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ATLANTIC TREATY ASSOCIATION

Volume 5 - Issue 1 January 2015

Looking Far East: Pivoting Global Security To Asia-Pacific Since Obama’s election in 2009, Asia has been put at the center of America’s foreign policy, as illustrated by the American President’s recent visit to India. Determined to withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq, Washington wished to shift its focus on a region where alliances needed to be reasserted as China was slowly regaining its historical influence. In Asia, the United States is faced with counter strategies aimed at deterring its engagement in China’s backyard. Beijing, following the principles of Sun Tzu and the Game of Go, is trying to defend their interests by building alliances with its immediate neighbors and exploiting the West’s tense relations with Russia. This issue aims to addressing the role of Asia in today’s world order and the implication of the new American pivot to Asia for NATO. While this rebalancing strategy seems to loosen the Euro-Atlantic ties, it also appears to have brought China and Russia closer, and fueled the competition between the first and second economic powers. - Flora Pidoux Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

Political leaders present at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum (Source: AP/Press Association Images )

Contents: Rebalancing Towards Long Term Challenges To U.S. Security Phillip Ulrich provides interesting insight into the challenges that the U.S is currently facing after the 2009 Obama administration’s refocusing of U.S foreign policy.

China’s Anti-Access Challenge and America’s Air-Sea Battle Response Eirik Torsvoll analyzes both China’s and the United States’ current military and economic goals, strategies, and capabilities to predict the future threats and obstacles that may arise between these two nations in the near future.

Sino-Russian Ties And The Emerging Role Of The Asia-Pacific Region Christopher Weidacher Hsiung examines the role that the Asia-Pacific region plays in global finance and the recent interest that Russia, the U.S, and the EU has in furthering relations due to the region’s economic growth. 1


Rebalancing Towards Long Term Challenges To U.S. Security By Philip Christian Ulrich

A

extricate American forces and resources. The problems

s the Obama administration took office in

include extensive budget cuts, aggressive Russian be-

2009, it wanted to redefine and refocus

havior in Ukraine and the rise of the Islamic State in

U.S. foreign policy. The objective was to

Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). These events mean that

disengage from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in

NATO and European Allies seem to return to past

order to focus on other international challenges, do-

prominence and relevance for the United States.

mestic reforms, and reconstruction. Even as President Obama announced an increase of 30,000 troops for

The Moment For A Rebalance

Afghanistan he proclaimed: “the nation that I’m most

The need for a rebalance of U.S. foreign policy to-

interested in building is our own”1 To many, this signaled

wards the Asia-Pacific was based on several factors.

a more withdrawn U.S. foreign policy under Presi-

Firstly, the United States has large economic interests

dent Obama.

in the region, with some of its largest trading partners

In January 2012, the Obama administration published a new “Strategic Guidance” to steer U.S. foreign policy. The new document presented a new priority for the United States: U.S. economic and security interests are inextricably linked to developments in the arc extending from the Western Pacific and East Asia into the Indian Ocean region and South Asia, creating a mix of evolving challenges and opportunities. Accordingly, while the U.S. military will continue to contribute to security globally, we will of necessity re-

situated in that area. Secondly, the United States had been absent from the region since 2001 when U.S. foreign policy focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In that time, China’s influence has risen, and the rebalance is an effort to counter the mounting Chinese dominance towards neighboring countries. Thirdly, the United States had to reaffirm its commitment to its allies in the region. For example Japan and Korea who have found themselves increasingly under Chinese pressure, due to the absence of the United States since 2001.

balance toward the Asia-Pacific region.2 The opportunity for making a rebalance of U.S. forWith this statement the official policy of the United States became to conduct a rebalance of its foreign policy to the Asia-Pacific region, comparative to its strategic importance. However, the rebalance is currently failing, due to both domestic and international circumstances, which have forced the United States to return to regions from which the Obama administration had hoped to Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

eign policy has presented itself, as the United States was finally able to move attention and resources away from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These resources could then be diverted to the Asia-Pacific. Additionally the Strategic Guidance asserted that the U.S. engagement in Europe could be downsized, as: Most European countries are now producers of security rather than consumers of it. Combined with the drawdown in 2


Iraq and Afghanistan, this has created a strategic opportunity to

region. This reassured regional allies and partners, that

rebalance the U.S. military investment in Europe, moving from a

the United States would support them in their territo-

focus on current conflicts toward a focus on future capabilities.3

rial disputes with China or at least act as a counter-

These factors made it possible to rebalance U.S. for-

weight to Chinese influence in the region.

eign policy to allocate resources and strategic attention to

Military: Besides the economic and diplomatic ef-

the Asia-Pacific region, in correlation with the region’s

forts, the United States has pursued closer cooperation

importance to the United States.

with nations in the region, including closer military-tomilitary cooperation as well as rotational deployments

