Once again the African continent experiences a major regional tension as a result of colonialist

moves and decisions made throughout the last few centuries. The geo-political game played between

all European superpowers within the continent created a bunch of long-term consequences, which

are indeed still visible now a day.

There are infinite examples for proving this statement right. This article specifically is intended to

analyze one big conflict created out of the colonial era; the repercussions of which have recently

been reminded of in the media: the long-lasting rivalry over the Nile River amongst Egypt, Ethiopia

and Sudan.téléchargement

An historical overview

Back in the 1950’s, Britain established its colonies around the Nile River, as this represented the most

crucial natural asset in the African continent. Once the imperialist époque was put to an end, this

valuable natural resource was divided into two, each attributed to Egypt and Sudan respectively.

However, just like the African countries’ borders were drawn in a very geometric random manner,

the Nile’s division was also made while completely ignoring the reality on the ground. In fact, the

Nile’s waters appeared to be, in a large part, under possession of the Ethiopian government, and

many more African countries around the Nile. Ethiopia could survive as a country precisely because

of its use of the Nile River as a major source for the maintenance of its social and political stability.

Actually, Ethiopia had even been the first African country able to escape the colonialist influence

thanks to the independence that the River provided her with. Thus, as soon as the British made

promises to their old colonies, leaving Ethiopia out of the picture, tensions between the three

countries commenced. All of a sudden, the Nile turned from a major energy source into a major

conflict source, which would last for thousands of years.

The quest for all the African countries to attain regional power and influence after their

independence was given from the colonial countries would create a race between all big countries to

ensure as many resources as possible. Egypt, on the one hand, had always ambitioned to be a leading

country in the continent. Ethiopia, on the other hand, had desired to follow a rapid development

path, a political transformation and to reach a respectable weight in the continent’s political


Recent advancements

Egypt had, since then, become extremely dependent on the Nile waters for drinking use, energy

purposes, agricultural matters and many more. All of which explains the very reluctant, nearly

repulsive, reaction of the Egyptian government in the moment Ethiopia announced, in 2011, its

intentions to build the biggest hydroelectric damn across the river’s largest tributary, the Blue Nile.

The so-called Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Damn (GERD) project—aimed at using water as a system

for energy production— sparked an imminent threat to Egypt, and represented an escalating factor

in the already tense Egypt-Ethiopia relations. During the last years this was considered to be an

element capable of triggering a regional war, would Egypt be interested in protecting its lifeline.

Nevertheless, out of a common interest to safeguard the region’s serenity and avoid the upset of the

geopolitical balance, such hypothetical war has been contained up until now.

According to Ethiopian authorities the GERD project is to be ready to produce electricity in 2017, and

will be the largest hydroelectric project in Africa, counting on some 8,500 laborers who are already

working around the clock to build it. 2011-634518698697789136-778

The reason this issue has come back to the front pages in the media is the following: since the

beginning of 2015 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and

Ethiopian Prime Minister Halemariam Desalegn signed a declaration in Sudan’s capital Khartoum,

pledging to better share the Nile’s waters. Such a deal could not have been reached before Sisi

replaced its predecessor Mohammed Morsi. Sisi’s policy towards the Ethiopian dam appeared to be

quite more appeased, as opposed to Morsi, who threatened the initiation of a war in repeated

occasions. “The lives of the Egyptians are connected around [the Nile]… If it diminishes by one drop

then our blood is the alternative,” he said in a broadcast speech at the time. But Mr. Sisi has put

forward a more conciliatory note with the Ethiopians, while Sudan, normally in line with Cairo’s

policy over the Nile, has been acting as an intermediary.

As such, the March 2015 agreement includes a consensus amongst the three leaders over a

“declaration of principles”. Given that the Nile issue has been touching upon the national security

concerns of the three countries, this agreement reached upon aims, above all, to rebuild a solid trust

between the three governments. This agreement outlines 10 principles determining the managerial

approach that Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt should adopt for the Eastern Nile waters. The principles:

common understanding, good faith, development, not causing significant damage, fair and

appropriate use of water, trust building, exchange of information and data, dam security,

sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the state, and peaceful settlement of disputes.

However, given that previous agreements signed throughout history, including the colonial era, have

not been annulled by this new declaration of principles, we should highlight the importance of the

principle of good faith, the major pillar of respect for the signed agreement. preview_the-river-nile-in-cairo

As the Taliban continues to be diplomatically marginalized, they made a request to the world community, asking them to recognize their “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” The international community has pushed the group to build a government that includes everyone and to guarantee that women’s rights are protected; however, the Taliban appears to have disregarded these demands.
The de facto authorities published a decree on the 24th of December prohibiting women from working in NGOs. This most recent directive came after an earlier one that barred women from attending universities and prevented girls from attending secondary schools.By preventing women from enrolling in higher education programmes, the Taliban regime in Afghanistan delivered what was likely the death blow to the cause of educating women. After making pledges to protect women’s rights the new authorities of Afghanistan have ultimately decided to close all of the schools in the country, forcing female students in grades seven through twelve to remain at home.
The Taliban have reneged on the majority of the pledges they made shortly after their return to power in August of 2021. Thousands of  Afghans, including women, have fled the nation out of fear that the Taliban would return to power and continue the bloody rule they established in the 1990s. The Taliban’s policy of systemic discrimination is being carried on in its current iteration, which prohibits women from entering universities.
Since August 2021, Taliban have prevented girls from attending secondary schools, limited women’s and girls’ freedom of movement, excluded women from the majority of available jobs.  Since the Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan, women and girls have been effectively excluded from Afghani public life. In the beginning, the Taliban made hollow claims that women would be able to “enjoy their rights within Sharia law,” which included the ability to work and study. However, these assurances turned out to be nothing more than hollow promises. Women are expected to conceal their faces in public and must have a male chaperone whenever they travel, and they are prohibited from working outside the home for the most part. In addition, women are not permitted to vote or hold public office.

In most professions, women were not allowed to work outside the home. Only women whose occupations could not be done by men were allowed to come to work, for example, limited jobs in education, health, and some jobs in the police force. The same proclamation also stated that the sole employment that women were permitted to do for the government of Kabul was to clean female restrooms. Women who had positions as judges, prosecutors, and attorneys have either departed the country or been demoted and replaced by former Taliban fighters and graduates of Madrasas (traditional schools) who have no prior experience in the judicial system. Initially, and prior to the implementation of the new limits in December 2022, the Taliban enforced a prohibition on girls participating in secondary education, which included grades 7 through 12. Girls were not permitted to return to secondary schools, despite the fact that the de facto authorities had previously committed to doing so.

