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  • Author: James M. Acton
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Ambiguity about whether a weapon is nuclear-armed prior to its launch is an underappreciated, serious, and growing danger. Rising geopolitical tensions and the decay of arms control are exacerbating the risk that such pre-launch warhead ambiguity could lead to nuclear use in a crisis or conflict. Recent developments in technology—as well as potential future advances, such as the development of ambiguous intercontinental missiles—further add to the danger. A first step toward reducing these risks is to enhance awareness among decisionmakers of the causes and potential consequences of ambiguity. Unilateral and cooperative risk-mitigation measures could further reduce the danger of escalation, including in conflicts between the United States and Russia or the United States and China.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, United States of America
  • Author: Shaoyu Yuan
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Tensions in the South China Sea continue to rise. China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN)’s Rear Admiral Lou Yuan, regarded as a hawkish military commentator, recently proclaimed that the continuing dispute over the ownership of the South China Sea could be resolved by sinking two US aircraft carriers. Statements like these result in a legitimate fear that China’s increasing presence in the South China Sea might spark a kinetic military conflict with the United States. However, while most Western scholars and media are paying excessive attention to the rise of China, few are contemplating China’s weaknesses in the region. Despite China’s constant verbal objections and rising tensions with the United States in the last century, the world has yet to witness any major military confrontation between the two superpowers. China will continue to avoid directly confronting the United States in the South China Sea for at least another decade because China’s military remains immature and defective.
  • Topic: Security, Power Politics, Territorial Disputes, Grand Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, South China, United States of America
  • Author: Obert Hodzi
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With a few exceptions, armed civil wars are no longer commonplace in Africa, but anti-government protests are. Instead of armed rebels, unarmed civilians are challenging regimes across Africa to reconsider their governance practices and deliver both political and economic change. In their responses, regimes in countries like Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Rwanda, and Burundi have favored the combat mode—responding to dissent with military and repressive means. With few options, civilian movements look to the United States for protection and support while their governments look to China for reinforcement. If the United States seeks to reassert its influence in Africa and strengthen its democratic influence, its strategy needs to go beyond counterterrorism and respond to Africa’s pressing needs while supporting the African people in their quest for democracy and human rights.
  • Topic: Security, Conflict, State Violence, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ian Williams
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For decades, China has engaged in a fervent game of “catch-up” with U.S. military capabilities. This effort, which has ballooned China’s defense spending to 620 percent of its 1990 level, is beginning to bear real fruit. While still far from achieving military parity, China’s military technology and doctrine are quickly coalescing into a coherent form of warfare, tailored to overpowering the U.S. military in a short, sharp conflict in the Eastern Pacific. This strategy of “informationized” warfare focuses first on eroding U.S. situational awareness, communications, and precision targeting capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Weapons , Military Spending, Conflict, Surveillance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Isolated from the international community, Myanmar is deepening its dependence on China. But closer ties, Beijing-backed megaprojects and private Chinese investment carry both risks and opportunities. Both states should proceed carefully to ensure local communities benefit and avoid inflaming deadly armed conflicts. What’s new? The Rohingya crisis has strained Myanmar’s relations with the West and much of the Global South, pushing it to rely more on diplomatic and economic support from China. With a China-Myanmar Economic Corridor proceeding, and smaller private-sector projects proliferating, China’s investments in Myanmar are poised to shift into higher gear. Why does it matter? Many of these projects are located in or near areas of active armed conflict, and are often implemented without sufficient transparency, consultation with local communities or awareness of the local context. They risk empowering armed actors, heightening local grievances and amplifying anti-Chinese sentiment, which could lead to a popular backlash. What should be done? China needs to take more responsibility for ensuring that its projects benefit local communities and Myanmar’s economy, and do not exacerbate conflict. The Myanmar government should enhance its China expertise to negotiate and regulate projects more effectively. Both sides need to practice greater transparency and meaningful community consultation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Bilateral Relations, Conflict, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Danielle Pletka, Brett D. Schaefer
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In a pandemic, a global health organization that is overly deferential to one nation and incapable of being an honest broker costs the very lives it exists to save. While China deserves primary blame for the devastation of COVID-19, the WHO also played a key role by failing to alert the world to Beijing’s lack of transparency. The WHO’s failures cannot be allowed to recur. Without change, it will fail again. It must implement reforms if it wants to restore confidence and earn US support.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, World Health Organization, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Karen E. Young
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Much energy has focused on China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the debt-trap diplomacy it represents. But there is another set of players on the scene whose growth and influence in this sphere have been largely ignored. Gulf Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have increasingly embraced an aggressive growth, investment, and development model for the broader Middle East. This report and the accompanying Gulf Financial Aid and Direct Investment Tracker are an effort to understand the breadth and scope of Gulf aid and financial intervention into a representative set of cases in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, and West Asia. The objective is to demonstrate the competitive landscape for foreign investment in the receiving case countries and indicate the growing strength of Gulf capital investment, as it measures against a perception of Chinese capacity in the wider Middle East and emerging markets broadly. Most important, the comparative data here also demonstrate how private capital flows from the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union compete against flows of capital from state capitalism sources such as China and the Gulf.
  • Topic: Foreign Direct Investment, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment, Strategic Competition, State Capitalism
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Partial decoupling from China is overdue. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) suppresses foreign competition and infringes intellectual property. It is an ugly dictatorship at home and increasingly aggressive overseas. Decoupling involves a range of tools and economic activities. Policymakers should quickly move to document and respond to Chinese subsidies, implement already legislated export control reform, monitor and possibly regulate outbound investment, and provide legal authority to move or keep supply chains out of the PRC. Decoupling has costs—higher prices, lower returns on investment, and lost sales. But they are dwarfed by the costs of continued Chinese economic predation and the empowerment of the Communist Party.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: As expected given COVID-19, China’s construction and, especially, investment around the world plunged in the first half of 2020. The decline may be exaggerated by Chinese firms not wanting to report global activity, but Beijing’s happy numbers are not credible. From what little can be discerned, the Belt and Road Initiative is becoming more important, primarily because rich countries are more hostile to Chinese entities. American policy needs to shift. Incoming Chinese investment is now extremely small, but technology is still being lost due to lack of implementation of export controls. Growing American portfolio investment in China is unmonitored and may support technology thieves, human rights abusers, and other bad actors.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Investment, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Chinese investment and construction around the world contracted in 2019, regardless of Beijing’s claims to the contrary. However, the decline is concentrated in large, headline-winning deals, and Chinese firms remain active on a smaller scale. A contraction in acquisitions in rich economies has boosted the relative importance of greenfield spending. The number of countries in the Belt and Road continues to expand, and power plant and transport construction continues to be preeminent. American policymakers were initially spurred to act by intense Chinese investment in 2016. This has dropped sharply, but there are challenges related to investment review that are more important, starting with strengthening export controls.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: There is a considerable chance China will stagnate by 2040, with gross domestic product growth at 1–1.5 percent. The process has started, seen most clearly in stark trends for debt and aging, but better-quality data on productivity would clarify how far along stagnation is and whether it at some point reverses. China shows no sign of adopting pro-productivity reform. It will not spur growth by leveraging or bolster a shrinking labor force through current population and education policy. Innovation will help, but a large economy requires broad innovation, and the party dislikes competition. A twist comes from China’s global position, which will not deteriorate much. Outbound investment has retrenched, and the yuan’s rise was exaggerated. Consumption exports and commodities imports will stall. But China will easily be a top-two market in most sectors, and other countries are not acting to displace it. Instead, localization will occur. Commodities producers and some developing countries will lose, the latter as Chinese capital dries up. Countries that make difficult reforms will win. Consumer goods will see inflation, but innovation will be healthier with less Chinese influence. American firms will seek new pastures, and Chinese stagnation means production may relocate to the US.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, GDP, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Priscilla Clapp
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Developing countries throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America are grappling with how to deal with China's rising economic influence—particularly the multibillion-dollar development projects financed through China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Myanmar, however, appears to be approaching foreign investment proposals with considerable caution. This report examines the framework the country is developing to promote transparency and accountability and to reserve for itself the authority to weigh the economic, social, and environmental impacts of major projects proposed by international investors, including China.
  • Topic: Development, Infrastructure, Economy, Conflict, Investment, Peace
  • Political Geography: China, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: China’s fast-paced economic rise and defiance of globally accepted market rules—along with the growing and yet unknown economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19)—are driving the next phase of US-China trade negations to the top of the nation’s post-election agenda. While the Phase I US-China trade deal has eased tension, it also set the stage for discussions on other important economic disputes, including forced technology transfer, cyber theft of intellectual property (IP), industrial policies, state subsidies, and new technology, according to a new Solutions Brief, The China Trade Challenge: Phase II, by the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED).
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Global Markets, Economy, Global Political Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dr Vincent Boulanin, Lora Saalman, Peter Topychkanov, Fei Su, Peldán Carlsson
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: This report aims to offer the reader a concrete understanding of how the adop­tion of artificial intelligence (AI) by nuclear-armed states could have an impact on strategic stability and nuclear risk and how related challenges could be addressed at the policy level. The analysis builds on extensive data collection on the AI-related technical and strategic developments of nuclear-armed states. It also builds on the authors’ conclusions from a series of regional workshops that SIPRI organized in Sweden (on Euro-Atlantic dynamics), China (on East Asian dynamics) and Sri Lanka (on South Asian dynamics), as well as a transregional workshop in New York. At these workshops, AI experts, scholars and practitioners who work on arms control, nuclear strategy and regional security had the opportunity to discuss why and how the adoption of AI capabilities by nuclear-armed states could have an impact on strategic stability and nuclear risk within or among regions.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Military Affairs, Disarmament, Nonproliferation, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, South Asia, East Asia, Sri Lanka, Sweden
  • Author: Mirka Martel
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: The Institute of International Education (IIE) is studying the effects of COVID‐19 (coronavirus) on global student mobility on U.S. higher education campuses. Our aim in this series is to provide more information about the effects that COVID‐19 has had on international student mobility, and the measures U.S. higher education institutions are taking regarding international students currently on campus and those abroad, international students interested in studying in the United States, and U.S. students planning to study abroad. The first survey was launched on Feb. 13, 2020, and specifically focuses on the effects of COVID‐19 with regard to academic student mobility to and from China. As the COVID‐19 outbreak evolves, IIE will administer follow‐on surveys to the U.S. higher education community to monitor the unfolding situation and to keep the international education community informed.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Youth, Mobility, Higher Education, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Patryk Kugiel
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Trump administration recognises the “Indo-Pacific” region—which in official terminology has replaced “Asia-Pacific”—as the most important area for maintaining U.S. global dominance by confronting China. The anti-China approach in the American strategy is not shared by other countries that also are developing Indo-Pacific policy because they are concerned about the negative effects of the U.S.-China rivalry. The Americans will put pressure on their NATO and EU allies to more strongly support the achievement of U.S. goals in the region. However, the EU approach is closer to that of the Asian countries in seeking cooperation and strengthening the stability of a cooperative and rules-based regional order.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America, European Union, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Artur Kacprzyk
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Trump administration is sceptical about extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START, NST), which is to expire in 2021. It wants to sign a new deal with Russia and China covering all kinds of nuclear weapons. It will not be possible, however, to negotiate such a complex agreement before NST expires. In effect, there is a growing risk of a collapse of U.S.-Russia strategic arms control, which would negatively affect NATO as well: it would deepen both the divisions over the future of deterrence policy within the Alliance and the differences in the U.S. Congress on the modernisation of America’s nuclear forces.
