Now that all the pomp and ceremony is done it is time for me to get back to work with the international relations and conflict analysis….
WE are in our new president’s first full week of rule…..and the news is that his choice for SecState, Tillerson, will be confirmed after weeks of confusion and misdirection……and now it is time for the new admin to face the crises waiting on the horizon….especially internationally…..
Trump wants to undo the liberal international order the U.S. built and replace it with a 19th-century model of nationalism and mercantilism. Its unwinding cannot, and will not, be pretty.
We do not know if the period we are about to enter under the presidency of Donald Trump will be as turbulent as the 1910s, the 1930s, the 1940s, or even the 1960s. But it is a safe bet that if such turbulence were to recur in our lifetimes, it would happen under conditions like those of today—a superpower under radical and volatile leadership, geopolitical rivalries, a populist revolt, and a fragile global economy.
His most pressing situation is that of the South China Sea and China’s expansionism……
The South China Sea is developing at an extraordinarily rapid rate and the events that transpire in the region in the next two to three years will be some of the most significant geopolitical events in the world. Inside the South China Sea Region are five claimants, hundreds of contested geological features, and two major clashing superpowers: The United States and China. Four key variables have been identified as the principal factors in determining how the South China Sea will evolve in two to three years: (1) U.S. foreign policy in East Asia under Trump. (2) The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) increasing reliance on nationalism to maintain its legitimacy. (3) Vietnam and the development of its foreign policy. (4) The trend in the unity of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a collective security organization. It is predicted with a high degree of confidence that tensions in the South China Sea will continue to increase as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s foreign policy becomes more confrontational with China. This will in turn encourage Vietnam to act more assertively, which in turn will drive Chinese nationalism to new levels. We predict with a medium degree of confidence that the region will take on the characteristics of Finlandization as a weak U.S. economic, as well as a lackluster hard power presence drives the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) towards bandwagoning with an increasingly-aggressive China. Vietnam remains the lone holdout, lashing out from its isolated position. Finally, we predict with a low degree of confidence that the South China Sea will deescalate to the mid-2016 status quo as uncertainty in U.S. foreign policy forces all claimants and peripheral influences to pause and consolidate their positions. Black swan events in the region include a radical change in Indian foreign policy towards China and a radical shift in the China-Russia relationship, for better or worse.
Then there is the region that has been a thorn in every president’s ass since 1948….the Middle East….
During the campaign, President-Elect Donald Trump often vowed that the days of American adventurism in the Middle East were over (while incongruously promising to obliterate ISIS with a sophisticated strategy of More Bombs). He excoriated Hillary Clinton for her role in the NATO-led 2011 military action in Libya. And frankly, a principled skeptic of American interventionism could have squinted and discerned some good ideas — even if the intellectual framework remained To Be Tweeted.
But this posturing about a new day in the Middle East was just an elaborate con, like most everything else that came out of Trump’s mouth during this campaign. Team Trump is about to make an already troubled region so much worse.
Source: Donald Trump’s Middle East con
My point is that there is so much that could go wrong in the world and attention should be there and not bitching about protests or trying to bully the social media world on Twitter.
Flash: Rex Tillerson has made it out of hearings as SecState….vote coming….