WORLD ROUNDUPThe American Way of Economic War | Taiwan’s Noisy Search for Safe Presidential Hands | It’s Time to Reconsider Turkey’s NATO Membership, and more

Published 6 December 2023

·  America’s Indo-Pacific Alliances Are Astonishingly Strong
Countries are balancing against China—just like a student of international relations would predict

·  Taiwan’s Noisy Search for Safe Presidential Hands
There is genuine voter fatigue with the DPP after President Tsai Ing-wen’s two terms

·  South Korea’s Surprisingly Successful China Policy
South Korea’s president, Yoon Suk-yeol,has effectively manage his government’s relationship with Beijing, setting a template for how other small and medium-sized nations might do the same

·  It’s Time to Reconsider Turkey’s NATO Membership
In nearly every theater of vital security interests, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems devoted to undermining the trans-Atlantic alliance.

·  Sahel Military Governments Seek Confederation
Juntas in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger move to cement a political, economic, and defense alliance.

·  The American Way of Economic War
Is Washington Overusing Its Most Powerful Weapons?

·  Israel’s Failed Bombing Campaign in Gaza
Collective Punishment Won’t Defeat Hamas

·  Why is the Biden Administration Scared of Iran?
Iranian aggression demands a stronger, more consistent, more comprehensive U.S. response. Rather than fear provocation, Washington should commit to deterrence in the form of Cold War-style containment.

America’s Indo-Pacific Alliances Are Astonishingly Strong  (Derek Grossman, Foreign Policy)
As 2023 draws to a close, it is remarkable to observe that U.S. alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific are just about the deepest and most robust they have been in all their history. Some of this is a testament to the exceptional durability of the United States’ alliances and partnerships, given that they survived—and, in the case of India and Japan, even thrived—in spite of Trump’s bullying and destructiveness. Indeed, Washington has been cultivating and institutionalizing these friendship networks for decades. Credit is also due to the Biden administration: Not only has it returned these important relationships to their normal status quo following four years of disruption under Trump, but it has also bolstered them to enhance deterrence against China and North Korea, the two main threats in the region.
The Biden team is also receiving a huge assist from Beijing itself, whose relentless assertiveness is heightening anxiety among its neighbors. This has convinced more and more countries in the region to ditch their hedging—the old but increasingly unworkable mantra of not wanting to choose sides—and engage in a balancing strategy against China, just as any student of international relations would predict.
Although it is theoretically possible that Chinese President Xi Jinping will look to dial down China’s assertiveness in the aftermath of his productive meeting with Biden in mid-November, this looks unlikely for several reasons. Beijing’s growing economic and military strength is boosting its confidence to push ahead, on its own terms, with longstanding sovereignty and territorial claims in the region. And Beijing has certainly not shied away from fiercely waging strategic competition against Washington in the region and beyond. North Korea is similarly pushing U.S. allies in northeast Asia closer together by constantly threatening additional ballistic missile and nuclear tests.
It is unclear whether this new geostrategic balancing is good or bad for prospects of maintaining global peace and stability. Regardless, it is clearly good news for the United States, which is bolstering and expanding its already robust alliance and partnership network.

Taiwan’s Noisy Search for Safe Presidential Hands  (Mark Harrison, The Strategist)
Taiwanese voters can be broadly cynical about politics but favour safe hands in presidential elections. It is still probably Lai Ching-te’s to lose, but there are six weeks to go.