War by Other Means

By Phar Kim Beng
Founder/Chair
Strategic Pan Indo-Pacific Arena
Strategicpipa.com
Twitter: @indo_pan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Strategicpipa

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“Geoeconomics and Statecraft” is premised on one idea, and one idea only, that it is far more effective to impose one’s values and grand strategy on another region, if not the world, by shrewd economic policies and arrangement. For example, instead of resorting almost instinctively to force, the US can entice and induce others to trade with her. When the volumes increase in magnitude and scale, the “complex interdependence” would invariably enmesh the country into the web of US alliances or quasi alliances, both of which would have guaranteed some form of compliance to the values and visions of the United States.

In other words, market talks, missiles balk. To be sure, deploying the latter can indeed “shock and awe” another country into possible submission. But once the fear is gone, the international community will re-adjust its foreign policy to dealing with the new world order based on the rise and fall of other elements too. If China and Russia are indeed on the rise, together, smaller countries can lean on them, based on whatever strategic or logistical advantages these countries can offer to the big powers, in order to counterbalance the United States.

The accrued benefits of the military campaigns launched by the United States would, therefore, become ‘collateral damage,’; something that cannot be permanently defended and protected, in the same manner, some argued that Japan was one of the first to have “won” the Cold War, even though it was the United States that was hard at work in containing the Soviet Union.

Be that as it may, Robert D. Blackwill, who was once the United States' ambassador to India, seems to believe India can be a strategic ally of the United States. He has also worked closely with Ashton Carter, the former defense secretary of ex President Obama, to advise the United States to be wiser in the Great Game of Geopolitics. Do not always resort to sheer force to achieve its aims. Jennifer M. Harris may not be as famous in the United States, or anywhere else, she seems to share the views of the duo. Thus, one should not assume that Robert D Blackwill is a dove. Indeed, Robert D. Blackwill has made a conscious effort to understand the thoughts of the late Lee Kuan Yew, too,, one of the leading strategists in East Asia, which is a region now increasingly becoming Indo-Pacific. Statesmen such as Lee Kuan Yew do understand the value of war and economic statecraft combined.

In this particular book, Lee Kuan Yew merely emphasized the value of the latter, while not neglecting the instrumentality of force. In this sense, Robert D. Blackwill and Jennifer M. Harris are both astute students of international relations, and superb practitioners too. Their book sought to emphasize the importance of using trade as the proverbial crowbar to open up the borders of another country. Like every country trapped by the pandemic, they just have to wait it out. The quest for the vaccine must come first before anything else.

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Founder of Strategic Indo-Pacific Arena (Strategicpipa.com)

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Phar Kim Beng, PhD

Phar Kim Beng, PhD

Founder of Strategic Indo-Pacific Arena (Strategicpipa.com)

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