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  • Author: Shaun Breslin, Jinghan Zeng, Yuefan Xiao
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: As China has grown stronger, some observers have identified an assertive turn in Chinese foreign policy. Evidence to support this argument includes the increasingly frequent evocation of China's 'core interests'—a set of interests that represents the non-negotiable bottom lines of Chinese foreign policy. When new concepts, ideas and political agendas are introduced in China, there is seldom a shared understanding of how they should be defined; the process of populating the concept with real meaning often takes place incrementally. This, the article argues, is what has happened with the notion of core interests. While there are some agreed bottom lines, what issues deserve to be defined (and thus protected) as core interests remains somewhat blurred and open to question. By using content analysis to study 108 articles by Chinese scholars, this article analyses Chinese academic discourse of China's core interests. The authors' main finding is that 'core interests' is a vague concept in the Chinese discourse, despite its increasing use by the government to legitimize its diplomatic actions and claims. The article argues that this vagueness not only makes it difficult to predict Chinese diplomatic behaviour on key issues, but also allows external observers a rich source of opinions to select from to help support pre-existing views on the nature of China as a global power.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: David Blagden
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The international system is returning to multipolarity—a situation of multiple Great Powers—drawing the post-Cold War 'unipolar moment' of comprehensive US political, economic and military dominance to an end. The rise of new Great Powers, namely the 'BRICs'—Brazil, Russia, India, and most importantly, China—and the return of multipolarity at the global level in turn carries security implications for western Europe. While peaceful political relations within the European Union have attained a remarkable level of strategic, institutional and normative embeddedness, there are five factors associated with a return of Great Power competition in the wider world that may negatively impact on the western European strategic environment: the resurgence of an increasingly belligerent Russia; the erosion of the US military commitment to Europe; the risk of international military crises with the potential to embroil European states; the elevated incentive for states to acquire nuclear weapons; and the vulnerability of economically vital European sea lines and supply chains. These five factors must, in turn, be reflected in European states' strategic behaviour. In particular, for the United Kingdom—one of western Europe's two principal military powers, and its only insular (offshore) power—the return of Great Power competition at the global level suggests that a return to offshore balancing would be a more appropriate choice than an ongoing commitment to direct military interventions of the kind that have characterized post-2001 British strategy.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Brazil
  • Author: Barry Buzan, George Lawson
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: There is general agreement that the world is changing, but considerable disagreement about how it is changing. Commentators variously locate this change in a 'power shift' from West to East, a trade in superpower status between the United States and China, or a transition from an era of bipolarity to one of unipolarity, multipolarity or even non-polarity. These analyses are linked by attention to a smorgasbord of dynamics that are said to be disrupting the smooth functioning of international order: globalization, US militarism, dynamics of revolution and counter-revolution, finance capital, climate change, the rise of non-state actors, new security threats, the dislocating effects of information and communication technologies (ICTs), and more.
  • Topic: Communications, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Yongjin Zhang
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: All great thinkers, while historically conditioned, are all philosophically contemporaneous. It is a great privilege to have this extended version of my Martin Wight Memorial Lecture published in International Affairs—all the more so in this 90th anniversary issue of the journal. International Relations theory and English School thinking have been well represented in International Affairs: since Sir Herbert Butterfield delivered the inaugural Martin Wight Memorial Lecture 38 years ago in 1975, 21 Martin Wight lectures have appeared in these pages. I am delighted, therefore, to be continuing that tradition and very much hope that this trend will endure for many years to come.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Ecuador
  • Author: Robert A. Francis, Krishna Krishnamurthy
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Warfare is a uniquely human endeavour, and has been central to human culture and civilization for many thousands of years. Early forms of intergroup conflict were conducted by our hominid ancestors over one million years ago, while the development of larger-scale, organized conflict is recorded by early civilizations in Mesopotamia and China almost 5,000 years ago. The impetuses for warfare, being a complex mix of genetics, psychology, culture, politics, technology and resource availability, are unlikely to disappear in the future, as long as our species survives. Though the nature of warfare is changing, from its most devastating twentieth- century form of industrial 'total' warfare to the geographically and politically complex 'everywhere war' that is beginning to define conflict in the twenty-first century, violent conflict is certain to remain a defining part of the human story.
