Towards a new colonial era: When China and the US demand weaker countries take sides or face retaliation

The worry is that much as the colonial powers did centuries ago, both China and the US will demand that weaker countries in their path take sides or face retaliation.

A new colonial era is dawning as major powers limber up to wield influence and protect their interests in ways that could significantly impinge on the sovereignty of weaker, smaller states.

This won't be colonialism in the conventional sense: Subject countries will not immediately be threatened with invasion and occupation, or their sovereignty denied.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 15, 2019, with the headline 'Towards a new colonial era'. Print Edition | Subscribe