The Taliban adhere to a puritanical interpretation of Islam, and the supreme head of the movement, Hibatullah Akhundzada, along with his inner circle of Afghan clerics, are staunch opponents of modern education, particularly for girls and women.
It is imperative that the Taliban immediately lift their ban on the enrollment of women in universities and allow secondary schools for female students in Afghanistan to reopen. It is imperative that the international community, as well as the countries that provide aid to Afghanistan, make it clear to the Taliban how damaging it will be for not only Afghan women and girls, but for the entire population of Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s army is one of the largest armies in the world. Historically, the reason behind the creation of armies was to protect society from any external threats. With the change in the war dynamics and the nature of the threats to any state, the responsibilities of the armies have also expanded. Pakistan has been mired in internal as well as external challenges enhancing the army’s responsibilities. Whenever there is a disaster, the army is called, for the traditional and non-traditional security threats army is looked at. But with such vast responsibilities, it looks like the army wold has asked for a huge proportion of the country’s budget. But, this is not the case. Pakistan army under current COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa has not just asked for a limited budget but contributed also through other means to protect the economy.

Over the past fifty years, looking at the enfeebling economy, the army’s budget has also decreased. In the 1970s army’s budget was 6.5% of the total GDP, compared to 2.54% in 2021. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Pakistan spends much lesser than other countries, despite being 7th largest army in the world. Oman spends 12%, Lebanon 10.5%, Saudi Arabia 8%, Kuwait 7.1%, Algeria 6.7%, Iraq 5.8%, UAE 5.6%, Azerbaijan 4%, Turkey 2.77%, Morocco 5.3%, Israel 5.2%, Jordan 4.9%. Armenia 4.8%, Mali 4.5%, Qatar 4.4%, Russia 3.9%, US 3.4%, and India 3.1%. Pakistan spends much lesser on its soldiers compared to the other countries, which ultimately spares room for the economy to allocate the budget for other developmental projects. In the fiscal year 2020/21, the Pakistan army contributed PKR 28bn to the country’s economy through direct tax.

Also read: Walking in The Narrow Corridor: Pakistan Government and the Balochistan Problem

Besides, the Pakistan army is also contributing to welfare as well as creating job opportunities. Fauji Foundation is perceived as a business venture of the Pakistan army. But the reality is something else. Fauji Foundation is a charitable trust working under the Charitable Endowment Act of 1890 whose more than 73% of its income is directly spent on Shuhada, war wounded, and disabled soldiers. In 2021, FF’s contribution to welfare activities has reached RS 1 billion per annum. Moreover, Fauji Group is among the highest taxpayers. The number of civilian employees in FG is more than military workers. There are 22,652 civilians and around 4000 ex-servicemen in Fauji Foundation. DHAs are also a self-sustaining initiative that not only supports society but also provides economic opportunities. Special Communication Organization (SCO) is another organization that has generated 4612 jobs in the communication sector. It is a telecom network in AJ&K and GB. Besides these organizations, FWO, NLC, and ITS are other organizations and systems that help the country in infrastructural development and also in bringing social stability through economic and job opportunities.

Pakistan army has played important role in resolving international disputes that could cost Pakistan badly through economic penalties. Karkey Karadeniz Electrik Uterim, Rekodiq, and FATF are some important issues. Karkey Karadeni Electrik Uterim, a Turkish company was involved in corruption in Turkey, Switzerland, Lebanon, Panama, and Dubai. When the evidence was produced in front of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes Tribunal, Pakistan was fined $1.2 bn. This could shrink Pakistan’s economy by 2%. Pakistan army resolved the disputes through negotiations. In the Rekodiq case, Pakistan was fined $11 bn, but negotiations with all the relevant stakeholders helped in resolving the dispute. Several rounds of negotiations were held to resolve the matter. After the resolution, the project brought economic and social opportunities for the people of Baluchistan. The government of Pakistan will pay a revenue stream to the Government of Baluchistan. It will create 8000 job opportunities for skilled labor while for the non-skilled labor, the project will create 12000 jobs. Pakistan has been relieved from the FATF Grey List. This has only become possible because of efforts from the political and military institutions. Counter-terrorism was the most specific concern of the FATF authorities, and the world knows the contributions the Pakistan army has made in countering extremist and terrorist factions in the country.

Last but not the least, under the current COAS, the government has been paying a lot of attention to the security of CPEC. Baluchistan is the most destabilized province due to extremist organizations. It enhances the army’s responsibilities to provide extra protection to foreign workers and developmental projects. Because these extremist factions have been targeting foreign nationals and developmental projects. So, 2 exclusive SSD units have been raised for CPEC security and also a comprehensive security mechanism has been evolved for protecting foreign nationals.

It shows how Pakistan’s army has evolved effectively among the world’s best armies with the minimum budget required for such initiatives.


Climate change isn’t something people get to choose to believe or not: it’s happening. Since pre-industrial times, human-caused climate change has resulted in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions that has led to an average temperature rise of over 1 degree Celsius on Earth. The next four decades have each been successively warmer than the decade before it since 1850. We are observing a warming atmosphere and changing climatic conditions worldwide as a result of climate change, which has serious consequences for our physical environment.

In 2021, the intergovernmental panel on climate change report sounded a red alert for humanity. It stressed how human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2000 years. This left no room for doubt. The record concentration levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are unequivocally due to human activities rooted in the burning of fossil fuels. The goal of 2015 Paris agreement aims to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels; preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius. But at the current trajectory, the world is on, we are at risk of falling significantly short of these targets. According to the World Meteorological Organization, in 2020, the global mean surface temperature was 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than in pre-industrial times. 2020 was also one of the three warmest years on record.

The impact humans have had on the climate has, and continues to, alter nature. We are inching closer and closer to ecological tipping points, many of which are irreversible. Changes in extreme weather are affecting every region of the world, making heat waves, heavy rainfall, and droughts more frequent and severe. This rise in global temperature aggravates the rate at which sea levels are rising, corals are bleaching, the ocean acidifying, biodiversity is being lost and heat waves, tropical cyclones, and fire-related events are taking place. Delicate ecosystems like small low-lying island states, semi-arid and arid areas, and arctic and tundra environments face a greater threat of climate change. However, the environment does not exist in a vacuum and neither does human society.

