Explained: The Effects of Strategic Uncertainty on the Pacific

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Broadly speaking, the international system is undergoing a process of transformation. Alongside increasing strategic competition between the United States and China, a more multi-polar system is emerging; middle powers are asserting their own interests and increasingly shaping the global environment.

Chandigarh (ABC Live): The Pacific region has grained geopolitical significance after the United States China strategic competition. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend Pacific Islands leaders to be held 22/05/2023 in Papua New Guinea.

The ABC Research Team working on Pacific Islands Forum refers the Pacific Security Outlook Report 2022-2023 published by Pacific Islands Forum which outlines the Effects of Strategic Uncertainty on the Pacific region.

The Report says as under;

Broadly speaking, the international system is undergoing a process of transformation. Alongside increasing strategic competition between the United States and China, a more multi-polar system is emerging; middle powers are asserting their own interests and increasingly shaping the global environment. 

Within above context, the Pacific region is increasingly contested with the US and its allies setting out their strategic intent through respective Indo-Pacific Strategies; while China continues to advance its own strategic agenda through initiatives such as the China-Pacific Poverty Reduction Cooperation Centre, and economic, development and security-based programming both bilaterally and sub-regionally in the Pacific. 

At the same time, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has further complicated global political and economic stability. Since the conflict intensified with the deeper invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces on 24 February 2022, the global stock market lost nearly 1 trillion US dollars with commodity markets (including in particular oil and wheat) being hit the hardest. 

Pacific economies, already hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, are now dealing with the added impacts of this conflict, particularly on the cost of living.

Given the rise in global energy and food demand and prices, COVID-related supply chain disruptions, as well as natural disasters such as flooding in Fiji and the volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga, inflationary pressure is already taking a firm hold on some Pacific countries.

The fluidity of the international geopolitical environment and instability in the global economy as described above is likely to challenge the ‘friends to all’ approach taken by a number of Forum member countries in coming years. Increased partner engagement in the security sector in the region could challenge many countries’ capacity to effectively coordinate support and prioritise efforts. 

In resource-constrained security sectors, aligning support from partners to priority focus areas and avoiding duplication will become increasingly important. Two Year Projection: Shifts in global trade, rapid technological development and the fraying rules-based global order are likely to negatively impact peace and stability in the region. 

Geopolitical tension is likely to increase, and major powers are likely to continue to compete for influence in the region to protect and promote their own interests.

In an already resource-constrained environment, coordination of support from competing partners is likely to be difficult. Non-aligned, duplicative support offers might ultimately overwhelm the small security sector in the region, and subsequently undermine some peace and security efforts.

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