But things did not go as it was exaggerated about. Just contrary to the political scientists' imagination, less than a decade after the Soviet breakdown, the US showed flaws and capability vacuum in the course of establishing its hegemony on the world stage.
This was because of two issues: On the one hand, Washington could no longer have under its control the European countries under the excuse of together guarding against the Eastern Bloc and communism of the Soviet Union. And on the other hand, the growing power of such countries as China, Russia, India, and Japan challenged the US being unquestionable hegemony. Since the early years of the third millennium, the American strategists underscored the need to take on the global stage's emerging powers as one of the priorities of the country’s foreign policy.
Meanwhile, the most capable nation to challenge the American might is China. With its population being 1.4 billion and with its military and economic strength thriving especially in the recent decades, China has taken a fast lane in comprehensive growth. The pattern of the Chinese advancement on the global stage is in a way that every American president upon his assumption of power has to present his strategy on how to counter a rising China. For example, the former American President Barack Obama in a 2010 address came clean on the issue, saying that Washington will use all of the tools and possibilities at its disposal to curb the Chinese strength. And now that President Donald Trump is holding the office, he aims at allying with China’s neighbor India to confront the county as the world's second economy. The current American administration is seeking to back an Indian entry to the global and regional developments in a bid to block the way of maturing Chinese power on the world arena.
The US Department of State now works on three tactics to implement this strategy.
1. Allying with India in regional coalitions and staging joint military drills
The most important strategy implemented by the Americans to tackle the Chinese power gain worldwide, and specifically in the Asia-Oceania region, is an attempt to form an anti-Chinese alliance in the region, with India participating in and even leading it. What Washington is struggling to realize among the ASEAN member states is gathering them in a united front against China. Washington eyes the highest-level role for New Delhi as it carries the military, economic, and popular potentials to take the duty.
Moreover, the military backing of India and launching war games with participation of the two countries' armies is another arrangement the US leaders are making against Beijing. The icon of such an alliance is the large-scale Malabar maritime exercises held every year. The last exercise was held in July this year, gathering together naval units from the US, India, and Japan for 10 days drills in Chennai in Bay of Bengal. Washington, New Delhi, and Tokyo intended to send a clear message to Beijing which has territorial and strategic disputes with the three countries. Responding to the American alliance-making attempts, China works on a policy of founding bilateral coalitions with the regional states. It, additionally, has under operation a strategy to increase its military bases to expand its presence to the East Asian waters.
2. Facilitating Indian influence in the region
The Chinese government’s actions over past decade have thrown the American leaders into a spin. Restructuring and modernizing its military and building artificial islands in East and South China Seas, as well as sending naval units to them, beside a step towards shoring up military cooperation with some regional countries, especially the neighboring ones, like Myanmar, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, China has given the US reasons to worry.
The Americans are doing their best to repulse that, with the major focus being on forging a new rival to Beijing. American leaders offer financial, military, and even diplomatic help to New Delhi, urging it to adopt more active foreign policy in dealing with its neighbors. Washington has taken practical steps towards that. In recent months, for instance, Washington has tried to embroil India into the internal issues of regional countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Myanmar. Especially when it comes to the historical rifts between New Delhi and Islamabad, for example over Kashmir, the Americans take pro-Indian stances to check the Chinese aspirations to boost ties with Islamabad.
3. Diplomatic support for India in Asia-Oceania region
And the last tactic the Americans take advantage of against China is the considerable broadening of the diplomatic relations between Washington and New Delhi. This intention clearly displayed itself in the first visit to India of the American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Eying a 100-year alliance with India, the American Secretary of State, whose trip coincided with the 19th National Congress of Communist Party of China held between October 18 and 24, hailed India for its warm relations with the US and at the same time directed harsh criticism against China, failing to put to work a degree of diplomatic conservatism in his tone.
Labelling Washington and New Delhi as the unwavering advocates of stability in the world, Tillerson said, "In this period of uncertainty and angst, India needs a reliable partner on the world stage. I want to make clear: with our shared values and vision for global stability, peace and prosperity, the US is that partner.”
The American foreign policy chief also blasted China’s behavior in the South China Sea, labelling it as” provocative.”
“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," he told a Washington audience ahead of his first visit to India as the top American diplomat. He noted that the US and India will stand in the face of that all.
These remarks and highlighting the Washington-New Delhi alliance as the pro-global stability factor are an indication of the Americans' diplomatic advocacy of India. By doing so, the White House struggles to get the Indians by its side and so minimize possibility of New Delhi creeping toward closeness to China or Russia. In fact, the Americans are highly worried about the prospect of a camp bringing together Russia, China, and India in opposition of the US. So, the pro-Indian diplomatic backing is aimed at steering clear of Beijing-New Delhi closeness.
But the American moves to ally with India in confrontation of China comes at the expense of further destabilization of Asia-Oceania region. Especially that the US military presence in the region and military collaboration with India sharpens the Chinese determination to more seriously bolster its military capabilities. This, in turn, can spark a substantial regional arms race, which even makes likely a military conflict.