As the United States departed Afghanistan, the Chinese regime may seem poised to become the next superpower to dominate the Central Asian country. But, things may not go to plan for Beijing.
That’s according to Conrad Black, an author and former publisher, who said that China is treading in unfamiliar terrain in Afghanistan, where local nationalism sentiment could quickly rise and work against the regime.
Since no neighboring countries like the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) aggressive style of engagement, those countries may “scorch the fingers of an overreaching China,” Black said in an interview with EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders.”
In the wake of the United States’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, CCP propaganda has played up the narrative suggesting that Washington would “abandon” Taiwan just like how it left Afghanistan. However, that comparison doesn’t hold water for Black.
The United States has shown long-standing support for Taiwan in its efforts to fend off growing CCP aggression, and is also a solid partner to other Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan, he said.
“Those countries and others are aware that the United States is a very effective and powerful ally most of the time. They’re not going to show them [the United States] the door anytime soon,” said Black.
The Chinese regime, however, shouldn’t be underestimated, he said, while noting that Beijing had not used diplomacy to make itself more popular in the world. Contrary to the CCP propaganda narrative, Black believes that the United States is not in decline, though it might be plateauing.
The United States is still “fundamentally an extremely powerful country,” albeit in “an unusual, confused, internal state,” he said. The withdrawal from Afghanistan was an “embarrassment” and “interruption,” but not one the country cannot recover from, Black added.
Meanwhile, Black isn’t worried about Beijing’s possible expansion in the Central Asian region.
“Every cent they [China] spend in Afghanistan will be wasted,” he said.
But, in Black’s view, it’s crucial that the West, especially the United States, doesn’t rebuff Russia too forcefully, and thus drive Moscow into the arms of the CCP.
Going forward, Black recommends that NATO be repurposed as “an alliance of democratic states” with a presence in the Middle East. This configuration would thus serve as a containment strategy for China in the Far East and South Asia.