As the year 2022 comes to an end, some of the major global issues have not been resolved. One of them is the strife between Russia and Ukraine. Russia has continuously bombarded Ukraine’s energy infrastructure using missiles and drones. Vladimir Putin defends his government’s actions by calling it a response to the blast on a Russian bridge in early October. This move from the Moscow is a clear target on the moral of the Ukrainian population which is reeling under the hit to its energy supplies.
Under the growing concern of Iran supplying Russia with long-range ballistic missiles, the United States (US) has started supplying Patriot air defence missiles to Ukraine as a response. There have been continuous calls for dialogue on the global level, but the possibility of anything positive materialising soon seems slim.
Meanwhile, China, is also dealing with multiple global-level pressures. Exhausted by Xi Jinping’s strict Covid measures, the country erupted in a series of protests for the easing of the restrictions. This resulted in the lifting of several Covid-related restrictions. However, since the move came abruptly, it resulted in a growing struggle for the country’s health system to cope with the sudden surge in cases.
Even though the country is dealing with internal issues, the Xi Jinping government is equally active with its Line of Actual Control (LAC) aggression towards India. While Beijing continues with its hostile actions on the border, India is also retaliating along the Tawang sctor in Arunachal Pradesh.
The ongoing US-China power tussle, which is set to intensify in the coming years, would also face the after-effects of US strengthening its partnerships in the Indo-Pacific. Additionally, the Biden government has also announced a series of export controls in recent times to cut China off from US technologies. This comes across as a clear target to Beijing’s claim of having the ability “to obtain advanced computing chips, develop and maintain supercomputers, and manufacture advanced semiconductors.”
Geopolitics seems to be taking the front seat amidst the changing global order wherein trust emerges as a critical factor for many countries in making major economic moves. Gina Raimondo, US commerce secretary had stated that “In our competition with China to shape the 21st century global economy, we cannot go at it alone.” She had also stated that there were other nations who were increasingly becoming vocal about their concerns regarding China’s behaviour and that a shared desire to cooperate and coordinate policies around the rules, standards and values that advance the collective national security could provide for a solution. This comes in the wake of Washington making policy moves to deny technological access to China and restructure supply chains so as not to be dependent on China.
Amidst Washington’s moves for restructuring of critical industry supply chains in the wake of foreign policy and national security concerns, a pathway for a new age of globalisation is being made. Forces considered as major giants for economic globalisation, and which were once viewed as a one-stop solution for global problems are now under retreat. Since it is already clear that emerging technologies would be determining the course of the next phase of geopolitics, the polarisation of the supply chains is the new challenge that policymakers and market forces will have to deal with. The geopolitical equations are being changed in the present age of major power tussles and the dynamic multilateral order. It is safe to say that political trust would be a key factor in driving economic and technological cooperation, even though it would come bearing costs which would be imposed on nations.
While we see the US starting the economic recalibration process on the one hand, we also see Europe shaping new contours on the other hand. Russia’s aggressive front against Ukraine has done exactly the same for Europe as what China’s rise and assertion has done for the US. Europe has now realised and come to terms with the limitations that its ambition of emerging as “an empire of norms” brings with it. It is finally waking up to the challenge of global disruptors, be it in Eurasia or in the Indo-Pacific.
As the centre of gravity of global politics and economics shifts to the Indo-Pacific region, the West is also coming to terms with the fact that Russia poses only a short-term problem, and that the real challenge would be tackling China. This also becomes important for the US since the Moscow-Beijing axis is all set to get stronger in the coming years. The West will now engage in making new strategic alliances and partnerships with like-minded nations while also continuing to reduce its economic reliance on China for critical products and limiting China’s access to technologies. Even though Beijing will respond in kind, the previous economic order which it used to exploit to its advantage no longer exists.
India will play a key role in the emerging geopolitical order. With its G20 presidency, the country will be able to shape the global agenda in 2023. However, this is also the year where the Indian policymakers would have to strategically assess many of their policy choices in the light of long-term implications. A strategic balance of power being used for a country’s advantage is a key to its rise in the global hierarchy. This is an inflection point in the global order, where India will be expected to be proactive.