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The Hindu Editorial

10-February-2024

1. The decline of America’s leadership

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Effect of policies and politics of developed countries on India’s interests

Critical for UPSC as it covers geopolitics, U.S.-China competition, global shifts, and India’s strategic considerations, crucial in international relations.
Context
  • The article discusses challenges to U.S. global influence, citing internal divisions, concerns about dysfunction, economic realities, and the rise of China and Russia.
  • It emphasizes the need for India to navigate geopolitical shifts while fostering a strategic relationship with the United States.
  1. American Strengths and Contradictory Views:
  • Former Foreign Secretary Krishnan Srinivasan highlights America’s strengths in values, military power, global financial influence, and technology leadership.
  • Pro-American lobby in India supports closer engagement, dismissing arguments about diminishing U.S. influence.
  • Contradictory views from experts like Ian Bremmer, Laura Kuenssberg, and Andrew Whitehead, suggesting internal divisions and challenges to U.S. influence.
  1. Concerns about U.S. Dysfunction:
  • Experts express concerns about the U.S.’s divided and dysfunctional state, challenges to democracy, and potential for authoritarianism.
  • Setbacks in international politics contribute to a shifting balance of power away from Western values.
  1. Economic Realities and China’s Rise:
  • Niall Ferguson notes China’s larger economy in purchasing power parity and emphasizes American challenges in various areas.
  • American problems include illegal immigration, deficits, rule of law, education, public health, new technologies, and a rising national debt.
  1. Evolution of the Rules-Based International System:
  • Post-World War II, the U.S. shaped a power-based international system, challenging the concept of a truly rules-based order.
  • American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq eroded credibility, and U.S. military bases globally raise questions about interference in other countries’ affairs.
  1. Polarization and Legitimacy Crisis:
  • US. withdrawal from international agreements contributes to global polarization.
  • Domestic polarization hinders cooperation in the two-party system, impacting U.S. influence.
  • Legitimacy is essential for geopolitical dominance, and the U.S. faces challenges to its institutions and leadership.
  1. Shifts in Power Dynamics:
  • China and Russia challenge Western democratic values and seek to reshape the international system through trade, pressure, and diasporic ties.
  • Western liberalism faces criticism in Asia and Africa, seen as neo-imperialistic or arrogantly insensitive.
  • BRICS’ policies hint at a potential contest between local currencies and the dollar.
  1. U.S.-China Competition:
  • Central global issue revolves around U.S.-China security and economic competition.
  • China projects power using traditional and non-traditional techniques, excelling in high technology and geo-engineering.
  • S. lags behind in Artificial Intelligence leadership compared to China and the European Union.
  1. India’s Position and Strategy:
  • Regardless of whether the S. remains the “indispensable nation,” India should develop an advantageous relationship with America.
  • India must consider U.S. deficiencies and navigate geopolitical challenges while fostering ties with the evolving global order.
  1. Conclusion:
  • In conclusion, the article highlights the evolving global landscape, questioning the U.S.’s dominance amid internal challenges and the ascendancy of China and Russia.
  • It underscores India’s imperative to navigate these shifts strategically while engaging with the United States.
PYQ: “The USA is facing an Existential threat in the form of a China that is much more challenging than the erstwhile Soviet Union.” Explain. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2021)
Practice Question:  How do evolving global power dynamics, challenges to U.S. influence, and the U.S.-China competition impact India’s strategic choices? Discuss. (150 words/10 m)

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