  • Topic: NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, United States of America, North America
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski, Marek Wasinski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic and efforts to suppress it (the Great Lockdown) will lead to the collapse of the global economy. In the short term, the reduction in production and consumption in the countries most affected by the pandemic will lead to a global recession. In the long run, the crisis may result in a partial retreat from globalisation, higher indebtedness, and narrowing the differences in economic potential between the EU and the U.S., and China. A positive side effect may be the acceleration of the development of the digital economy, including the services market.
  • Topic: European Union, Economy, Global Financial Crisis, Coronavirus, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Jakub Benedyczak
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: COVID-19 has become an opportunity for the Russian authorities to increase repressive measures and test Chinese solutions for digital control of society. Most of the solutions will probably be maintained after the pandemic eases, especially given the deepening economic crisis and potential of protests.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Surveillance, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia
  • Author: Marcin Przychodniak
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China’s cooperation with the Western Balkans through the “17+1” format and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), among others, is primarily political. In the economic sphere, Chinese investments are to a large extent only declarations, and trade is marginal in comparison to cooperation with the EU or others. China’s goals are to gain political influence in future EU countries and limit their cooperation with the U.S. Competition with China in the region requires more intense EU-U.S. cooperation, made more difficult by the pandemic.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Balkans
  • Author: Paweł Markiewicz
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Arctic has become another contested area between the U.S., Russia, and China. The region’s growing importance for global trade and American security means the U.S. goal is largely to maintain freedom of navigation in the Arctic. For this reason, the Trump administration strives to increase American capacities to operate in the Arctic. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will delay implementing these plans; nevertheless, they will be achieved in the long term and the U.S. will also expect support in the Arctic from NATO allies.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Arctic, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the atrocity prevention lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 49 looks at developments in Afghanistan, China, Myanmar (Burma), Syria, Yemen, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, South Sudan and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, Conflict, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Venezuela, Nigeria, Mali, Myanmar, South Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The first monograph in this series, China’s Economic Slowdown: Root Causes, Beijing’s Response and Strategic Implications for the US and Allies, examined the structural problems in the Chinese economy that have led to a recent permanent slowdown after three decades of double-digit growth rates. The monograph focused on the political and economic costs of the slowdown and efforts to stabilize an economy that has poured far too much national wealth into commercially unproductive areas. Yet 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, part two in the series, examines how the US and its allies can confront and counter these Chinese strategies and initiatives. It will do so by taking seriously the challenge they present and suggesting responses that take into account Chinese vulnerabilities and the points of leverage available to the US and its allies. This linking of China’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses, on the one hand, and its ambition and purpose with respect to its outward-focused policies, is essential for effective policy responses. If the domestic is not linked with the external, US policies are much more likely to become complacent, counterproductive, or susceptible to overreaching. In linking analyses of Beijing’s domestic political economy with its external policies, the monograph will challenge some enduring but incorrect grand narratives that play into the hands of the CCP.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Science and Technology, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, 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: Thomas J. Duesterberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report will concentrate on select examples of the growing US vulnerability to global competitors due to shortages of key mineral resources in our domestic supply base. Dependence on China for raw materials and competition with its manufacturing firms is also a key focus. Shortages do not always indicate a problem because our close allies in mineral-rich countries like Australia and Canada can mitigate gaps in domestic supply. However, China’s growing control over many basic materials, and its history of using that control as leverage for its own economic and political goals, makes this a cause of concern for the continued strength of the US manufacturing economy.
  • Topic: Natural Resources, Economy, COVID-19, Minerals
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Australia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Thomas J. Duesterberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The imperative to return supply chains to the United States for products important to national defense, medical security, and competitiveness in key industrial and technology sectors is not new. The explosive growth of the Chinese manufacturing sector, its mercantilist challenge to the world trading system, and its impact on jobs and industrial leadership in the United States is well known and well documented. This challenge has prompted new research and policies to help reverse the erosion of US supply chains. US technology leadership has been undermined by China’s forced technology transfer, theft of intellectual property, and subsidization of traditional and new higher technology sectors. In turn, the loss of global markets and US manufacturing jobs have resulted in social problems of increasing devastation to communities in industrial areas. China’s economic growth depends, in a historically unprecedented way, on its export model and the suppression of domestic consumption. This results in a cycle of overproduction, expansion of external spheres of economic influence, and dumping of products abroad. In recent years, the United States has begun to challenge the Chinese model. However, much work remains to be done to accomplish the goal of ending mercantilist practices, establishing a level playing field for US producers, and reinvigorating domestic production. Critical supply chains for US national defense and high technology leadership have become overly dependent on China and other foreign sources. The vulnerability of supply chains has been demonstrated by interruptions in supply of key materials by both natural disasters and political decisions such as Beijing’s cutoff of rare earth metals a decade ago. More recently, in July 2020, the production of critical personal protective equipment was interrupted by massive flooding in the interior of China. Beyond Beijing’s unfair practices, China is a continental economy with the ambition to displace the United States as the leader in the global economy of the 21st century and has the economies of scale to represent a serious, long term threat to US leadership and markets. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these preexisting trends and underscores the importance of bringing industrial supply chains, including medical products, back to the United States. First, the cut-off of medical supplies, not just from China but from Europe and other allies, brought the vulnerabilities of relying on outside sourcing into clearer and more immediate focus. Ninety countries blocked the exports of medical products during the early months of the pandemic. Second, border closures around the world, even within the European Union (EU), added to the worries about supply chain interruptions, including for workers and logistics. Seventy percent of the world’s points of entry restricted foreign travelers at some point as the pandemic grew. Third, border closures and supply chain interruptions increased tensions between nations, especially between the United States and China, which was criticized for its suppression of information at the start of the pandemic. Beijing’s brazen imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong while the world was preoccupied by the pandemic further eroded its global standing, especially in Europe. Fourth, the economic collapse due to the pandemic response again focused attention on the need to create more domestic jobs, including those in the hard-hit industrial sector. Finally, all these developments led allies such as the United Kingdom, Japan, and the EU to advance new policies meant to bring production back to home territories. These trends support initiatives to increase the resiliency of domestic production, even beyond the parameters of defense and medical security.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Manufacturing, Trade, COVID-19, Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Bryan Clark, Seth Cropsey, Timothy A. Walton
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Submarines have posed a challenge to naval forces for more than a century, enabling weaker maritime powers to launch surprise attacks ashore or cut an opponent off from the sea. But submarine threats, and the difficulty of countering them, increased substantially for the United States and its allies during the past decade. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is modernizing its fleet with conventional air-independent propulsion submarines (SSPs) that support its broader sensor and weapon networks. It is also fielding nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) and ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) capable of longer or more distant deployments. New generations of Russian Federation Navy (RFN) SSNs are difficult to track and could be employed for conventional or nuclear strikes during a conflict. Both countries are augmenting their submarine fleets with large autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) incorporating submarine like capabilities. Modern submarine technology has also proliferated, with the North Korean and Iranian navies using submarines and AUVs to level the playing field with their larger regional competitors and the United States. Unfortunately, the current US and allied approach to antisubmarine warfare (ASW) is unlikely to cope with the probable scale of undersea threats in a crisis or conflict. US Navy ASW concepts rely on fixed seabed sensors such as the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) or Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) ships to detect and initially track submarines. Multiple maritime patrol aircraft and guided missile destroyers (DDGs) then track each adversary submarine before potentially passing it to an SSN for longerterm surveillance. This approach works when opposing submarines deploy infrequently but is likely to break down during a large-scale submarine deployment or as submarines become quieter and harder to track. When manned platforms and expendables such as sonobuoys or torpedoes run out or are needed elsewhere, ASW operations will necessarily collapse to a defensive strategy protecting high-value targets, instead of suppressing enemy submarine operations closer to the adversary’s waters. This may result in unlocated adversary submarines operating in the open ocean, where they could threaten US and allied shipping and maritime operations.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Maritime, Automation, Submarines
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Bryan Clark, Dan Patt
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: US national security experts worry the United States is falling behind China in the competition for 5G mobile communication dominance. While US companies led establishment of today’s 4G networks, they are not the frontrunners in setting 5G standards, building 5G equipment, or deploying 5G infrastructure. The lead in 5G implementation belongs instead to China’s Huawei, which exploited a combination of regulatory protection, government subsidies, and capable technology to rapidly gain one-third of the global 5G market.