Everything is interconnected. Every single way in which climate change impacts our environment has a ripple effect that will manifest in the short, medium, or long term. As a threat multiplier, climate change puts us at risk of reversing the gains in growth and sustainable development made in the last few decades. This indicates that the effects of climate change are manifest throughout our social, economic, cultural, and political fabric in addition to affecting our weather patterns and physical surroundings. The way people feel the impacts of climate change and respond to it is determined by multidimensional and intersecting inequalities. If you think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money. (Guy McPherson)

The climate crisis disproportionately affects women and girls as they tend to rely more heavily on natural resources, public services, and infrastructure. They are restricted to and very seldom controlled. They are also less represented in decision-making in general, so climate responses are no different. These processes are influenced by the very same socio-economic and cultural norms that discriminate against women and girls in other areas. When it comes to specific climate change impacts, women and girls are particularly affected in at least five areas: food security, water availability, health, gender-based violence, and climate-induced displacement and migration. Women play a critical role in global food security. Many smallholder farmers are women whose livelihoods and food sources are at risk from climate change. In addition, male-dominated structures often govern land ownership, making it hard for women to access the fertile plots that they require to produce food for their survival and that of their families.

Also, climate change is intensifying water scarcity, which adds to women’s time burden as it is often their responsibility to collect fresh water. In addition, high temperatures and salinization of sources of drinking water have a detrimental impact on maternal and child health. Linked to this, the increased incidence of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, cholera, and typhoid increases the risk of pregnant women contracting these diseases. This, combined with unequal care burdens, can disproportionately pressure women and girls to support their families. These demands on women are further intensified during disasters when the risk of sexual and gender-based violence is greatest. Child and forced marriages, as well as increased human trafficking, can occur as a harmful coping mechanism among those who suffer the most from climate change-related economic stress. These challenging economic conditions forced families out of their communities and most of the time, those displaced are women. As we can see, it is those who are least responsible that often bear the brunt of the most adverse effects of climate change. This can further deepen existing inequalities and affect the ability of women and society at large to manage and recover from the impacts of climate change. As former US President Barack Obama once said that “We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it”.

Ferguson was very right when he elaborated state is comprised of two entities, society, and government. Society is comprised of people, institutions, cultures, different ethnic and pressure groups, etc. While the government is the ruler of the state. Ferguson said that the efficiency and the working of the state depend upon the relations of the society with the government. They walk in a narrow corridor holding each other accountable for their actions and asking to fulfill their duties as explained in Rousseau’s social contract. Pakistan is also such a state where the groups and the government are in a tussle with each other. Balochistan has indulged in insurgencies against the state leaving vulnerabilities for external actors to exploit them. Now, walking in the narrow corridor, society and the government do not cross the limits. There are duties and responsibilities lying at each other’s end. There are ways to cater to each other and if anyone goes beyond, the balance in the state comes under trouble. What is happening in Balochistan is the result of entities crossing their limits and that is why the balance is distorted.

Also read: Developing Balochistan: Answering Baloch Grievances 

Right after the inception, there started insurgencies in Balochistan against the center. Hitherto, these insurgencies were led by Sardars who held political influence in the region. But what is happening today in Balochistan is violent where non-state extremist actors are running campaigns against the center. The first limit is crossed by these groups. Instead of opting for a political solution, the government chose military means to suppress the insurgency. In some ways, the military aspect of the counterinsurgency can be justified as there is multiple evidence proving foreign intervention through these proxies in destabilizing Balochistan. Kulbhushan Yadav was just one example of India supporting Baloch insurgents. Aslam Baloch, the commander of the Majeed Brigade of BLA is notorious for its attacks on foreign citizens, and security personnel often seeks his medical treatment in India. So, it is necessary to cut these insurgent groups to their size through military means.

Under current COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the military has contributed a lot in catering to this insurgency issue. But only military means cannot resolve the Balochistan issue. Analysts have variously recommended that the military can bring only short-term peace in the region. The Baloch insurgent groups can be banished, but as these groups have local support, it will be impossible to have it all resolved by military might.

Until the social and economic grievances of the Baloch people are not answered through political means, the troubled world remains there. Whether it is the political representation of the Baloch, providing economic opportunities for them, giving them shares in the CPEC, and bringing development, the states must change their policies towards Balochistan. One of the major concerns of Baloch is the establishment of extensive check posts and military checks. Although these checks are necessary amidst threats from foreign proxies, to compensate and consolidate the Baloch, some check posts must be eradicated. The government must prove that insurgent groups are not serving the interest of Baloch but rather instigating instability. This cannot be proven by hard means but rather by engaging them softly to show up they matter to the government.

Sometimes, one has to sacrifice and be intimate to collaborate with others to benefit all. If the government does not take this initiative, it will keep on costing the state because insurgent groups are neither interested in negotiation nor they serve the interests of Baloch. So it’s up to the government how it should engage the Baloch people, and ask of their grievances to be answered. Otherwise, the balance in Pakistan relative to relations between society and government will remain troubled. Walking in the narrow corridor has some principles to be followed to benefit the whole house.

Tunis, September 23, 2022, The Tunisian Association for Health promotion, in partnership with the World Health Organisation, hosted the Africa and Middle East Digital Health Conference and Exhibition (AMDHC) in Tunisia from Thursday 22nd to Saturday 24th September at the Mehari Golden Yasmin and Diar Lemdina Expo Centre, Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia.

The conference and exhibition aims were to stimulate a new vision of health through information technology, building on the experience of Tunisia and others who will share their knowledge and expertise during the event. AMDHC is designed to enable attendees to learn from other Digital Health transformation strategies and programmes, as well as understanding the services and applications that can be used, standards that need to be applied and interoperability, the event desired to stimulate and accelerate the digitalisation of healthcare across the region.

With over 500m2 of exhibition space and over 40 exhibitors, attendees of the conference and exhibition were able to see systems in operation and speak to those who can provide solutions to digitalise healthcare. With 50 speakers from across the world, and a programme of tailored events, the conference and exhibition hosted over 150 doctors, IT engineers, digital health experts also atttended. Indeed, it’s been a great opportunity to listen to experienced experts from across the world as well as meet and network with innovative suppliers and build a regional digital healthcare community across Africa and the Middle East.

The recent global pandemic has highlighted the importance being able to collect and collate data from across a broad area so it can be analysed and used in the fight of diseases and illness. Digital healthcare systems can enable this and thus facilitate a focus of resources into keenly affected areas and allow decision makers to be able to make crucial decisions, with facts. More broadly, digital healthcare systems create an ability to care for more people across a broader geography. It allows access to medical records, which can be crucial when treating the sick, and eases access to healthcare.

Mr Izhar Mahjoub, AMDHC Head of Scientific Committee, said, “Tunisia has a huge amount of experience in the digitalisation of healthcare systems and is well placed to become a hub from which Africa and the Middle East can build and expand their digital healthcare systems. The Africa and Middle East Digital Health Conference and Exhibition is the perfect opportunity for experts and healthcare professionals to come together, learn from other programmes and see the latest innovation in this space.

