The Platform

John Harris/U.S. Navy

Our world is more Hobbesian than ever and nowhere is this more apparent than in Asia.

At the heart of this analysis lies the ever-intensifying dynamics within the Asia-Pacific—a region now shadowed by the burgeoning might of China and the strategic responses from U.S. allies.

Post-World War II saw the baton of global preeminence pass from Britain to America. Today, that very supremacy is poised on a knife-edge as China ascends. While Russia garners its share of American apprehension, it is China that commands the summit of the U.S. threat ledger. America’s quest to retain its superpower eminence hinges on its handling of the Chinese challenge.

Russia, marked as an adversary, nonetheless falls short of the existential strategic competitor that China represents. A historic pivot occurred in 1971 when the United Nations acknowledged the shifting geopolitical winds, seating the People’s Republic of China and sidelining Taiwan. The U.S. has since navigated these waters with a one-China policy, but the recent uptick in high-level diplomatic engagements with Taiwan has fanned the flames of U.S.-China tensions.

The importance of Taiwan cannot be overstated. What drives China to envelop Taiwan by sea, policing its corridors of ingress and egress? Central to this is the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC)—the world’s semiconductor linchpin. It’s not mere hyperbole to say that any disruption in TSMC’s output might send shockwaves across the globe. TSMC underpins 56% of global chip supply, with the U.S., China, and Japan collectively accounting for the balance. These microchips are the lifeblood of myriad industries, fueling the engines of top-tier car and mobile manufacturers.

As the world grapples with internal strife, economic tumult, and warfare, a window has opened—a window through which nations may rise or fall. The potential inability of the U.S. to curtail China’s march across Asia forebodes a waning of American influence and a diminution of its clout in the region within a decade’s turn. America’s arsenal against China’s ascent features a barrage of embargoes and the rallying of its allies for a potential conflict in the theater of the Asia-Pacific.

Amidst these undercurrents, Japan and South Korea have escalated their military outlays, spurred by the insecurities of the region. Japan’s defense budget for fiscal year 2023 is unprecedented, with aims to bolster defense spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2027. South Korea, not to be outdone, has unrolled a $250 billion defense strategy spanning 2022-2026, expediting its military modernization efforts.

This surge in military expenditure is a clear reaction to regional insecurities, China’s military ascendancy, and the unabated nuclear ambitions of North Korea. Thus, Japan and South Korea find imperative the fortification of their defenses and alliances.

A similar military renaissance is unfolding in Europe in the face of the Russian menace.

Elsewhere, electoral shifts in Pakistan and the simmering Sino-Indian tensions in Kashmir presage a tightening of regional fault lines.

Currently, the U.S. finds itself ensnared by the machinations of its domestic electoral process. Yet, when the political dust settles, the contours of the U.S.-Asia Pacific relationship will emerge, clear and telling.

In America, two prevailing forces vie for influence: the purists with their bona fide American passports and the globalists, American in documentation yet international in spirit.

The victor in this ideological tug-of-war will not only steer the outcome of the U.S. election but will also sculpt the policy landscape that follows.

Our world is at a historical inflection point, reminiscent of the transformative epochs post-1815, 1914, and 1945. This epoch will carve out a new world order, and as the dust of these shifting balances settles, nations will either be relegated to the annals of history or rise to author it.

Kanan Heydarov holds a Bachelor's degree in International Law Relations from Georgia Technical University and a Master's degree in Advanced Management Finance from the esteemed Polish University of Economics and Human Sciences. With over seven years of experience, he specializes in analyzing geopolitical events with global ramifications. Currently based in Poland, Kanan leads groundbreaking research initiatives, unraveling the intricacies of global affairs.