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  • Author: David Kelly
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The debate about China’s changing role in global affairs is often framed as a dichotomous choice between a peacefully rising China that seeks to be a constructive stakeholder and an increasingly dangerous China that is challenging the status quo, both in terms of its norms and the place of the United States. The reality is more complicated. There are not only signs of both elements, but the foundations shaping Chinese behavior is multifold. Most international relations scholars examine China through one or another version of realism or liberalism. David Kelly, head of research at China Policy, offers an alternative approach that examines the nature of Chinese identity, or rather, Chinese identities, plural, and how they exhibit themselves in Chinese foreign policy. Using his renowned skills in reading Chinese-language official documents and the broader commentary, Kelly teases out seven narratives that Chinese tell themselves and the world, and he provides a codebook for explicating shifting Chinese behavior in different arenas. Kelly concludes that some of these narratives facilitate cooperation, but most point toward deep-seated tensions between China and the West in the years ahead.

  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Globalization, Imperialism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Melissa Dalton, Hijab Shah
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: With the range of security challenges confronting the United States in the 21st century, characterized by competition by both state and nonstate actors, the importance of working with allies and partners to address common challenges is paramount. Deeper examination of the relative effectiveness of U.S. security sector assistance and how it must nest in a broader foreign policy strategy, including good governance, human rights, and rule of law principles, is required. Improving oversight and accountability in U.S. security sector assistance with partners are at the core of ongoing security assistance reform efforts to ensure that U.S. foreign policy objectives are met and in accordance with U.S. interests and values. This report examines key areas in security sector programming and oversight where the U.S. Departments of Defense and State employ accountability mechanisms, with the goal of identifying ways to sharpen and knit together mechanisms for improving accountability and professionalism into a coherent approach for partner countries.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Bonnie S. Glaser, Matthew Funaiole
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The papers in this compendium were written by the 10 members of the 2017 CSIS Taiwan-U.S. Policy Program (TUPP) delegation. TUPP provides a much-needed opportunity for future leaders to gain a better understanding of Taiwan through first-hand exposure to its politics, culture, and history. Each participant was asked to reflect on his or her in-country experience and produce a short article analyzing a policy issue related to Taiwan. These papers are a testament to the powerful impact that follows first-hand exposure to Taiwan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Zack Cooper
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The issue: China’s increased military presence in the Indian Ocean should not come as a surprise. China is following in the traditional path of other rising powers; it is expanding its military operations to match its interests abroad. The security implications of China’s push into the Indian Ocean region are mixed. In peacetime, these efforts will certainly expand Chinese regional influence. In wartime, however, China’s Indian Ocean presence will likely create more vulnerabilities than opportunities. China’s military forays into the Indian Ocean have triggered a series of warnings. The term “string of pearls” was first used to refer to Chinese basing access in the Indian Ocean by a 2004 report for the U.S. Department of Defense. That report suggested China’s growing regional presence could “deter the potential disruption of its energy supplies from potential threats, including the U.S. Navy, especially in the case of a conflict with Taiwan.” Other scholars have warned that Beijing seeks to “dominate” the Indian Ocean region. Others suggest that the Chinese government is simply following its expanding trading interests and seeking to secure its supply lines against disruption. Although China’s presence in the Indian Ocean may permit it to increase its regional influence, Chinese facilities and forces would be highly vulnerable in a major conflict. Thus, the security implications of China’s push into the Indian Ocean region are mixed. In peacetime, these efforts will certainly expand Chinese regional influence. In wartime, however, China’s Indian Ocean presence will likely create more vulnerabilities than opportunities.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Imperialism, Military Strategy, Maritime
  • Political Geography: United States, China, India, Taiwan, Asia, Indian Ocean
  • Author: Matthew Funaiole, Jonathan Hillman
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The issue: China’s Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI) seeks to connect Beijing with trading hubs around the world. Beijing insists the MSRI is economically motivated , but some observers argue that China is primarily advancing its strategic objectives. This article examines several economic criteria that should be used when analyzing port projects associated with the MSRI. China’s leaders have mapped out an ambitious plan, the Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI), to establish three “blue economic passages” that will connect Beijing with economic hubs around the world.1 It is the maritime dimension of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which could include $1–4 trillion in new roads, railways, ports, and other infrastructure. Within this broad and ever-expanding construct, Chinese investments have been especially active in the Indo-Pacific region, raising questions about whether it is China’s economic or strategic interests that are driving major port investments.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Imperialism, Maritime, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Nikos Tsafos