U.S. Efforts To Rebalance In order to conduct the rebalance towards the AsiaPacific region, the United States has followed a strategy based on three pillars: economic, diplomatic and military. Economic: The United States has worked on closer economic cooperation in the region, through the TransPacific Partnership (TTP). While the TTP is not meant to exclude China from economic cooperation in the region4, it is meant to harness Chinese influence by creating an international network with clearly defined rules. Presently China has expressed interest in joining the TTP, but is not yet a member. Even if China does not join the TTP, some sort of regional economic cooperation will be something which the United States will pursue. Diplomatic: The United States increased its diplomatic efforts in the region while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, an effort which has decreased somewhat while John Kerry has been Secretary of State.

of U.S. military personnel5. These cooperation and deployments are supplemented by the fact that it is the intention of the U.S. Navy to deploy 60 percent of its fleet to the AsiaPacific region in 2020, compared to a 50/50 division today between the Atlantic and Asia-Pacific6. If one looks at the efforts by the United States, the diplomatic and military efforts look like a modern version of “Containment” known from the Cold War. Closer military-to-military cooperation and rotational deployments of military forces combined with diplomatic efforts in China’s neighboring countries, give a distinct look of containment of China, in order to counter its increased influence in the region over the past decade. However, the increased efforts seen from the United States following the publication of the 2012 Strategic Guidance has decreased in the past year due to chal-

The diplomatic efforts have led to an opening in rela-

lenges arising in regions from which the Obama-

tions between the United States and Vietnam as well as

administration had hoped to disengage the United

with Myanmar. These diplomatic efforts meant that the

States.

United States gained support among a number of countries in the region, who had not previously had good dip-

“Leading From Behind” To Focus

lomatic relations with the U.S. The many travels by Sec-

One of the major foreign policy priorities for the

retaries Clinton and Panetta and later Secretaries Kerry

Obama administration was to end U.S. commitment in

and Hagel, was a clear signal to the regional allies, as well

Iraq, and begin the process of drawing down the U.S.

as new partners, that the United States was serious about

and NATO missions in Afghanistan. The objective was

the rebalance, and intended to increase its efforts in the

to end the state of constant conflict in which the Unit-

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

3


ed States had found itself since the terrorist attacks on 9/11 2001.

ISIL in Syria on the 22nd of September 20147. The aim of this policy of non-intervention was to

Over the following years, the Obama administra-

make sure that the United States would not have to

tion pursued a policy of keeping the United States

commit resources, either economic, diplomatic or mil-

away from engagement in new conflicts. Particularly

itary, to a new long term conflict which was not essen-

the Arab Spring in early 2011 presented challenges for

tial to their national security. Instead, the United States

the administration to uphold its policy of non-

was to focus its foreign policy attention increasingly

intervention in new conflicts, as U.S. interests were

towards the Asia-Pacific, and its resources towards eco-

potentially threatened by unrest in the Middle East.

nomic reconstruction within the United States.

The policy was followed with regards to the public

Implications For NATO

uprising in Tunisia and Egypt

A U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific

as well as uprisings in the

would mean a less prominent role for

Gulf states. The United

the European allies in U.S. foreign poli-

States chose not to intervene

cy. Instead, Asian allies would more

or to make noticeable public

likely be the center of attention for U.S.

statements against the rulers

diplomatic and military efforts. The de-

in these countries. In the case of Egypt, this ended when

President

Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama joined Leaders of the Asso-

creased emphasis would be a result of

ciation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and leaders

both the geographical distance between

of Southeast Asia 2012. (Source: Agence France-Presse)

the European powers to the Asia-Pacific,

called for the resignation of

and to the consequent small role, that NATO as an alli-

President Mubarak, however no further U.S. efforts

ance plays in the Asia-Pacific region. Because there are

were made. Thereby the administration kept a dis-

no ongoing or immediate crises in the Asia-Pacific re-

tance to events in the Middle East and avoided possi-

gion which would warrant NATO intervention, the

ble U.S. engagement.

Alliance would not be able to argue for a continual

However, the Obama administration was pres-

presence in the region, on a scale, which would make it

sured to intervene in Libya in order to prevent the

useful for the United States in its efforts to rebalance.

killing of civilians. The U.S. commitment to the Libya

The individual members of NATO have great interests

campaign was characterized by what became known

in the Asia-Pacific region. However, the Alliance as a

as “leading from behind�. In order to keep a low U.S.

whole has a limited role to play in the region due to the

engagement, the United States quickly transferred

purpose and scale of the Euro-Atlantic Alliance. The

responsibility to NATO.

purpose of the Alliance is to protect its member states,

After the engagement in Libya, the Obama administration returned to its policy of limited engagement with regards to the civil war in Syria. This policy of non-intervention persisted until U.S. planes attacked Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

as well as act as the foundation for military contingency operations, such as in Libya. It would not be possible to extend this to a more or less permanent presence in the Asia-Pacific in order to support a U.S. rebalance.

4


A less prominent U.S. presence in Europe would in

attack against them all.” This is a binding, treaty obliga-

turn require the European allies to take on a greater part

tion. It is non-negotiable. And here in Wales, we’ve left ab-

of burden sharing within the NATO Alliance, as well as

solutely no doubt -- we will defend every Ally.

in international missions. The need for greater European

Second, we agreed to be resolute in reassuring our Al-

participation would arise as American resources increas-

lies in Eastern Europe. Increased NATO air patrols over the

ingly transferred to the United States or the Asia-Pacific.

