Salman Rafi Sheikh

UAE Embraces Beijing by Scraping F-35 Deal with the US

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A major blow has been inflicted to the US standing and influence in the Middle East by the UAE that is scraping the F-35 deal with Washington. This decision comes on the back of some stubborn US efforts to dissuade the UAE from acquiring the Chinese 5G expertise. The US has been doing everything it could to force Abu Dhabi into sacrificing its relations…

The Geopolitics Surrounding Nord Stream 2

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Multiple US interests continue to hinder the completion of Nord Stream 2 project and its uninterrupted supply of gas to Germany/Europe. For the US, Nord Stream project is, to a great extent, a tool to privatise European gas-markets for US gas supplies. While the Joe Biden administration was quick to waive sanctions on the project that…

Western Expansionism Turns Russia-China to a Strategic Partnership

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In its latest meeting, the G7 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the USA and the High Representative of the European Union – “condemned Russian military build-up” on the Ukrainian border. While the statement does show the growing anti-Russia rhetoric in the West, the meeting drastically failed…

Democracy Summit: Joe Biden Draws a New ‘Iron Curtain’ on China and Russia

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The so-called ‘Democracy Summit’ that the Biden administration recently held was not only divisive, but was also more of a geo-political rather than a normative event aimed at deliberating about the state of democracy as a system of government and politics. The fact that the US deliberately excluded certain countries…

UAE Charts a Path to Regional Leadership

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Apart from making a defense deal – which came as a potential snub to the US’ dillydallying on the sale of the F-35s to Abu Dhabi – with France to purchase 80 state-of-the-art Rafael jets, the UAE is cosying up to Iran and Turkey as a means to place itself as a key player in the region, one that is capable of resetting regional balance of power through its moves. The UAE’s moves…

NATO’s Indo-Pacific Expansion to Tackle China

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The most recent US decision to do a ‘diplomatic boycott’ of winter Olympics in Beijing has caused a new low in the US-China bi-lateral relations. The decision to boycott has firmly established the drastic failure of the US-China summit that Biden had only recently called to sort out some of the outstanding issues facing their bi-lateral ties since the start of the US ‘trade war…

The French Retaliate against the US in the Middle East

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Even though the recent meeting between the US and French presidents on the side-lines of G-20 meeting was said to have ‘restored’ the French-US ties after the AUKUS shock, some recent developments have clearly established that the cleavages caused by the AUKUS are too deep for a single meeting to bridge. In fact, the outcome of that meeting, which has begun…

US Build Up in Asia Drives China and Russia Closer Together

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While the US-Russia relations have, for historical reasons, always remained uneasy, the US’ recent ‘war on China’ and Washington’s subsequent efforts to bolster its military build up in Asia are directly driving its two strategic competitors into a strategic partnership. In this regard, ways have been suggested…

Washington is Caught Up in the Middle East

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Even though the US has been seeking to withdraw from the Middle East to relocate its sources to the Indo-Pacific region to tackle China’s growing influence in Southeast Asia, extricating itself from a region the US has been dominating since the end of the Second World War has proved to be a lot harder than the US policy makers might have expected when they decided to revive…

Biden-Xi Summit Only Confirms Unending Competition

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While the apparent purpose of the long awaited Biden-Xi virtual summit was to normalise increasing tensions between China and the US, the summit has only confirmed that there is no effective, institutional scaling down from the growing competition either in the economic/technological field or in the geo-political arena. Perhaps, no other issue…

COP26: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

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Despite the significance attached to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) recently held in Glasgow – in particular, how it represents a major step forward from the Paris Agreement – the COP26 has not been able to produce a major, meaningfully actionable inter-state, multilateral consensus of global scale. Notwithstanding the critical nature of the issues…

How the RCEP Could Derail the US Plans in the Indo-Pacific

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The recent ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) by Australia and New Zealand have opened up the possibility of meaningfully, if not fundamentally, altering the geo-political scenario in the Indo-Pacific in favour of China. The fact that this ratification has come within months of the AUKUS and the Biden…


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