During the conference and exhibition, there was a coordinated B2B and B2C opportunity to meet with speakers and experts through the AMDHC Fireside Chat programme. This opportunity was a chance to discuss ideas and technologies with experts.

Are you excited to join a global coalition of think tank networks that facilitates the sharing of knowledge, expertise, and perspectives? If yes, apply for the Virtual Global Youth Summit. The VGYS is an annual event that gathers young leaders from around the world to discuss innovative solutions to critical global challenges, make creative & bold commitments, build partnerships, and for impactful change in geopolitics, economy, sustainability, and society. It doesn’t really matter what you are studying. No IELTS, No TOEFL, No Application Fee. The applications are open and you can apply for the summit. All international applicants from all parts of the world are eligible to apply. The summit will run from 15th-16th October 2022. The summit is available online. It will be decided by the selection committee if you are selected for the program.

The Virtual Youth Summit on diplomacy and global peace is an innovative virtual program designed to educate diplomacy and international relations students about global developing stories like the war in Ukraine and its impact on global peace, just as important; to provide them with information about local resources that they can use to help a friend, classmate, family member or even themselves. Education and prevention are key elements to curbing potential future changes. Hence, The Virtual Youth Summit on Diplomacy is a FREE, in-program designed for young diplomats, government officials, diplomatic corps, security officers, university students and professors. 40-45 minutes in length to accommodate the average panel period for each topic

Be a change maker

  • Be part of the well-known think tank team
  • Interview and network with leading leadership voices in the world
  • Track your country’s negotiations live and directly
  • Support to edit and pitch your stories throughout our programs
  • Opportunities to work on collaborative stories with other leaders from around your region, and the world
    Global publicity!

Our program

Day 1

  • Opening Speech (YD Team )
  • The war in Ukraine and its impact on global peace (Speaker 1)
  • The war in Ukraine and its impact on global peace (Speaker 2)
  • The Effects of Russia Ukraine War Threats on Developing Countries (Speaker 3)
  • The impacts of Russia Ukraine War Threats on Developing Countries (Speaker 4)

Break Out Session -How to prevent the war in the future? (Participants)

Day 2

  • How coherent is NATO today and in the future?
  • Consequence of Russia Ukraine war on International Trade and Economy (Speaker 1 )
  • Consequence of Russia Ukraine war on International Trade and Economy (Speaker 2 )
  • The troubling question of what Americans don’t think they need to know!
  • Possible ways to end the war in Ukraine – Diplomatic insights (Speaker 1)
  • Possible ways to End The war in Ukraine – Diplomatic insights (Speaker 2)
  • Why monitoring youth is important
  • Break out Session – Youth participation on Global Peace (Participants )
    Closing Session (YD Team )


The Summit will promote the talents, creativity and connectedness of young people aged 14-45, and of course, we focus on young women. This summit is just a start: a series of national, regional and global events will follow, where the concept will be contextualized to the national and regional needs of young people. Together; we will learn more here about the Global Youth Mobilization movement.

The 2022 Youth Summit will examine the multi-fold challenges faced by global community and the role of the youth in solving these problems. The Summit will engage young people globally on innovative ideas and solutions to ensure that global peace recovery and growth in the post-COVID world is not only equitable and sustainable but also inclusive along social, environmental, and economic dimensions.

The Youth Summit is an annual event hosted by the Young Diplomats to engage with youth globally on the most pressing issues facing their generation. The Youth Summit is an affiliate of the Youth-to-Youth (Y2Y) network, a multifaceted network of young professionals dedicated to engaging, inspiring, and empowering young people in global issues, which aims to inspire and empower youth within and outside their institutions.

The summit also will empower youth to explore innovative ideas to tackle wars and development challenges and provide youth with the tools to build and engage in impactful projects and promote dialogue between youth, and other key stakeholders globally

Eligibility Criteria

  • Students of diplomacy and international relations
  • Everyone from any nationality can apply.
  • The age should be between 14 to 45 years.
  • Have a firm grip in the fields of social sciences, geopolitics, climate change, biodiversity, and sustainable development with strong leadership skills.
  • Innovative and passionate about the aforementioned fields.
  • Should be working on innovative projects that will bring positive developments and peace building.

The projects should foster equity, inclusivity, and collaboration.
The projects should adopt a human-rights approach.

Ideal candidates will…

  • Have at least 1 year of experience
  • Have a hunger to improve as leader
  • Have a proven history of writing quality leadership


The last date to apply for the Virtual Youth Summit is October 10, 2022

How to Submit Application?

  • Complete your application form carefully and submit it.
  • Make sure to submit an application before the deadline.
  • All the students have to apply online through the official website.
  • Ensure to answer all questions, asked in the application form with a required word limit.

How to Apply

The clock is ticking and we’re excited to review your submission! Alright, you’ve got me! What’s next? APPLY! APPLY! APPLY

To Apply: Please submit your online applications Here

The Young Diplomats Advertisement on The Virtual Youth Summit: Visit Here

Whether they are staying at home or in hospice care, elderly people’s declining health has always been a cause of concern. After all, they are susceptible to a ton of illness. So, here are the top ten health issues that you need to watch out for as you grow older.

Elderly Health Issue No. 1: Heart Ailments
As people age, the health of their organs starts to decline. One of the most critical of these organs is the heart. According to the National Council On Aging, around 80 percent of seniors have at least one chronic heart ailment. Meanwhile, 70% have at least two or more.

One of the most common heart ailments for seniors is coronary heart disease. This is caused by the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries, which block the flow of blood. The disease can be exacerbated by various conditions like smoking, an inactive lifestyle, and diabetes.

Elderly Health Issue no. 2: Cancer
Cancer is the second leading cause of death among people over the age of 65. The disease happens when cells start to multiply uncontrollably, resulting in tumors. This leads to a severe disruption of the body’s health.

There are over 200 different types of cancer that affect older people. Scientists have yet to know what exactly causes these. But they have noted that an unhealthy lifestyle during their earlier years can influence seniors’ susceptibility. It should also be noted that cancer can be treated if detected and dealt with early.

Elderly Health Issue no. 3: Respiratory Illnesses
While people of any age can have respiratory diseases, seniors are especially vulnerable to them due to their weaker immune systems. The effects can also be more severe due to their age. Some of the common ailments that the elderly can encounter include:

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

These can increase the risk of other ailments like pneumonia and infections. However, with the right medication and careful health management, people with respiratory issues can breathe easier.

