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  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: While China has made immense investments in science and technology, and while these are producing results, it is still dependent on Western technology. This is particularly true for semiconductors. China’s dependence on foreign semiconductors has worried Beijing for decades. China suspects that Western semiconductors contain “backdoors,” intentional vulnerabilities that can be exploited for intelligence and military purposes. In 2016, President Xi Jinping said, “the fact that core technology is controlled by others is our greatest hidden danger.” Vice Premier Ma Kai said at the 2018 National People’s Congress, “We cannot be reliant on foreign chips.”1 China intends to end this dependence, but despite 40 years of investment and espionage, it is unable to make advanced semiconductors. Along the way, there have been embarrassing frauds and expensive failures.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Hegemony, Investment, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Judd Devermont, Catherine Chiang
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana warned of the repercussions of escalating U.S.-China trade tensions on African nations. Although largely absent from the discourse surrounding the so-called “trade war,” sub-Saharan Africa has suffered from its impacts. Uncertainty hovering over global and African markets has already undermined investor confidence, triggering drops in commodity prices and local currencies. A slowdown in Chinese production and global growth could threaten to throw African markets further off balance. U.S. protectionist measures stand out for their repercussions on African economies and U.S.-Africa relations. Tariff tensions risk indirectly undercutting U.S. goals of promoting African self-reliance, increasing U.S.-Africa trade and investment, and countering China’s expanding influence on the continent.
  • Topic: Development, Hegemony, Conflict, Trade Wars
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: For all the furor over Iran and the Gulf, or Britain and Brexit, the most important foreign news of the month is what would normally be a relatively obscure Chinese official document: China’s National Defense in the New Era. This White Paper was issued on July 22nd in both Chinese and English. Unlike China’s previous defense white papers — the most recent of which came out in 2015 and was blandly reassuring to the point of being vacuous — the new White Paper picks up the gauntlet that the U.S. threw down in its 2017 National Security Strategy and in 2018 National Defense Strategy. Both of these documents effectively made China the key objective in strengthening U.S. military forces and single it out as America’s primary strategic competitor. China’s National Defense in the New Era is a clear and detailed 51-page response to the massive shift in U.S. strategy from a focus on counterterrorism and extremism to competition and possible conflict with China and Russia. It flags the fact that America and China are now competing superpowers, and that China’s growing military forces are developing to the point where they will be able to challenge the United States. More than that, the detailed contents of the White Paper are a direct response to the official U.S. reports on Chinese Military Power issued by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and by the Defense Intelligence Agency.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Intelligence, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There are deep interconnections between the U.S. and Chinese economies, and China has built its technology base on what it has acquired from the West. China’s government and some Chinese companies will use any means, legal or illegal, to acquire technology. The United States’ relationship with China cannot continue unchanged, but given the interconnections, change must be managed carefully. New restrictions are needed, but counterintuitively, these should be shaped by recognizing that being open makes the United States stronger than being closed. The best approach is an incremental and flexible approach to technology transfer centered on the need to avoid harm to the U.S economy. This report outlines the policy tools that the United States can use to mitigate risk while maintaining the openness that is a hallmark of the U.S. economy.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Intellectual Property/Copyright, Conflict, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Stephanie Segal, Dylan Gerstel
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: There is a growing concern in Washington that certain aspects of international scientific collaboration pose a risk to U.S. economic and national security, making it the latest front in rising U.S.-China competition. At the same time, the U.S. innovation ecosystem depends greatly on foreign scientists and partnerships with foreign research institutions. A well-calibrated strategy to manage these risks will maximize openness while protecting intellectual property, research integrity, and national security. These efforts should preserve the ability of the United States to attract top talent, including by maintaining a welcoming environment for foreign researchers, while improving domestic investment in science, technology, engineering, and math outcomes. This report outlines the vulnerabilities arising from foreign research collaboration, the risks of policy overreach, and recommendations to manage risks while maintaining scientific openness.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Innovation, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Matthew P. Goodman, Dylan Gerstel, Pearl Risberg
