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Salman Rafi Sheikh

NATO’s Indo-Pacific Expansion to Tackle China


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


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


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


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


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


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


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…

IS-K Threat to Afghanistan and the Region


Ever since coming into power after the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban (banned in Russia) has been facing an unprecedented security challenge from the Islamic State in Khorasan (terrorist ogranization, banned in Russia). Ever since August, a series of highly sophisticated attacks in Kabul and other cities have eroded…

Biden’s QUAD Strategy Reaches the Middle East


The so-called ‘QUAD 2’, or the West Asian QUAD, comes at a time when, on the one hand, the US is facing an unprecedented global challenge from China, and on the other, when the US’ European allies continue to refuse to support the US in its tussle with China. While European powers do consider China a rival, it remains that – and it is more evident now than ever – there is no appetite…

Peace in Afghanistan is No Longer ‘Made in the US’


Even though the US fought the war in Afghanistan for twenty years and it decided to withdraw after signing a deal with the Taliban (banned in Russia), the end of the war and the US withdrawal has not automatically transitioned into ‘peace.’ The US’ utterly chaotic and irresponsible withdrawal from Afghanistan and the consequent resurgence of the IS-K (terrorist organization…

CIA has a New ‘China Mission’


Even though officials in the Biden administration, including Biden himself, continue to emphasise that the purpose of their renewed engagement with Southeast Asia/ASEAN is not containment of China, Washington’s drive to reinvent the QUAD, as well as the recently signed AUKUS treaty that could nuclearize the Indo-Pacific, is only a series of steps that it has taken in the past few months to confront…

The Iran Nuclear Saga: US-Israel Hammer Out a “Plan B”


Even though the presidential candidate Joe Biden had vowed to “move quickly” to re-join the Iran nuclear deal, this has not happened. The Biden administration’s deliberate strategy to kill the previous deal by following the framework of talks it inherited from the Trump administration has contributed massively to the present deadlock, leading the US and Israel…

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