World order

Supporters of President Donald Trump wave flags and hold signs at Skylands Stadium during an election rally on 14 October 2020 in Augusta, New Jersey. (Spencer Platt/AFP)

Biden or Trump? Southeast Asia’s stakes in the US election

A checklist of the differences Southeast Asia can expect if Joe Biden wins the US presidential election or Donald Trump is returned to the White House.
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden delivers remarks during a Voter Mobilization Event campaign stop at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio, 12 October 2020. (Tom Brenner/REUTERS)

A Biden presidency: Revenge of the 'Asia-Pacific' over the 'Indo-Pacific'?

The much-ballyhooed “Indo-Pacific” term has gained much traction in the region in recent years. It is believed that the term helps to expand the regional framework to include India as a major power, and balance against China’s growing influence. The new Democratic Party platform, however, pointedly excludes the use of the term, and touts the older “Asia-Pacific” instead. Is this Biden’s attempt at getting at Trump?
A neon sign of the American flag and neon lights at One Times Square in New York, 31 July 2020. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP)

No country can be the world's policeman: Debt-ridden US needs to focus on itself

For all of President Trump’s failings, says US academic Han Dongping, he did persist in his belief that the US has over-extended itself abroad and sought ways to pull it back. Whoever becomes the US president next will have to recognise that the US’s global role has changed irrevocably since 1945.
Buildings are seen in the central business district of Beijing on 3 September 2020. (Greg Baker/AFP)

If the world needs a new ideology, can the Chinese model be accepted?

China should de-emphasise Chinese exceptionalism if it wants to be accepted by the international community, says senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute, Lance Gore. But that is not the same as lying low or blending into the background. The fact is, China did build a post-reform hybrid system that has worked well for the country. What it really needs is to disassociate itself from the ossified stereotypes of socialism under Stalin or Mao, and rebuild its image on the strengths of market socialism. Only then can it let people sit up and take notice, rather than be given notice.
A man visits the 2020 World Semiconductor Conference in Nanjing, Jiangsu, China, on 26 August 2020. (STR/AFP)

Is China winning? China lags far behind the US in innovation

Huawei will stop producing its flagship Kirin chipsets from 15 September due to US restrictions and also because China still does not have the ability to produce them on its own. Hong Kong physicist Xu Shijie ruminates on ancient Chinese philosophy's idea of a perpetual cycle of order and chaos, and opines that while the tumultuous events of 2020 seem to signal a move away from a US-led world order, this does not mean that China has the upper hand. Recognising that it still needs to buck up on innovation and kick the habit of seeking quick success will help China build a better world for everyone. 
This aerial photo shows stars on the red beach caused by the red plant of Suaeda salsa forming a national flag in Panjin, in China's northeastern Liaoning province on 7 August 2020. (STR/AFP)

Is China attempting to change the world order?

Even as China says that it is not trying to change the world order, its actions can be interpreted as suggesting otherwise. Chinese economics professor Zhu Ying traces how China has been influencing the world order, if not changing it.
US President Donald Trump arrives to address a briefing on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at the White House in Washington, 13 August 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS)

To manage Trump the 'destroyer', China needs 'guerrilla’ tactics

Analyst Zheng Weibin says that as the Trump administration continues to target China without a clear shape to its strategic competition strategy, Beijing cannot afford to think that it can brazenly respond in kind. Employing stealthy guerrilla warfare tactics may be more appropriate.
People wearing protective masks ride past Lama Temple in Beijing, China, 19 June 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

What is China's biggest challenge?

In the great China-US contest, overcoming weaknesses, more than capitalising on strengths, will be the deciding factor in determining who emerges the victor, says Wei Da. Any country is only as good as its weakest link, and the sooner the both of them realise that and look their shortcomings in the eye, the better. Wei Da identifies China's biggest challenge and its weaknesses in this article.
In this file photo former Chinese communist leader Chairman Mao Zedong (L) welcomes former US President Richard Nixon at his house in the Forbidden City in Beijing on 22 February 1972. (Handout/AFP)

Was Nixon’s policy of engaging China a failure?

US State Secretary Mike Pompeo made a key speech on China at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum recently. The venue could not have been more symbolic, given former President Nixon’s role in the US’s rapprochement with China in the 1970s, and the current Trump administration’s belief that a new approach to China is necessary as the US’s engagement strategy “has not brought the kind of change inside China that President Nixon hoped to induce”. Analyst and writer Zheng Weibin weighs up the costs and benefits of this new approach.