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Issue Russian energy has divided the transatlantic alliance for over 60 years. Tensions normally just simmer, but they flare up when a new project is proposed, especially after a political crisis. In the 1960s, it was the prospect of increased Soviet oil exports following the Cuban missile crisis. In the 1980s, it was more Soviet gas for Western Europe after the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan and martial law had been declared in Poland. Today, it is the proposed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its war against Ukraine (among other actions). Disagreements are natural in a broad alliance with diverse interests and perspectives. But it is now almost impossible to discuss Russian gas with any sense of calm (increasingly true for all things related to Russia). Russian initiatives are infused with perceptions and fears that range from the simple and legitimate to the obscure and far-fetched. In reality, arguments about Russian gas are rarely about Russian gas; they are about history, strategy, and geopolitics. Gas is just the spark. The end result is confusion and discord at a time when the transatlantic alliance has enough problems—without needing to add gas to the fire. It is time to separate Russian gas from the broader Russia agenda. Doing so will boost energy security, protect and strengthen the transatlantic alliance, and allow us to focus where the West can resist Russian power more meaningfully. This argument rests on three propositions. First, that energy does not give Russia as much power as we usually assume; second, that an antagonistic strategy is unlikely to be sustained or succeed in bringing about change, whether in energy or geopolitics; and third, that the best response to Russian gas is a set of policies that Europe should pursue anyway and that are unrelated to Russia. In short, we need to radically rethink Russian gas; how much it matters; and what the United States and Europe should do about it.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Gas, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Amy Searight, Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On August 21–22, 2017, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) organized a conference in Sydney, Australia—Australia and the United States: An Alliance for the 21st Century—in cooperation with the United States Studies Centre (USSC) at the University of Sydney and the Perth USAsia Centre at the University of Western Australia. The conference was generously supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of State. This conference gathered together key thinkers from both countries at an important time for the Australia-U.S. alliance. The scope of cooperation between Australia and the United States has never been greater—extending well beyond traditional defense, intelligence, and diplomatic engagement—and the alliance enjoys healthy support among policymakers and the wider public in both countries. Bilateral economic, social, and cultural ties are broad and deep. The two countries are working closely together to defeat the threat posed by ISIL and other terrorist networks in the Middle East and globally, and to ensure the Asia-Pacific region remains stable and prosperous. Yet the Australia-U.S. alliance faces growing external and internal challenges. The United States, Australia, and other allies confront rising threats in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, and globally from terrorism, financial instability, pandemic diseases, and other transnational challenges. Revisionist powers are seeking to reshape regional security dynamics and carve out spheres of influence, jeopardizing the liberal rules-based order that has supported American and Australian security and prosperity for more than half a century. The risks of miscalculation and conflict are growing, as is the prospect of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, allied resources available to meet these problems are constrained by slow economic growth across the developed world and the cost of supporting aging populations. Now, economic dislocation and stagnant wages are generating a wave of populist and protectionist sentiment in many parts of the world that risks undermining governance and a return to zero-sum, mercantilist economic policies—while U.S. political divisions and some policy choices are exacerbating allies’ concerns about the future of American global leadership. Many of these issues are playing out in the contemporary Australian debate, with a range of senior political figures and commentators calling for Australia to distance itself from the United States and recent opinion polls suggesting doubts about U.S. staying power as well as growing affinity for China. This is broadly consistent with polling from the region that suggests that China’s growing economic clout and military capabilities are driving expectations that China will supplant the United States as the predominant power in the Asia Pacific. These trends raise new questions about the future of the alliance in domestic, bilateral, and international contexts that we must address. They also highlight: the increasingly complex challenges facing U.S. and Australian alliance managers; the importance of not taking the alliance for granted; a requirement for fresh ideas about the alliance; and the need to engage a broader range of stakeholders, including a new generation of strategic thinkers in Australia and the United States. The Sydney conference brought together a group of about 40 participants—including 10 young next-generation leaders from Australia—for a two-day discussion on the opportunities and challenges facing the Australia-U.S. alliance across geopolitical, security, and economic issues. It focused on identifying key takeaways and formulating practical recommendations to improve the Australia-U.S. alliance’s capacity to adapt to changing dynamics, both globally and in the Indo-Pacific region, and to ensure support for the alliance well into the twenty-first century. Participation was by invitation and the discussions were off the record.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Counter-terrorism, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Haim Malka
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: One year since a diplomatic crisis split the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia have maintained neutral positions towards the feud. In light of deepening ties between the Maghreb and GCC states—and the pressure by some Gulf regimes on their allies to choose sides—the Maghreb’s neutrality has been particularly notable. The ability of Maghreb governments to stay out of the crossfire of the intra-GCC conflict demonstrates pragmatism and confidence as well as the limits of GCC influence in the Maghreb. The stakes were different for each Maghreb country in pursuing neutrality on the Gulf rift. At stake for Morocco were billions of dollars in aid and investment promised by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as diplomatic support for Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, Rabat’s top foreign policy priority. For cash-strapped Tunisia, Gulf aid and investment are critical, but aligning with either side in the Gulf dispute would have jeopardized its single most important political achievement in the post-Ben Ali era—the political compromise between the Ennahda and Nidaa Tounes parties. Algeria’s financial independence and mistrust of external intervention has made it the least susceptible to GCC intervention and influence. Conflict-torn Libya is an outlier, and for the foreseeable future will continue to be an arena for GCC intervention and proxy struggles. Gulf Arab-Maghreb ties will continue to matter for both sides. The Maghreb will continue to be dependent on Gulf aid and investment, and the Gulf will look to maintain strategic ties with its Maghreb partners. But moving forward, those ties will be shaped more by pragmatism and self-interest than political or ideological cohesion.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, Algeria, North Africa, Maghreb, Persian Gulf