  • Topic: National Security, Science and Technology, Internet, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • 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: Husain Haqqani, Aparna Pande
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The world’s most populous region, South Asia, with almost 1.9 billion people living in eight countries, has so far had fewer reported infections and fatalities per capita from the novel coronavirus than projected in early models. However, the region is unlikely to escape the widespread disruption and damage felt across the globe, and its worst health-care crisis may be yet to come. In South Asia, as in other regions, the COVID-19 pandemic is testing the capacities of states to provide security and effective healthcare and to maintain essential services. It is also having an impact on fragile democratic institutions and societal bonds, in addition to putting considerable strains on the economy. [...] Following is a country-by-country report, with inputs from experts on the ground, on the coronavirus pandemic’s impact in South Asia and its human, economic, and political consequences.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, India, Asia, Sri Lanka
  • 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: Lauren Speranza
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Tackling hybrid threats, particularly from state actors such as Russia and China, remains one of the greatest challenges for the transatlantic community. Hybrid threats have gained more traction among policymakers and publics across Europe and the United States, especially in a world with COVID-19. Over the last five years, Euro-Atlantic nations and institutions, such as NATO and the European Union (EU), have taken important steps to respond to hybrid issues. But, as hybrid threats become more prominent in the future, policymakers must move toward a more coherent, effective, and proactive strategy for countering Russian and Chinese hybrid threats. To develop such a transatlantic counter-hybrid strategy for Russia and China, this paper argues that two major things need to happen. First, transatlantic policymakers have to build a common strategic concept to guide collective thinking on hybrid threats. Second, transatlantic policymakers need to take a range of practical actions in service of that strategic concept. In a strategic concept for countering Russian and Chinese hybrid threats, Lauren Speranza offers five strategic priorities that could form the basis of this strategic concept and presents a series of constructive steps that NATO, the EU, and nations can take, in cooperation with the private sector and civil society, to enhance their counter-hybrid capabilities against Russia and China.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Politics, Science and Technology, European Union, Innovation, Resilience, Non-Traditional Threats
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: T. X. Hammes
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: For the last two decades, China has studied the US military, identified its key weaknesses, and developed the tactics and forces best suited to exploit those vulnerabilities. These challenges are compounded by significant deficiencies in today’s US joint force across all domains of conflict—sea, air, land, space, electronic warfare, and cyber. Proposed budgets cannot overcome those deficiencies using legacy systems. Therefore, the current US military strategy for the defense of Asia—a conventional defense of the first island chain from Japan to the Philippines, built on current air and sea platforms supported by major air and sea bases—needs to be adapted. The United States and its allies have two major advantages they can exploit—geography and emerging technologies. In Forward Defense’s inaugural report, An Affordable Defense of Asia, T.X. Hammes crafts a strategy for leveraging these advantages. Hammes makes the case that by developing novel operational concepts that take advantage of emerging technologies, while integrating these concepts into a broader Offshore Control Strategy which seeks to hold geostrategic chokepoints, the United States can improve its warfighting posture and bolster conventional deterrence. This paper advances the following arguments and recommendations. 1. The geography of the Pacific provides significant strategic, operational, and tactical advantages to a defender. 2. New operational concepts that employ emerging, relatively inexpensive technologies—including multimodal missiles, long-range air drones, smart sea mines, and unmanned naval vessels—can support an affordable defense of Asia. 3. These new technologies can and should be manufactured and fielded by US allies in the region in order to strengthen alliance relationships and improve their ability to defend themselves. 4. Autonomous weapons will be essential to an affordable defense of Asia.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Molly Jahn
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: US public investment in agricultural research in the 20th and 21st centuries has resulted in unprecedented worldwide production of a few staple crops and the improvement of dozens more. Increased crop yields and animal production have drastically reduced famine compared to previous centuries and supported an overall increase in global affluence. Today, agricultural producers around the world are facing new challenges as global climate changes become increasingly unpredictable. Inconsistent rain, extreme temperatures, droughts, flooding, wildfires, and shifting pest and disease patterns are just a few of the obstacles farmers face as they try to feed their families and produce enough food to feed the world. In spite of these dire challenges, US public agricultural research funding has been decreasing over the past several decades. This has allowed competitors such as China and Brazil to outpace American ingenuity, take over American markets, and put American farmers at a disadvantage. The lack of investment in agricultural research and development is a critical national security concern. Historical US agricultural strength has contributed to US hard and soft power around the world. As the US food system is beset by increasing climate, economic, financial, and security threats, US rural communities have been left behind, undermining US power and domestic well-being. Increasing global food insecurity, which has been amplified by increasing weather extremes, will lead to economic and political instability in many areas of the world, further threatening US national security. Although the private sector plays a crucial role in the development of new agricultural techniques and products, public funding has been the backbone of many agriculture and food system advances. While agricultural research and development has historically focused primarily on increasing yields, this narrow focus does not adequately support the food requirements of today’s growing global population. There must be a revitalization of public investment in agricultural research, American food systems, and international agricultural development that focuses on the challenges of the future. US leadership is vital to ensuring the global research agenda does not leave farmers behind. Opportunities to build upon and enhance existing US agricultural research infrastructure across many diverse government entities abound. The US government should recognize these investment opportunities to address current and future climate challenges.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Environment, Research
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil, North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Arik Burakovsky, Dina Smeltz, Brendan Helm
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: With both Russia and China facing increasingly confrontational relations with the United States, the two countries have increased ties with each other and have pursued similar approaches in opposition to the US government concerning Iran, Syria, and Venezuela. Steve Biegun, US Deputy Secretary of State, recently characterized the developing relationship between Russia and China as one built on “mutual determination to challenge the United States.” To better understand how experts think about Russia’s relations with the other great powers, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs recently conducted a survey of 201 American experts on Russia. The survey finds that a majority describe the relationship between Russia and China today as one of mostly partnership. They also describe India as primarily a partner to Russia, both today and in the future. By contrast, they say that Russian relations with the United States and the European Union are mostly competitive. But they anticipate that in 20 years, rivalry between Russia and China will grow, perhaps creating space for reducing tensions with the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Power Politics, Partnerships
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Arik Burakovsky, Dina Smeltz, Brendan Helm
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: US Experts Anticipate Future Decline for Russia Among the Great Powers OCTOBER 6, 2020 By: Arik Burakovsky, Assistant Director, Russia and Eurasia Program, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University; Dina Smeltz, Senior Fellow, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy; Brendan Helm, Research Assistant Although President Trump initially hoped for improved relations between the United States and Russia, during his tenure the US government has overtly declared Russia a top threat to US national security. Congress and the administration widened Obama-era sanctions against Russia after alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Data from a recent survey of American experts on Russia, conducted by The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs paints Russia as a declining power. The results show that while experts anticipate changes in the global balance of power in the next 20 years, with China overtaking the United States, they do not expect Russia to come out stronger over that time frame. Experts draw attention to Russia’s cracked economic and political foundation in the present and its likely decline over the next two decades due to economic mismanagement and faltering soft power. Now there are the lingering economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to add to this list.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Power Politics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dina Smeltz, Craig Kafura
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Do Republicans and Democrats Want a Cold War with China? OCTOBER 13, 2020 By: Dina Smeltz, Senior Fellow, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy; Craig Kafura, Assistant Director, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy American Views of China Plummet; Public Split on Containment or Cooperation For the first time in nearly two decades, a majority of Americans describe the development of China as a world power as a critical threat to the United States, according to the 2020 Chicago Council Survey. At the same time, American feelings towards China have fallen to their lowest point in Council polling history, dating back to 1978. Reflecting these changing attitudes, Americans are now split on whether the US should cooperate and engage with China or actively seek to limit its influence. This is a significant change. Over the past four years, US-China relations have lurched from one crisis to another. Despite the sharp downturn in relations, and the growing consensus in Washington on pursing a more confrontational approach to China, Chicago Council Survey data through January 2020 showed that this consensus and the growing US-China rivalry had yet to make a deep impact on American views of China.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Politics, Public Opinion, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Brendan Helm, Dina Smeltz
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Millennials, the oft-referenced generation born in the ’80s and ’90s, are the first generation to have access to the internet in their youth and are the largest and most diverse generation in American history. Now for the first time, Millennials are running for US president: Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard were born in 1982 and 1981 respectively, putting them at the upper limit of the Millennial range. The 2019 Chicago Council Survey data provide insight into how this group views key foreign policy issues compared with previous generations. While there is some evidence that younger Americans are more hesitant to engage in the world and more likely to oppose the use of force than their elders, time will tell whether the post-Cold War and 9/11 experiences have shaped a new generation with enduring preferences for a more restrained, less military-focused foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs, Public Opinion, Youth
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Wouter Zweers, Vladimir Shopov, Frans-Paul van der Putten, Mirela Petkova, Maarten Lemstra
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This Clingendael Report explores whether and how China’s approach to the six non-European Union (EU) countries of the Western Balkans (the WB6) relates to EU interests. It focuses in particular on the question of whether China’s influence affects the behaviour of the WB6 governments in ways that run counter to the EU’s objectives in the region. China engages with the Western Balkans primarily as a financier of infrastructure and a source of direct investment. This is in line with China’s main strategic objective for the Western Balkans – that is, to develop the Land–Sea Express Corridor, a component of its Belt and Road Initiative, aimed at improving China–EU connectivity. This report proposes a number of actions based on recognising the developmental needs of countries in the Western Balkans, and accepting that China’s economic involvement is inevitable and potentially beneficial for such developmental needs. In particular, the EU should maximise accession conditionality as a tool to influence the conditions under which China is involved in the region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Direct Investment, European Union
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Eastern Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Amit Bhandari, Aashna Agarwal, Blaise Fernandes
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: Over the last five years, China has quietly created a significant place for itself in India – in the technology domain. While India has refused to sign on to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), this map shows India's positioning in the virtual BRI to be strategically invaluable for China. Nearly $4 billion in venture investments in start-ups, the online ecosystem and apps have been made by Chinese entities. This is just the beginning; there is much more to come.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Business , Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Carla Hobbs
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Covid-19 has revealed the critical importance of technology for economic and health resilience, making Europe’s digital transformation and sovereignty a question of existential importance. Rising US-China tensions are an additional incentive for Europe to develop its own digital capabilities; it risks becoming a battleground in their struggle for tech and industrial supremacy. Democratic governments – keen to preserve an open market in digital services while protecting the interests of citizens – find the European model an increasingly attractive alternative to the US and Chinese approaches. The EU cannot continue to rely on its regulatory power but must become a tech superpower in its own right. Referees do not win the game. Europe missed the first wave of technology but must take advantage of the next, in which it has competitive advantages such as in edge computing. EU member states lack a common position on tech issues or even a shared understanding of the strategic importance of digital technologies, such as on broadband rollout or application of AI.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Sovereignty, Power Politics, European Union, Artificial Intelligence, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Mordechai Chaziza
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The Middle East was already plagued by war, famine, and wholesale death in the form of multiple civil wars when the outbreak of Covid-19, a novel coronavirus, added pestilence to the mix. The pandemic offers a unique prism through which to assess the way China interacts with Middle Eastern states in time of crisis. While many countries in the Middle East suspended bilateral air travel, repatriated their citizens from China, and prevented Chinese workers from returning to the region, the same governments also sought to maintain close relations, expressed support for Beijing, and delivered aid to China. The findings show that at least for now, the relationship between China and the Middle Eastern states remains close. However, it may take months to see the full ramifications of the pandemic in the Middle East, so it is too soon to tell how China’s interactions with the countries of the region will develop.
