A civil-military relations crisis in the U.S. is actually the latest in a recent series of similar crises affecting the world’s major powers, including Russia and China. That raises the question: Is this simply a random series of unconnected events that all just happen to center around defense ministers? Or is there a deeper cause?
Earlier this year, the global economy experienced an important milestone that, though it went largely unnoticed, scholars may look back on as a marker of the beginning of a new era, with economic but also geopolitical significance: For the first four months of 2023, Mexico surpassed China as the top trade partner of the United States.
In 2021, Xi Jinping called for “Common Prosperity” as a new key goal of Chinese-style modernization. Observers speculated he was launching a populist, left-wing agenda that would spread wealth in China more equitably. But Common Prosperity was never intended to be a Robin Hood-like intervention to take from the rich to help the poor.
With China’s economy slowing rapidly, many analysts around the world worry that a continued contraction in Chinese growth could potentially have an adverse global impact. Without China acting as the global engine of growth, they say, growth around the world could stall. But the story is more complicated than that.
Even as regular climate diplomacy has resumed between the U.S. and China, officials and observers of both countries have become markedly more pessimistic about the feasibility of carving out a separate lane for climate progress amid rising tensions. That may imperil our chances of a timely energy transition.
Last week’s ASEAN Summit comes at a time of rising geopolitical tensions in the region, including between member states and China. Nevertheless, paralyzed by its commitment to unanimity-based decision-making, ASEAN is either unwilling or unable to check Beijing’s worst instincts. The result is a deepening fragmentation within the bloc.
A group of five will soon be a concert of eleven. At last week’s summit of the BRICS nations, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa agreed to invite Ethiopia, Argentina, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to officially join the group on Jan. 1, 2024. The expanded BRICS shows its members’ dissatisfaction with the Western-led economic and political order.