It was quite amusing today watching the head of Chinese delegation today lecture arrogantly US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the tense talks in Alaska. Amusing but NOT altogether surprising – the only that was surprising was the American delegation seemingly being caught off guard with these remarks without unloading their own set equally sharp response for what seemed to be a well rehearsed sketch performed by the head of the Chinese delegation – this while some in their delegation seemed to look away during these remarks by the their leader as if they knew full well it was coming. But ignoring the theatrics for a moment; what occurred in my opinion is quite simply a direct result of the Trump administration’s consistency in undermining U.S. soft power choosing transactional approach in foreign policy even with allies rather than hard earned values defended/promoted for generations while gearing foreign policy to align with interests of dictators and their henchmen around the world. The Trump years have been a Godsend for China & Russia and now they’re adamant that this trend of declining American influence is NOT reversed; after all when rhetoric is NOT translated to action firmly/consistently then no one is likely to take you seriously. So it’s kind of rich (and that’s putting it very mildly) for Mike Pompeo former Secretary of State to criticise the U.S delegations response when the pushback that the U.S faces today is largely thanks to the foreign policy mess of the Trump years. It is also most unfortunate that the EU is also following this downward spiral when it comes values and how it reflects on foreign policy kind of similar to the way they are addressing the COVID-19 pandemic/vaccination process – big statements but little in the way of consistent/well coordinated action. In foreign policy too we hear plenty of statements of unity but little in the way of unified/consistent action. So to both the U.S. and EU I’d say this as I mentioned in previous posts; soft-power is much more productive/long-lasting than any form of military power though it has to be backed up with it and no economic prosperity can be guaranteed without this approach considering how interconnected the world has become – so there needs to be a strategy shift at some point and every moment lost in achieving this can only translate to more challenges in the pipeline. Leadership is less about fancy statements/presentation and more about a consistent vision driven by values and focused primarily on swift results.
As for China & Russia they are expected to do all possible to promote the governance model that best reflects their own; and the excuses that they come with it in terms of crying sovereignty any time there are complaints about human rights abuses; this is NOT a new strategy but one that’s being defended more aggressively after the 4 U.S. gap years of Donald Trump coupled with weak EU leadership since then. So expect more of the same unless/until the Western Alliance becomes more meaningful and well coordinated.