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Mon Dec 23, 2019, 12:50 PM

American zero-sum folly. The Express Tribune of Pakistan

This is a good look at our foreign policy from the other side, and shows why we are losing our influence in the world. The article is not behind any paywall, Feel free to read it in its entirety.


In international relations, the zero-sum game theory postulates that the gains of one side are totally at the cost of the other side — that there can be no win-win for both sides. American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War has been of pursuing this zero-sum approach in relations with other powers. Even as America’s sole superpower status waned since 2000 with the rise of China and Russia, the US has persisted with this approach through Bush’s “with us or against us” and Trump’s “America First” doctrines. The result has been growing international instability and disorder.

A clear manifestation of this American zero-sum folly is the recent controversy stirred up by the gratuitous criticism of CPEC by a US official, inviting a sharp rebuke by China and Pakistan. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. American attempts to contain and confront China – and Russia – cover the entire spectrum of global inter-state relations. The Trump administration’s national security strategy of treating China and Russia as “threats” to American security officially acknowledged US policies since the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations to ensure the continuum of the “Pax Americana” by preventing the emergence of any challenger. Such “hubris” became even more compelling with the disastrous campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq just as China and Russia emerged as serious competitors. Instead of cooperating with them, the US has chosen confrontation.

The American zero-sum policy has relied on what it thinks defeated the Soviet Union — democracy and free markets. In fact, Bush claimed it was America’s moral duty to project these values by persuasion where possible and by force where necessary. The “greater Middle East” was one such project. Using a combination of military force, financial inducements and intelligence operations, including through human rights and development agencies, the US has attempted a regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Georgia, Ukraine, Sri Lanka and Lebanon. Socialist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba have also been targeted. More dangerously, instability is being stoked within China itself — in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, coupled with trade barriers and sanctions as well as an anti-China media blitz.


Unlike China, the US has not made any long-term investments towards Pakistan’s security or development. Even worse, its discriminatory policies of sanctions, denial of military and economic assistance and the full endorsement of India’s hegemonic ambitions, not only undermine Pakistan’s security but is a threat to the regional peace and stability.

In this environment of great power competition generated by America’s zero-sum approach, Pakistan needs to secure its interests by further strengthening its partnership with China. This does not imply that it should be hostile to the US, but it should certainly be realistic about its relations with America in which there is ever increasing divergence.

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Reply American zero-sum folly. The Express Tribune of Pakistan (Original post)
RainCaster Dec 2019 OP
Karadeniz Dec 2019 #1

Response to RainCaster (Original post)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 04:59 PM

1. Well! I think we've been slapped awake! Thanks for the good read.

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