Thinking Citizen Blog — Сhina, Afghanistan, India, Australia: “the Quad,” “Five Eyes,” and Biden
Thinking Citizen Blog — Monday is Foreign Policy Day
Today’s Topic: China, Afghanistan, India, Australia: “the Quad,” “Five Eyes,” and Biden
Some rational, civically-minded people don’t pay much attention to foreign policy for one simple reason: it’s so damned complicated. Deep understanding is a quixotic dream. Why bother? This painful truth was driven home this week when just skimming the morning newspapers I was confronted with two terms I was utterly unfamiliar with: “the Quad” (meaning the USA, Japan, India, and Australia) and “Five Eyes” (the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). The “Quad” appeared in an editorial on the consequences of the fall of Afghanistan for India. (first link below) “Five Eyes” appeared in another on the French outrage at the US-Australian nuclear submarine deal. (second link below) Another lesson in humility. Who cares? Who should? Who has the time? the energy? Today a few related notes. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE FOREIGN POLICY QUAD: USA, India, Japan, Australia
1. Biden is scheduled to host a group meeting on September 24th.
2. “The dialogue was initiated in 2007 by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe… The dialogue was paralleled by joint military exercises of unprecedented scale titled Exercise Malabar.”
3. In 2017, the group was revived to meet the perceived threat of a rising, more aggressive China.
THE FIVE EYES: US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand,
1. Origins have been alternatively traced to the Atlantic Charter of 1941 or the Iron Curtain speech of Churchill in 1946.
2. The core of “Five Eyes” is a secret treaty on signals intelligence known as the US/UK Agreement that was not made public until 2005.
3. “On 25 June 2010, for the first time in history, the full text of the agreement was publicly released by the United Kingdom and the United States, and can now be viewed online.” (Wikipedia, sixth link below)
NB: “Shortly after its release, the seven-page UKUSA Agreement was recognized by Time magazine as one of the Cold War’s most important documents, with immense historical significance.”
THE GIST OF THE ARGUMENTS OF THE TWO ARTICLES (first two links)
1. In the first link below, Sadanand Dhume argues that Biden’s reckless pullout is a disaster for India as “Islamabad terrorist groups will almost certainly use Afghanistan to organize attacks on Indian-controlled Kashmir and other parts of the country.”
2. In the second link, Wall Street Journal editors make the case that the Biden-Australia nuclear submarine deal is a good thing for the world despite French vociferous protests and New Zealand’s announcement that it will won’t allow the Australian subs into its territorial waters (really just a continuation of an existing policy.)
3. Is the message of the Afghan withdrawal that the US has ceded south and southwestern to Beijing? Is this the end of “Pax Americana”? Do land frontiers still matter or not? Is the takeaway that our allies should not count on America being there in their hour of need?
NB: Personally, I am torn between a constitutional optimism reinforced by the memory of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and a sense of doom based on a memory of the consequences of the Munich agreement in 1938 and the fall of Saigon in 1975.
Here is a link to the last three years of posts organized by theme:
Please share the coolest or most important thing you learned in the last week, month, or year related to foreign policy. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in our life related to foreign policy.
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. And to consolidate in your memory something important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is the key to depth of thought. The prospect of imminent publication, like hanging and final exams, concentrates the mind. A useful life long habit.