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  • Author: Bart Gaens, Ville Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The United States and China are posited to be at the epicenter of an emerging and – by most accounts – intensifying rivalry. This report delves into the theoretical underpinnings as well as the geostrategic and geo-economic dynamics driving this great-power competition. It explores future prospects for contestation and engagement in key issue areas, such as arms control, trade and sanctions. The chapters in this volume also examine the Indo-Pacific as the immediate regional frontline of the unfolding great-power contest and explore the role that Europe has to play in this game. As the world is crossing the threshold into a new age of great-power competition, the debate on the US-China rivalry reveals the complex and contested nature of the meanings, causes, policy implications and future prospects of what is set to become the “new normal” in global politics.
  • Topic: Hegemony, Geopolitics, Conflict, Rivalry
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: A. Borisov
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: The 20th Century went down in history as a century of ideologies and sharp confrontation of states belonging to different systems, the Soviet Union and the United States in the first place. The 21st century has already demonstrated a mounting geopolitical confrontation of great powers that drew international business interests into their whirlpool. It turned out that the main actors of world politics cannot agree on new prin- ciples of economic cooperation, free competition and respect for the spheres of interests – they have chosen the road of mounting worldwide tension.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Hegemony, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: David Gordon, Haoyu Tong
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This report is the first of two synthesising the findings of a major research workshop convened in Washington DC on 26 June 2019, by The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), as part of its multi-year project on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The IISS commissioned ten papers that addressed development-finance and security issues in the BRI, prepared by leading scholars and policy practitioners. They were joined at the workshop by more than two dozen other experts on China’s international behaviour. This first report focuses on development-finance issues in the BRI; the second will address security issues broadly cast. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is now six years old. Announced by (then) newly ensconced President Xi Jinping, it has since become the centrepiece of Xi’s ambitious drive to make China a more active global leader, and to break free from the cautious approach set out more than 30 years earlier by then-paramount-leader Deng Xiaoping – that China’s strategic approach should be to ‘hide its capacities and bide its time’. At the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 19th Congress in 2017, the BRI was integrated into the party’s charter. Much of the early analytical work on the BRI has focused on questions surrounding China’s motivations – economic or geopolitical. Is Xi’s initiative a response to changing domestic economic circumstances? Or does it signal evidence of China’s intent to build a twentyfirst- century imperium modelled on the post-war United States-led experience, more than on European colonial or earlier Asian empires? The emerging consensus on this question is that it has been a bit of both. At the same time, an often overlooked factor is Xi’s constant need to further consolidate his power inside China, as the economics versus geopolitics debate about the motivations for the BRI gives too little attention to the more purely political dimension. The BRI cannot be separated from Xi’s efforts to cast himself domestically as an exceptional leader for an exceptional moment in China’s history.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, Infrastructure, Hegemony, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: David F Gordon, Haoyu Tong, Tabatha Anderson
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In this second report published by the IISS Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Project under the Geo-Economics, Geopolitics and Strategy Programme, the authors examine a range of security-related challenges that the BRI confronts as it expands into diverse geographies to China’s west and south. The report explores the risks in operating across environments fraught with political, economic and social instability. Beyond this, it delves into the actual and potential challenges that the BRI faces from Islamic extremism and terrorism. The report also assesses the ways in which the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) fits into China’s growing strategic interests in Southeast Asia, and the development of the Digital Silk Road (DSR) at the forefront of the technological and geopolitical competition between China and the United States. Finally, the report explores the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a case study of the security risks and governance challenges present in what is probably the single most important country-wide BRI endeavour.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Infrastructure, Hegemony, Digital Economy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Silk Road
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, Asia
  • Author: Meia Nouwens, Helena Legarda
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In December 2019, for the first time, NATO leaders recognised China as a new strategic point of focus for the Alliance. This reflects growing concern among NATO members surrounding China’s geopolitical rise and its growing power-projection capabilities, as well as the impact that these may have on the global balance of power. Today, China is not only taking a central role in Indo-Pacific security affairs but is also becoming an increasingly visible security actor in Europe’s periphery. As such, the question of how to deal with an increasingly global China has been an important part of Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s NATO 2030 reflection process. China poses a wide range of challenges to NATO. Beijing sees the Alliance as a United States-centric outfit that may be used by Washington to contain China, and has therefore tried to influence individual NATO members’ decisions in order to weaken the Alliance’s unity. Close ties between China and Russia, especially in the security and military spheres, have also been a source of concern for NATO allies. Besides the Chinese and Russian navies’ joint exercises in the Baltic and Mediterranean seas, there is also the potential for the two sides to further coordinate – or at least align their behaviour – on issues of relevance to the Alliance, including hybrid warfare and cyber espionage, arms-control issues, and their approach to Arctic governance, among others. China’s defence spending and military-modernisation process, along with the growing strength of its defence industry, have led to the proliferation of more advanced military platforms around the world. Beijing is also expanding its stockpile of missiles, some of which have the range to reach NATO countries. China’s military-power-projection capabilities have likewise edged towards Europe as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has expanded its international presence over the last few years. While NATO allies may have agreed that China presents a number of challenges to the Alliance’s security, they have yet to achieve consensus on how to address them. Some of these issues lie beyond NATO’s traditional areas of competence and will require expertise best provided by partners of the Alliance rather than the Alliance itself. NATO allies will need to prioritise how, when, where and with which partners to use their combined resources to deal with them. At the same time, the Alliance acknowledges that China is not its adversary. NATO thus must find areas of common interest where it can continue to cooperate with China, albeit with a more clear-eyed approach than it has done in the past. Addressing the opportunities and problems posed by China as a cohesive alliance will be more important than ever.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, North Atlantic, Asia, North America