The USA’s quest for sole hegemony began after World War II. With the world divided into two opposing blocs, the United States and the Soviet Union, a fierce competition for global dominance ensued. To attenuate the Soviet Union’s influence on the Eastern front and maintain a balance of power, the USA pursued multiple strategies. Among these strategies was the decision to empower China in the Asian region, hoping to counter the Soviet Union’s expanding influence. During the Cold War era, China was undergoing a period of significant political and social transformation.
The United States recognized the potential of an assertive China as a counterweight to the Soviet Union and sought to cultivate friendly relations.
This approach was driven by the belief that the USA could help shape its development by engaging China and creating a more favorable geopolitical landscape. The culmination of this policy shift came in 1972 when President Richard Nixon made his historic visit to China, marking a thaw in relations between the two countries. Over the next few decades, the United States actively supported China’s economic growth and integration into the global market. This policy was based on the assumption that a prosperous China would be more amenable to the principles of liberal democracy and open markets, furthering American interests in the region.
However, the landscape of international politics has evolved significantly since the end of the Cold War. China has risen as a significant global power, challenging the United States pursuit of sole hegemony. With its rapid economic growth, military modernization, and assertive foreign policy, China’s rise has raised concerns among American policymakers and strategists.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks marked a turning point for American foreign policy, shifting the focus towards the threat of global terrorism and non-state actors. During this period, China’s ascent was viewed through the lens of economic opportunity, and the United States largely overlooked its potential strategic implications.
Fast forward to the present day, and the United States finds itself in a similar position as during the Cold War era, but with India playing the role of China. As China’s influence grows, especially in the Indo-Pacific region, the United States seeks to counterbalance it by strengthening ties with India.
The US-India relationship has witnessed a significant transformation in recent years, with both countries engaging in strategic partnerships and defense cooperation.
The US approach of cultivating closer ties with India to counter China’s influence is a delicate balancing act that requires a nuanced understanding of the evolving geopolitical dynamics. On the one hand, India’s rising stature, robust democratic institutions, and commitment to shared values make it an attractive partner for the United States. With its large and growing economy, expanding middle class, and substantial demographic advantage, India has the potential to emerge as a significant player in the international arena.
India’s strategic location in the Indo-Pacific region further enhances its importance in American foreign policy calculations. As China’s influence expands across the region, the United States recognizes the need to bolster its partnerships and alliances to maintain a balance of power. In this context, India’s geographic proximity to China and its historical role as a regional power provide an opportunity for the United States to forge a stronger partnership.
However, there are challenges that the United States must navigate. India pursues its national interests like any other sovereign nation, which may only sometimes align perfectly with American objectives. India maintains a complex relationship with China, marked by economic cooperation and strategic competition. The United States must balance its engagement with India, supporting its rise while respecting its autonomy and regional aspirations.
Furthermore, the United States must avoid falling into the trap of viewing the US-India relationship solely through the lens of containing China. While countering China’s influence is a legitimate concern, fostering a broader partnership with India, encompassing economic cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, and shared values, is essential.
In conclusion, the United States’ pursuit of sole hegemony has encountered various obstacles throughout history. From countering the Soviet Union during the Cold War to addressing the rise of China in the present day, American foreign policy has sought to balance power dynamics and secure its position as a global leader. The current approach of strengthening ties with India to counter China’s influence is a complex endeavor that requires careful navigation. The United States must foster a multifaceted partnership with India that extends beyond containment and encompasses broader shared interests and values. Only through such an approach can the United States hope to shape a favorable and stable international order.
Umais Ahmed: The author is pursuing his graduation from the University of Karachi. He writes on political developments occurring across the world.
Naveed Hussain Mangi: The author is a International Relations student pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the University of Karachi.