Middle East

In this file photo taken on 28 November 2008, US Army soliders from 1-506 Infantry Division set out on a patrol in Paktika province, situated along the Afghan-Pakistan border. (David Furst/AFP)

Biden may need China’s help in Afghanistan

One solution that ended the Vietnam war may provide some lessons for bringing the Afghan war to an end during Biden’s presidency. Forty years ago, the Nixon administration played the China card, enabling Washington to leave the Vietnam war. In the present, a replica of a Vietnam-inspired exodus — one moderated by China and its ally Pakistan — is worth pursuing. China has built relations with all of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and has the capacity to build a regional infrastructure and economic network. US academic Ma Haiyun explores the possibilities.
Ethnic Uighur demonstrators take part in a protest against China and its treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, in Istanbul, Turkey, 1 October 2020. (Murad Sezer/REUTERS)

How terrorism against China in the Middle East could develop

In a recent study conducted by the Central European Institute of Asian Studies and the National University of Singapore Business School, four key scenarios were plotted out with regards to possible terrorism-related threats against China in the Middle East. The findings show that China’s level of investment in the region as well as the stability of local regimes will play deciding roles in determining the severity of the threat. What policy options does China have? Barbara Kelemen and Alex Fergnani have the details.
US President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Pittsburgh International Airport in Moon Township, Pennsylvania on 22 September 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

There is no grave crisis in the US; China must not read the US wrongly

Wei Da says to avoid making erroneous judgements in taking certain actions, both the US and China need to calmly evaluate and recalibrate their strategic assessments of each other. If cool heads are kept, events such as the upcoming presidential election are not to be feared but welcomed as a harbinger of change.
Yemenis protest against the United Arab Emirates and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) in the country's city of Taez on 24 June 2020, after the STC's southern separatists seized control of the strategic island of Socotra. (Ahmad Al-Basha/AFP)

Shifting alliances in the Middle East: Countering the China threat with an Indian Ocean triangle

With an agreement signed recently between Israel and the UAE to normalise relations, Middle East experts detect a shift in focus in the Middle East and North Africa region. Issues in the future will revolve around the divide between the Arabs, Israelis and Americans on one side and Iran on the other. Enter China, who, with its recent upgrade in relations with Iran, as well as interests in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean, could up the ante in the region against the backdrop of US-China tensions.
People make their way along a street in the old quarters of New Delhi on 7 August 2020. (Jewel Samad/AFP)

China in the Gulf: India overmatched but undaunted

Based on history, culture ties and the flow of people throughout the Indian subcontinent, Persia and Arabian Peninsula, India has had a natural advantage over China in engaging the Gulf. But in recent years, this seems to be no more. A reported partnership between China and Iran worth some US$400 billion over 25 years is just the latest in a string of footholds China is carving out in the region. India is realistic enough to know it is unwise to embark on a geopolitical competition with Beijing in the Gulf. Rather, it will play to its own strengths, says Professor C. Raja Mohan, director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at NUS.
The Statue of Liberty is seen over a wind blown American flag scarf on Liberty Island on 20 July 2020 in New York City. (Jeenah Moon/Getty Images/AFP)

A 'failed state'? China must not misjudge the US

Some Americans have begun to regard the US under the Trump administration as a “failed state”. While many Chinese worry about Trump’s irrationality and unpredictability in playing the "China card", others are slighting the US, believing that now is the opportunity for China to displace the US on the global stage. But is the US a failed state? Political scientist Zheng Yongnian cautions that it may not be so, and China must not only read the US rationally and realistically, it also has to learn to coexist with the US under harsher conditions.
Iranian-Americans protest China's bypassing of US sanctions in doing business with Iran, as well as what they believe as the handing over of Kish island in the Persian Gulf to China in exchange for military, regional and international support, in front of the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles, California on 10 July 2020. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP)

Deepening China-Iran relations could change global geopolitics

Following The New York Times’ report that China and Iran are about to conclude a mega investment-for-oil deal, speculations have gone into overdrive about the US sending Iran into the arms of China with its recent hostile policies towards both countries. Ma Haiyun looks at the implications of ever-closer relations between China and Iran and argues that if strategic partnerships weave a web of interconnectivity between countries that are both on the Indo-Pacific rim and Eurasian continent, global geopolitics would be fundamentally changed.
George Yeo speaking at the 4th edition of Sohar International's Viewpoints forum. (Sohar International/Twitter)

Rise of China and the future of small nations

Who is benefiting from the China-US conflict? How should small nations like Singapore find their place in a world in flux? What is the Chinese way of statecraft? And the real reason for American's concern with Huawei and the 5G technology. Singapore's former Foreign Minister George Yeo shared his insights at the "Chairman's Forum" which was organised by the Sohar International in Oman on 8 October. This is an extract of his speech.