Indo-Pacific Strategy: Foreign Policy for the Oligarchic Class
Is the "Indo-Pacific Economic Framework" itself corruption laundered through technocratic argot?
I’ve been pretty relentless in my criticism of the Biden administration’s “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework” (IPEF). Not because it’s dangerous on its own terms, but because it’s not real, and is indicative of how wayward our foreign policy actually is.
IPEF does not embed the US more deeply in Asian political economy. It's not a trade agreement. And it makes no attempt to improve any of Asia's economic troubles. Instead, IPEF functions heavily as a slogan for press releases, not a set of concrete choices, investments, or policy wagers.
So where did it come from? Initially, I saw it as (and was told by friends that it was) nothing more than the White House’s rhetorical attempt to answer administration critics calling them out for having no economic statecraft.
Apparently even that interpretation was too generous. Now there’s at least some evidence that IPEF came directly out of Big-Tech lobbying.
What it seeks to achieve is not some future-proof economic architecture but rather digital neoliberalism: establishing supranational arrangements that reduce the ability of national governments to regulate the tech industry.
Let me explain.