Beijing’s recent diplomatic moves have fueled the growing chorus of voices raising the alarm over China’s alleged desire to use the Israel-Hamas war to fundamentally challenge the U.S. role in the Middle East. However, it would be a mistake to perceive China as anything other than an opportunistic actor in the Middle East.
Though the recent meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping was short on concrete outcomes, its key accomplishment, according to some observers, was to set a floor on U.S.-China relations. But even if setting a floor was the goal of the meeting, it’s concerning just how low the floor sits.
Campaigning has officially begun for Indonesia’s Feb. 14 presidential election, a race in which the two frontrunners are likely to face off in a runoff round. But even before the official campaign season got underway, President Joko Widodo’s dynasty-building efforts introduced no small amount of intrigue and controversy to the race.