The possible rationales for Manila’s diplomatic course of action may be defined according to Duterte’s “independent foreign policy,” which remarkably, coincides with the Philippines’ 2017 ASEAN Chairmanship.
India has so far dexterously balanced its relations with the different power centers in the Middle East. The countries of the GCC, led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, together host around seven million Indian expatriate workers who remit back hefty foreign exchange.
All eyes in the next few months will be on how former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will play his cards vis-à-vis the Pakistan army. If one were to look beyond the domestic ramifications, the first point which needs to be closely examined is how China has reacted to the instability.
In early August 2017, Japan lodged a protest with China over its gas exploration in a disputed area of the East China Sea. Confirming the presence of a Chinese drillship close to Tokyo’s proposed median line, Japan accused China of conducting “unilateral development.”
US President Donald Trump wrote: “China is our enemy.” He said China was an enemy because of weak and incompetent US officials that were taken to the cleaners by smart and seasoned Chinese negotiators, and he would fix that and turn China into a friend.
One of the arguments for a coming war is the Thucydides Trap theory. It goes that the situation of a status quo power (Sparta in ancient Greece) and a fast rising power that challenges the former (Athens) creates a condition wherein neither can tolerate the other.
At the end of the August 2017 ASEAN gathering in Manila, ASEAN overcame all obstacles and issued a communique addressing the non-militarization of the South China Sea. Both China and ASEAN have also agreed on the framework for a Code of Conduct.
For 70 years the United States has dominated Southeast Asia with both hard and soft power. While its hard power is still dominant and may even grow, its soft power seems to have declined. This decrease is both absolute and relative to that of China.
The stilted evolution of democracy in Afghanistan has been further affected by the existence and proliferation of competing centers of power outside the scope of the constitution. Parallel structures of governance have impacted the overall democratic structure adversely.
Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Iraq’s Foreign Minister, held a meeting with the Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, testifying to the fact that oil is high on the India-Iraq agenda. Iraq, which has always been a major source of crude for India, is back again as India’s largest crude supplier.