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  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Throughout the United States, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is exploiting COVID-19 in an effort to reshape the global order and enhance China’s international leadership at the expense of the US. A range of prominent commentators further assert that the Trump administration bears much of the blame for this turn of events. This argument tends to rest on twin assumptions:1 China is winning the battle of narratives when it comes to comparative national competence and its decisiveness in responding to its COVID-19 outbreak. The Trump administration is damaging America’s standing by getting off to a bad start in its response to the pandemic, exposing the underlying weaknesses of American institutions and preparedness for such a crisis. These arguments correctly acknowledge that the global pandemic is occurring within a context of US-China strategic, political, and economic competition and/or rivalry. This is the point of warnings to the administration that there is more at stake than containing and managing the virus, even if that is the immediate priority.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, Health, National Security, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia
  • Author: Eric B. Brown, Patrick M. Cronin, H.R. McMaster, Husain Haqqani, Aparna Pande, Satoru Nagao, John Lee, Seth Cropsey, Peter Rough, Liselotte Odgaard, Blaise Misztal, Douglas J. Feith, Michael Doran
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has introduced a series of new stresses and factors in the US-China relationship. While the world has struggled to contain the pandemic and its tragic repercussions, the People’s Republic of China has used the outbreak to launch a global campaign of misinformation, further its economic coercion through the Belt and Road Initiative, and continue military expansion efforts in the South China Sea. China’s attempt to exploit the pandemic for political, strategic, and economic gain is problematic in the current environment, yet it is consistent with, and a continuation of, China’s long-term strategy. This report offers a global survey and assessment of attempts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to expand its influence, including by exploiting the pandemic. As the United States and its allies focus on combatting the virus and salvaging their economies, there is an opportunity to better understand China’s strategy and develop a unified response.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, Strategic Competition, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report makes the following arguments: From Taiwan’s perspective, the greater its economic presence and importance to the world, the better positioned it is to reduce its dependency on China and maintain its autonomy. This also serves US interests. From the US perspective, deepening the economic relationship with Taiwan in strategic ways will assist it in achieving greater economic distance from China and reducing the extent to which China can capture and dominate global supply and value chains in the future. The US and Taiwanese economies are largely complementary, and this can become even more so. Thus, a deeper bilateral economic relationship will be generally consistent with domestic economic objectives, such as prioritizing high-value job creation and preventing high-value supply chains from remaining in China or leaving the United States. The report offers recommendations to: help prevent the hollowing out of Taiwan’s competitive strengths; help Taiwan broaden and deepen its participation in the regional and international economic space, which is currently being narrowed by China; assist with Taiwan’s desire to lower dependency on China-based supply chains, especially with respect to high-value-added processes; encourage more bilateral investment, intra-industry relations and firm-to-firm activity between the United States and Taiwan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Liselotte Odgaard
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report addresses China’s approach to development in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and the Arctic. China has worked through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to meet Russian demands for continued regional primacy in Central Asia, helping Beijing foster economic and social dominance, access strategic energy resources, and treat the Uyghur minorities as a problem of terrorism rather than a development issue. In Southeast Asia, China has worked through the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to meet regional demands for soft and hard infrastructure to legitimize China’s growing strategic presence. China is therefore able to undermine the regional economic and security foothold of the US alliance system and challenge the interpretations of the Law of the Sea that legitimizes the military presence and activities of extra regional powers. In East Africa, China has cooperated with the African Union (AU) and the East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to address regional demands for hard and soft infrastructure without political conditions, to link antipiracy problems to problems of poverty, and to mediate local civil wars. This has helped China establish an economic and strategic foothold at the intersection of the Indian Ocean and Middle East, projecting power far from its shores. In the Arctic, China has established research stations that function as both environmental research laboratories and military surveillance stations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Health, Foreign Aid, Regulation, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: James Barnett
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) promotes its worldview and political and economic model overseas, particularly in the developing world, albeit in a very different manner than it did in the era of Mao Zedong. Under Mao, who fashioned himself the champion of Third World revolutionary movements, China exported a comprehensive, proactive, and universal ideology. Today the party’s theorists are struggling to develop a message of similar caliber. What they have produced so far has not translated into a particularly coherent or compelling “Xi Jinpingism” that appeals across cultures and societies. But this has not stopped the PRC from pursuing an ideologically grounded foreign policy. President Xi speaks frequently of a “Community of Common Destiny,” a still-vague vision for a Sinocentric world order in which the CCP’s model is lauded as a contribution to human civilization, liberal democracy is widely discredited, and the developing world looks to China above all others for inspiration.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Elites, Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The Trump administration has described the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation as the most significant great-power challengers to the United States and its allies, values, and interests. The 2017 US National Security Strategy identified China and Russia as ideological rivals “determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.” The 2018 US National Defense Strategy described China as “a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors” while undertaking “a military modernization program that seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global preeminence in the future.” The document further criticized Russia for seeking “veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbors.”
