Kamala Harris diplomatic tour

Date:

Coming right after the embarrassing fiasco in Afghanistan, US vice president, Harris’s visit, is a part of a diplomatic charm offensive by the Biden administration in Southeast Asia.

Biden administration is the third one after Mr Obama’s and Mr Trump’s, to pivot US’s diplomacy away from the Middle East towards the Asia-Pacific region.

This region is crucial to the prosperity and security of the United States. And the vice president has some convincing hope for the host countries.

Shifting ties

There were concerns about the Biden administration’s lack of interest in the region when he didn’t call for any respective meets and focused solely on rebuilding ties with Europe.

But the visit of deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman and Then defence secretary Lloyd Austin have signalled the seriousness for this region.

The US has a mind map for re-engaging Asia-Pacific trade networks that the previous administration abruptly withdrew.

Ms Harris will also push for the idea of digital trade pacts with several countries to cover the emerging AI blockchain technology.

She will also propose more profound healthcare and medical partnerships by opening the first regional branch of the US centre for Disease control in Hanoi.

Countering china effect

The US recently donated 23 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in the South East Asian region. There was a positive response from the countries, as they picked MRNA technology over the cheap Chinese vaccines.

Similarly, there is a stiff completion between both the countries in every sector- from semiconductors to 5G- infrastructure and the US want to win this battle badly.

It’s is said that if the South-East Asian region were a single country, it would be the world’s fifth-largest economy.

Given its economic importance, China has already made its bet for a tight trade relationship through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Biden administration has already accepted this bitter trade reality and aims to change the global supply chain structure in its favour.

Difficult acceptance

President Biden has talked a lot about a diplomacy “rooted in America’s most cherished democratic values” and has planned to work extensively on the human rights issue, which was the most neglected one by the previous administration.

The US has intended to urge for a more decisive action by the South East Asian countries to help to solve the crisis in Myanmar.

There is a popular saying that no matter how much you try, the shadow of your past will always follow you.

The same is the case of the USA when it abruptly left the region divided and vulnerable back in 1975 and has repeated the same thing In the case of Afghanistan again.

Thus the revival of trust is not something that the US can gain quickly. It will require a collaborative approach from the US to push for close economic and strategic ties.

The region has its doubts about the various grouping of the US, which the US needs to tackle with the growing influence of china on the other side.

Keeping this all aside, how Ms Harris will keep her agendas before the member countries surely bring some significant changes in the global policy structure.

Alisha Singh
Alisha Singh
A political science graduate from the University of Mumbai, with a keen interest towards geopolitics and international affairs. A curious reader with a "want to know it all" outlook and a part time writter who finds solace in expressing her thoughts through her writings.She lives with a burning desire to excel in her field choices and loves to connect with people overa cup of tea and some political gossips!

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