Baltics will continue. Rotations of additional forces through-

This increased burden sharing was to be part of the ability

out Eastern Europe for training and exercises will contin-

of the European allies to be “producers of security”

ue. Naval patrols in the Black Sea will continue. And all 28

meaning greater role in international missions and within

NATO nations agreed to contribute to all of these measures --

the NATO Alliance.

for as long as necessary.”10

In all, the U.S. rebalance is seen by many as a threat

The redeployment of forces to Europe is a sign that

to the central role of Europe in U.S. foreign policy. This

European countries are not able to be “producers of

means that the Alliance has had to consider the more

security” to such a degree that the United States can

withdrawn U.S. attitude during the considerations on the

limit its commitment to the region such as the Obama-

future of NATO following the end of the International

administration had hoped.

Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan. A Failing Rebalance - International Challenges

Presently the Obama administration’s rebalance to Asia-Pacific is threatened by factors on two fronts: international and domestic. Internationally, the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in the spring of 2014 meant that the United States has had to reengage in Europe, in order to show

2014 also saw the emergence of another contingency, which limits the ability of the Obamaadministration to carry through its rebalance to AsiaPacific. The rise of ISIL and its conquest of territory in both Syria and Iraq has forced the United States to recommit military forces to Iraq in order to bolster the government in Baghdad.

support for the Eastern European allies in NATO. In ad-

U.S. air operations began in early August 2014, in

dition to returning battle tanks to Europe, the U.S. Army

order to protect U.S. personnel in the city of Erbil as

expects to send an additional 3,000 soldiers to Europe

well as protect Yezidi civilians trapped on Mount Sin-

complimenting the 67,000 American soldiers already in

jar11. Since then, air operations expanded to include

the European theater 8 9.

operations against ISIL inside Syria. These air opera-

Following the NATO Summit in Wales in September 2014, President Obama emphasized the United States’ commitment to the NATO Alliance: “First and foremost, we have reaffirmed the central mission of the Alliance. Article 5 enshrines our solemn duty to each other -- “an armed attack against one…shall be considered an

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

tions against ISIL have been supplemented by the deployment of advisors to train and assist Iraqi forces in their struggle against ISIL forces on the ground. The recommitment of U.S. forces to the Middle East, in line with the deployment of forces to Europe, limits the ability of the United States to follow through on the rebalance to Asia-Pacific. 5


A Failing Rebalance – Domestic Challenges

to implement budgetary cuts while also maintaining

Domestically the rebalance to Asia-Pacific is

readiness and investments in modernizing existing

under pressure from the strained financial situation

weapons systems as well as in new systems.

of the American Department of Defense. In order

Budget cuts mean that the strained resources are

to get the deficit in U.S. finances under control, in

unable to match the demands of following through on

2011 Congress agreed on the Budget Control Act,

expanding U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific as well

which set up an automatic solution to deficit re-

maintaining a presence in Europe and conducting the

duction in case Congress failed to reach a political

campaign in Iraq and Syria.

agreement.

The

automatic

solution,

“Sequestration”, called for automatic budget cuts across all federal budgets. For the Department of Defense this meant a $500 billion reduction over a ten year period. This would supplement the already planned $485 billion proposed by the Obama-administration for the same period. The passing of the Budget Control Act in 2011 and its enactment in the 2012 and 2013 defense budgets meant a great challenge to the Department of Defense. In budget years 2014 and 2015, sequestration has been put on hold and this has lim-

Consequences Of A Failing Rebalance The foreign policy context in which the rebalance was to take place was one of transitioning from a period of constant conflict since 2001 to a new period of focusing on long-term challenges to the United States. A precondition for the realization of this situation was for the United States to keep out of new conflicts, which did not involve central U.S. national interests. As was seen with the Arab Spring uprisings, the Obama-administration tried to pursue a more withdrawn policy, in order to fulfill this precondition for the rebalance.

ited its impact. However, if Congress is unable to

The increased U.S. presence in Europe and the

find a solution, sequestration will return from Oc-

creation of a coalition against ISIL, meant that by ne-

tober 2015. This will mean further heavy reduc-

cessity the relationship and need for cooperation be-

tions in defense budgets, and thus also in the ability

tween the United States and its European Allies will

of the United States to deploy forces to contingen-

remain closer than the Obama administration had

cies like the ones in Ukraine and Iraq.

wanted in 2012.