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, National Security, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: China has gradually militarized its facilities in the horn of Africa (Djibouti) under the pretense of anti-piracy operations and development aid since 2017, which has forced the U.S., France, and Japan to accept a permanent Chinese military presence in the same 14,400 square-mile African territory, where China is now holding live-fire exercises. Dubbed the “Djibouti strategy,” Beijing is now executing this tactic across the South Pacific, one of the most aid-dependent regions of the world. China, one of the highest contributors to Official Development Assistant (ODA) in the South Pacific, uses that tool at first under the guise of aid while actually employing it to shape the islands’ infrastructure to its own strategic military advantage. China is currently building infrastructure capable of dual economic and military use in Fiji, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, and other Pacific islands. These projects support China’s aim to break through the First and Second Island Chains, a series of pro-U.S. countries that limit Chinese naval access to the Philippine Sea and Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, U.S. ODA is deployed inefficiently and inconsistently through 19 separate agencies. The design, delivery, and administration of U.S. development assistance must be reformed. ODA is a national security issue, not just a humanitarian one. The U.S. defense community needs to embrace the strategic potential of ODA and its capacity to strengthen democracies and counter malign influence abroad.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Aid, Infrastructure, Alliance, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, Djibouti, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, United States of America, Fiji, South Pacific
  • Author: Douglas J. Feith, Seth Cropsey
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This is a study of Eastern Mediterranean security and how the United States and Israel can improve cooperation to protect their common interests. The study’s particular focus is the maritime domain. Few things in world affairs survive for millennia. It’s also true that few are ever really new. In the Eastern Mediterranean, what has endured for thousands of years is the strategic attention of great powers. The region retains it today, commanding interest not only from local and regional actors, but also from global players. As Iran works to extend its reach to the Mediterranean, Russia, as it has for centuries, strives to exert its influence across the Middle East. The United States, on the other hand, has been signaling a desire to reduce its involvement in the region. Remarkably, China too has become a player. Its increasing presence in the Middle East reflects commercial and strategic motives and signifies its rise as a force competing for global economic and military predominance. China is at once a security challenge and a close economic partner. It is the world’s major rising and disruptive power and plays a huge role in global trade and investment.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, International Trade and Finance, National Security, Science and Technology, Military Spending, Maritime, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Israel, United States of America, Mediterranean
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This monograph attempts to argue and/or demonstrate three main points. First, it looks at why there were credible fears about the stability and viability of the Chinese economy — especially the financial and banking system — leading up to the end of the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2011–15), and what these were. To understand why Beijing was so concerned, the monograph draws out the serious structural problems that were leading inevitably to a permanent slowdown from the double-digit growth rates of the first three decades of reform. Second, the monograph looks at what occurred from 2015 to the present, and how China apparently overcame its economic difficulties. In fact, it has not overcome its problems, but deferred them to a future time in ways that only its unique authoritarian political economy is able to do.Third, it is clear the Communist Party is not passively awaiting an unhappy economic fate in connection with its mounting imbalances and domestic economic dysfunction. In many respects, its leaders have been highly creative in seeking solutions that do not entail a weakening of the party’s hold on economic power. On the contrary, the party has been busily shaping and pursuing grand strategic policies such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Made in China 2025 (MIC 2025) to solve or alleviate many of its domestic political-economic problems. This monograph argues that these and other outward-focused initiatives stem most fundamentally from Chinese weaknesses and vulnerabilities but are being remade and recast into initiatives that will strengthen the position of the CCP domestically, ensure greater resilience for its political economy, and advance its ambitious strategic and international objectives at the same time. In summary, it is about the Communist Party cleverly transforming domestic vulnerability into grand strategy and using economic approaches to gain pre-eminence and “win without fighting.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, National Security, Geopolitics, Economy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Seth Cropsey, Jun Isomura
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The alliance between the United States and Japan, born at the end of the Second World War, continues to play a vital role in the defense of the Japanese Islands and in U.S. regional Indo-Pacific strategy. The People’s Republic of China is challenging the U.S.-Japan alliance in the Indo-Pacific Region. China has greatly increased its defense budget, expanded and modernized its navy, and increased operations that challenge the region’s status quo—including in the East China Sea, where the PRC regularly violates Japan’s territorial waters, in the vicinity of the contested Senkaku Islands. China’s belligerent behavior poses a strategic threat to Japan’s domestic security and will continue to encroach on Japanese and U.S. interests in the region. The PRC’s threatening behavior and an aggressive nuclear-armed North Korea are testing the U.S.-Japan bilateral alliance as it has not been tested since the Cold War. The United States continues to serve as a guarantor of Japan’s national security. The U.S. military has stationed naval, air force, army, and amphibious forces in Japan as a strategic deterrent against would be aggressors. With U.S. forces in Japan as a deterrent, Japan has developed a pacifist strategy based on non-aggression and security limited to self-defense. The Japanese constitution’s Article 9 enshrined this principle into law. Japan’s regional strategy has paid dividends through political, diplomatic, and economic engagement with Indo-Pacific countries. This includes Japan’s increasing defensive security cooperation in the region. The Japanese Self-Defense Forces have participated alongside the United States and such neighboring states as South Korea in bilateral and multilateral exercises that build both capabilities and security relationships. Beyond diplomatic and soft power engagement, Japan has in recent years increased its defensive capabilities. To counter Chinese and North Korean missile threats, Japan has worked with the United States to build an advanced ballistic missile defense. In addition, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces have acquired medium-range cruise missiles for its air forces to deter potential adversaries from launching attacks. Tokyo has expanded its defense to counter challenges below the threshold of war against Japan’s outlying islands. Improved intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and the establishment of amphibious forces contribute to this defense.
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, National Security, Bilateral Relations, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, North America, United States of America