  • Topic: International Relations, Health, Bilateral Relations, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Mohammed Cherkaoui
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: One should highlight the distance between fiction and reality. However, a number of China politics observers and Western military officials have claimed a strong link between Coronavirus and recent research conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
  • Topic: Geopolitics, Neoliberalism, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Cabestan
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: China has tried to take advantage of the Coronavirus crisis to boost its international role and status. Nonetheless, China’s own mistakes in battling the virus as well as diplomatic aggressiveness have raised doubts about its capacity to become a world leader.
  • Topic: Geopolitics, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jack Kelly
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA)
  • Abstract: Our twelfth IFPA National Security Update examines the current status of the U.S. defense authorization, appropriations, and budget process with a focus on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and assesses its strengths and weaknesses in light of key programs and policies discussed in previous Updates. Topics addressed in our National Security Update series include hypersonic missiles, missile defense priorities, nuclear modernization issues, President Trump's Executive Order on Electromagnetic Pulse, the status of the Space Force, China’s actions in the South China Sea and U.S. options, and the military applications of artificial intelligence. In early 2017, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis initiated an online series entitled National Security Update. Its purpose is to examine key foreign policy/defense issues and to set forth policy options. These updates are made available to the broad policy community within and outside government, including key policy makers in Washington, D.C.; members of Congress and their staffs; academic specialists; and other members of the private-sector security community. Future National Security Updates will address a range of topics in an effort to provide timely analyses and policy options.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Government, National Security, Budget, Weapons , Missile Defense, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: China, North America, South China, United States of America
  • Author: Mao Ruipeng
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: As China deepens its engagement in global governance and development, its strategic motivation and rising influence within the UN and on international rules and norms are attracting the world’s attention. This paper focuses on China’s engagement with the UNDS, specifically Chinese funding and allocation decisions. China’s UNDS funding has risen rapidly since 2008 and even accelerated in 2013. Between 2013 and 2017, Chinese funding (excluding local resources) grew at an annual average rate of 33.8 per cent. In 2017, its total contribution reached USD 325.869 million. China’s shares of core funding and assessed contribution in its total UNDS funding are much higher than traditional donor countries. However, the share of non-core funding has also jumped. While China tends to mostly provide funds for UNDS development projects, in recent years it has also been hiking funding for humanitarian assistance. This paper also examines three cases of China’s earmarked funding – to the UNDP and the WFP, which receive the largest share of its UNDS funds, as well as for UNPDF operations, which count as a voluntary contribution. There are several reasons for China’s growing engagement with the UNDS, from evolving perception of foreign aid and appreciating the UN’s multilateral assets to fostering the reputation of “responsible great nation” and pushing forward the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) through cooperation with the UNDS. In general, China continues to integrate into the global development system, and can be expected to maintain its support for the UN and continue to contribute to the UNDS.
  • Topic: Development, International Law, United Nations, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Norms
  • Political Geography: China, Global
  • Author: Kevin Rudd
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Throughout the recent 18 months of the U.S.-China trade war, which has landed in a “phase one” deal, and awaits the tackling of more difficult economic elements in phase two negotiations, there has been a slow and steady structural shift in the U.S.-China relationship as it continues to head in a more adversarial direction. Against the backdrop of this drift toward confrontation occurring in the absence of any common strategic understanding or high-level diplomatic mechanism to manage the mounting economic, security, and technological tensions into the future, Asia Society Policy Institute President the Hon. Kevin Rudd brings together a series of speeches delivered during 2019 in the collection, The Avoidable War: The Case for Managed Strategic Competition. This volume works to help make sense of where the U.S.-China relationship is heading in the current period of strategic competition, and follows on from Rudd’s 2018 collection, The Avoidable War: Reflections on U.S.-China Relations and the End of Strategic Engagement. In this new volume, Rudd focuses not only on the bilateral relationship, but also on China's domestic politics, economics, and its strategic vision. But on the bilateral relationship, Rudd writes that while there may be a truce of sorts on the trade front during 2020, that will not be the case across the rest of the economic, political, and security relationship. Challenges will continue in areas such as the future of 5G mobile telecommunications infrastructure, the Belt and Road Initiative, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, allegations of Chinese political influence and interference in foreign countries’ internal democratic processes, and China’s increasingly close strategic collaboration with Russia. Militarily, tensions will continue in the East China Sea, the South China Sea, and the wider Indo-Pacific, together with confrontations less visible to the public eye in espionage, cyber, and space. Against this backdrop, and the steady erosion of diplomatic and political capital in the overall relationship, Rudd asserts that the “2020s loom as a decade of living dangerously in the U.S.-China relationship.” The Avoidable War: The Case for Managed Strategic Competition includes six speeches from 2019 covering a range of critical challenges in the U.S.-China relationship, as well as a December 2019 conversation at the Harvard Kennedy School which begins to outline an approach to managing the growing tinderbox of tensions across the spectrum of the bilateral relationship.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Trade, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ian Easton, Mark Stokes, Yang Kuang-shun, Eric Lee, Colby Ferland
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Project 2049 Institute
  • Abstract: Unmanned systems are likely to transform the Taiwan Strait battle space in the coming years. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has fielded a large and increasingly sophisticated force of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) opposite Taiwan. This underscores the importance of exploiting advanced unmanned systems to deter opportunistic acts of aggression, and to defeat the PLA’s potential use of force in the event that deterrence should fail. This report examines the current state and trajectory of Taiwan’s indigenous UAV capabilities, and illuminates the role UAVs play within both Taiwan’s defense strategy and the American-led Indo-Pacific security network more broadly. In addition, this report evaluates the PLA’s organizational infrastructure designed for a Taiwan campaign, discusses cross-Strait political-military challenges, and highlights future opportunities to expand U.S.-Taiwan military and security cooperation as part of long-term strategic competition with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, United States of America
  • Author: Jake Wallis, Tom Uren, Elise Thomas, Albert Zhang, Samantha Hoffman, Lin Li, Alex Pascoe, Danielle Cave
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: This report analyses a persistent, large-scale influence campaign linked to Chinese state actors on Twitter and Facebook. This activity largely targeted Chinese-speaking audiences outside of the Chinese mainland (where Twitter is blocked) with the intention of influencing perceptions on key issues, including the Hong Kong protests, exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui and, to a lesser extent Covid-19 and Taiwan. Extrapolating from the takedown dataset, to which we had advanced access, given to us by Twitter, we have identified that this operation continues and has pivoted to try to weaponise the US Government’s response to current domestic protests and create the perception of a moral equivalence with the suppression of protests in Hong Kong.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Internet, Social Media, COVID-19, Misinformation , Twitter
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Albert Zhang, Elise Thomas
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: This new research highlights the growing significance and impact of Chinese non-state actors on western social media platforms. Across March and April 2020, this loosely coordinated pro-China trolling campaign on Twitter has: Harassed and mimicked western media outlets; Impersonated Taiwanese users in an effort to undermine Taiwan’s position with the World Health Organisation (WHO); Spread false information about the Covid-19 outbreak; Joined in pre-existing inauthentic social media campaigns.