These extensive budgetary problems have

Although it was never the intention of the Obama

caused major issues for the Department of De-

administration to end cooperation with its European

fense. Firstly, it has limited its options for adapting

Allies, it was the intention that as the need for U.S.,

to the changing security situation in which the

presence in Europe decreased, diplomatic and mili-

United States finds itself, with Russia asserting it-

tary focus could be shifted to the Asia-Pacific. This

self in Eastern Europe, campaign against ISIL and

would in turn mean less focus on Europe than on the

the continued rise of China as a future peer-

Asia-Pacific. This would particularly be the case since

competitor. Secondly, sequestration and continu-

the NATO Alliance does not have a central role in

ing resolutions has limited the department’s ability

U.S. efforts in Asia-Pacific, and therefore the im-

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

6


portance of European allies would wane. This situa-

About the author

tion has not materialized. The relevance of and commitment to the NATO Alliance for the United States has, in turn, risen in the past year, by events in Eastern Europe and the Middle

Philip Chr. Ulrich holds an M.A. in American Studies from the University of Southern Denmark. He analyzes American foreign and defense policy for the

East. This in turn means a more central and relevant

Danish website Kongressen.com. He has previously

role for the European allies.

worked as head of section at the Royal Danish De-

The United States again needs NATO to bolster its stance against Russia, something which the Obama administration had hoped would not be necessary following the end of the Cold War. The implication for NATO of the Russian behavior in Eastern Europe,

fence College, where he published several briefs on U.S. defense and foreign policy. He has also completed an internship at the Lessons Learned / Development Section at the Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence.

Bibliography

and the failing rebalance to Asia, is a return to prominence in U.S. foreign policy. Rather than the U.S. rebalance making Asian allies more central to U.S.

1

Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on the Way For-

ward

in

Afghanistan

and

Pakistan

(1st

December

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-

foreign policy, NATO is again the central forum for

address-nation-way-forward-afghanistan-and-pakistan

cooperation, dialogue and coalition building for the

2

United States. For the United States, it means that another chance for focusing increasingly on the Asia-Pacific region is limited by unforeseen contingencies12. These contingencies mean that the precondition of a transi-

2009)

Department of Defense, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense (Washington D.C., January 2012), p. 2

3

Ibid, p. 3

4

Mireya Solis: The Containment Fallacy: China and the TTP http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/up-front/posts/2013/05/24-china -transpacific-partnership-solis 5

Marine Rotational Force – Darwin http://www.marforpac.marines.mil/Units/ MarineRotationalForceDarwin.aspx 6

tional period from perpetual conflict to peace is no longer possible. Rather, the U.S. rebalance will continue in a decreased fashion, primarily focused on more limited diplomatic and economic factors. However, the military show of support which several allies in the region has sought after, will be less forthcoming given the economic strains on the U.S. Department of Defense as well as the pull back to regions from which the United States had hoped to increasingly disengage.

Jim Garamone: Panetta Describes U.S. Shift in Asia-Pacific, American Forces Press Service http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=116591

7

Remarks by the President on airstrikes in Syria (23rd September 2014) http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/23/statement -president-airstrikes-syria 8

Kristina Wong: Army plans to shift 3,000 troops to Europe http://thehill.com/policy/defense/229105-army-plans-to-shift-3000-troopsto-europe 9

Alexander A. Burnett: Command assists departure of battle tanks from Europe http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=119695

10 Remarks by President Obama at NATO Summit Press Conference (5th September 2014 http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/05/remarkspresident-obama-nato-summit-press-conference 1

Statement by the President (7th August 2014) http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/07/statement -president 2

The United States has attempted twice since the end of the Cold War to shift focus to the Asia-Pacific: Philip Chr. Ulrich: The U.S. Pivot Towards Asia-Pacific. Third Time’s the Charm?, (Copenhagen, Royal Danish Defence College, 2013)

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

7


China’s Anti-Access Challenge And America’s Air-Sea Battle Response By Eirik Torsvoll

T

he privileged position Washington has enjoyed in the Asia-Pacific since 1945 is under pressure. China’s rise, or return, depending on how you look at

it historically, is challenging the hegemonic presence of the United States. The American position has been underpinned by the country’s superior military power, which has acted as the ultimate guarantor of Washington’s ability to influence regional developments. However, U.S. military power is dependent upon projecting power through bases as well as access to the theater of operations. This fact is currently being exploited by Beijing. For several years now, China has been expanding its missile capabilities, building a

United States and China in the Asia-Pacific. It will start by defining the conflicting regional goals of Beijing and Washington by way of their grand strategies. Thereafter, it will describe China’s A2/AD capabilities and their implication for these strategies, as well as two worrying variables that could increase China’s propensity for bellicosity in the future. Finally, it will review the U.S. Air-Sea Battle concept, which has been presented as a way to counter A2/AD capabilities. Competing Grand Strategies In The Asia-Pacific A grand strategy can be defined, in the words of John Lewis Gaddis of Yale University, as “the calculated relationship of means to large

large and complex missile net-

ends”. Put differently, it is the

work capable of credibly threat-

answers to the questions:

ening U.S. forces deployed in

“where are you”, “where do you

China’s maritime periphery.

want to go”, and “how do you

These capabilities form the foun-

get there?” For China and the

dation for what are popularly

United States the answers to

referred to as anti-access and

these queries will be at odds

area-denial (A2/AD) capabili-

with one another in Asia-Pacific

ties.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert speaks to mod- security affairs. This is because Defeating such measures has erator Michael O' Hanlon at the Brookings Institute about the Air-Sea America’s interests are defined been at the top of the agenda for Battle concept. (Source: Photo credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Commu- by being an established (and Pentagon planners in recent nication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Lawlor) therefore status quo) power,

years, particularly as the United States has begun its long-term

while being a rising (and therefore likely revisionist) power

strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. The American response

marks China’s concerns.

