We are in an intriguing period right now, with several global political, economic, and social events taking place. The biggest changes in the world’s political and economic power structures are those brought on by the East’s comparative ascent and the West’s comparative fall. These changes have been happening for a while, but lately, they have gained greater attention as new geopolitical alliances become clear. New global and regional powers, including China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, and Turkey, are simultaneously rising, posing a threat to the current world order with their own worldviews. The intensification of relations between China and Russia on the international political scene is establishing a precedent for a multipolar world with exclusive spheres of influence.
Many believe China is a different kind of power from the ones we have known over the last century. It is useless to evaluate China’s might by Western standards. It is important to comprehend China’s emergence in its distinctive context. Through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China is forming partnerships with its western neighbors and increasing its ties with Russia. Using their own domains of influence, China and Russia oppose the liberal international order that the western alliance supports. At the nexus of South Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) nations of Southwest Asia are playing a crucial role. The Southwest Asian area is a potential hub for commerce, transportation, and energy transit, especially for China and Russia. It is also a focal point of geopolitical conflict and influence for the world powers owing to its advantageous position.
The Southwest Asian area is a potential hub for commerce, transportation, and energy transit, especially for China and Russia. It is also a focal point of geopolitical conflict and influence for the world powers owing to its advantageous position.
The character of the international system is evolving into one with several centers of power. Smaller nations are reevaluating their regional and global responsibilities as a result of the shifting global order. Due to its strategic location at the intersection of Asia, Europe, and Africa, the Southwest Asian area also greatly influences world affairs. Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan are among the ten nations that comprise the ECO region. In the past, these nations were essential to commerce along the Old Silk Road, which linked China to the rest of the globe. They had power pacts with important world powers. As a result of the shifting political landscape on the international stage, ECO member states may realign themselves to play their part in influencing the new world order.
As a result of the shifting political landscape on the international stage, ECO member states may realign themselves to play their part in influencing the new world order.
Due to its strategic location, the area, depending on cooperation and economic growth, may either be a regional time bomb for the great powers or serve as a regional pivot for the main political actors. Suppose they are unable to realign themselves in accordance with the changing geopolitical realities of the globe. In that case, their beneficial position as the hub of continental trade flows in energy, products, and ideas may be compromised.
Pakistan has always been at the center of significant regional and global events. Pakistan had to choose carefully during the bipolar period whether to support one of the opposing camps commanded by the US or the Soviet Union. In contrast, a paradigm change is taking place at the start of the twenty-first century. Once again, Pakistan must decide whether to reconsider its place in the changing global system. Pakistan’s strategic location as the hub of connectivity in Southwest Asia makes it important in the newly forming multipolar system. Pakistan is now at the center of the great power rivalry as a result of recent events like border clashes between China and India, NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, China’s growing economic and political influence over its western neighbors, the Ukraine crisis, coupled with trade war and rising hostility between China and the US. The US has often said that it needs good ties with Pakistan to advance its objectives in the area, notably in terms of stabilizing Afghanistan.
Additionally, China recognizes the value of its strategic connections with Pakistan in advancing its regional political and economic objectives. China wants to use BRI to link the Southwest Asian area. The US’s attempts to stay relevant in regional politics and the Sino-Russian nexus have made it more difficult for Pakistan to realign or transition in light of the US’s waning hegemonic dominance and the rising influence of Russia and China in global politics.
China wants to use BRI to link the Southwest Asian area. The US's attempts to stay relevant in regional politics and the Sino-Russian nexus have made it more difficult for Pakistan to realign or transition in light of the US's waning hegemonic dominance and the rising influence of Russia and China in global politics.
The relationship between Pakistan and the US has a long history. The US kept Pakistan as a key ally in the fight against terrorism. Additionally, the US used to offer military support and is now Pakistan’s largest commercial partner. After the withdrawal of NATO soldiers from Afghanistan, the US government still wants Pakistan to play a part in resolving regional conflicts. In order to limit China, the US also agreed to strategic cooperation with India, which has implications for Pakistan’s security. China and Pakistan have traditionally had friendly ties. Both nations have consistently offered each other neutral support in international fora. Beijing has consistently helped Islamabad expand infrastructure for transportation and electricity, and the two countries have worked together on defense projects.
The signing of CPEC further strengthens the friendship. China hopes to link Pakistan with Central Asian nations via Afghanistan through CPEC. The construction of Gwadar port as part of CPEC will provide the quickest alternative path to China’s energy demands as well as a land connection to Central Asian republics and landlocked Afghanistan. A new era of collaboration has also begun in Pakistan’s ties with Russia.
As was already established, China and Russia have similar geopolitical objectives in the area, and their joint initiatives have improved regional governments’ connectivity. Pakistan lacks energy, and Russia has provided a substitute source to deliver affordable oil. Pakistan seeks Russian funding for the CPEC and other energy development initiatives.
The multipolar international order of the twenty-first century offers Pakistani politicians multiple alternatives. The circumstances provide Pakistan with several options to realign its strategic objectives and play a key role in tying the region together by working with China and Russia. The situation is further difficult since Pakistan may not be able to afford to serve as a theatre of conflict between major nations. Pakistan’s geostrategic realignment with China and Russia might aid in defusing India’s hostile diplomatic stance against Pakistan. In the same vein, CPEC’s infrastructure initiatives have assisted Pakistan in dispelling the notion that its geo-economics options are constrained.
The great powers of the globe are fundamentally altering the current global order, which will have far-reaching effects in the future. The reasons causing this transition, however, are many, and it is crucial for world leaders and policymakers to comprehend them. The current world order is beginning to deteriorate, and there is a clear reconfiguration of rising forces on the international scene. The latest illustration of how violations over the last several decades have damaged interstate behavior is the Western countries’ worsening relationship with Russia over the Ukraine crisis. In addition, China’s growing economy and military might be significant additional forces behind the shift in the global balance of power and the alteration of the geopolitical landscape.
China and Russia are working to set their own rules on the grand international game while resisting the current global order. Because of these developnents, minor but important regional actors might realign their influence with rising political figures. As ECO and BRI partner’s members, southwest Asian governments are turning to China and Russia as options. They no longer want to be a part of the liberal, western-led system that, for a long time, engulfed the area in conflict and instability. However, the developing world order is nearing completion, and Southwest Asian governments may contribute significantly to its creation and implementation.
Dr. Zukun Lyu is a research scholar in the Department of Political Science at the University of Siena. She has been to national and international conferences and written 21 research articles that have been published in international journals.