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As the United States and China mark their 40th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations in 2019, the world’s most important bilateral relationship is increasingly defined by mistrust, competition, and uncertainty. After four decades of deepening economic integration, the talk in Washington today is about the extent to which the two economies will “decouple” over the years ahead. In a recent study, the CSIS Simon Chair drew on several different academic disciplines to model how an economic conflict between the United States and China could escalate and eventually de-escalate. Our findings suggest that economic conflict is likely to be an enduring feature of the U.S.-China relationship for many years to come. Until perceptions of relative costs in the two countries shift, Washington and Beijing seem set on a path of continued escalation, no substantial trade deal, and at least partial decoupling of their economies.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Conflict, Trade Policy, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: William A Carter, William Crumpler
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Few countries have embraced the vision of an AI-powered future as fervently as China. Unlike the United States, the Chinese government is dedicating significant resources and attention to AI development and creating a supportive policy environment to facilitate innovation and experimentation and proactively manage risk. However, numerous misconceptions and competing narratives around China’s innovation economy have made it difficult for U.S. policymakers to understand the AI ecosystem in China and its links to AI innovation in the United States. This report seeks to improve this understanding by examining China’s progress toward achieving its four strategic goals. We find that while China’s progress towards AI leadership remains uneven, its commitment to building domestic innovation capacity could allow the country to become a world-leading AI power in the coming decades. China’s progress in AI can complement and accelerate U.S. AI development, and policymakers should avoid responding to China’s advances with counterproductive policies that undermine the U.S. innovative capacity to little or no gain. Instead, the United States should focus on developing a positive agenda for driving its own AI development.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Bonnie Glaser, Scott Kennedy, Matthew Funaiole
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In a concerted effort to expand Taiwan’s presence across the Indo-Pacific, President Tsai Ing-wen has introduced the New Southbound Policy (NSP) to strengthen Taipei’s relationships with the 10 countries of ASEAN, six states in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan), Australia, and New Zealand. The policy is designed to leverage Taiwan’s cultural, educational, technological, agricultural, and economic assets to deepen its regional integration. This report tracks the ongoing implementation of the NSP and assesses what has been achieved since Tsai was elected in January 2016. The Guidelines for the New Southbound Policy issued by the Tsai administration detail that the policy is designed to (1) forge a “sense of economy community” by fostering links between Taiwan and the 18 NSP target countries; and (2) establish mechanisms for wide-ranging negotiations and dialogues, and to “form a consensus for cooperation” with NSP target countries. In the short and medium term, the Guidelines identify four goals: (1) use national will, policy incentives, and business opportunities to spur and expand “two-way” exchanges with NSP target countries; (2) encourage industry to adopt “a New Southbound strategy” in their planning; (3) cultivate more people with the skills needed to support the NSP; and (4) expand multilateral and bilateral negotiations and dialogues to enhance economic cooperation and resolve disputes and disagreements.1 The NSP follows from similarly named policies initiated under Presidents Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian, which were aimed at diversifying Taiwan’s outbound investment away from Mainland China and into Southeast Asia. Since these prior efforts had only a limited impact, skeptics often mischaracterize the NSP as the latest iteration of a failed policy. Such naysayers fail to appreciate, however, that Tsai’s approach is both more strategic and more comprehensive than those of her predecessors. While diversifying and reinvigorating Taiwan’s economy remain fundamental to the NSP, the policy also outlines mechanisms for more effectively integrating Taiwan into the region through cultivating interpersonal connections. Moreover, the NSP is being implemented at a time of slowing growth and rising wages in Mainland China, while investment opportunities are booming in Southeast Asia and South Asia. The core economic goals of the NSP include institutional initiatives, such as updating and expanding economic agreements with targeted countries. At the same time, Taiwan is seeking to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to explore opportunities overseas. Taipei has also identified avenues for improving bilateral ties by engaging with the general publics of NSP target countries, as well as with government officials and business executives. As such, Taiwan has invested heavily in expanding cultural and educational exchanges to help promote a deeper under- standing of South and Southeast Asian cultures, languages, and business practices among the people of Taiwan. These “people-centered” exchanges serve to realize Taipei’s twin goals of strengthening Taiwan’s integration with the region and facilitating its economic diversification. It is too early to determine whether the NSP will ultimately achieve its ambitious goals, and it may take years before the Tsai government’s investment will start paying dividends. Furthermore, the NSP should be carefully examined by both the countries targeted by Tsai and partners further afield—including the United States. Many of these countries have a vested interest in bolstering the mechanisms available for Taiwan to contribute to the peaceful development of Asia. These countries may find that the goals of the NSP overlap with their own objectives in the region, and therefore may be eager to lend additional support to the endeavor. Selected Policy Recommendations for the United States The United States has a profound interest in the success of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy. Taiwan has been a long-standing partner of the United States. Its democracy and free society are a beacon of