Not Yet…Quad is Still a Paper Tiger

Redux Works Best Executed
Mr. Pompeo, The US Secretary of Defence under President Trump, said, “As partners in this Quad, it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCP’s exploitation, corruption, and coercion.”

The entire world is awaiting this formation amongst the strong nations from Asia to counter China and rise as an appropriate bulwark. China is an existential threat, a clear danger to South East Asia, Asia Major, and not just the continent of Asia but the entire global order. Unless you are a Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) bootlicker, you won’t differ, even if you are the beneficiary of the largesse doled out at the mercy of the state-controlled capitalists.

Credits: https://twitter.com/rose_k01/status/1280354176720007168/photo/1

Quad thus becomes an appropriate response. It is natural for the major forces to align ( the formation being called Quad) and the smaller one to support this alignment. Obviously, China will distract this formation, confuse the smaller players by offering a lure, create ambivalence and ambiguity to weaken the alliance. However, its belligerence will unravel its intentions of not just hegemony but exploitative dominance and servile servitude. Expanding infractions, increasing internal schism, and exploiting the smaller nations have been the key intention since the start. This is evident wherever China has expanded its realms, Nation/states are realizing this reality. Those deeply drowned in debt, such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and few African nations, have no way out but to be servile and pander to the CPC’s China.

Too many fronts
China opened too many fronts simultaneously. Ladhak is not alone. However, China’s withdrawal from Ladhak has to be seen from this perspective. Indian’s belligerence and reaction to Ladhak only made it over. Thus, an elaborate articulation of forces encircling China.

However, China’s expansionist ambitions and its belligerence in the South China Sea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Ladhak, Aksai Chin, and Arunachal Pradesh (administered by Beijing and New Delhi, respectively). are not isolated events. To quote the Diplomat,” South China Sea (Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei) and the East China Sea (Japan).

Unraveling Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence
These five principles include mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. Prima facie, these can be a sine qua non and a framework for all interactions for peaceful coexistence. However, despite signing this mutual agreement with a tiny nation like Bhutan, China renegade the understanding as it started building aggression in Doklam. India obviously countered and pushed back China. But only a year later, adherence to those principles would be tested in western Bhutan when Chinese troops began building an all-weather road through the Doklam Plateau.

China and South Korea
This lesser known maritime dispute over the Socotra rock in the Yellow Sea with South Korea is as interesting as the international law that dictates that submerged rocks cannot be claimed by nations as their territory. That simmering difference keeps festering along with other outstanding issues.

What is behind Baekdu?
China and North Korea have simmered same as its active volcano. Baekdu Mountain, as referred to in Korea and Changbai in China, has simmered over a long period. South Korea claims sovereignty over the entire Korean peninsula and is thus involved in this fray, whereas North Korea claims this as the birthplace for its supreme leader, Kim Jong-Il. To infuriate and rattle it further, China has proposed it as a UNESCO world heritage site. I feel, by denying ethnicity and its right to its identity, China is playing a bigger merciless game of reducing Korea to insignia.

Rhetorics to Red Herring
Never ignore the enemy and never be complacent of our strengths. I’ll add further, never underestimate our under-preparedness. There are several slips between the cup and the lips, there are several slips, the strategy looks great on the paper, but execution hiccups are a totally different ball game. It is a gargantuan exercise to coordinate these forces and work in tandem as a single unified organism. It will be this weakness that will take a toll. Putting the puzzle pieces into one place is different from having a complete organism working in unison.

So despite the exaggerated strength and the complacency from the union of the four nations, let a few more complex Malabar exercises pass through before we realize a semblance of strength from this union. Until then, it is wise to presume Quad is a paper tiger.

Shashank Heda
Dallas, Texas

The Quad comes of age: In pictures
https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Indo-Pacific/The-Quad-comes-of-age-In-pictures

https://thediplomat.com/2012/12/baekdu-mountain-chinas-other-territorial-dispute/.

https://www.fpri.org/article/2020/07/china-territorial-dispute-bhutan/

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