The introduction of this week’s two complementary narratives into the West’s information ecosystem suggest that this de facto New Cold War bloc’s American leader is recalibrating its grand strategy. Policymakers appear to have concluded that their side can’t restore unipolarity, instead settling for managing multipolar processes in the direction of their interests as much as is realistically possible, to which end they must engage more with the Global South and revive talks with China on a New Détente.
Two new narratives were introduced into the West’s information ecosystem over the past week. The first concerns the need to adapt to multipolar processes by engaging more with the Global South, which was expressed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, former US National Security Council member Fiona Hill, and Goldman Sachs’ President of Global Affairs Jared Cohen all on the exact same day last Monday. The next narrative complemented this one and came two days later on Wednesday.
Global affairs guru Henry Kissinger’s lengthy interview with The Economist from late April was published on that day, in which he devoted considerable time explaining why the US should its revive talks with China on a New Détente that were unexpectedly derailed by February’s balloon incident. CNN then reported on that same day that “Biden administration looking at arranging high-profile visits to China by senior officials”, which suggests that it was earlier briefed about his proposal and heeded his advice.
The first narrative about engaging more with the Global South complements the second one about reviving talks with China on a New Détente in the sense that the former is one of the three prerequisites for successfully accomplishing the latter, at least according to how American policymakers likely view it. They want to signal that the US won’t voluntarily cede influence in the Global South to China, but instead plans to compete with it there via economic and diplomatic means.
This goal will greatly be advanced through a combination of pragmatic engagement with the Global South’s informal Indian leader, whose Prime Minister visits the US late next month, and coordinating between America’s “Build Back Better World” and the EU’s “Global Gateway” development initiatives. These subgoals also align with Kissinger’s suggestions about cooperating more closely with India as well as crafting an inspirational vision for this century (i.e. merging the West’s development initiatives).
The second prerequisite for successfully negotiating a New Détente with China upon the seemingly impending resumption of this process is to diplomatically displace its envisaged role in the Russian-Ukrainian peace process. In pursuit of this, the US wants to “de-Sinify” the scenario of a ceasefire after the end of Kiev’s NATO-backed counteroffensive, which explains its support of the African-led peace mission that was announced on Tuesday in between Monday and Wednesday’s new narratives.
What’s most interesting about this initiative is that it’s organized by the Brazzaville Foundation, whose French chairman Jean-Yves Olivier is known for his shadow diplomacy over the decades that was documented by Wikipedia. This suggests that their peace mission is secretly organized by France with the US’ tacit approval, if not jointly coordinated with it, which would advance their goal of diplomatically engaging with the Global South in parallel with “de-Sinifying” the Russian-Ukrainian peace process.
Both’s prospects would be bolstered by India’s participation in these efforts, which has its own interests in presenting itself to the world as a peace broker, especially throughout the course of its G20 chairmanship. These two prerequisites for enhancing the odds that the US successfully negotiates a New Détente with China concern the economic and diplomatic spheres respectively, while the third that’ll now be described deals with the military one.
“The US Is Rounding Up Allies Ahead Of A Possible War With China”, while “NATO’s Planned Liaison Office In Japan Will Accelerate The Expansion Of AUKUS+”, both of which will contribute to more effectively containing China in the Asia-Pacific. American policymakers apparently expect that the People’s Republic will accept this emerging regional military reality instead of it serving to preclude the resumption of their talks on a New Détente.
Not only that, but they seem to think that it could even give their side an edge of some sort in those negotiations too, or at least enable the US to speak to China “from a position of strength” as they see it. The message would be that this containment noose could tighten even more if Beijing doesn’t agree to resume such talks, not to mention if they fail to achieve anything tangible, thus making it a form of military blackmail when viewed from this perspective.
Altogether, the introduction of this week’s two complementary narratives into the West’s information ecosystem suggest that this de facto New Cold War bloc’s American leader is recalibrating its grand strategy. Policymakers appear to have concluded that their side can’t restore unipolarity, instead settling for managing multipolar processes in the direction of their interests as much as is realistically possible, to which end they must engage more with the Global South and revive talks with China on a New Détente.
The observations shared in this analysis shouldn’t be interpreted as predicting the success of these policies, but simply as arguments that this approach is indeed being attempted and was almost certainly influenced by Kissinger’s suggestions that he shared in his interview. He and The Economist are close to American policymakers so they likely passed his ideas along to relevant figures, after which they agreed with the gist thereof and subsequently began implementing them this week as proven in this piece.