liberal values in the region, while its economic development model has been admired and studied for decades by nations in Asia and beyond. To date, the United States does not appear to have given much thought or expended much effort to support the NSP within Asia. We suggest the United States consider actively supporting the NSP. We recommend the following specific actions: The assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs should coordinate with his/ her counterpart in the South and Central Asia division to create an internal working group to consider how the U.S. government can support the NSP. The U.S. government should engage Japan, Australia, and India, the other members of the “quad,” in support of the NSP. The U.S. government should continue to support Taiwan’s inclusion and active participation in international and regional initiatives where statehood is not required. U.S. nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), particularly those with programs in NSP target countries, should consider partnerships with NGOs in Taiwan to integrate their work where appropriate in support of the NSP. The Commerce Department’s U.S. Commercial Service should engage with American industry associations and companies, and explore potential avenues of collaboration be- tween American and Taiwan industry in NSP target countries. The United States should consider bilateral (U.S.-Taiwan) cultural initiatives that may be brought to third countries in Asia. The United States should include Taiwan youth in relevant regional programs and networks.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Education, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Culture, ASEAN
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis, John J. Hamre
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S.-China relationship is one that neither country can escape. Both benefit from it in important ways. The question for quite some time, though, has been whether China’s economy, international presence, and participation in global institutions would come to look more like our own, or whether it would seek to challenge the order the United States has built and led over the past 70 years. While China’s economic size does not necessarily threaten the United States, China’s willingness to use its economic leverage to forge a global economy closer to its image raises complicated questions considering its lack of transparency. The essays in this volume, written by a diverse group of CSIS scholars, address some of the key issues that currently vex the U.S.-China economic relationship.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Global Political Economy, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy outline a U.S. shift from counterterrorism to inter-state competition with China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. However, U.S. policymakers need to be prepared for much of this competition to occur at the unconventional level, since the costs of conventional and nuclear war would likely be catastrophic. U.S. strategy is evolving from a post-9/11 focus on counterterrorism against groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State to competition between state adversaries. As the National Defense Strategy notes, “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.”1 This shift has significant implications for the U.S. military, since it indicates a need to improve U.S. capabilities to fight—and win—possible wars against China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea if deterrence fails. Though it is prudent to prepare for conventional—and even nuclear—war, the risks of conflict are likely to be staggering. Numerous war games and analyses of U.S. conflicts with Russia in the Baltics, China in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea, and North Korea on the Korean peninsula suggest the possibility of at least tens of thousands of dead and billions of dollars in economic damages. In addition, these conflicts could escalate to nuclear war, which might raise the number of dead to hundreds of thousands or even millions. According to one analysis, for example, a U.S. war with China could reduce China’s gross domestic product (GDP) by between 25 and 35 percent and the United States’ GDP by between 5 and 10 percent. The study also assessed that both countries could suffer substantial military losses to bases, air forces, surface naval forces, and submarines; significant political upheaval at home and abroad; and huge numbers of civilian deaths.2 These costs and risks will likely give Washington, Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, and even Pyongyang pause, raising several questions. Will these high costs deter the possibility of conventional and nuclear war? If so, what are the implications for the United States as it plans for a rise in inter-state competition? The Cold War offers a useful historical lens. NATO planners prepared for a possible Soviet and Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe. The U.S. military, for example, deployed forces to the Fulda Gap, roughly 60 miles outside of Frankfurt, Germany, as one of several possible invasion routes by Soviet and other Warsaw Pact forces. NATO also planned for nuclear war. The United States built up its nuclear arsenal and adopted strategies like mutually assured destruction (MAD). The concept of MAD assumed that a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two or more opposing sides would cause the annihilation of both the attacker and the defender. The threat of such heavy costs deterred conflict, despite some close calls. During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the two superpowers nearly went to war after a U.S. U-2 aircraft took pictures of Soviet medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic nuclear missiles (MRBMs and IRBMs) under construction in Cuba. But Washington and Moscow ultimately assessed that direct conflict was too costly. Deterrence held. Instead, the United States and Soviet Union engaged in intense security competition at the unconventional level across Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Both countries backed substate groups and states to expand their power and influence. Under