has been a military war-fighting concept known as the Air-Sea Battle concept, which proposes to break through the A2/AD systems by creating a networked, integrated force, that has the ability to attack targets in-depth, even in a prohibitive antiaccess environment. This article will argue that China’s A2/AD capabilities will be a major factor in numerous security issues faced by the

The U.S. Grand Strategy With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the preeminent U.S. position in the Asia-Pacific became even more pronounced. Now acting as the sole superpower in a unipolar system, Washington developed in the 1990s a grand strategy for its international relations that can be

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

8


characterized as “primacy.” This approach is built on the

China seems to be pursing this goal by advancing incre-

logic that a preponderance of U.S. power is the best way

mentally, i.e. by employing a gradualist model of expan-

to assure stability and peace, in addition to buttressing

sion. This is displayed by its behavior in the South China

U.S. political and economic interests. Washington there-

Sea, where it slowly but surely advances its assertions by

fore should strive to maintain its lead, particularly in mili-

both challenging and openly defying the territorial claims

tary capabilities.

of its neighbors. Beijing’s current grand strategy therefore

The developments in the power configuration of the world have changed the appropriateness and ability of Washington to follow a global grand strategy of primacy, but the basic approach of pursuing military dominance still

appears to be geared toward creating a de facto sphere of influence in the Asia-Pacific, casting doubt about Washington’s ability and will to intervene militarily during a hypothetical conflict, and thereby “winning without fighting.”

remains. With this aspiration in mind, it is no surprise that

It is within this context of clashing grand strategies that

Washington is concerned with China’s A2/AD challenge,

the implications of China’s A2/AD capabilities become

as this threatens to neutralize America’s established mili-

apparent.

tary superiority and access to the maritime commons. The

China’s A2/AD Capabilities

fear of the consequences of Chinese capabilities has been expressed in several official documents, such as the Pentagon’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance and the Joint Operational Access document. The Chinese Grand Strategy

The idea behind anti-access and area-denial, to prevent an enemy from accessing, as well as maneuvering within, a theater of operation is not a new one. This is, in fact, a timeless goal in military planning. Punji stick traps have, for example, been used by various militaries throughout

China’s grand strategy is harder to establish than the

history to slow down or prohibit the movement of enemy

American one, as Beijing does not release official white

infantry units, such as during the Vietnam War when the

documents describing its national security strategy. As

Viet Cong used them to great effect against U.S. forces.

such, much ink has been spilled trying to discern what Chi-

Interestingly, A2/AD means are traditionally employed by

na wants and how it will go about getting it, and, if in fact

a weaker party, in an attempt to offset the military superi-

it will pursue its goals in a strategic way or go after its in-

ority of an adversary. It thus usually relies on exploiting

terest in a more ad hoc approach. Assuming China does

the cost-benefit ratio of a more powerful state by putting

indeed follow a grand strategic rationale of its own, the

their more capital-intensive assets at risk through, ideally,

range of suggested strategies of Beijing runs a wide spec-

relatively inexpensive means.

trum.

The novelty of today’s A2/AD measures, however, is

Beijing’s hardball approach to its territorial claims in

in the power of technology, which has made missile capa-

the South China Sea and East China Sea, its unilateral es-

bilities much more potent and accessible. China now has

tablishment of an air defense identification zone in the East

the ability to target U.S. bases and forces beyond ranges of

China Sea, and its continued military build-up, particularly

a thousand nautical miles. Its missile capabilities include

with the energetic pursuit of A2/AD capabilities, suggests

advanced cruise, ballistic, air-to-air, and surface-to-air

a desire to carve out a sphere of influence for itself in its

missiles, with greater precision and range than previously

neighborhood. The intended end state seems to be a “zone

possible. When this capability is coupled with existing and

of exceptionalism,” where the regional norms, as well as

expanding military power, such as modern submarines,

facts on the ground, would be bent towards China’s na-

fighter jets, and minelayers, it becomes a dangerous pic-

tional interest.

ture for any U.S. commander attempting to operate near

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

9


or within China’s maritime periphery. The development

for the United States to develop responses to potential

has turned the offense-defense balance decidedly in the

belligerence from Beijing, such as the proposed Air-Sea

favor of the latter.

Battle concept.

