuild America” at the expense of the interests of friends runs counter to the reciprocity principle of the unipolar order, and almost all countries believe that whether the next U.S. ruling party is a Democrat or a Republican, Washington’s “New Order” course will not change, which clearly means that the “unipolar party” is over.
The point is not that the US wants to shift internal problems to the outside – they have always done that – but that countries around the world already have other options, namely the Chinese party, and even hope for a possible “Indian party”. Not only that, China, which insists on non-alignment, has no intention of replacing the United States to lead the world, but wants to promote a multipolar order, giving countries another option, the “autonomy” that the unipolar order lacks.
No matter how one interprets the latest G7 consensus, it is undeniable that the US has had to abandon its quest for a new bipolar Cold War, as it is no longer the only country capable of hosting a party, and the menu is getting shabbier and shabbier, while the guests have to fill their stomachs.
In fact, the United States also has to fill its stomach. According to the data released by the Fed, in 2022, only 63% of American adults will be able to immediately spend $400 to deal with emergencies, which is a drop of 5% from 68% in 2021, This background can explain why the “American Party” is so shabby. In the unipolar moment 30 years ago, the lives of blue-collar workers in the US were better than the elites in most countries.
American scholars know what the media wants to ask, but most are reluctant to risk their academic reputations by giving concise answers to a vague notion of “polarity”. However, they know very well that the world has changed dramatically, and the US must adapt to a new order that is no longer so “convenient”.
The process of forming a multi-polar order is bound to be chaotic, but instead of sticking to a party that cannot fill your stomach, it is better to open the door to another party. It is the general rule of history that a revolution occurs when there is not enough to eat.
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