In a Jan. 3 commentary on the status of the four-nation “Quad”—U.S., Japan, Australia, and India—China’s Global Times suggested that that mechanism, set up as part of Joe Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy to counter and suppress Russia and China, isn’t doing too well. Biden snubbed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi by turning down an invitation to attend New Delhi’s Republic Day celebration followed by a Quad meeting on Jan. 27, to which Modi responded by cancelling the Quad summit. Biden was repeating his performance of last May when he refused to attend a Quad meeting hosted by Australia in Sydney, claiming that the debt-ceiling crisis at home required his presence in Washington.
As Global Times describes it, Biden is in a “life and death” battle for re-election, and that is his main priority. In fact, the U.S. never really had any interest in the national interests of Quad members, because the group was set up solely as an operation to be used against China. Don’t expect any major diplomatic initiatives regarding the Indo-Pacific during this election year, Global Times warns, because “neither the Quad nor the Indo-Pacific framework can increase Biden’s chances of an election victory, so Biden will abandon it for now.”
Not said is the reality that the Global Majority and the BRICS are on the move, making the Quad or any idea of an Asian NATO increasingly irrelevant, except to defenders of the “rules-based” global order.
The semi-official Chinese daily says many strategists perceive India to be the “weakest link” in the Quad and that it’s unclear how much the Quad can be relied on for cooperation. The U.S. “is frustrated with India in many ways” on global issues such as Russia. Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar just spent five days in Moscow, which didn’t please Washington, and New Delhi has refused to condemn Russia’s Ukraine operation or impose sanctions. “India’s stance is inconsistent with, or even contradictory to, that of the U.S.,” says Global Times.
Australia can also be expected to show some “dissonance” with the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy. While it agrees with the U.S.’s general geopolitical perspective, it is also working on improving its relations with China. Here’s the reality: “the establishment of any relations driven by strategic hysteria and delusions will naturally never go far.” With growing differences among the members’ interests, “this relationship may have reached its peak and is unlikely to effectively function as the pillar of Washington’s Indo-Pacific Strategy as the U.S. envisions,” Global Times concludes.