I borrow the title from Parag Khanna book, “The Future is Asian”
The established order is in transition at all three levels ie global, regional as well as internal (of Pakistan). At global level power is shifting from West to East and established super power is being challenged by an emerging power. At regional level, new alignments are coming up and CPEC is being seen as harbinger of change as well as turmoil. At internal level, Pakistan having overcome menace of terrorism is struggling for political and economic stability. At the grand strategy level rise of China is being contested. From status of a strategic competitor, China has risen to strategic rival for the US. The US has roled out one after another strategies and initiatives to contain China. The efforts commenced in 1951 with Island Strategy. Followed by Rebalancing Strategy, Pivot to Asia Strategy and Quad Strategy. Lately the US has announced Indo-Pacific Strategy. Its interesting to follow this contestation. Through Indo-Pacific Strategy, the US in my view is transiting from Trans-Atlantic Orientation to Trans-Pacific orientation. Such a reorientation is seemingly aimed at countering China’s moves in South China Sea (SCS) and be in a position to affect long, circuitous and vulnerable sea lines of communication (SLOCs) of China through SCS and Pacific. Thus importance of CPEC as alternate SLOCs for China. Rise of Asia in general and rise of China in particular is being contested tooth and nail. While future is of Asia as hypothesized by Parag Khanna, albiet not free of cost. Above map shows Four Triangles of Conflict. All these triangles are located in Asia. Three of these triangles have direct consequences for Pakistan and CPEC. Both extremities of CPEC and one of its shoulders are in flux. IOK next to start of CPEC is hot and so is Iran next to end of CPEC ie Gawadar. In the middle a troubled Afghanistan can jeopardise security of CPEC. The US is directly involved in creating turmoil on one extreme of CPEC ie Iran, however, US’ collusion with India in fomenting trouble in IOK is a matter of speculation. However, Indian actions in IOK provide an opportunity to the US. Any of the three triangles succeeding in favour of US/ India will have serious repercussions for CPEC, Pakistan and rise of China. Apparently Pakistan is once again being drawn into centre stage of rivalry of two giants. However, I feel Pakistan has greater prospects if we stand (firmly) by the waxing giant ie China rather than the waning one ie US.