The reach and effectiveness of China’s missiles is signif-

China’s First-Mover Advantage

icant, because much of the U.S. force projection in the region is reliant on bases and access to the maritime commons. When this is put at risk, decision-makers in Washington must make a much tougher call on whether to deploy U.S. forces in a given situation. The calculus is worsened further by the fact that U.S. forces are operating far from home, being reliant on a long logistical chain, while China would be operating in its own backyard. Beijing is thus exploiting a “home field advantage” as well as the costeffectiveness of missile attacks against capital-intensive U.S. military assets. What is at stake is America’s ability to deter China from using, or threatening to use, force against its neighbors in the region. A response to China’s A2/AD capabilities has therefore been deemed crucial in Washington. Additionally, by being able to cast doubt over the United States’ resolve and ability to intervene in a given situation, Beijing is strengthening its overall regional power. This allows China greater flexibility in pursuing favorable outcomes to its strategic interests, including territorial disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea, as well as changing the status of Taiwan. It could also lead decisionmakers in Beijing into thinking that it had the upper hand in any conflict against the United States, and open up for adventurism in new areas of China’s neighborhood. Factors That Could Increase The Likelihood Of Chinese Aggression While it is not unreasonable to claim that China is not likely to pursue any type of aggressive military actions in its neighborhood, military planners need to be able to propose viable alternatives during worst-case scenarios, in order to deter the adversary. Regarding Chinese aggression, two factors that could increase the likelihood of bellicosity are worth mentioning. These add to the need Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

The current unresolved maritime disputes in China’s neighborhood has led some to worry that conflict between the United States and China, for example over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea, might break out due to a mistake or misunderstanding. However, others worry not about miscalculation, but deliberate calculation based on offensive military doctrines on the part of China. The latter could be one of the biggest threats to the stability of the Asia-Pacific today. Such a doctrine could be based on China’s so-called “first-mover advantage.” Building on the logic of strategic offense combined with tactical defense, this would entail Beijing deciding to pre-empt its opponents by taking, for example, the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and then daring other powers to reclaim it. If China’s seizure were successful, its antagonists would face impediments to taking the islands back, such as mounting a costly offensive, risking further instability, and being potentially seen as an aggressor. A comparison to Vladimir Putin’s hasty annexation of Crimea and the somewhat tepid, at least militarily, response from the West, seems apt to exemplify the power of the first-mover advantage. Such an incentive could combine with China’s potential short-term dilemma to provoke hostile actions from Beijing. China’s Short-Term Dilemma Analysts have in recent years begun to see a slowdown in the Chinese economy, and speculation has started over whether Beijing’s astounding growth model has reached its limits. This issue is compounded by other structural problems haunting China, such as environmental degradation, water and farmland management issues, an aging population, weak government, and rising food prices. Adding to this, these problems are piling up simultaneously, and have 10


a dangerous potential of reinforcing each other. Thus, Beijing could in the near-future face difficult tradeoffs between focusing on its domestic economic security or continued expansion of its regional security influence. A population that continues to grow in age, nationalistic-inclinations, and expectations for the future will exacerbate this predicament.

stealth bombers and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. An ASB-directed campaign would be aimed at affecting an adversary’s A2/AD systems, attempting to disrupt their abilities of command and control, as well defeating their weapons platforms and missile launchers. An operation against China would most likely initially rely heavily on U.S.

Decision-makers in Beijing may therefore be faced with a

cyber and space capabilities to incapacitate and confuse their

short-term dilemma of acting on foreign policy goals now

computer networks. ASB also opens up for conventional

while in a position of relative strength, or postponing any bold

strikes on China’s mainland to take out their systems

actions for the future, but then with a potentially weaker hand

through force, however this is an aspect of the concept that

to play. This “window of opportunity” for China correspond-

has received widespread interest and criticism.

ingly represents a “window of vulnerability” for the United States. As such, the short-term period in U.S.-Sino relations could represent the most critical period where Washington needs to establish a firm deterrence against Chinese aggression. America’s Air-Sea Battle Concept

The criticism leveled against ASB has partly been because of a lack of understanding of the concept. Such confusion is as good as inevitable when discussing a concept whose actual war plan remains classified. Nevertheless, the Pentagon did not do itself any favors when revealing ASB in 2010, and then waiting until 2013 to release an official un-

The U.S. developed the current iteration of the Air-Sea Battle (ASB) concept as a response to the rising A2/AD capa-

classified document with more details on its content. In the meantime others were left to define ASB, sometimes badly.

bilities of actors such as China. However, its conceptual antecedent was introduced much earlier. The name is inspired by

One sticking point has been the proposed plan for strik-

the AirLand Battle concept, launched in 1981, which called for

ing China’s mainland. Some have presented this as the defin-

closer cooperation between U.S. Land and Air forces to coun-

ing, and basically only, feature of ASB. This is not the case.

ter the numerical advantage of the Soviet Union’s forces in

ASB is certainly more than mainland strikes, and envisions

Europe. In a similar fashion, the ASB, coined in the early

giving U.S. decision-makers and military commanders the

1990s, then refashioned and reintroduced in 2010 to fit newly

freedom to choose how to respond during a crisis. This can

forming A2/AD challenges, is at heart an enterprise to create a

range, for example, from low-intensity shows of force, me-

closer integrated and networked U.S. Sea and Air forces. This

dium-intensity cyber attacks, or high-intensity combined

is then supposed to be used to counter challenges to access in

operations of mainland strikes and attacks in other domains.

the global commons, including air, sea, space, and cyberspace.

In other words, a mainland strike would probably only be initiated in the most extreme of crisis situations.