Elderly Health Issue no. 4: Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition where the body is not able to properly use insulin to metabolize sugar. This leads to an excessive amount of sugar in the bloodstream that can trigger various other complications. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 25% of people aged 65 and older suffer from the disease.

The condition can be triggered by different factors, most notably improper dietary habits. But if detected early, patients can better control it. Aside from medication, seniors can lower their risk by having a healthy and balanced diet, as well as an active lifestyle.

Elderly Health Issue no. 5: Arthritis
Outside of the above serious conditions, arthritis is another major health concern for elderly adults. It occurs when the joints become inflamed. This results in severe pain and restricts a person’s movements.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type that affects senior citizens. It is mainly due to the gradual wear and tear that happens to the bones over time. The condition can be hastened by injuries or infections. Seniors have higher risks of falls due to arthritic joints. There is currently no cure for the condition but painkillers can make sufferers more comfortable and allow them to move more freely.

Elderly Health Issue no. 6: Cognitive Decline
As people grow older, their ability to remember, think and learn gradually decreases. This leads to a variety of cognitive disorders collectively known as dementia. One common disorder is Alzheimer’s, which affects around five million people in the United States yearly. The condition is characterized by progressive memory lapses that lead to significant personality changes.

As it is a progressive condition, doctors can only prescribe a management plan for the symptoms. This includes medication that lessens the severity of these episodes. Meanwhile, hospice care providers offer comprehensive care programs for seniors with severe cases.

Elderly Health Issue no. 7: Mental Disorders
The various health issues that elderly people experience can also take a toll on their mental health. Depression is one common disorder that they can suffer, occurring in seven percent of the elderly population. It can happen as they grapple with the realization that they aren’t what they used to be.

Mental issues can also be triggered by environmental factors. The COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, has had a significant effect on elderly mental health. Seniors found themselves not being able to do the things that they previously enjoyed due to travel restrictions. Aside from psychological intervention, strong support from family and friends will help them better cope with such conditions.

Elderly Health Issue no. 8: Sensory Impairment
With their declining bodies, elderly people also experience increasing sensory impairment. Vision and hearing are the two common types that they will encounter. In the US alone, one in six older people will have some form of visual impairment. Meanwhile, one in four have hearing issues.

Luckily, most of these impairments can be treated with the use of tools like glasses and hearing aids. Meanwhile, more severe ones like cataracts may require some form of surgical intervention. Early diagnosis also helps lessen their severity.

Elderly Health Issues no. 9: Oral Health
This is often an overlooked issue but oral health can have a significant impact on an elderly person’s overall health. According to data from the CDC’s Oral Health Division, around 25% of adults over 65 will already have lost their original teeth. Meanwhile, around 68% of seniors suffer from gum disease.

If left untreated, poor oral health can impede a senior’s ability to eat a healthy diet. It can also lead to self-esteem issues that influence general well-being and might even lead to oral cancer. The main challenge is that seniors might have difficulty accessing dental services due to loss of insurance.

Elderly Health Issue no. 10: Malnutrition
As a person ages, their eating habits change significantly. This can lead to them not being able to get the right nutrition. Additionally, the above health issues can worsen any case of poor nutrition they have. Note that malnutrition can go both ways, seniors might be underweight or they might be obese.

Depending on their condition, they will need to undergo a significant change in diet to meet the proper nutritional needs. Services like hospice care providers can help implement these changes and manage their everyday meals.

When dealing with these health issues, seniors might find themselves at a loss. But don’t worry, many doctors like
Amavi and others can help you get past these and regain your health.

In a report published by Global Financial Integrity, the revenue generated by transnational crimes is estimated to be worth between $1.6 trillion and $2.2 trillion annually. Out of this value, it is appraised that the global illegal drug trade value is worth $426 billion to $652 billion (May, 2017). The value of the global illicit drug trade represents about one-third of the total value of transnational crimes (May, 2017). Globalization and the integration of the world economy can be seen as a significant catalyst to the growth of the illegal drug trade.

The United States of America Department of State and the United Nations labelled Guinea-Bissau as “Africa’s first narco-state” (BBC News, 2020) Furthermore, the report made by Global Financial Integrity suggests that Africa’s growing role as a transit point for drug trafficking has been a significant contributor to the growth of both drug smuggling and consumption over the last decade (May, 2017).

This essay seeks to identify Guinea-Bissau’s role in the global smuggling of drugs and suggest ways of resolving the issue. Consequently, this essay will argue that Guinea-Bissau has emerged to play a crucial role in drug trafficking due to its strategic location, historical linguistic relations, weak institutions and participating elite. However, these issues may possibly be combated through the re-establishment of a stable government that will enforce the rule of law, regeneration of the economy, investing in the security apparatus of the country, targeted campaigns to inform the population on the adverse effects of drugs and delegitimization the public support for controversial narcotic organizations.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) has defined drug trafficking as “a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances, which are subject to drug prohibition laws” (Drug trafficking, 2021). Globalization has “facilitated not only the movement of people, but also the flow of goods, capital, and services” (Petcu, C., 2017, p.2). Globalization also “had the negative effect of facilitating the expansion of transnational crime such as global terrorism, people and drug trafficking, immigrant smuggling and money laundering” (Petcu, C., 2017, p.2). The rapid development and growth of drug trafficking and other transnational crimes have had the consequences of increasing instability, corruption, and high levels of violence in producing and transit countries. (Petcu, C., 2017, p.3)

Since the 1990s, West Africa has been a significant trafficking hub for drugs originating from Latin America and Asia to European Consumers (Aning, K. and Pokoo, J., 2014). However, the “first significant contact between West African criminal organizations and Latin American countries emerged between 2000 and 2003” (Rousseau, R., 2017, p19). In addition, strong anti-laundering and anti-drug measures taken by other regions of the world can be seen as factors that have increased the importance of the West African region as a hub for drug trafficking (Shehu, A., 2009, p1).