  • Political Geography: China, Mesopotamia
  • Author: Rosemary Foot
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: A more powerful China under the seemingly confident leadership of President Xi Jinping has committed to a more activist global policy. In particular, this commitment has influenced Beijing's policy towards UN peacekeeping operations, with a long-awaited decision to add combat forces to the engineering troops and police and medical units that have been features of its past contribution. In addition, Beijing has doubled the size of its contribution to the UN peace operations budget. This article explains why the UN is a key venue for China to demonstrate its 'responsible Great Power' status and expressed willingness to provide global public goods. The main explanatory factors relate to the UN's institutional design, which accords special status to China even as it represents a global order that promotes the sovereign equality of states. Moreover, there are complementarities between dominant Chinese beliefs and interests, and those contained within the UN system. Especially important in this latter regard are the links that China has tried to establish between peacebuilding and development assistance with the aim of strengthening the capacity of states. China projects development support as a contribution both to humanitarian need and to the harmonization of conflict-ridden societies. The Chinese leadership has also spoken of its willingness to contribute to peacemaking through stepping up its efforts at mediation. However, such a move will require much deeper commitment than China has demonstrated in the past and runs the risk of taking China into controversial areas of policy it has hitherto worked to avoid.
  • Topic: Development, United Nations
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing
  • Author: Ramesh Thakur
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: India's nuclear breakout in 1998, foreshadowed as early as 1974, may have been understandable for reasons of global nuclear politics, a triangular regional equation between China, India and Pakistan, and domestic politics. Yet the utility of India's nuclear weapons remains questionable on many grounds. Nuclear deterrence is dubious in general and especially dubious in the subcontinent. Nuclear weapons are not usable as weapons of compellence or defence. They failed to stop the Pakistani incursion in Kargil in 1999 or the terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008. They will not help India to shape the military calculations of likely enemies. And India's global status and profile will be determined far more crucially by its economic performance than nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, they do impose direct and opportunity costs economically, risk corrosion of democratic accountability, add to global concerns about nuclear terrorism, and have not helped the cause of global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Because the consequences of a limited regional war involving India could be catastrophic for the world, others have both the right and a responsibility to engage with the issue. For all these reasons, a denuclearized world that includes the destruction of India's nuclear stockpile would favourably affect the balance of India's security and other interests, national and international interests, and material interests and value goals.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, India
  • Author: Geoffrey Warner
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The final volume of the Foreign relations series of documents on Indochina during the Nixon and Ford presidencies is not as detailed as those which preceded it. However, the documents do not support the view that, once the January 1973 Agreement between the Democratic Republic of (North) Vietnam and the United States had been concluded, the US was prepared to accept DRV's hegemony over the rest of Indochina, provided only that there was a 'decent interval' before it occurred. In fact, both the Nixon and Ford administrations did seek to prevent this from happening, but found their hands tied by congressional opposition. In the case of Cambodia, the United States also found itself the victim of its own illusions about the willingness of the People's Republic of China to support an alternative government led by the former ruler, Prince Norodom Sihanouk. Following the more or less total collapse of American policy in April 1975, some interesting 'post-mortems' from various government departments on the history of US involvement in Indochina are also printed in the volume under review.
  • Topic: Government, History
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Vietnam, Cambodia
  • Author: Jon Lidén
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Donors need to be smarter as nouveau riche states leave masses trapped by poverty gap
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil, Mexico
  • Author: Alan Philps
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: He shares his thoughts on on America's role in an increasingly affluent world, Russia's decline and China's own goals
  • Topic: Economics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, America, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Maria Ivanova
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Large-scale environmental problems captured the world's attention in the early 1970s, as countries recognized the close links between environmental integrity and economic prosperity. In response to these problems, states created a system of international environmental governance, with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), established at the 1972 Stockholm Conference, at its core. Since then, the institutional framework has grown in size and complexity, with a steady increase in the number of institutions, agreements, meetings, reports, and actors; yet global environmental concerns remain largely unresolved. In the absence of clear goals, a shared vision, and effective communication and coordination among international institutions, a gap between a growing body of policies and decreasing implementation has become ever more evident.