So how exactly does ASB envision defeating an adversary’s A2/AD capabilities? It aims at creating pockets and corridors

Lastly, the question of timing is important to note. ASB

under Washington’s control via a variety of means, including

assumes that an actor like China would be the one to move

air and sea operations, but also, importantly, potential actions

aggressively first, and thus it is only meant as a response, not

in space and cyberspace. These could be used sequentially or

as a tool for a first strike. ASB is therefore, ideally, only

concurrently, depending on the intensity needed. ASB thus

intended for its deterrent effect. It would create

relies on a combination of current U.S. military assets, while

disincentives to aggressive behavior where China's A2/AD

also requiring new technological investments. The latter in-

means, its first-mover advantage, and short-term dilemma

cludes acquiring penetrating strike assets, such as long-range

could influence Beijing to act differently.

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

11


If You Want Peace, Prepare For War Thinking about conflict between the United States and China in the Asia-Pacific is indeed a grim exercise. It is nonetheless a useful one, for that old saying still holds true: if you want peace, prepare for war. From Washington’s perspective, strengthening deterrence by proposing plausible ways of counteracting aggressive behavior from China in an A2/AD environment is crucial. The question remains, however, whether the ASB is the right approach for the task or if there are other, more credible and convincing ways, of countering China’s A2/AD challenge.

About the author Eirik Torsvoll is the Vice President of YATA Norway. He holds an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he studied U.S. foreign policy, security studies, and the Asia-Pacific. He tweets at: @eiriktorsvoll.

Bibliography Colby Elbridge, “The War over War with China,” The National Interest, August 15, 2013, available at: http://nationalinterest.org/print/ commentary/the-war-over-war-china-8896 Aaron Friedberg, A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia, (New York, Norton, 2012). T. X. Hammes, ”Why the China Military Strategy Debate Matters,” The National Interest, January 13, 2014, available at: http:// nationalinterest.org/commentary/debating-military-strategy-towardschina-9692. James Holmes, ”Flashy Name, Old Idea: Anti-Access Strategy,” The Diplomat, October 28, 2012, available at: http:// thediplomat.com/2012/10/flashy-name-old-idea-anti-access-strategy/. Department of Defense, “Annual Report To Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2011,” Department of Defense, March 2011, available at: http:// www.defense.gov/pubs/pdfs/2011_cmpr_final.pdf The Air-Sea Battle Office, ”Air-Sea Battle: Services Collaboration to Address Anti-Access & Area Denial Challenges,” The Air-Sea Battle Office, May 2013, available at: http://www.defense.gov/pubs/ASBConceptImplementation-Summary-May-2013.pdf. Toshi Yoshihara and James Holmes, Red Star over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategies (Annapolis, MD, Naval Institute Press, 2010). Thomas G. Mahnken, “China's Anti-Access Strategy in Historical and Theoretical Perspective,” Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 34, No. 3. (2011), Department of Defense, ”Joint Operational Access Concept,” Department of Defense, January 17, 2012, available at: http:// www.defense.gov/pubs/pdfs/joac_jan%202012_signed.pdf Roger Cliff et al., Entering the Dragon’s Lair: Chinese Antiaccess Strategies and their Implications (Santa Monica, CA, RAND, 2007). Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