Furthermore, the geographical location and well-established networks of smugglers and criminal syndicates have increased the region’s viability as a logistical and transit hub for drugs traffickers. (Aning, K. and Pokoo, J., 2014). Ashley Neese Bybee, in her dissertation, has also highlighted that the shift in demand for illegal drugs from the United States to Europe has forced traffickers to explore new routes to transport the drugs from Latin America to Europe. She also explains that “the realities that exist in Africa, such as its porous borders, lack of legitimate opportunities for economic advancement, abundant supply of unemployed, impoverished, and willing couriers and their existing diasporas networks in Europe, all facilitate the drug trade through West Africa.” (Bybee, A.N., 2011, p. 28-30)

UNODC has estimated that between 40 to 50 tons of cocaine destined to Europe pass through Africa each year. (UNODC, N., 2008. P1) the region has moved from not only being a transit route for these illegal drugs but also a final destination. UNODC has reported a marked increase in drugs consumption in Africa by 40%. (UNODC World Drug Report 2021)

With the increasing role that the West African region plays in the drug trafficking business, Guinea-Bissau has played a very prominent role in drug trafficking and has often been dubbed “Africa’s First Narco-State” by journalists. Guinea-Bissau has become a particularly strategic hub for drug traffickers due to the many islands dotting the Atlantic Ocean off the country’s coast. (DW, 2012). Ashley Neese Bybee also elaborates that “Guinea-Bissau has 350 km of unpatrolled coastline, and the Bijagós Archipelago has 88 unpoliced islands” (Bybee, A.N., 2011, p. 31). Many of these Islands have defunct airstrips left over by its former colonial power, Portugal, thereby allowing traffickers to use these airstrips to fly in their drugs without detection.

Andreas Zeidler attributes the cultural and linguistic ties between Guinea-Bissau and other producing and destination countries as another reason why Guinea-Bissau has become an important transit hub for drug trafficking. (Zeidler, A., 2011, p. 61) The historical ties between Guinea-Bissau with Portugal and other drugs producing counties have made Guinea-Bissau a viable hub for drug smuggling.

The weak institutions of the country have also contributed to Guinea-Bissau becoming a “Narco-State”. Bybee illustrates this by giving an example of the police in the country who “are numerous yet under-resourced. The gendarmerie (military force with the responsibility to enforce the law with civilians) and police combined to give a ratio of 284 law enforcement officers per 100,000 citizens – one of the highest in West Africa and only slightly below the European average” (Bybee, A.N., 2011, p. 33). A large number of public officers, takes away a large portion of the budget leaving little for other aspects of operations. This can be seen with Judicial Police who “for example, have 60 agents, one vehicle and often no fuel. As a result, when culprits are apprehended, they are driven in a taxi to the police station – In the military, one rusty ship patrols the 350-kilometre coastline and 88 islands”; (Bybee, A.N., 2011, p. 31). This clearly illustrates how it has become almost impossible to enforce laws and provides an opportunity for drug smugglers to carry out their actions without any hindrance.

It is not only the police force that lacks the resources to carry out its operations. Insufficient resources and the lack of qualified personal have left the judiciary inefficient, ineffective and incapable of carrying out fair prosecution and sentencing of suspected criminals. (Zeidler, A., 2011, p. 65)

Bybee also views the activities of drug smugglers in fragile states such as Guinea-Bissau as one of the drivers of instability in the region. The instability of the area has, in turn, has become a hindrance to the strategic interest of the United States in Africa. (Bybee, A.N., 2011, p. 37). Thus, the concern of the United States in achieving their strategic interest in Africa, particularly in the areas of terrorism, explains the role of the United States in finding a solution to the problem of drug trafficking in the region.

Another impact of the drug trafficking business in Guinea-Bissau is the erosion of the rule of law in the country. Bybee argues that drug traffickers rely on the presence of corruption to carry out their activities (Bybee, A.N., 2011, p. 37). While the lack of the rule of law and good governance is why drug traffickers have picked countries like Guinea-Bissau to carry out their business, drug trafficking operation further impedes any development to improve the situation in the country. Often drug trafficking worsens the situation. The involvement of the political and security elite of Guinea-Bissau in the drug trafficking business has been widely reported. The ruling class have often leveraged the unstable political climate to increase their wealth by supporting the illicit drug trade, which (as previously stated) is highly lucrative.

Mette Kaalby Vestergaard reports that “It is common that the bigger seizures of drugs involve arresting government officials, who are later convicted for having played central roles in the organizing of the smuggling activities” (Kaal Vestergaard, 2021). Furthermore, the lack of adequate infrastructure Is further demonstrated in the fact that a country facing a big problem of drug trafficking only has two poorly equipped prisons in the whole country. Due to political instability, their upgrading has been put on hold. (BBC NEWS, 2021). It has also been reported that within the two prisons in the country, the guards have not been adequately equipped with sufficient tools to fully govern the prison and control the activities of their occupants (BBC NEWS, 2021). This has potentially disastrous consequences as convicted prisoners may continue to exercise considerable influence on society despite their incarceration.

The lack of resources for the security officials and Judiciary to carry out their tasks in eradicating the problem of drug trafficking, coupled with the absence of the rule of law and involvement of the political and security in the drug smuggling business, has made it difficult to combat the issue of drug trafficking in the country. Colonel Stephen K. Van Riper also sees the high profitability of drug smuggling and the low cost of conducting the business. The “it is not my problem” as other barriers which have made it challenging to tackle the issue of drug smuggling in Guinea-Bissau. (Van Riper, SK, 2014. P. 16-17)

However, great strides have been made to convict drug smugglers in the country. In September of 2019, the most significant drug bust in the country was carried out. An estimated 1.9 tons of cocaine were seized; the seizure also led to the arrest and conviction of 12 men of Bissau-Guinean, Colombian, Mexican and Portuguese nationalities. While the drug bust is seen as a significant achievement in the country’s fight against drug trafficking, there is concern that drug trafficking may increase with the controversial Umaro Cissoko Embaló becoming the country’s president. (BBC NEWS, 2021).

Van Riper insists that any significant effort that involves challenging the issue of drug smuggling in Guinea-Bissau must include the re-establishment of a stable government that will revive a robust culture of obedience to the rule of law in the state (Van Riper, 2014). This reformed government must also ensure to distance the military from all political affairs and introduce adequate checks and balances to assist the fight against corruption. While establishing a stable government is a significant step in eradicating the problem of drug smuggling in Guinea-Bissau, it is not sufficient. The new government must also revitalize the economy to provide the population with alternative ways to earn a living other than trafficking drugs. The government must collaborate with International Organizations such as the United Nations and regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) in finding solutions to enhance the economy.

The newly re-established government must also find solutions to the chronic problem of the lack of security infrastructure. This can be done through investing in equipments for the security officials especially the border controls and custom officers. Training judicial officials and investing in new prisons and rehabilitation centres will also improve the situation of the Guinea-Bissau. While all these investments maybe capital intensive, the government may consider using confiscated drug money to rehabilitate the security infrastructure of the country. Considering that drug trafficking is a global problem that is affecting the whole world, Guinea-Bissau should also consider collaborating with other countries in tackling the problem and to learn from best practices of countries who have tackled the problem of drug smuggling.