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Barrie Houlihan, Richard Giulianotti
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Concerns with security and risk have been prominent themes at the modern Olympic Games since at least the 1960s. However, a heightened perception of insecurity and risk has emerged as the leitmotiv of the Olympic Games in recent years, especially since 2001. Insecurity became the dominant discourse of the 2012 Games when the announcement in July 2005 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that London had been selected as the host city was over shadowed by the '7/7' terrorist attacks on the London transport system the following day. The hosting by London of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 brings into sharp relief two significant developments: first, the consolidation of the Olympic Games as a significant arena for national and global politics; and second, the extent to which cities have re-emerged as major targets for hostile attack.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, London
  • Author: Ian Taylor
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The holding of the second Africa–India Forum summit in Addis Ababa in May 2011 highlighted the burgeoning political and economic ties between New Delhi and the African continent. It also reflected the growing significance of interest in Africa on the part of a diverse group of developing nations, of which China and India are perhaps the most noteworthy. China's increasing involvement in Africa has been well analysed and discussed; India's connections with the continent have by comparison been relatively overlooked. Yet the increasing salience of India's interest in Africa has important implications, representing a further diversification of Africa's international relations away from 'traditional' North–South linkages and arguably contributing to a greater range of options for the continent. In the light of these considerations, this article seeks to provide an insight into some of the main implications of the growing Indian relationship with Africa.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India, New Delhi
  • Author: Deborah Bräutigam, Tang Xiaoyang
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: China's rapid expansion of economic and political ties with other developing countries has aroused deep concern in the West and Japan. Much of this apprehension focuses on China's search for natural resources and its 'no-political-strings-attached' stance on official finance. Yet despite the popular unease provoked by China's growing outward engagement, scholars have done relatively little research on the Chinese government's strategic employment of its economic instruments overseas.
  • Political Geography: Japan, China
  • Author: Alex Vines
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This decade has been a difficult time for the United Nations. Splits among the dominant powers in an increasingly divided Security Council have stymied its efforts to resolve acute global problems. The UN global system, built more than 60 years ago, is finding today's challenges overwhelming. Many issues that the United Nations should lead on are being resolved through world capitals or by regional power blocs, leaving the UN at risk of being marginalized.
  • Political Geography: China, United Nations
  • Author: Travis Sharp
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The United States has entered a period of strategic change. After spending more than a decade fighting a global counterterrorism campaign and two ground wars, it now faces shifting security challenges. The United States has killed Osama bin Laden and decimated the core leadership of Al-Qaeda and like-minded groups in Pakistan, but regional Al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and the Horn of Africa have taken the lead in planning and attempting terrorist attacks. American troops have left Iraq and are leaving Afghanistan, but 15,000–30,000 may remain in Afghanistan after 2014 to train Afghan forces and strike terrorist cells. Iran continues to pursue the ability to produce nuclear weapons rapidly should its supreme leader decide to do so, further destabilizing a Middle East region shaken by the Arab Spring. China continues to invest heavily in military modernization, raising sharp concerns among its neighbours. North Korea may continue to lash out militarily as its new leader Kim Jong Un seeks to demonstrate control. Last but certainly not least, the global economy remains fragile, the American economic recovery has stagnated, and US policy-makers have responded to rapidly growing American debt by reducing government spending in numerous areas, including defence. The size of these budget cuts may increase substantially in the months ahead.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, United States, China, Iraq, Middle East, North Korea, Yemen
  • Author: Paola Subacchi
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: There is a sense of frustration and impotence in watching the eurozone crisis unfold. Non-Europeans cannot understand why tackling the crisis has proved so hard. On a recent trip to China a senior central banker asked me: 'Why don't you Europeans get on with it? You know what you need to do. Just do it.' In the narrative of the eurozone crisis, slow action has come to epitomise poor leadership.
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Kerry Brown
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Chinese give British schools top marks
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Bruce Stokes, Xenia Dormandy, Joseph K. Hurd
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Extracted from the Chatham House Election Notes series including work by Xenia Dormandy (Chatham House), Joseph K. Hurd (Truman National Security Project) and Bruce Stokes (Pew Research Centre)
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Tony Karon
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: US fast-food outlets under fire should tighten local links
  • Political Geography: China, America, California