India and Japan might feel better about regional affairs if Biden wins the Presidency of the USA next week.
Why? Because neither country feels comfortable with the bombast and cold war rhetoric emerging from the Trump Administration and US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
Even Australia, which is often too keen to outdo the US, was cautious in response to Pompeo and alluded to our interest in a good relationship with China.
These are some of the key points I take from a recent very thoughtful analysis by John McCarthy AO, a Senior Advisor to Asialink and former Australian Ambassador to the United States, Indonesia, Japan, and High Commissioner to India.
McCarthy makes the point that Pompeo went much further than Japan or India would like when he told the recent Quad meeting in Tokyo that they should “build out a true security framework”.
McCarthy wrote: “Apart from not sharing Pompeo’s buccaneer spirit, Japan continues to seek some equilibrium in its relations with China and has constitutional issues with security groupings. And while India continues to have serious border issues with China, it shows no inclination to veer from its doctrine of Strategic Autonomy.”
“If the Quad is to be in our interests, it has to be a cautious Quad. It is acknowledged—at least formally—by Quad members that ASEAN remains central to regional interstate architecture,” he said.
McCarthy also illustrated how “cause and effect” works in diplomacy: “The more the Quad develops a distinct identity, the greater the risk of growing regional fracturing between three groups—China, the Quad, and ASEAN—possibly with China pulling at Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, and the Quad pulling at Vietnam. This will make it all the harder to develop even the loose regional approaches on managing China’s rise-particularly on the South China Sea.”
Important to note, as McCarthy does in his conclusion, that Biden’s main priority on election would be to get his own house in order.
That, at least, would yield positive outcomes for us all and be a relief from the bombast.