Two days ago, America’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a very important speech. That it was delivered on the same day that China’s President Xi Jinping delivered his address to the 19th National People’s Congress is, may be, an interesting coincidence. May be not.
The full speech is here. ‘Trust but verify’ AND ‘Verify but trust’ have very different implications. Should India go for the latter with the US now or is it already doing that? I think India should be inclined towards the second.
The word, ‘responsibly’ used in two different contexts:
“China, while rising alongside India, has done so less responsibly, at times undermining the international, rules-based order even as countries like India operate within a framework that protects other nations’ sovereignty.”
“It is indeed time to double down on a democratic partner that is still rising – and rising responsibly – for the next 100 years.”
“We need to collaborate with India to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is increasingly a place of peace, stability, and growing prosperity – so that it does not become a region of disorder, conflict, and predatory economics.”
“We also must recognize that many Indo-Pacific nations have limited alternatives when it comes to infrastructure investment programs and financing schemes, which often fail to promote jobs or prosperity for the people they claim to help. It’s time to expand transparent, high-standard regional lending mechanisms – tools that will actually help nations instead of saddle them with mounting debt.”
Role in the Regional Architecture
“India and the United States should be in the business of equipping other countries to defend their sovereignty, build greater connectivity, and have a louder voice in a regional architecture that promotes their interests and develops their economies. This is a natural complement to India’s “Act East” policy.”
I doubt if any other Secretary of State has said this as forcefully as before:
“Security issues that concern India are concerns of the United States”
Does this speech sound like the speech of an administration that is isolating itself?
There is lot of ‘breast beating’ about the U.S. withdrawing and isolating itself. Not at all. Whether we agree or not, they have come to the conclusion that the architecture that they created post-WW II is no longer helping them advance their goals but somebody else’s. Hence, they are walking away from it in order to weaken it. That is strategic withdrawal and not isolation.
Mind you, Reagan took the U.S. out of UNESCO before. I do not think Reagan enfeebled America. No, I am not saying that the outcome would be the same this time too. I have no idea and I avoid getting into the prediction business.
But, I think that the intent is not isolation but re-making, which may not be and is not to the liking of some. But, that is different from calling it ‘isolation’.