KATHMANDU, Aug 5: A prominent American scholar of international relations John J. Mearsheimer has suggested Nepal to stay neutral and have a good relation with both India and China for its security and stability as the relations between these two regional powers is souring over territorial disputes in Galwan Valley and other territory in Line of Actual Control (LAC) in recent months.
Addressing a webinar hosted Nepal Institute of International Cooperation and Engagement (NIICE) on Tuesday evening, Professor Mearsheimer, who predicted an eventual clash between the US and China in his book published in 2001, warned that failure to have good relations with both India and China could pose serious threat to the country’s sovereignty and stability as both seek to increase their influence in the region. “Nepal should seek to stay neutral and have good relations with both China and India, but not align with one that alienates or threatens the other,” he said.
Prof. Mearsheimer predicted that the competition between China and US and their allies will grow further in the days ahead as they want to maintain or increase their influence in the Asia Pacific region. “The US does not want China to become the regional hegemon in Asia. If it will become one, it will have nothing to worry about in Asia. And hence the US invests so much money and military in Asian periphery,” he further said. “The US is interested in being the only hegemon on the planet and history shows that. Russia will become the US's allies to counter China in the future, as when China becomes a greater power.”
Prof. Mearsheimer, who is best known for his theory of offensive realism, however, rejected the suggestion that India could rise to be a Great Power mainly due to economic reasons. “India is not wealthy enough to become a Great Power. Of course, it is a powerful country; it’s an important player in Asian politics. There is no question about that. It has the population size for sure to be a great power, with roughly the same size as China but it does not have the necessary wealth,” he said
In his lecture-- The Plague and The Future of Great Power Politics --, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago touched upon the topics such as the global balance of power from 1945-2019, the global balance of power from 2020-2050 and the implication the rising competition between the US and China will have in the Asia Pacific region in general and small countries like Nepal in particular. Although some scholars have predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic could fundamentally alter the existing world order, Prof. Mearsheimer ruled out such a possibility now.
Answering to one of the questions regarding the accusation that China had developed the COVID-19 virus in its laboratory, Mearsheimer dismissed the allegations that there is no evidence to support that claim. “There is no evidence to support the accusation and I don’t think it makes sense on the logical ground for any country to try to spread a pandemic because of the damage it would do to the very country that spread it to begin with,” he added.