the Reagan Doctrine, for example, the United States provided overt and covert assistance to anticommunist governments and resistance movements to roll back communist supporters. The Soviets did the same and supported states and substate actors across the globe. In addition, the Soviets adopted an aggressive, unconventional approach best captured in the phrase “active measures” or aktivnyye meropriatia. As used by the KGB, active measures included a wide range of activities designed to influence populations across the globe. The KGB established front groups, covertly broadcast radio and other programs, orchestrated disinformation campaigns, and conducted targeted assassinations. The Soviets used active measures as an offensive instrument of Soviet foreign policy to extend Moscow’s influence and power throughout the world, including in Europe. Unlike the Cold War, the United States confronts multiple state adversaries today—not one. As the National Defense Strategy argues, the United States is situated in “a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory” where “the central challenges to U.S. prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition by what the National Security Strategy classifies as revisionist powers.” But based on the likely costs and risks of conventional and nuclear war with China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, much of the competition will likely be unconventional—and include what former U.S. State Department diplomat George Kennan referred to as “political warfare.” The term political warfare refers to the employment of military, intelligence, diplomatic, financial, and other means—short of conventional war—to achieve national objectives. It can include overt operations like public broadcasting and covert operations like psychological warfare and support to underground resistance groups.3 The United States’ adversaries today are already engaged in political warfare. Russia, for instance, utilizes a range of means to pursue its interests, such as technologically sophisticated offensive cyber programs, covert action, and psychological operations. Moscow has conducted overt operations like the use of RT and Sputnik, as well as semitransparent and covert efforts. It has also become increasingly active in supporting state and substate actors in countries like Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, and Libya to expand its influence in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and even North Africa. Finally, Russia is attempting to exploit European and transatlantic fissures and support populist movements to undermine European Union and NATO cohesion, thwart economic sanctions, justify or obscure Russian actions, and weaken the attraction of Western institutions for countries on Russia’s periphery. Iran is using political warfare tools like propaganda, cyber attacks, and aid to substate proxies to support its security priorities, influence events and foreign perceptions, and counter threats. Tehran is also assisting state and substate actors in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, and Afghanistan. Iran supports Shia militia groups in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, and Houthi rebels in Yemen. In the South China Sea, China is pouring millions of tons of sand and concrete onto reefs, creating artificial islands. It is also conducting a sophisticated propaganda campaign, utilizing economic coercion, and using fleets of fishing vessels to solidify its assertion of territorial and resource rights throughout the Pacific. Finally, Beijing is targeting the U.S. government, its allies, and U.S. companies as part of a cyber-espionage campaign. With political warfare already alive and well with the United States’ state adversaries, there are several implications for U.S. defense strategy. First, U.S. policymakers need to be prepared for significant inter-state competition to occur at the unconventional level, since the costs and risks of conventional and nuclear war may be prohibitively high. This should involve thinking through trade-offs regarding force posture, procurement, acquisition, and modernization. A U.S. military that predominantly focuses on preparing for conventional or nuclear war with state competitors—by modernizing the nuclear triad, building more resilient space capabilities, acquiring more effective counter-space systems, equipping U.S. forces with high-technology weapons, and emphasizing professional military education (PME) to fight conventional wars—may undermine U.S. unconventional readiness and capabilities. Second, even organizations that already engage in some types of political warfare—such as U.S. Special Operations Command and the U.S. intelligence community—will need to continue shifting some of their focus from counterterrorism to political warfare against state adversaries. This might include, for example, providing more aid to the Baltic States to conduct an effective resistance campaign against unconventional action by Moscow. Or it might involve aiding proxies in countries like Syria and Yemen to counter Iranian-backed organizations. It could also include improving the border security capabilities and effectiveness of Ukrainian military and police units against Russian-backed rebels. Third, the United States should invest in resources and capabilities that allow the military and other U.S. government agencies to more effectively engage in political warfare—and to provide agencies with sufficient authorities to conduct political warfare. One example is improving capabilities to conduct aggressive, offensive cyber operations. Other examples might include advanced electronic attack capabilities, psychological warfare units, security force assistance brigades, and precision munitions. Recognizing that other powers routinely conduct political warfare, George Kennan encouraged U.S. leaders to disabuse themselves of the “handicap” of the “concept of a basic difference between peace and war” and to wake up to “the realities of international relations—the perpetual rhythm of struggle, in and out of war.” Kennan’s advice may be even more relevant today in such a competitive world.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Asia, North Korea