Thursday May 23, 2024 06:49 pm


🕐 2023-05-13 14:00:45


Lt. Gen. Md. Mahfuzur Rahman (Retd.)

Power shifting is a dynamic process. It has been sifting vertically (Regionalization-Internationalization- Globalization), laterally (Roman-Greek-Persian- Ottoman-West) and geographically (West to East, North to South). Some of the very recent moves by China in international arena are testimony of power shifts as well as confidence and responsibility it is exhibiting. Deng Jiao Peng famous guidance “hide your capacities, bide your time, remain free from ambition. Never claim leadership” is possibly over now and is being replaced by ‘China Dream’. 
Recently China has offered peace process between Russia and Ukraine. Despite US Secretary of States Anthony Blinken’s question about neutrality of China both Putin and Zelensky have expressed positive response. 
However, one cannot say with certainty about the definite outcome of this offer but China’s credibility has been surfaced importantly outshining US diplomacy. Meanwhile, Chinese mediation between Iran and Saudi Arabia has shown the light of stability in the Middle East and West Asia. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia have regional ambitions in addition Iran has nuclear ambition which is antagonistic to the Kingdom’s security ego. Bringing them on the table itself is a challenge which has been materialized by the Dragon through exhibiting its diplomatic Charisma. There have been other developments in the area those should not be seen in isolation. Now Basar Al Asad is visiting UAE, Oman, Syria and Saudi Arabia are ready to open embassies. We might see Syria coming back to Arab League again. Lately, the relation between Iraq and Iran with border management deal is being strengthened. All these are happening for a better stability in the region where China has played a crucial role despite unhappiness of Israel and discomfort of US. This is a diplomatic debacle for US and its allies where they approached the region’s stability through de-stability where as China is looking for sustainable stability through relational development with a strategic purpose. 
There is another twist in the credibility of US and its allies. US and NATO countries are supplying Ukraine with lethal weapons including State of the Art main battle tanks and blaming Iran for supplying drone to Russia (Which Iran claims were supplied before the outbreak of war as arms sale program). West also blamed China for supplying weapon to Russia and threatened to impose sanction to China. Later, it has been proved that China did not supply arms to Russia that makes China a credible party in peace negotiation between Ukraine and Russia where as being a party, both US and NATO have no legitimate scope for peace initiative. 

It is clear to the world community that US and her allies are in a proxy war and would like to defeat Russia in a war of attrition where a credible adversary (Russia) is reduced to a depleted foe for good. On the contrary China would like to draw a peace process right away for the betterment for all. Here US is behaving like a declining power with ill temper. 
In our part of the world, China is in a process of conflict resolving initiative with mediation in Rohingya repatriation. We have noticed of late, Myanmar Junta has sent a delegation to Bangladesh on this issue. It has to be remembered that China needs a peaceful Bay of Bengal for its energy security. 14% of her energy comes through Myanmar sea port and gas and oil pipe line. My understanding, China doing these for two reasons; primarily to secure her vertical expansion into Indian Ocean and Belt and Road Initiative Projects (BRI) where she has spent trillions of dollars already to avoid being blocked in East and South China Sea by US and her allies through establishing numerous military bases, threatening her energy movement through Malacca Strait and South China Sea. At the same time, her expansion to Indian Ocean through pivot countries like Myanmar and Pakistan through ‘Economic Corridors’ would not be left alone. US and her allies would like to contain China there too, as such we see both Pakistan and Myanmar are volatile, unstable politically and economically and pushed almost to a ‘fragile state’ condition that is detrimental to China’s strategic interest. As alternative to these corridors to Indian Ocean, China in 2021 signed a 400 billion dollars deal with Iran including developing transportation and railway network connecting Iranian Chabahar Port that would provide another alternative to connect China through Afghanistan-Iran to Indian Ocean. So China’s initiative to peace process in case of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Rohingya repatriation are with a strategic purpose. However, how far the Rohingya repatriation would be helpful for Bangladesh and Rohingya that is another question but certainly Junta would benefit from this most, if there is any. 
The other issue is China Dream; the Russia-Ukraine war has given an opportunity to China to transcend from regional to global power status. It comes with some responsibility as well. Actively not taking any side, brokering peace deal, behaving responsibly are some of the attributes of global power so these behaviours are understandable else China will continue to remain as a potential global power not truly a global power.

Lt Gen (Retd) Mohammad Mahfuzur Rahman, rcds, ndc, afwc, psc, PhD (Retd), Former Directing Staff at War Course, National Defence College.