Introduction of stricter punishment and penalty for people who have been involved in the business would deter individuals from participating in drug trafficking. To combat the drug trafficking problem, adequate sensitization campaigns will need to be launched and promoted to the broader public. Analysis of historical drug trafficking case studies has provided empirical evidence that the host transit countries will always suffer the adverse effects of drug trafficking (Van Riper, 2014).  This signifies that the transit countries will eventually experience issues such as a drastic increase in the local consumption of drugs and general societal effects on population stability and security. A vital example of this is Brazil, which as a major drug transit country, has become the second-largest consumer of cocaine in the world and payment for products is often done via drugs (Van Riper, 2014).

The sensitization campaigns will need to present evidence to convince people of the adverse effects of drugs in society. People will need to be sufficiently informed and educated on the impact of Guinea-Bissau being a transit country and future issues that could potentially arise from it. Concise, targeted efforts will need to be made to conceptualize drugs as taboo and ensure it viewed as a non-tradable commodity amongst people. Guinea-Bissau could leverage international bodies such as the ECOWAS – which is prevalent within West Africa – for support in terms of human capital and resources to ensure that drug trade is reduced within the region, to begin with.

Nonetheless, as previously noted, drugs are indisputably a local problem, which needs to be resolved. This is especially true as it has been estimated that approximately 8% of global cocaine users are West African, with Guinea-Bissau’s user growing exponentially (Brown, 2013, p37). Moreover, the sub-optimal state of public health infrastructure in Guinea-Bissau and other countries in the region signifies a growing need to resolve these issues as they are likely to have catastrophic effects on broader society.

Over ten years ago, Guinea-Bissau, a small state in the Western region of Africa, became the first narco-state in the continent. Multiple factors such as its geographical location, the lack of a stable government, lack of rule of law, and the military’s interference in the country’s politics have contributed to the increasingly prominent role the country is playing in drug trafficking. The new role of Guinea-Bissau as a hub for drug smuggling has worsened the situation of an already fragile state with the erosion of the rule of law and increasing the rate of corruption in the country.

While giant strides have been made in the fight against corruption, significantly more needs to be done. A reformed government that will enforce the rule of law in the country and revitalize the economy is required to win the battle against drug trafficking.  Other strategies such as upgrading the security infrastructure of the country, collaborating with the international community to tackle the problem of drug smuggling, introducing stricter punishment for individuals caught in the business, as well as sensitization of the general population about the ills of drug trafficking will also prove fruitful in fighting drug trafficking out of the country.





BBC News. 2021. Cocaine and Guinea-Bissau: How Africa’s ‘narco-state’ is trying to kick its habit. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-52569130> [Accessed 9 November 2021].
May, C., 2017. Transnational Crime and the Developing World. [online] Global Financial Integrity, p.xi. Available at: <https://secureservercdn.net/> [Accessed 9 November 2021].
Petcu, C., 2017. Globalization and Drug Trafficking. The New School University.
United Nations: Office on Drugs and Crime. 2021. Drug trafficking. [online] Available at: <https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/drug-trafficking/> [Accessed 10 November 2021].
Aning, K. and Pokoo, J., 2014. Understanding the nature and threats of drug trafficking to national and regional security in West Africa. Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, 3(1).
Shehu, A., 2009, July. Drug Trafficking and its impact on West Africa. In Meeting of the Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace and Security/NEPAD and Africa Peer Review Mechanism of the ECOWAS Parliament, Katsina, Nigeria, on July (Vol. 28).
Rousseau, R., 2017. West Africa–the Region’s Pivotal Role in International Drug Trafficking.
UNODC, N., 2008. Drug trafficking as a security threat in West Africa. Vienna: UNODC.
Bybee, A.N., 2011. Narco state or failed state? narcotics and politics in Guinea-Bissau. George Mason University.
DW.COM. 2021. West Africa is hub for international drug trafficking | DW | 01.03.2012. [online] Available at: <https://www.dw.com/en/west-africa-is-hub-for-international-drug-trafficking/a-15776001> [Accessed 11 November 2021].
Kaal Vestergaard, M., 2021. Europe’s back door left wide open: The role of Guinea-Bissau in drug trafficking – Human Security Centre. [online] Human Security Centre. Available at: <http://www.hscentre.org/africa/europes-back-door-left-wide-open-the-role-of-guinea-bissau-in-drug-trafficking/> [Accessed 13 November 2021].
Zeidler, A., 2011. The state as a facilitator in the illicit global political economy: Guinea-Bissau and the global cocaine trade (Doctoral dissertation, Stellenbosch: University of Stellenbosch).
Van Riper, S.K., 2014. Tackling Africa’s First Narco-State: Guinea-Bissau in West Africa. Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, US Army War College.
Brown,. 2014. The Challenge of Drug Trafficking to Democratic Governance and Human Security in West Africa.



