Strategic capitalism, geoeconomics and Australia’s choices

As market-based economic globalisation gives way to a system of state relations based largely on strategic capitalism, the Australian government seems to be using an outdated operating system. The demise of the multi-lateral, rules-based and open world will pose problems that demand imagination, innovation and deft and agile policy and diplomacy. In this environment Australia has a difficult course to chart.

Read more

Strategic autonomy in the face of competing US and China technology strategies: a European perspective (IFRI)

An invaluable introduction to the complex and critical struggle for technological superiority which will the characterise the geopolitical environment for decades to come. This report sets out all the key issues and addresses the question of how the EU could maintain strategic autonomy in the face of this competition between China and the US.

Read more

Moving away from the China-America binary (Alan McCormack)

Whether it is the West’s relative decline or the “rise of the rest,” the Eastward shift of geostrategic gravity is a reality. That reality presents major ideational and institutional challenges to the West’s domination of the international order. The challenge for international relations theorists and policy-makers is to demonstrate that Western-framed status quo versus revisionist analysis provides a disinterested assessment of “non-Western” institutional initiatives.

Read more

On Korean War 70th anniversary, President Xi affirms that China is ready to defend its sovereignty

Speaking on the 70th anniversary of the Korean War, China’s President Xi Jinping is reported to have said that victory in the 1950-53 conflict was a reminder that his nation would “never sit back and watch any damage to our national sovereignty… and we will never allow any force to invade or divide the sacred territory of the motherland.”

Read more

Southeast Asian diplomacy: consistency is not always a virtue (AIIA)

As a contiguous big country, China is always going to enjoy significant influence in Southeast Asia. But for precisely the same reasons, China is also always going to evoke anxieties. Countries on China’s periphery will therefore not allow themselves to be hemmed into an exclusive relationship no matter how dependent they are on China. Having lived in the midst of great power competition for centuries, the strategic instinct of Southeast Asia is not to align with any major power across all domains.

Read more

The Trump Administration’s China policy experiment (Brookings)

The Trump administration’s China policies are explored clearly and succinctly in this working paper by the Brookings Institution’s Ryan Hass. While Hass describes the approach to China over the past four years as a Trump Administration (failed) experiment, he leaves no doubt that the nature and trajectory of US-China relations has now been reset, irrespective of who is the next president.

Read more

Is China heading towards revolutionary revisionism? (Michael Clarke)

Xi Jinping’s Leninist calculus has contributed to China exhibiting both reformist and positionalist forms of revisionism simultaneously, both of which contain pathways toward revolutionary revisionism. The combination of reformist and positionalist forms of revisionism has significant implications for thinking about the future trajectory of Sino-US competition.

Read more

Sino-US competition: the importance of disaggregating China’s revisionism (Michael Clarke)

Revisionism as a strategy in international politics, and China’s revisionism in particular, however is not the “all-or-nothing” proposition portrayed by US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. A more accurate understanding of the factors that have driven Beijing’s transition between different types of revisionist behaviour suggests that rhetoric such as Pompeo’s will merely reinforce China’s move toward more problematic revisionist behaviours.

Read more

Strategic mirror: Pentagon’s China report reveals converging power and strategy

The Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on military and security developments in China describes an already formidable military capability, and China’s intention that its military strength will achieve parity with the US by 2049. Ironically, the report unintentionally reveals that China’s major strategic objectives mirror those of the US, past and present. Additionally, the report provides evidence that Australia’s increasing investment in Defence is no substitute for diplomacy.

Read more

Strategic rivalry between United States and China: causes, trajectories, and implications (SWP)

An insightful paper that seeks a strategy for Europe ‘to escape the bipolar logic that demands it choose between the American and Chinese economic/technological spheres’. The recommendations for Europe should resonate equally in Australia – a country already caught up in the global competition for influence, and likely to be subject to ‘increased pressure from Washington on its allies to take a clear position on the sharpening US-China conflict and clearly side with the United States’.

Read more

Traps, Trump and Thucydides: challenging Allison’s concept of a ‘Thucydides’ Trap’

Harvard academic Graham Allison finds in Thucydides’ ‘The History of the Peloponnesian War’, some near universal law of international relations where war between established and rising great powers is close to inevitable – the ‘Thucydides’ Trap’. But are there different lessons to be drawn from analysis of the Peloponnesian War?

Read more