May 10, 2022
Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Vice Chair, Policy, Ford Motor Company
Former Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
As countries establish and strengthen strategic alliances, experts are forecasting the impact of the changing geopolitical landscape on businesses and the global economy in places like Russia, China, India, and North America.
During the U.S. Chamber’s 2nd annual Global Forum, Myron Brilliant, the Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, sat down with Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Jr., the Vice Chair of Policy at Ford Motor Company and former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, China, and Singapore, to discuss the Russia-Ukraine war and impacts on businesses.
Forecasting the Response of the Russian People
On February 24, 2022, Russian military forces invaded Ukraine causing thousands of civilians to flee and many others to take up arms to fight. Russian President Vladimir Putin has since been under fire for the decision with multiple countries condemning the invasion.
“Putin today sees himself fighting basically a three-front war: one against Ukraine, the other against the west, as it relates to economic sanctions which are tight and appropriate, — and should be made tighter in my opinion — and then he's got a war against his own people,” Huntsman, Jr. said.
“It's the end of Putin is because Russia cannot live … in total isolation” he continued. “It's way more connected to the global markets of the world … [and] major markets of Europe. People … rely on free flow of commerce and financial transactions. When that isn't the case, the people are going to take to the streets.”
Behind the Curtains of the China/Russia Relationship
The relationship between the United States and China has seen rising tensions in recent years. Observing the shifting relationship, Huntsman, Jr. discussed the possible worldwide impact if China is complicit with Russia.
“If China is seen as anyway complicit … in the planning or the collaboration with Vladimir Putin, there would be a serious downward spiral in the [U.S./China] relationship,” Huntsman, Jr. warned.
However, he acknowledges that behind the curtain, there’s not much economic collaboration between the two.
“Realistically, this bromance that we have been reading about between China and Russia, optically I think should give us great concern,” Huntsman, Jr. said. “But when you scratch away at the surface… there isn't a lot of throughputs … in terms of economics working in a bilateral fashion between Russia and China.”
Strengthening Strategic Ties With India
With ties to Russia and challenges against China, India has a formative role in the Indo-Pacific region. To strengthen the relationship between India and the United States, Huntsman, Jr. discussed what’s on the horizon for India as a strategic partner.
“India has been tightly aligned with the old Soviet Union and, more recently, Russia,” he said. “They've been a leader in the non-aligned movement, but they've grown up a lot. They're the largest democracy in the world … [and] have a brilliant technology class with whom we’ve collaborated with a great deal.”
Speaking to the response of other world leaders, an alliance between India and the United States may not be approved by all.
“I have very high hopes that India will be an increasingly important strategic partner for the United States,” Huntsman, Jr. said. “China doesn't like it, [and] Russia doesn't like it because there's a huge balance in terms of our coupling with India.”
From the Series