  • Topic: World Health Organization, Non State Actors, Geopolitics, Social Media, COVID-19, Misinformation , Twitter
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia, Australia
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: A range of actors are manipulating the information environment to exploit the Covid-19 crisis for strategic gain. ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre is tracking many of these state and non-state actors online and will occasionally publish investigative data-driven reporting that will focus on the use of disinformation, propaganda, extremist narratives and conspiracy theories. The bulk of ASPI’s data analysis uses our in-house Influence Tracker tool—a machine learning and data analytics capability that draws out insights from multi-language social media datasets. This report includes three case studies that feature China, Taiwan, Russia and Africa
  • Topic: Internet, Social Media, COVID-19, Misinformation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Alex Joske
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: What’s the problem? The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is strengthening its influence by co-opting representatives of ethnic minority groups, religious movements, and business, science and political groups. It claims the right to speak on behalf of those groups and uses them to claim legitimacy. These efforts are carried out by the united front system, which is a network of party and state agencies responsible for influencing groups outside the party, particularly those claiming to represent civil society. It manages and expands the United Front, a coalition of entities working towards the party’s goals.1 The CCP’s role in this system’s activities, known as united front work, is often covert or deceptive.2 The united front system’s reach beyond the borders of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)—such as into foreign political parties, diaspora communities and multinational corporations—is an exportation of the CCP’s political system.3 This undermines social cohesion, exacerbates racial tension, influences politics, harms media integrity, facilitates espionage, and increases unsupervised technology transfer. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s reinvigoration of this system underlines the need for stronger responses to CCP influence and technology-transfer operations around the world. However, governments are still struggling to manage it effectively and there is little publicly available analysis of the united front system. This lack of information can cause Western observers to underestimate the significance of the united front system and to reduce its methods into familiar categories. For example, diplomats might see united front work as ‘public diplomacy’ or ‘propaganda’ but fail to appreciate the extent of related covert activities. Security officials may be alert to criminal activity or espionage while underestimating the significance of open activities that facilitate it. Analysts risk overlooking the interrelated facets of CCP influence that combine to make it effective.4 What’s the solution? Governments should disrupt the CCP’s capacity to use united front figures and groups as vehicles for covert influence and technology transfer. They should begin by developing analytical capacity for understanding foreign interference. On that basis, they should issue declaratory policy statements that frame efforts to counter it. Countermeasures should involve law enforcement, legislative reform, deterrence and capacity building across relevant areas of government. Governments should mitigate the divisive effect united front work can have on communities through engagement and careful use of language. Law enforcement, while critically important, shouldn’t be all or even most of the solution. Foreign interference often takes place in a grey area that’s difficult to address through law enforcement actions. Strengthening civil society and media must be a fundamental part of protecting against interference. Policymakers should make measures to raise the transparency of foreign influence a key part of the response
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Science and Technology, Foreign Interference, Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Emile Dirks, James Leibold
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: What’s the problem? The Chinese Government is building the world’s largest police-run DNA database in close cooperation with key industry partners across the globe. Yet, unlike the managers of other forensic databases, Chinese authorities are deliberately enrolling tens of millions of people who have no history of serious criminal activity. Those individuals (including preschool-age children) have no control over how their samples are collected, stored and used. Nor do they have a clear understanding of the potential implications of DNA collection for them and their extended families. Earlier Chinese Government DNA collection campaigns focused on Tibet and Xinjiang, but, beginning in late 2017, the Ministry of Public Security expanded the dragnet across China, targeting millions of men and boys with the aim to ‘comprehensively improve public security organs’ ability to solve cases, and manage and control society’.1 This program of mass DNA data collection violates Chinese domestic law and global human rights norms. And, when combined with other surveillance tools, it will increase the power of the Chinese state and further enable domestic repression in the name of stability maintenance and social control. Numerous biotechnology companies are assisting the Chinese police in building this database and may find themselves complicit in these violations. They include multinational companies such as US-based Thermo Fisher Scientific and major Chinese companies like AGCU Scientific and Microread Genetics. All these companies have an ethical responsibility to ensure that their products and processes don’t violate the fundamental human rights and civil liberties of Chinese citizens. What’s the solution? The forensic use of DNA has the potential to solve crimes and save lives; yet it can also be misused and reinforce discriminatory law enforcement and authoritarian political control. The Chinese Government and police must end the compulsory collection of biological samples from individuals without records of serious criminal wrongdoing, destroy all samples already collected, and remove all DNA profiles not related to casework from police databases. China must enact stringent restrictions on the collection, storage, use and transfer of human genomic data. The Chinese Government must also ensure that it adheres to the spirit of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), the International Declaration on Human Genetic Data (2003), the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights (1997) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), as well as China’s own Criminal Law (2018). National and international legal experts have condemned previous efforts to enrol innocent civilians and children in forensic DNA databases, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy should investigate the Chinese Government’s current collection program for any violations of international law and norms.2 Foreign governments must strengthen export controls on biotechnology and related intellectual property and research data that’s sold to or shared with the Chinese Government and its domestic public and private partners. Chinese and multinational companies should conduct due diligence and independent audits to ensure that their forensic DNA products and processes are not being used in ways that violate the human and civil rights of Chinese citizens.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Minorities, Surveillance, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), DNA
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Anthony Bergin, Tony Press
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Given recent broader tensions in the China–Australia relationship, China’s global ambitions, lack of progress on key Antarctic policy initiatives and the potential for significant geopolitical consequences for the future of Antarctica and for Australia’s strategic interests, it’s important that Australian policymakers reconsider our long-term Antarctic policy settings. The report found no clear evidence that China is violating the Antarctic Treaty. But it argues we should apply a more sharply focused assessment of the costs and benefits of cooperation, given China’s more assertive international posture and increasing interests in Antarctica. The recommendations in the report are designed to maximise the value and mitigate the downside risks of China engagement for our Antarctic and broader national interests. Overall, we should adopt a more transactional approach in our Antarctic engagement with China, making it clear what we require from cooperation and what we expect from China. Given the track record Beijing has in moving rapidly on a broad front, as it’s done in the South China Sea, we need to be prepared to respond to a rapid increase in the speed and scale of China’s actions in Antarctica.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, National Security, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Australia, Australia/Pacific, Antarctica
  • Author: Vicky Xiuzhong Xu, Danielle Cave, James Leibold, Kelsey Munro, Nathan Ruser
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority1 citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 82 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen. This report estimates that more than 80,000 Uyghurs were transferred out of Xinjiang to work in factories across China between 2017 and 2019, and some of them were sent directly from detention camps.2 The estimated figure is conservative and the actual figure is likely to be far higher. In factories far away from home, they typically live in segregated dormitories,3 undergo organised Mandarin and ideological training outside working hours,4 are subject to constant surveillance, and are forbidden from participating in religious observances.5 Numerous sources, including government documents, show that transferred workers are assigned minders and have limited freedom of movement.6 China has attracted international condemnation for its network of extrajudicial ‘re-education camps’ in Xinjiang.7 This report exposes a new phase in China’s social re-engineering campaign targeting minority citizens, revealing new evidence that some factories across China are using forced Uyghur labour under a state-sponsored labour transfer scheme that is tainting the global supply chain.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Minorities, Business , Uyghurs
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Maya Guzdar, Tomas Jermalavicius
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: In the course of 2018-20, development of Fifth Generation (5G) communication networks has been increasingly influenced by the considerations of national security and geopolitics. The largest provider of 5G equipment, the Chinese mobile telecom giant Huawei, has come under fire from the U.S., Czechia, Poland, and other nations in recent years for attempted espionage, theft of intellectual property and other nefarious activities; in the past month, UK decided to ban Huawei technology from its networks. All this comes into sharp focus as the geopolitical confrontation between Washington and Beijing reaches new heights. However, China is one of the EU’s largest trading partners and has worked to establish its economic, political, and cultural influence in various Member States. The EU and NATO have both released standards for member states must use when gauging the security of potential 5G networks. Yet, the EU in particular has not enacted a blanket ban or sweeping restrictions on the Chinese 5G equipment providers, leaving the tradeoffs between national security, technological progress and cost-efficiency to individual states. Although the Baltic states are well-versed in dealing with cybersecurity challenges, their road to 5G development is going to be complex. Whole-of-society awareness, political diligence, technical competence, regional cooperation, and resilience to Beijing’s influence operations are needed in forging a clear path to 5G that is aligned with their key geopolitical interest—maintaining their close strategic alliance with the United States. This brief aims to explore the geopolitical factors at play in determining the Baltic states’ 5G policy and regulations, with a particular focus on the EU, U.S., and China’s influence. It also provides a short of overview of the state of current 5G networks and regulations in the Baltic states while identifying challenges that the region will face in the coming years.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Science and Technology, European Union, Cybersecurity, Resilience, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America, Baltic States
  • Author: Frank Jüris
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: China’s influence activities aim to create a positive image of China and to counter any kind of criticism. Influence activities in countries with big Chinese communities can mobilise the Chinese diaspora for the party’s benefit—there are plenty of examples from Finland and Sweden. But where this is not possible, propaganda work may fall to the CPC Central Committee’s International Liaison Department, which is responsible for exchanges with foreign parties. The International Liaison Department has been active in its interactions with Estonian politicians. Today, three former government ministers work for Powerhouse, which offers lobbying services for the Chinese company, Huawei. To a large extent, China’s influence activities in Estonia have so far gone unnoticed. This article aims to fill this gap.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Science and Technology, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Estonia, Baltic States
  • Author: Andrew A. Michta
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: Andrew A. Michta argues that the governments of Central and Eastern European countries will need to weigh the benefit to them of continued economic engagement with China, especially in the area of 5G.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Economy, Transatlantic Relations, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Medea Ivaniadze
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: The digest covers China’s political, diplomatic, economic and other activities in the South Caucasus region and relations between China and the South Caucasus countries. It relies on a wide variety of sources, including the Chinese media. It is worth noting that the Chinese media is controlled by the Communist Party of China (according to the World Press Freedom Index China is nearly at the bottom of the list and ranks 177th out of 180 countries).
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics, Media, Economy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Eurasia, Caucasus, Asia, South Caucasus
  • Author: Peter A. Dutton, Isaac B. Kardon, Conor M. Kennedy
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: This China Maritime Report on Djibouti is the first in a series of case studies on China’s “overseas strategic strongpoints” (海外战略支点). The strategic strongpoint concept has no formal definition, but is used by People’s Republic of China (PRC) officials and analysts to describe foreign ports with special strategic and economic value that host terminals and commercial zones operated by Chinese firms.
  • Topic: Economics, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Port, People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, Djibouti, East Africa
  • Author: Daniel Caldwell, Joseph Freda, Lyle J. Goldstein
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
  • Abstract: China’s naval modernization, a process that has been underway in earnest for three decades, is now hitting its stride. The advent of the Type 055 cruiser firmly places the PLAN among the world’s very top naval services. This study, which draws upon a unique set of Chinese-language writings, offers the first comprehensive look at this new, large surface combatant. It reveals a ship that has a stealthy design, along with a potent and seemingly well-integrated sensor suite. With 112 VLS cells, moreover, China’s new cruiser represents a large magazine capacity increase over legacy surface combatants. Its lethality might also be augmented as new, cutting edge weaponry could later be added to the accommodating design. This vessel, therefore, provides very substantial naval capability to escort Chinese carrier groups, protect Beijing’s long sea lanes, and take Chinese naval diplomacy to an entirely new and daunting level. Even more significant perhaps, the Type 055 will markedly expand the range and firepower of the PLAN and this could substantially impact myriad potential conflict scenarios, from the Indian Ocean to the Korean Peninsula and many in between. This study of Type 055 development, moreover, does yield evidence that Chinese naval strategists are acutely aware of major dilemmas confronting the U.S. Navy surface fleet.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Navy, Oceans and Seas, Seapower, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Egoh Aziz
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Nkafu Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has caused waves of horror and anxiety across many nations in the world. Considering the intense unravelling of the pandemic, no exact figure as per the number of confirmed and death cases worldwide is definite because the situation changes almost every hour. However, on April 14, 2020 3:40 GMT, Worldometer reported 210 countries and territories across the globe having a total of 1,925,179 confirmed cases, and a dead toll of 119,699 deaths. The impact of the pandemic is disastrous globally affecting a variety of sectors including the service and supply chain, as well as trade, manufacturing, and tourism. This article aims to provide a synoptic assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on Sino-African trade activities. It stresses that, if African policymakers revamp their efforts to quickly address COVID-19, the human casualty will be less and African economic growth may experience lesser shock as previewed by the IMF. On the other hand, if they relent their efforts, the human casualty will soar while the growth rate may decline. The effect of COVID-19’s outbreak in China has caused a slowdown on exports and services directed towards China.According to statistics from the General Administration of Customs of China, in 2018, China’s total import and export volume with Africa was US$204.19 billion, a yearly increase of 19.7%, surpassing the total growth rate of foreign trade in the same period by 7.1 percentage points. Among these, China’s exports to Africa were US$104.91 billion, up 10.8% and China’s imports from Africa were US$99.28 billion, up 30.8%; the surplus was US$5.63 billion, down 70.0% every year. The growth rate of Sino African trade was the highest in the world in 2018. This shows that Sino-African trade has a significant contribution to the growth of African economies.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Trade, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, Cameroon
  • Author: Barry Zellen
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With Greenland making front page news, the world’s attention is turned to the Arctic. And yet, this region has been the focus of increasingly consequential geopolitical competition for centuries, whether for furs, whales, fish stocks, gold, oil, strategic-military corridors, or (particularly as the ice has retreated) maritime trade routes. In recent years, China has articulated an invigorated vision of Arctic engagement as part of its Polar Silk Road strategy—a component of its broader Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In its 2018 white paper on Arctic policy, China described itself as a “near-Arctic” state, a definition that has proven controversial and that, earlier this year, was publicly rejected by U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo at an Arctic Council (AC) ministerial: “Beijing claims to be a ‘Near-Arctic State,’ yet the shortest distance between China and the Arctic is 900 miles. There are only Arctic States and Non-Arctic States. No third category exists, and claiming otherwise entitles China to exactly nothing.” Such a visible diplomatic smackdown in a forum better known for its consensus governance and multilateral approach to Arctic issues generated headlines (and some indignation) worldwide. But Pompeo is right—China cannot reasonably be considered a “near-Arctic” state, owing to its lack of geographical, climatic, and cultural attributes of the Arctic. What kind of seat at which tables a state receives is determined, to a significant degree, by its claims to have a say in the region (combined with its capacity to persuade other states of the merits of its claims), so Beijing’s assertion of near-Arctic statehood weighs on the balance of power and diplomacy in the Arctic region.
