Trump’s aversion to multilateralism ‘very dangerous’

The World Economic Forum's panel titled 'The Geopolitical Agenda' kicked off on Tuesday. (Screenshot)
Updated 22 January 2019

Trump’s aversion to multilateralism ‘very dangerous’

  • The panel was moderated by the dean of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies Vali Nasr
  • Singaporean academic Kishore Mahbubani said that “rationally what the established power US should be doing is engaging in multilateralism with a rising power like China”

DAVOS: The World Economic Forum's panel titled 'The Geopolitical Agenda' kicked off on Tuesday with panelists from China, Japan, Singapore and the US focusing on the US’s relationship with Asia amid trade wars and President Donald Trump’s policies.

The panel was moderated by the dean of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies Vali Nasr.

“Trump’s aversion and hostility to multilateralism is very much dangerous,” Chairman of the Asia Pacific Initiative Yoichi Funabashi said.

“For the past 30-40 years, Japan and East Asia has benefited greatly from the liberal international order where free trade and multilateralism is an essential part as guiding principles,” he added.

Dean of the Institute of International Relations at Tsinghua University Yan Xuetong explained how coming to a solution between China and the US amid the trade conflict will not be easy.

However, he stated that the conflict will not spill over to military or ideological ones.

“More and more countries will prefer to do the bilateral discussion than the multilateral, so in that way bilateral diplomacy is gaining momentum,” Xuetong said, adding that “As long as US is the strongest power in the world and US impact still number one and larger than anyone else, the most important thing is that no matter what the US does, it is always an example for others to follow.”

Singaporean academic Kishore Mahbubani said that “rationally what the established power US should be doing is engaging in multilateralism with a rising power like China.”

Mahbubani’s comments fell in line with Director-General of Royal United Services Institute Karin von Hippel’s comments on the Trump administration’s challenges.

“The challenge Trump poses to the order is that he’s been more focused on disrupting, but not focused on what to put in its place” von Hippel said.

The discussion delved further into technological advances and the cyber obstacles that stand in the way and aid countries and nations. 

“I think there’s still so much confusion on what it [AI] means and how to apply it and how to control it, and you can add that the concerns about technology and the rapid changes in technology add to this uncertainty that many of us have,” Von Hippel said. 

 


Taliban talks resume amid hopes of deal

Updated 22 August 2019

Taliban talks resume amid hopes of deal

  • The disclosure came in a context of ongoing bloodshed in Afghanistan after NATO said two US military personnel were killed Wednesday
  • Washington is hoping to strike an agreement with the Taliban by September 1 — ahead of Afghan polls due the same month

DOHA: The US and the Taliban met in Doha on Thursday, an American source close to the talks said, for potentially decisive dialogue to allow Washington to drawdown militarily in Afghanistan.
The source said the talks started around 1300 GMT — the ninth time the two foes have met face-to-face.
The disclosure came in a context of ongoing bloodshed in Afghanistan after NATO said two US military personnel were killed Wednesday, blasts rocked Jalalabad Monday, and the death toll from a weekend wedding bombing reached 80.
Washington’s top commander in Afghanistan General Scott Miller was at the talks venue, according to an AFP correspondent.
The US, which invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban in 2001, wants to withdraw thousands of troops but only in return for the insurgent group renouncing Al-Qaeda and curbing attacks.
Washington is hoping to strike an agreement with the Taliban by September 1 — ahead of Afghan polls due the same month, and US presidential polls due in 2020.
Taliban lead negotiator Abbas Stanikzai told AFP Thursday that overall talks had been “going well.”
The talks are expected to focus on establishing a timeline for the US withdrawal of its more than 13,000 troops in Afghanistan.
“We’ve been there for 18 years, it’s ridiculous,” US President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday.
“We are negotiating with the government and we are negotiating with the Taliban,” he said.
“We have good talks going and we will see what happens.”
But the thorny issues of power-sharing with the Taliban, the role of regional powers including Pakistan and India, and the fate of Afghanistan’s incumbent administration remain unresolved.
US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad sought to bolster optimism for a peace agreement last week when he said in a tweet that he hoped this is the final year that the country is at war.