As Pakistan Senator urges U.S. President Donald Trump to join CPEC, it is surprising how beneficial for the U.S. CPEC could be.
With Trump and his national security advisor putting pressure on Pakistan over its alleged “selective” fighting of terrorist groups in the terrorism-ridden region over the weekend, Pakistan’s Senator Rehman Malik is urging Washington to take part in its joint economic venture with China in order to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and Asia as a whole.
Senator Malik, who also serves as Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior and Narcotics Control, dismissed the White House’s claims of Pakistan having “paradoxical” policies on its exhausting fight against terrorism Malik claims is coming from both India and its stooges in neighboring Afghanistan.
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The Pakistani Senator emphasized on the importance of the Trump administration taking Indo-Afghan anti-Pakistan rhetoric with a grain of salt, and urged the U.S. President to help Pakistan eradicate extremism and terrorism by taking part in its joint project with China, CPEC. Senator Malik argued that Pakistan and China’s peaceful economic activities under the banner of CPEC could bring about prosperity, peace and economic stability to the entire region.
Moreover, Senator Malik added that the U.S. should engage other countries to join the game-changer $62 billion project, as engaging people in economic activities can de-radicalize the youth prone to developing extremist views and thus eradicate terrorism from the South and Central Asia.
But what are the actual benefits of the U.S. joining CPEC?
For U.S. CPEC Could Help Boost Influence in Asia
Although Senator Malik’s extended hand to the U.S. to join CPEC was met with skepticism in both Asia and the U.S., the notion of the world’s most influential country becoming part of arguably the most ambitious economic project in Asia to date offers a series of benefits, which in their magnitude are equally satisfying for both the U.S. and the entire Asian region.
After decades of stability and peace, which opened the door for economic growth in the region, many Asian nations have found themselves caught up in multiple perils to their stability today. Whether it is boiling territorial disputes – like in the case of Pakistan and India’s Kashmir or China and India’s Doklam plateau – nuclear and military rivalry, economic decline, intensifying extremist sentiments or regional wrestling for leadership and influence, the stability and peace in most countries in Asia have either vanished or is hanging in the balance.
Although one can argue that economic setbacks in Asia play into the hands of the U.S., which is concerned about the rapid pace of China’s continued economic growth, the risk of rising instability in the region outplays the questionable benefits of China losing its economic appeal and influence in the region.
As paradoxically as it may sound, the U.S. taking part in CPEC – the project that is set to expand China’s economic and political footprint in Asia – could actually benefit the U.S. itself, not to mention the potential extensive list of benefits for Asian powers.
For the U.S. CPEC could become a major step forward to increasing its influence and popularity among key Asian nations in the region.
U.S. Joining CPEC Can Help Eradicate Terrorism in Asia
Although cracks have steadily deepened in the decades-long friendship between Pakistan and the U.S. ever since Washington started accusing Islamabad of sheltering terrorist groups on its soil, for the U.S. CPEC could still become the ultimate antidote to peace and stability in Asia.
Not only could the U.S. help achieve stability in the region by being tightly incorporated in Asia through such a groundbreaking connectivity project as CPEC, but also prevent the growth of rivalries in the region and resolve some of the most pressing territorial disputes between regional rivals. At the time of the seemingly unending China vs. India crisis in the disputed Doklam plateau, the mere notion of the world’s most influential leader joining the major regional connectivity project cannot but bode well for the region. Especially given Washington’s visible tilt towards India of late.
While the decades-long partnership between the U.S. and Pakistan, which has been around since the Cold War era, has been plagued by Washington’s accusations of Islamabad’s alleged ties to terrorism, the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Pakistan have done just the opposite to U.S.’s hopes of eradicating terrorism in the region.
As the two former partners have traded blows on numerous occasions, the U.S. not helping Pakistan economically and militarily – like it used to help its major South Asian ally in the past – to fight terrorism has pushed the nation only deeper into the terrorism mayhem.
The U.S. being closely aligned with CPEC could open the door for finding the viable solution to the terrorism crisis stemming from the region. Though that’s by far not the only potential benefit of Washington marrying itself with the ambitious inter-connectivity Asian project.
CPEC Could End US-China Trade Setbacks and South China Sea Drama
Despite Trump’s numerous attempts to patch up the growing trade deficit between the U.S. and China, CNBC reported on Tuesday that China maintained its trade surplus with the U.S. of around $25 billion last month. With the U.S. President previously warning Beijing of a trade war if it fails to open up its economy to U.S. companies, the U.S. becoming part of CPEC – the project that the Chinese economy seems to be focused on the most in 2017 – could pave the way to the Chinese economy opening its doors to U.S. businesses to fill in the large trade deficit gap.
For the U.S. CPEC would entail increased cooperation between American, Pakistani and Chinese workers in various fields, which could potentially lay out the groundwork for finding common ground on the South China Sea issue. As Beijing’s actions in the disputed waters continue causing quite a stir in the international community, the U.S. establishing strong economic and diplomatic ties with China could help reach a much sought after consensus on the South China Sea dispute.
U.S. Joining Pakistan and China’s CPEC Could Dismantle North Korea’s Nuclear Program
Being a staunch critic of China’s actions in the disputed waters on his presidential campaign trail, in the past several months Trump has backed off criticism against Beijing in hopes to get China’s assistance in helping dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapon program, arguably the most unpredictable issue for the region and the world as a whole.
While the U.S. has remained the driving force behind the international community’s efforts to contain North Korea’s nuclear threat, China has been quite reluctant to strong-arm its major trade partner. One can argue that the tense relations between Washington and Beijing is the biggest obstacle preventing the two nations from effectively working together to resolve the North Korean crisis.
U.S. Could Put an End to China-India and Pakistan-India Border Tensions
As relations between China and India have reached their lowest in the aftermath of the volatile border stand-off since mid-June, the U.S. – as a major partner of India – could help bring down the boiling tensions on the border between the two arch rivals, but only if heals the wounds of a bleeding U.S.-China relationship first. One can argue that Washington becoming part of CPEC would be that viable adhesive to fix the chilly U.S.-China relations.
For the U.S. CPEC could also help ease tensions between Pakistan and India, as Washington enjoys close ties with both, its long-time ally and its relatively-new partner. The Kashmir dispute between Islamabad and New Delhi can be resolved only though dialogue, and the U.S. could become that bridge between the two traditional rivals.
All in all, for the U.S. CPEC could become an opportunity to prevent rivalries and wars in Asia, prevent the region from plunging into a nuclear crisis, improve its stance in the region where it has lost much of its influence over the past several decades as well as eradicate terrorism.