  • Topic: Power Politics, Natural Resources, Geopolitics, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Arctic
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Contrasting China at various stages of reform to Japan and Korea at analogous stages shows China as less successful. The payoff is personal income, where China’s growth in local currency terms is similar to Japan’s. But it is slower than Korea’s, and, in comparable dollar terms, China is far behind Korea and Japan 40 years into the respective “miracles.” In evaluating key contributors to income gains—agricultural productivity, labor quantity and quality, leveraging, and innovation—China failed to extend education in the first 25 years of reform. A recent failure is the explosion in leveraging in the past decade. Other indicators of success roughly match Japan but trail Korea. China’s size makes it important even with less development success. For example, Chinese research and development spending affects the world while being inadequate to offset aging and indebtedness. When projecting economic size, though, trend extension is misleading. Korea and Japan illuminate how innovation and other factors will alter China’s trajectory.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Nicholas Eberstadt, Ashton M. Verdery, Zeng Yi, Wang Zhenglian, Wang Feng, Shen Ke, Cai Yang, David E. Scharff, Jacqueline Deal, Michael Szonyi
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Over 2,500 years of family tradition in China is on an unavoidable collision course with 21st-century China’s new demographic realities. The demographic forces transforming the Chinese family are extraordinary and historically unprecedented. Curiously, despite the small library of studies on population change in modern China, little has been written on what these changes in the Chinese family portend. This cross-disciplinary volume is an exploratory foray into that intellectual terra incognita. The chapters in this volume describe the demographic dimensions of the changes in family structure already underway and visible out to the horizon, as well as their implications for China’s people, economy, and role in the world. The volume features works by authors Ashton M. Verdery; Zeng Yi and Wang Zhenglian; Wang Feng, Shen Ke and Cai Yong; David E. Scharff; and Jacqueline Deal and Michael Szonyi—leading scholars in their respective fields.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Demographics, Family
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Nicholas Eberstadt, Alex Coblin
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Due to extremely low levels of fertility over the past generation, urban China now requires a constant inflow of rural migrants to maintain, much less increase, the workforce in China’s cities. Beijing’s current official “urbanization drive” is attempting to bolster China’s flagging economic growth rates by accelerating the movement of peasants into the cities. But since most highly skilled labor from the countryside is already working in urban areas, the next wave of migrants may be less productive than authorities anticipate. “Migration with Chinese Characteristics” means police state controls on urban influx, including Beijing’s notorious hukou system for individual identification and registration. Since authorities still prevent most migrants from obtaining new hukou where they currently reside and work, China now has hundreds of millions of “illegal aliens” toiling in its cities. The urbanization drive does not plan to fix this problem.
  • Topic: Demographics, Migration, Urbanization, Population Growth
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Gary J. Schmitt, Michael Mazza
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) interference in Taiwan’s democracy—efforts to influence politics in Taiwan through both overt and covert, both legal and illicit means—is a matter of importance not only for Taiwan but for the United States as well. As the Taiwan Relations Act (1979) states unequivocally, “It is the policy of the United States … to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means … a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of gave concern to the United States.” The issue of PRC interference in Taiwan’s democracy came to a head in the November 2018 elections for local mayors, county magistrates, and township councils. Although the exact extent of the interference is difficult to quantify, that it existed is not difficult to see. And while the margins of electoral victories for the Kuomintang (KMT) suggest that the interference was unlikely to have been decisive in many or most instances, the PRC’s efforts almost certainly boosted KMT candidates and eased their paths to victory. Understanding the level and character of this interference is important if for no other reason than that future elections—such as the upcoming national election for president and the legislative assembly in January 2020—may be closer and, in such elections, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence operations could well make a real difference. For Americans, understanding what happened in Taiwan is undoubtedly informed by our own recent experience with foreign interference in elections. But there are important differences to be kept in mind and which make the case of China and Taiwan unique. First, China has the advantage of being ethnically and linguistically far more in sync with Taiwan than Russia could ever be with the United States. Second, the United States is a country of 330 million. As sophisticated as the Russian operation might have been, Moscow’s capacity to move the electoral meter in the United States was always going to be marginal, even if important in key instances.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Democracy, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Neena Shenai, Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The US–China economic relationship has reached a critical juncture. Over the past year, the US has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports and China has retaliated, raising tariffs on a similar amount of US exports. At the G-20 leaders’ summit in November 2018, Presidents Trump and Xi agreed to resolve the trade dispute within 90 days—by March 1, 2019, though this deadline has been recently extended. The US concerns that underpin these bilateral trade tensions stem from specific practices endemic to China’s economic model that systematically tilt the playing field in favor of Chinese companies domestically and globally. Progress on specific trade issues will require China to comply with its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments and to make certain reforms that will likely touch on areas of state control over the economy. In addition, new trade rules are needed to address China’s economic practices not covered by its WTO commitments, including in areas such as state-owned enterprises (SOEs), certain subsidies, and digital trade. These issues also come at a time of increasing US concern over the national security risks China presents, particularly with respect to technology access. All of these matters underscore the complexity of US-China bilateral negotiations as well as the stakes at play. Resolving US-China differences in a meaningful way will take time. This policy brief assesses the state of the US-China trade relationship by first looking at the economic impact on the US The policy brief then looks at why the Chinese economic model is so concerning. Despite the challenges the US has had at the WTO, the policy brief argues that the WTO should be central to resolving US-China trade tensions. We outline a multi-prong strategy, including bilateral, multilateral, and unilateral actions as well as working with allies that together would constitute positive next steps for this critical economic relationship. In taking this multifaceted approach, the US needs to stay true to its values and not accept short-term gains or “fig leaf” deals. In particular, creating a managed trade relationship with China would not be a constructive outcome. Instead, the US should work with China to agree on long term solutions. The resulting deal should address the real issues at hand in a free market manner and strengthen the multilateral global trading system and rule of law that the US has championed in the post-World War II era.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: When will China pass the US in economic size? “The year 2030” is not a bad estimate, but so is “never.” Claims that China’s economy is already the world’s largest may be exaggerated by up to 30 percent. They are also dubious because purchasing power parity often does not hold. National wealth is not well measured, either, but shows the American lead expanding. The more popular belief that China is smaller than the US but will catch up soon is similarly unconvincing. Chinese government statistics are unreliable, since Beijing publishes sanitized data and many transactions may be close to worthless. More important, projections of Chinese growth are sensitive to unjustified optimistic assumptions. Debt and aging indicate true Chinese growth is lower than reported, and low growth now could put off Chinese catch-up indefinitely.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: China’s investment and construction around the world plunged in the first half of 2019 and is unlikely to return to 2016–17 levels in the foreseeable future. The principal cause is fewer large transactions by state-owned enterprises. These firms rely on foreign currency provided by Beijing for global activities, and hard currency may be rationed indefinitely. There are brighter spots. The raw number of investments held up better than transaction size. The private share of China’s global investment climbed, and the greenfield share rose sharply. Investment in the Belt and Road Initiative outperformed that in traditionally favored rich economies such as Australia. Chinese investment in the US has been minor in size for two years. Policymakers should shift focus from screening to unwanted activity by Chinese firms, including intellectual property theft and other criminal acts. Enforcement targeting specific firms is superior to tariffs but should go beyond largely empty steps taken to date.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economy, Business , Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Official Chinese economic data are often the only game in town, but they are untrust­worthy. Sometimes they prove inaccurate; during downturns they are falsified outright. Finding inconsistency in official statistics demonstrates the problem but offers no solution, since it is rarely clear which series is better. Examining 15 major indicators for importance and reliability shows that growth in gross domestic product (GDP) and GDP per capita should be deemphasized. To illustrate, China’s GDP per capita is twice as high as official per capita disposable income. The latter can be spent; the former is an accounting result. Another conclusion: Arguably the most valuable indicators are the worst measured. Debt is reasonably estimated at present, but factor productivity and human capital are vital to medium-term performance and receive far too little attention.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Monetary Policy, GDP, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Beijing
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Chinese investment around the world fell sharply in 2018. The decline was most evident later in the year and among state-owned enterprises. These companies also engaged in fewer power construction projects. The number of countries in the Belt and Road Initiative keeps expanding, but activity levels per country are flat. One explanation for weakness in various Chinese efforts to “Go Out” is caution in drawing down foreign exchange reserves. The US has restricted Chinese investment, but it was already small in size in 2018. Serious problems remain—for example, theft and coercive transfer of technology. Firms violating American law should face sanctions, not just investment bans.
