Emerging Global Dynamics and Pakistan-China Relations

After the world experienced the horrors of World Wars it realized that it was time to finally come together and unite its efforts in working towards a better, safer  and sustainable future for all. Thus came to be an intergovernmental organization with the United Nations (UN) being a prime example. It was assumed that the only way to maintain peace and security in world  as if nations work together through cooperative measures.

However, keeping events of the recent past in mind it has become evident that that illusion has been shattered. While nations can play to achieve mutual goals, for some time at least, sooner or later there are always states who aims to achieve their goals no matter the cost. National interests’ triumph over global interests which leads to conflict and escalation in a never-ending cycle.

This does not highlight that all nations have completely refused to  work through cooperative mechanism and multilateral institutions are not efficient. The ‘new’ emerging global dynamic highlight state’s focus to achieve national interests first and then participate in system to establish more influence.. Even though it sounds contradictory in nature it does seem to be working for many nations. Subsequently, the recent Covid-19 pandemic made invaluable revelations into this theory. While countries were quick to shut themselves up initially, at whatever the cost to others, once the vaccine came out it was quickly spread out globally as everyone realized that surviving alone was not the practical way.

Pakistan-China Relations: 

A prime example of the above mentioned scenario ois the Pakistan-China friendship, dubbed as “higher than the mountains, deeper than the oceans, stronger than steel, dearer than eyesight, sweeter than honey, and so on.” . After World War China initially closed up itself from the rest of the world. Meanwhile, it aggressively started working towards restoring its former glory through socio-economic development. Enveloping itself in an “iron curtain” it made sure that it could stand on its own two feet without any crutches. After developing its infrastructure and reaching a ‘tipping point’ where it felt it couldn’t grow alone anymore it started looking cooperation in international system.

Pakistan its close neighbor seemed like the best choice. Engaged in constant conflict on two sides of its border while facing constant pressure from the west it was in desperate need of a breather. Instead of taking an aggressive approach, China took the softer one. Through the Belt and Road Initative (BRI) projects, China invested considerably in its neighbor. While the two countries have historically enjoyed good relations, this was from a favor. Rather a cleverly devised method for both countries to create a win-win situation for themselves.

While Pakistan was also helped considerably by the United States in past, in terms of financial aid at least, during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan it was for very different reasons. The US didn’t want to assist Pakistan’s development so it could secure a long-term ally in the region, it was just as a means towards an end. While China also sees a significant advantages in being a partner  with Pakistan due to the Gwadar port and China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) such as enhancing regional connectivity, economic cooperation and development.

China realizes that while Pakistan becoming its gateway to warm waters is worth the effort if Pakistan also develops its infrastructure, it will become an added lure for the rest of the world’s attention to the region. Also, financial stability will go a long way in improving the country’s security condition as has been proved by multiple countries before.

India: The Outlier

One strong counterpoint to this new global dynamic is the presence of India. It is not nearly on similar relations with China while many even believe it to be its biggest competitor backed by the US. While not inaccurate recent events have also revealed this dynamic to be shifting. The US is no longer the sole power pole of the world as it once was with many rivals now slowly emerging around the globe.

India too realizes that there is only so much to be gained by allying all its national interests with old ‘Uncle Sam.’ Competing with China solely also seems out of the question due to the sheer advantage the Chinese have gained over the rest of the world. India will surely also have learned from Pakistan about how the US treats its allies once it has no more use of them. Abandoning Afghanistan after all those claims of ensuring peace and stability reveals the hypocrisy of the highest order.

What this would entail for Pak-India relations in the future is yet to be seen but that is entirely due to the complicated history the country’s share ever since birth. The main point of contention between the two is Kashmir, a continuous conflict zone with no end in sight. However, if we have learned anything from our European brethren and the formation of the EU is that even countries who have fought ‘100 years wars’ and committed some of the worst atrocities imaginable don’t waste much time in joining hands once it seems profitable enough.

Propagating Propaganda

All the while the west seems insistent on painting China as a tyrannical overload that only cares about making its own end meet. Once China gains significant influence at least on global financial system, it will reveal true picture of new world order or system. This plot however sounds eerily similar from not long ago. It was the US itself the culprit, that once consolidated all power after the downfall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), found it all too convenient to launch “peacekeeping missions” in the Middle East which just so happened to be rich in oil, culminating in the concept of the petrodollar.

The US has historically made many claims about the many faults in the Chinese system of governance, and how its own brand of ‘capitalism and freedom’ is the only way to move forward. But while the rest of the world was so captivated by the “American Dream” China managed to prove all those doubts wrong and has now emerged as the US’s greatest competitor.

To summarize the new emerging global dynamic seems not to be “let’s work together towards a better future for all” but rather “first make yourself strong then help those around you so everyone can support each other.” Helping others is not foolish but first, a nation needs to ensure that can actually help itself before helping others.

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About Wasif Maken 3 Articles
Wasif Makeen is Digital Editor at Voice of Melange (VOM)