By Bello Jibir Kabir





The American fiasco in the Middle East, coupled with the bequeathed legacy of Trump’s era, is posing tremendous challenges to the new American administration. Though the latest Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing horrendous chaos in the global economy are distracting Washington from China, the Biden’s administration so-called “Indo-Pacific” strategy entails that Asia remains a top priority to Washington. In one of his latest works titled “Destined for War”, Graham Allison examines whether China and the US are heading towards a prolonged war. Although the recent lockdowns in China are presenting challenges to it is goals of taking over the US as the biggest economy in 2030, Beijing’s military activities in South China continue to puzzle the Biden’s administration.
Geopolitically speaking, the rise of China has prompted US policy makers to alter their prolonged “Asia-Pacific” strategy to deal with the so-called Chinese threat .Coupled with the formation of trilateral security alliances, including the AUKUS, the so-called “Indo-Pacific” strategy aimed at thwarting Beijing’s growing influence from the Western Pacific to the Indian Ocean. The released document says explicitly that Washington is expected to focus on “every corner” of the region. Yet, despite this, the so-called “Indo-Pacific” strategy is not confined to containing China only; it aims to develop a new security architecture in Asia as well.
The concept of “free and open” Indo-Pacific, therefore, offers an ideological and political justification for the American deployment in the region. It is an ideological and political construct that aims at preventing the rise of China, while securing the American interests in the “imagined” region. Last Month, Kurt Campbell, the U.S. National Security Council coordinator for the “Indo-Pacific”, said that America is more likely to witness a strategic surprise in the Pacific region. In addition to that, the latest security pact between China and Solomon Islands has provided American and Australian policy makers with the opportunity to further securitize the region.
The aim of this paper, however, is not to examine China’s actions and policies, but to assess the applicability of the post-structuralism approach in the case of the Indo-Pacific. In other words, the aim of the paper is to examine how the “Indo-Pacific” was imagined and constructed through political discourse.
Instead of dealing with the region as naturally given, the paper questions the “naturalness” of the region. Since Post-Structuralism and critical geopolitics are interested in studying the relationship between geographical knowledge and power, it has become increasingly necessary to study how the so-called “Indo-Pacific” region is developed.
To achieve this goal, the paper relies on critical geopolitics approach to examine how the region was “imagined” and securitized. Hence, the paper argues that the “Indo-Pacific” region is an outcome of political construction and imagination to build new (American) security architecture in Asia.
Knowledge-Power Nexus
Although Post-Structuralism is an approach that is originally developed in sociology and literature, it is still widely utilized in studying international relations, especially by scholars of the critical school in IR. Though it does not provide it is readers with a “world view”, post-structuralism remains an important tool of analysis in IR. Critical Geopolitics as a strand in Post Structuralism, questions geographical assumptions and how they are dealt with, especially within policy circles.
The so-called concept of “Indo-Pacific” is widely used in many countries of the region, including Japan and Australia. Though the focus of the paper is on American imagination of the Indo-Pacific, it is important to, at least, note that countries in Asia have interests as well in developing biased knowledge of geography.
Although the term “Indo-Pacific” was not explicitly used, until very recently, maritime strategists, such a Gurpreet S. Khurana in India, criticized the strategy of the “Asia- Pacific” for ignoring the growing importance of involving India into a new strategy that aimed at containing China. According to Khurana, East Asia and New Delhi should enhance their political and economic alliances across the “Indo-Pacific”.
Likewise, Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minster, gave a speech before the Indian parliament in August 2007, arguing for the growing importance of enhancing relations between the Asia Pacific and South Asian regions. Though he did not explicitly use the term of “Indo-Pacific”, it was clear that there was a general urge to alter Washington’s policy regarding the containment of China.
President Biden perceives the so-called Chinese threat as a factor that endangers the “democratic” and “liberal” Indo-Pacific order. Hence, by portraying the struggle between China and the US as a prolonged struggle between democracy and authoritarianism fits the assumption of Post-Structuralism in IR. According to this school of thought, politics in IR is treated as black or white. The securitization and political imagination of the Indo-Pacific, therefore, are outcomes of this binary division and subjectivity.
Issue of Representation:
Based on the current literature, there are two reasons why the political construction of the so-called “Indo-Pacific” region seemed a plausible option for the Biden administration. Firstly, the American administration realized the horrendous military and political activities of Beijing from the Western Pacific to the India Ocean. Secondly, the Biden administration realized the tremendous importance of incorporating India into the new security architecture. This explains why India is incorporated into the Quadrilateral Dialogue (QUAD), which is formed to establish New Delhi as the new “security provider” in the region.
Although New Delhi’s imagination of the region is an extension of it is “Look East Policy”, India’s strategy is more cautious than Australia and Japan. Though it is part of the “QUAD”, it has been unable to determine whether it is imagination of the Indo-Pacific is aimed at excluding China. Nonetheless, the political imagination of all the “Indo-Pacific” in the Indian, American, and Australian circles entails that world maps are adjusted to fit strategic concerns of the respective time.
Hence, it has become clear that “mental maps” are all about power relations; it is the language of the “powerful”. The so-called “Indo-Pacific”, which is an outcome of political construction, aims to privilege certain nations, including Australia, Japan, and India, over the others. Therefore, it seems that we cannot have a permanent or balanced understanding of the world. In other words, policy makers asses the growing threats in a specific area and they employ the suitable strategy, which includes securitizing the “imagined” region in order to serve their strategic interests.
In one of his latest statements, Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, said that the so-called “Indo-Pacific” is expected to shape the “trajectory” of the world in the 21st century. During his speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, Blinken said that Washington will adopt a strategy of “deterrence” to promote “peace” and ‘“stability” in the Indo-Pacific, arguing that threats are evolving dramatically in the (imagined) region.
During her latest visit to Singapore, Kamala Harris kept warning her counterparts of the Chinese “incursion” in the region, arguing that Beijing’s policies are intimidating. Again, she repeated the word “free and open” Indo-Pacific, stressing on the importance of enhancing relations with Washington’s allies to defend the “imagined” region. It has become clear; therefore, that Biden’s so-called “Indo-Pacific” strategy is a continuation of Donald Trump’s designation of China as a foe.
According to South China Morning Post, a journal based in Hong Kong, White House officials started using the term of “Indo-Pacific” during Trump’s presidency. It was an attempt to distance the Trump administration from Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”. Biden’s decision to officially use the concept, therefore, entails that the term is becoming the new “normal” in Washington’s approach towards the “imagined” region.
Yet, Biden’s strategy differs in the sense that it puts emphasis on “integrated deterrence”, and instead of constraining economic relations with the region like Trump did when he left the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Biden initiated an economic Indo-Pacific framework. Though the new strategy prompted fierce debate in Chinese policy makers, it is still adopted by the US, Australia, Japan, among others.
In his article “Maritime politics as discourse in the Indo-Pacific”, Tim Summers, an Assistant Professor and Research Fellow at Chatham House, argues that China has always been placed at the center of the geopolitical discourse within the American policy circles. He says that the Chinese threat itself is part of the evolving the geopolitical discourse in Washington.
Besides, Summers (2021) believes that maritime space, politics, and boundaries are parts of the geopolitical discourse in Asia. Therefore, Summers argues that geopolitics is material and ideological at the same time; it is a process through which knowledge is produced and internalized. By analyzing the map of the South China Sea adopted by the West, one can easily find an orientalist and biased representation of China in this area. The usage of pink or red colors in areas that are witnessing Beijing’s rise provides a virtual representation of China as a penetrator of the Sea area.
To conclude, there is a limited literature written on the political imagination and construction of the Indo-Pacific. Yet, it has become increasingly necessary to study this “imagined” region, especially in times when the US is shifting it is attention towards China. In contrary to the prevailing analysis, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is less likely to distract the Biden’s administration from China’s activities in the Indo-Pacific. In the midst of political chaos in the US, China is initiating security pact with Solomon Island to ramp up it is influence in the imagined region.
The paper tried to apply post-structuralism and critical geopolitics on the case of the Indo-Pacific, with a special focus on issues of false representations, subjectivity, and binary divisions. Yet, given the limited literature, the author of the paper advice future scholars to thoroughly examine the written and spoken statements in the US regarding the Indo-Pacific. Analysts are not exaggerating the threats of War; it might happen in the not-too-distant future. The fact that countries like Australia are allying with the US, says a lot about the growing polarization in the so-called Indo-Pacific. Analysts are not exaggerating the threats of war when they say that China is more likely to kick Washington out of the South China sea; it might happen in the not-too-distant future