The global hegemony of the US has remained unchallenged since the end of the cold war. There had been times when the supremacy of US was in question e.g the Taliban attack on the World Trade Centre i.e 9/11, but the US has always responded to such threats which created doubts about its hegemony, and so did they as a consequence of 9/11 terrorist attack too.
The post 9/11 era stands evident to it. The US, up until the recent past, has never left a page unturned to consolidate its image as the global power. But the recent events like COVID-19 and the US withdrawal of Afghanistan shook its influence as a sole superpower of the region.
As Napolean had said “let China sleep for when China wakes from its slumbers, it will astonish the world”. The global think tanks and political scientists argue that after low patch of almost two centuries in Chinese history, it is well on its way to replace America as a superpower.
With this replacement, as we enter into the period of ‘Chinese influenced world-order’ it will have its own ramifications nationally and internationally, which is still too early to predict.
What caused China to outpace America?
First and foremost, the US ineffective handling of the novel Cornona virus, in its early phases, was threatening its hegemony because such global issues demands the superpower to handle it and devise plans on international fronts for the developing nations. Washington didn’t succeed in planning for the proper handling of the virus for itself, let alone the developing nations.
In fact, Wuhan, the locus point of coronavirus, handled it to perfection and proved its policies against such disasters to be more effective than the ‘mighty’ US.
Second, the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan, which completed in August 2021, and the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan immediately after the US troops left,, posed the US on a losing side perspective because of its failure of the objectives that it claimed to achieve when it came into Afghanistan post 9/11, illustrating its 20 years war as wasted. For the event which made the US to be a staunch rejoinder to the nations that questioned the US supremacy is now interpreted the otherwise.
Third, the rising GDP of China. China is at the top of purchasing power parity(PPP) since 2017 after overtaking the US. According to the world bank, China GDP was 11% of the US in 1960 and it was 67% of the US as of 2021, showing its positive acceleration. The economic think tanks believe that China would surpass America within a decade of time, if not less. The greater the GDP, the more the nations accept you as a superpower.
As from Pakistan’s point of view, it is important to keep our important ally the US on our side because we, as a developing economy, would want to receive funds in disastrous occasions, like that of floods, as of now. America can also sustain our relations with the West being the spokesman of the entire West.
On the other side, China has been the most recalled friend of Pakistan and above all our neighbour. We can not neglect the importance of the fact that the China lies in our neighbourhood because of the hostile geopolitical situation prevailing in this region concerning Pakistan.
The hostile ‘sandwiched’ situation that we are in, from the West in form of Afghanistan and from the East in form of India, it is important to have an ally like China that is situated in our footsteps in such circumstances.
In the recent history, there has been a stigma associated with China for being a ‘notorious lender’. The economic analysts, especially from the West, claim that the China lends its money to a developing economy at the cost of their National Security. The most common example being sited is of the military base of China being operated in Djibouti by the China People’s Liberation Army Navy(PLAN). The analysts claim that because Djibouti could not pay back the debt to China, it constructed a military base on the land of Djibouti, which is contrary to what the experts in China and Djibouti claim.
Both the countries expect mutual benefits from this Chinese military base. The same Western think tanks has warned Pakistan about the BRI as a player of the Chinese ‘Debt Trap’ policy. Pakistan, on the other hand, has not bothered much about such statements, and considering these views as rumours against China, it is fully supportive to the China’s BRI project, which is very important for the drowning economy of Pakistan to grow.
Pakistan should devise such an independent foreign policy to keep productive relations with the US, and at the same time keep closer to China as well, as it has been since 1951, when both the countries started their diplomatic relations.