l could not disagree more with Peter Frankopan analysis in the ES (15th of Dec) that the power struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East will determine the shape of global affairs. It’s the struggle between USA & China which matters most and everything else is a sideshow.
In 2010 the US announced a historic shift in foreign policy – the “pivot to Asia” – turning its strategic orientation from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Concerned that the economic rise of China would prompt a challenge to its position in world affairs, the US declared it was both a Pacific and an Atlantic power and moved to reassert its influence in Asia, particularly the Far East.
If anything President Trump has accelerated the process of the US losing its global power since the beginning of the year by not signing into trade agreements with Asia countries and not ratifying the Climate Change Paris agreement. This while China makes huge investment in renewable and alternative energy and physical trade links through its Road & Belt programme with the rest of Eurasia.
So while the US President stokes the flames of war in the Middle East by extending the “war on terror” into a sectarian one on his first visit aboard to Riyadh and saying who he thinks can claim Jerusalem, Chinese President Xi Jinping has claimed the leadership of world on globalisation and climate change. Xi Jinping is also much more secure at home, and does not have to rely on rants and outbursts via twitter to their home support base.
A version of this letter has been published by ES as their Letter of the Day today.