  • Topic: Globalization, Foreign Direct Investment, Sanctions, Business , Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Gary J. Schmitt
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Although changes in American and Chinese leadership have brought current tensions between the two nations to the fore, the underlying reasons for the tensions are not tied to either President Donald Trump or President Xi Jinping coming into office. Rather, the strategic competition between the US and China is principally the product of regime-driven differences over both what constitutes their national interests and what their respective visions were for the character of China’s rise. The administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy is a relatively coherent response to the challenge China poses. But questions remain about the administration’s ability to resource it sufficiently and carry it out steadily given President Trump’s own idiosyncratic America First policy views.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Nicholas Eberstadt
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: We already have a fairly reliable picture of China’s population profile for the year 2040 because the overwhelming majority of people who will be living in China in 2040 are already alive and living there today. China’s population is on track to peak in the coming decade and to decline at an accelerating tempo thereafter. China is set to experience an extraordinarily rapid surge of population aging, with especially explosive population growth for the 65-plus group, even as its working-age population progressively shrinks. These trends can only make for serious economic headwinds, presaging the end of China’s era of “heroic economic growth.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Demographics, Political Economy, Population
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Karen E. Young
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Arab Gulf states are expanding their political and economic ties with China as a bridge strategy to create a next-generation energy market in traditional oil and gas products, as well as petrochemical production and future market access in expected areas of consumer growth. China is also a competitor in some areas where Arab Gulf states are investing in infrastructure, ports, and political outreach to secure new security partnerships, particularly in the Horn of Africa. China and the Arab Gulf states share a model and vision of economic development that is state centered and profitable to state-owned enterprises and financial institutions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Asia, Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Author: Neena Shenai, Joshua P. Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The US–China economic relationship has reached a critical juncture. Over the past year, the US has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports and China has retaliated, raising tariffs on a similar amount of US exports. At the G-20 leaders’ summit in November 2018, Presidents Trump and Xi agreed to resolve the trade dispute within 90 days—by March 1, 2019, though this deadline has been recently extended. The US concerns that underpin these bilateral trade tensions stem from specific practices endemic to China’s economic model that systematically tilt the playing field in favor of Chinese companies domestically and globally. Progress on specific trade issues will require China to comply with its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments and to make certain reforms that will likely touch on areas of state control over the economy. In addition, new trade rules are needed to address China’s economic practices not covered by its WTO commitments, including in areas such as state-owned enterprises (SOEs), certain subsidies, and digital trade. These issues also come at a time of increasing US concern over the national security risks China presents, particularly with respect to technology access. All of these matters underscore the complexity of US-China bilateral negotiations as well as the stakes at play. Resolving US-China differences in a meaningful way will take time. This policy brief assesses the state of the US-China trade relationship by first looking at the economic impact on the US The policy brief then looks at why the Chinese economic model is so concerning. Despite the challenges the US has had at the WTO, the policy brief argues that the WTO should be central to resolving US-China trade tensions. We outline a multi-prong strategy, including bilateral, multilateral, and unilateral actions as well as working with allies that together would constitute positive next steps for this critical economic relationship. In taking this multifaceted approach, the US needs to stay true to its values and not accept short-term gains or “fig leaf” deals. In particular, creating a managed trade relationship with China would not be a constructive outcome. Instead, the US should work with China to agree on long term solutions. The resulting deal should address the real issues at hand in a free market manner and strengthen the multilateral global trading system and rule of law that the US has championed in the post-World War II era.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Globalization, Bilateral Relations, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Antulio J. Echevarria II, Sam J. Tangredi, Mathieu Boulegue, Keir Giles, C. Anthony Pfaff, Karen J. Finkenbinder, Massimo Pani, Richard A. Lacquement Jr., John F. Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Our 2019 Spring/Summer issue of Parameters features three forums. In the first forum, A2/AD Myths: Chinese & Russian, Sam Tangredi’s “Anti-Access Strategies in the Pacific: The United States and China” puts Beijing’s A2/AD capabilities in perspective and encourages the United States to consider developing an anti-access strategy of its own to deter possible Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. Keir Giles and Mathieu Boulegue’s “Russia’s A2/AD Capabilities: Real and Imagined,” explode some of the myths concerning Russia’s A2/AD capabilities and recommend ways to promote a stronger defense of the Baltic states and Eastern Europe. The second forum, Enhancing Security & Stability, considers how to address emerging and periodic challenges in regional and functional stability. In “Human Security in the Arctic: Implications for the US Army,” Tony Pfaff explains the growing importance of Arctic security for Army strategists. The challenges of climate change will require the Army, including the Alaska National Guard, to reallocate forces to this important region. In “Projecting Stability: A Deployable NATO Police Command,” Massimo Pani and Karen Finkenbinder propose methods NATO could use to project a stability force to crisis situations within 5 days, to be augmented with additional police forces and command elements within 30 days. Our third forum, On Strategic Foundations, offers two articles that explore the reliability of some of the conceptual foundations of our strategic thinking. Richard Lacquement Jr. discusses the use of historical analogies as one of humanity’s most important adaptive techniques in “Analogical Thinking: The Sine Qua Non for Using History Well.” He suggests pattern recognition may aid in clarifying context and in guiding action in unfamiliar intellectual terrain. In “Reconsidering Sun Tzu,” John Sullivan challenges readers to be more critical of orthodox interpretations of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. After all, the unexamined theory is not worth teaching.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Lukas Milevski
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: In this monograph, Dr. Lukas Milevski examines the logic of grand strategy in practice, defined by its most basic building block—combining military and non-military power in war. He lays out competing visions of how to define grand strategy and why the aforementioned building block is the most fundamental. The monograph establishes the essential logic of military power through annihilation and exhaustion or attrition as well as through control of the opponent’s freedom of action. This baseline understanding of strategic action and effect in war allows an exploration of how the utility and meaning of non-military instruments change between peacetime and wartime and how they may contribute to the strategic effort and includes discussion of specific examples such as the U.S. interwar war plans and the Stuxnet cyberattack on Iranian nuclear facilities. The author also links this combination to present-day Russian and Chinese attempts at mixing military and non-military power.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Affairs, Grand Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jeffrey L. Caton
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: publication cover In 2015, the Department of Defense (DoD) released the DoD Cyber Strategy which explicitly calls for a comprehensive strategy to provide credible deterrence in cyberspace against threats from key state and nonstate actors. To be effective, such activities must be coordinated with ongoing deterrence efforts in the physical realm, especially those of near-peers impacting critical global regions such as China in the Asia-Pacific region and Russia in Europe. It is important for the U.S. Army to identify and plan for any unique roles that they may provide to these endeavors. This study explores the evolving concept of deterrence in cyberspace in three major areas: • First, the monograph addresses the question: What is the current U.S. deterrence posture for cyberspace? The discussion includes an assessment of relevant current national and DoD policies and concepts as well as an examination of key issues for cyber deterrence found in professional literature. • Second, it examines the question: What are the Army’s roles in cyberspace deterrence? This section provides background information on how Army cyber forces operate and examines the potential contributions of these forces to the deterrence efforts in cyberspace as well as in the broader context of strategic deterrence. The section also addresses how the priority of these contributions may change with escalating levels of conflict. • Third, the monograph provides recommendations for changing or adapting the DoD and Army responsibilities to better define and implement the evolving concepts and actions supporting deterrence in the dynamic domain of cyberspace.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government, Non State Actors, Cybersecurity, Army
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: James Schwemlein
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Great power politics is resurgent in South Asia today. China’s growing military ambition in the region is matched in financial terms by its Belt and Road Initiative, the largest and most advanced component of which is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. What remains unclear is how the United States should navigate the new dynamic. This report, which is based on research and consultations with experts worldwide, addresses the question of how the India-Pakistan rivalry will play into the emerging great power competition.
  • Topic: Economics, Power Politics, Infrastructure, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This is the second in the Senior Study Group (SSG) series of USIP reports examining China’s influence on conflicts around the world. A group of fifteen experts met from September to December 2018 to assess China’s interests and influence in bringing about a durable settlement of the North Korean nuclear crisis. This report provides recommendations for the United States to assume a more effective role in shaping the future of North Korea in light of China’s role and interests. Unless otherwise sourced, all observations and conclusions are those of SSG members.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Nuclear Weapons, Conflict, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Daniel R. Russel, Blake Berger
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: Launched in 2013, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a highly ambitious development effort that would sew together infrastructure projects across more than 70 countries. Estimated to comprise of more than USD $1 trillion in Chinese investment, the BRI is arguably China's broadest economic engagement effort with the rest of the world — enhancing its connectivity through Southeast, South, Central, and West Asia; Africa; Europe; and South America. The Asia Society Policy Institute project – Navigating the Belt and Road Initiative – examines BRI with the aim of setting forth actionable recommendations for how China and partner countries can help ensure that BRI projects yield beneficial and sustainable developmental, economic, environmental, civic, and social outcomes. The project includes a report by the same name, which is available for download below, as well as an interactive visualization of 12 recommended practices and their specific implementation steps, intended outcomes, and relevant Chinese and international precedents. (For interactive content see: https://asiasociety.org/policy-institute/belt-and-road-initiative)
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Soft Power, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment, Economic Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, South Asia, Central Asia, Asia, South America, Southeast Asia, West Asia
  • Author: Raymond Yamamoto
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013 is among the most ambitious global visions promoted by one country. The general goal of BRI is the provision of economic infrastructure worth at least $1 trillion to improve the land and sea routes between Asia, Africa, and Europe. In order to attract additional international investments to finance the initiative, China even created a multilateral bank – the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) — in 2015. However, China’s ambitious BRI strategy has met considerable criticism from politicians and policy-makers, journalists, analysts, and scholars. These criticisms include accusations of pursuing debt-trap diplomacy to gain concessions from countries participating in BRI. The decision of Sri Lanka in 2018 to lease Hambantota port to China in order to reduce its BRI debt burden is often cited as a prime example. Together with growing Chinese military strength and assertiveness in the South and East China Seas, BRI is being framed as an instrument deployed by China to build up its global dominance.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Rajika Bhandari
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: The global movement of postsecondary students is a remarkably unidirectional phenomenon: students from the developing world, or Global South, take their knowledge and talents to the developed world, or the Global North. This is particularly true for countries such as India and China. Framed by the broader issues of access and equity within postsecondary education and released on the occasion of the fourth IC3 Conference in Mumbai, India, on August 28, 2019, the current report raises the following questions: Are the current global flows of students advantaging wealthier nations over developing ones? Are students from the developing world returning at higher rates to their countries of origin? How do we ensure that the mobility of students and talent is based on principles of access, equity and inclusiveness, both at the individual student level and at a national level? While it is not the goal of this report to suggest that the north-to-south flow of students should be reversed or that countries in the Global South would even have the capacity to host large volumes of international students, the report does argue that when it comes to international student recruitment policies, host countries in the Global North need to consider how to balance their own needs to fill critical knowledge and skill gaps by attracting global talent with the needs of developing countries to retain their valuable human capital. Thus, the report proposes solutions for programmatic and national-level initiatives to create a balance between the home and host countries of globally mobile students. Read the full report to view key findings and to learn more about the IIE Center for Academic Mobility Research and Impact.
  • Topic: Education, Mobility, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, Global South
  • Author: Mateusz Piotrowski
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The U.S. will create a new branch of the armed forces to conduct operations in space. This is a response to the increased threat from China and Russia, which are rapidly developing space systems for military use. As a result of the U.S. actions, NATO adopted its first space policy. The effects of this policy also oblige allies who do not have space capabilities and who will have to work out their own policy towards this domain.
  • Topic: NATO, Science and Technology, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Space Force, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the atrocity prevention lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 48 looks at developments in Afghanistan, China, Myanmar (Burma), Syria, Yemen, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Libya, South Sudan and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, International Law, Conflict, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Libya, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Venezuela, Burundi, Mali, Myanmar, South Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the atrocity prevention lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 47 looks at developments in Afghanistan, Myanmar (Burma), Syria, Yemen, Cameroon, Mali and Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Nigeria and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Libya, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Venezuela, Nigeria, Burundi, Mali, Myanmar, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso
  • 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: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Russia and China’s relationship is increasingly strengthened by arms sales, joint military exercises, and mutual diplomatic support. With growing frequency, the two countries hare expressing joint concern towards “threatening” U.S. military capabilities and security policies. China’s growing ability to deny foreign navies access to waters and airspace is connected to the sophisticated defense platforms provided by Russia. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are seeking a closer defense partnership, which could take the form of integrated military operations, collaboration on battlefield technology, or a joint missile defense system. Through joint military exercises, China is learning from Russia’s military experience in Crimea, gaining operational knowledge on expeditionary logistics and how to protect military bases in foreign countries. In 2021, the Sino-Russian Treaty of Friendship expires. Its renewal could introduce new dynamics to the China-Russian relationship, and the possible inclusion of collective defense provisions like those between the U.S. and Japan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, International Cooperation, National Security, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: WIlliam Schneider
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Modern consumer society has rapidly evolved from domination by “things” to domination by information. Once upon a time, for example, a car was an object for personal transportation in which anything more than basic information about speed and fuel level came from and through the driver. Now, the automobile itself provides and processes information with which drivers interact at a much richer level. Back-up cameras, blind spot and lane drift warning lights, hands-free wireless telephony, and GPS have transformed the driving experience fundamentally, even ahead of the truly revolutionary era of self-driving cars. A large and growing fraction of the world’s day-to-day life of individuals, objects, and institutions will be indelibly stored with an electronic “footprint.” The intelligence value of this information from a national security perspective exclusively accessed through a modern communications system dominated by China – 5G – is immense and profoundly threatening. The new dominance of information is simultaneously bewildering and promising. Moreover, as rapid as the pace of development has been over the past decade, it will soon quicken—with broad implications for almost every aspect of human life. An important aspect of this shift has been the convergence of rapidly developing and mutually reinforcing technologies into an infosphere that will incorporate almost all information-based communications and data services in the global information infrastructure. Not coincidentally, an integrated infosphere meets aspirations held by the People’s Republic of China to dominate and control the global information infrastructure. Beijing’s investments in 5G reflect an understanding that this technology is the gateway to control the world’s information infrastructure and growing realm of 5G-dependent technologies. A Chinese-dominated infosphere is, in fact, the “digital road” component of its Belt-and-Road-Infrastructure (BRI). While U.S. policymakers have yet to fully grasp the implications of this emerging infosphere, the components below reflect the enabling dimensions that support China’s effort to dominate the global information infrastructure.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Internet, 5G, Information Technology
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • 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: Franklin D. Kramer
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The world is now witnessing the rise of China, which has a global reach and real implications for the transatlantic community. As new challenges and opportunities unfold, the United States is seeking to formulate an adapted approach to China in cooperation with its closest allies and partners in Europe. In his latest report, Managed Competition: Meeting China’s challenge in a multi-vector world, Atlantic Council distinguished fellow Franklin D. Kramer suggests a strategic approach of “managed competition” to meet the full spectrum of challenges posed by China, including economic and innovation, diplomatic and influence, and security, both hybrid and conventional military. Kramer argues that a successful economics and innovation strategy will require substantially enhanced efforts to support innovation. It will also demand a multi-tier economic approach differentiating strategic sectors and those sectors affected by market distortions from those sectors that would benefit from reciprocal access of commercial products and services to commercial entities allowing for generally free trade in those arenas. In the diplomatic and influence arenas, key elements include multilateral efforts with close US allies and coordination of activities to counter disinformation and subversion. In the security arena, undertaking assurance, resilience, and deterrence measures will be necessary when responding to both hybrid and conventional challenges. Resolution of “one world” challenges, such as climate change, requires the involvement of so significant a factor as China presents. This report is the first publication in a new body of work led by the Scowcroft Center’s Transatlantic Security Initiative focused on understanding and managing the implications of China’s rise for the transatlantic community.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Karl Frederick Rauscher
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Internet of Things describes a future world with pervasive connectivity. While IoT offers a range of humanitarian, commercial, and national security benefits, its pervasive nature has many concerned over its impacts on safety and security in society. A great disservice is done when national security, commercial, and humanitarian interests are conflated. In a new report by the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Karl Rauscher notes that the world’s two largest powers are at a crossroads with regard to their level and scope of cooperation in continued IoT advances. United States–China Collaboration on the Internet of Things Safety: What’s Next? analyzes possibilities for the United States and China to work together to establish consensus policies and standards to make their societies safer and provide a model for the world.
  • Topic: National Security, Power Politics, Cybersecurity, Internet of Things
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Paul D. Miller
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: What is “world order” and why should Americans care? Less than half of all Americans have a passport, and less than five percent travel internationally. Only 26 percent of US gross domestic product (GDP) comes from international trade. Since the end of the Cold War most Americans probably feel safe from foreign threats most of the time: they feel little sense of danger or threat from the world. Even the terrorist attacks of 2001 have receded into memory and increasingly feel like an aberration rather than a precedent. Americans may feel a sense of unease about the world, but we are confident that even the nation’s wars safely take place “over there,” not here at home. If the United States can afford to tune out much of the world because of its geography, wealth, and power, why should we care? Americans have been the unconscious beneficiaries of a world order that would not exist without them. Just as we take for granted electricity and indoor plumbing without thought to the wiring and piping that make them possible, so too we take for granted the peace, prosperity, and stability of our world without thought to the infrastructure of the free world. The free world exists because the most powerful states in the world are open societies: liberal capitalist democracies who largely see the world the same way and have worked together to keep the peace and build wealth. That order is now imperiled. The United States no longer enjoys an unquestioned advantage over its rivals, Russia and China, as it once did. North Korea and Iran threaten the United States with nuclear weapons and support for terrorism. Perhaps most threatening of all: rising nationalist and populist movements around the world, including in the United States, are undermining popular support for international cooperation, free trade, and collective security. This report is about the free world: what it is, why it is imperiled, why Americans should care, and what we can do about it. Some skeptics have criticized the international order. President Donald Trump regularly criticizes “globalism,” and many Americans seem inclined to believe that the United States is losing its sovereignty and that the world is taking advantage of America’s generosity. We respectfully disagree. The free world, and American leadership of it, is good for America and good for the world. It helps keep us safe and give us opportunity. Far from eroding America’s sovereignty, it is a tool of American influence. Most importantly, the aspirations of the free world are just. It is a system of ordered liberty among nations, a tool or mechanism for allowing nations and individuals to flourish in freedom and safety. Investing in the free world is an investment in our values and our common values.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel M. Kliman
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Since its launch in 2013, what China calls “One Belt, One Road” has emerged as the cornerstone of Beijing’s economic statecraft. Under the umbrella of the Belt and Road, Beijing seeks to promote a more connected world brought together by a web of Chinese-funded physical and digital infrastructure. The infrastructure needs in Asia and beyond are significant, but the Belt and Road is more than just an economic initiative; it is a central tool for advancing China’s geopolitical ambitions. Through the economic activities bundled under the Belt and Road, Beijing is pursuing a vision of the 21st century defined by great power spheres of influence, state-directed economic interactions, and creeping authoritarianism
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Craig Kafura
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: The Trump Administration has taken an aggressive line on US-China trade issues. Starting with steel and aluminum tariffs in March 2018, the United States has gradually imposed a number of tariffs on various Chinese goods. China responded in turn to each round. Recent negotiations, though initially fruitful, foundered on issues of Chinese subsidies and what US trade representative Robert Lighthizer described as “an erosion in commitments by China.” Now the escalation cycle has resumed. According to surveys conducted in 2018 among foreign policy opinion leaders by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the University of Texas, and the results of the 2018 Chicago Council Survey of the general US public, concerns about a potential trade war between the United States and China were already widespread before this most recent escalation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Public Opinion, Trade Wars
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Craig Kafura
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Over the past 18 months, the United States and China have engaged in a steady escalation of tariffs. Beginning with steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration in March 2018, the trade conflict has expanded to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade. Recent rounds of negotiations have made no new progress and have led to both sides escalating further. The most recent US tariffs on Chinese imports went into effect on September 1, covering $112 billion of goods. Beijing has countered with retaliatory tariffs and has halted all agricultural purchases from the United States, a move targeted at already-struggling US farmers. While Americans broadly support engaging in trade with China, they are split along partisan lines on how to engage in that trade. Republicans support raising tariffs on Chinese imports and believe it will help the US economy in the long run, while Democrats oppose doing so and believe it will be harmful.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Tariffs, Trade Wars
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Craig Kafura
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the Trump administration took office in 2017, it has pursued a more competitive relationship with China on both economic and security fronts. The Trump administration’s 2017 National Security Strategy stated that China “seeks to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific region,” and Washington and Beijing have been engaged in an escalating trade war since the United States first imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in March 2018. Just as the high-level US-China relationship has taken a sharp turn towards competition, so too have public perceptions of Sino-American relations: a February 2019 Chicago Council poll found that a majority of Americans describe the United States and China as rivals (63%) rather than partners (32%), a shift that has occurred across partisan lines. However, Americans have not fully closed the door to bilateral cooperation, and most Americans do not see the rise of China as a critical threat to the United States.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Public Opinion, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America