David Kearn, Jr., “Air-Sea Battle and China’s Anti-Access and Area Denial Challenge,” Orbis, Vol. 58, No. 1 (2014). Thomas Christensen, ”Fostering Stability or Creating a Monster? The Rise of China and U.S. Policy towards East Asia” International Security, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Summer 2006). Barry Posen and Andrew Ross, “Competing Visions for U.S. Grand Strategy,” International Security, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Winter 1996/1997). The White House “National Security Strategy 2010,” The White House, May 2010, available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/ files/rss_viewer/national_security_strategy.pdf. Department of Defense ”Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense,” Department of Defense, January 2012, available at: http://www.defense.gov/news/defense_strategic_guidance.pdf Avery Goldstein, Rising to the challenge: China's Grand Strategy and International Security (Palo Alto, Stanford University Press, 2005) Yan Xuetong, Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power (Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 2011). Andrew Erickson, “Deterrence by Denial: How to Prevent China From Using Force,” The National Interest, December 16, 2013, available at: http://nationalinterest.org/print/commentary/war-china-two-canplay-the-area-denial-game-9564. Paul Krugman, ” Hitting China’s Wall,” The New York Times, July 18, 2013, available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/19/opinion/ krugman-hitting-chinas-wall.html?_r=0 Sulmaan Khan, ”Suicide by Drought: How China is Destroying Its Own Water Supply,” Foreign Affairs, July 18, 2014, available at: http:// www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141643/sulmaan-khan/suicide-bydrought. Andrew Erickson, ”China’s S-shaped Threat,” The Diplomat, September 6, 2011, available at: http://thediplomat.com/2011/09/chinas-sshaped-threat/ Aaron Friedberg, ”Bucking Beijing: An Alternative U.S. China Policy” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 91, No. 5 (2012). Andrew Erickson, ”China’s Near-Seas Challenges,” The National Interest, January 13, 2013, available at: http://nationalinterest.org/article/ chinas-near-seas-challenges-9645 James Holmes, ” USS Cowpens and China’s First-Mover Advantage,” The Diplomat, December 14, 2013, available at: http:// thediplomat.com/2013/12/uss-cowpens-and-chinas-first-moveradvantage/. Greg Jaffe, ”U.S. model for a future war fans tensions with China and inside Pentagon,” The Washington Post, August 1, 2012, available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-modelfor-a-future-war-fans-tensions-with-china-and-insidepentagon/2012/08/01/gJQAC6F8PX_story.html Department of Defense, “Quadrennial Defense Review Report,” Department of Defense, February 2010, available at: http://www.defense.gov/ qdr/qdr%20as%20of%2026jan10%200700.pdf. Jonathan W. Greenert and Norton A. Schwartz, “Air-Sea Battle: Promoting Stability in an Era of Uncertainty,” The American Interest, February 20, 2012, available at: http://www.the-american-interest.com/ articles/2012/02/20/air-sea-battle/. Harry Kazianis, ”Air-Sea Battle Defined,” The National Interest, March 13, 2014, available at: http://nationalinterest.org/print/commentary/ airsea-battle-defined-10045. Jonathan W. Greenert and Norton A. Schwartz, “Breaking the Kill Chain: How to Keep America in the Game When Our Enemies are Trying to Shut Us Out,” Foreign Policy Magazine, May 16, 2013, available at: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/05/16/ breaking_the_kill_chain_air_sea_battle. Harry Kazianis, “Air-Sea Battle 2.0: A Global A2/AD Response,” The Diplomat, November 14, 2013, available at: http:// thediplomat.com/2013/11/air-sea-battle-2-0-a-global-a2ad-response/. Colby, Elbridge, “Don't Sweat AirSea Battle,” The National Interest, July 31, 2013, available at: http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/dontsweat-airsea-battle-8804.

12


Sino-Russian Ties And The Emerging Role Of The Asia-Paci ic Region By Christopher Weidacher Hsiung

T

his essay analyses recent developments of Sino-Russia relations in the context of a changing Asia-Pacific region. It is argued

that while China-Russia ties have been bolstered due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, for instance with an unprecedented natural gas deal in May 2014 , steps to forge closer bilateral relations have in fact been underway ever since the end of the cold war, emanating from both a response to jointly counterbalance the U.S. to factors inherent to the bilateral relationship as such. All Eyes On The Asia-Pacific Region Spurred by decades of robust economic performance compared to that of the rest of the world, the importance of the Asia-Pacific region, and especially China, is growing fast. With the 2008 global financial crisis, which hit the U.S and Europe hard, this development has only been exacerbated in recent years. According to the IMF, GDP growth for the AsiaPacific region in 2013 was 5.2%. The East Asia region, the fastest growing economic region within the Asia-Pacific as such, grew by 6.7%. Since the global financial crisis, China alone is responsible for 35% of the world’s economic growth. On the other hand, the economically troubled European Union was only able to muster a meager 0.1% GDP growth in 2013. The U.S economy, on path to recovery, did better with a 2.2% GDP growth in 2013. The emerging role of the Asia-Pacific region as Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

engine and driver of global economic growth and dynamism has prompted the outside world to look increasingly to the Asia-Pacific region. The EU has already close trade links with the region as it is one of the leading trading partner of many Asian countries, a position Europe seeks to sustain and enhance. The U.S. has announced its strong interest in the region, evident by a policy of rebalancing to Asia, or popularly named “the U.S. pivot to Asia”. The policy, announced by the Obama administration in 2011, aims to move American attention and resources away from the Middle East and Europe to the Asia-Pacific region through a series of diplomatic, economic and military policies by forging closer cooperation with existing alliances and engaging with emerging powers, especially China. The emerging role of the Asia-Pacific region has also caught the interest of Russia. Moscow, recognizing the growing economic role the AsiaPacific region can play for its economy and political standing in world affairs, has thus initiated its own “Asia pivot” seeking close ties with Asian countries such as India, South Korea and Japan. For Moscow, engaging with the East has mainly meant forging closer ties with China. Russia’s Recent Moves Towards China Since the global financial crisis in 2008, Moscow has increasingly tried to integrate itself into AsiaPacific, efforts symbolically marked by the fact that Russia hosted the 2012 APEC meeting in Vladivostok. However, as Russia foreign policy expert Bobo Lo has argued, Russia’s “Asia pivot” is less of a comprehen13


sive Asia policy than a China centered policy. Since Xi Jinping became China’s new president in 2013 and Vladimir Putin started his third term as Russia’s president in 2012, the two sides have been engaged in numerous highlevel encounters and met for several bilateral state visits and in numerous multilateral settings, be it for BRICS summits, at meetings for the China-Russia led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), or for G-20 and APEC summits.

Yuan as a global trade currency. China and Russia have also intensified military relations with arms deals, such as the sale of S-400 surfaceto-air missiles, considered Russia’s most advanced air and missile defense system. The Chinese purchase will significantly enhance Beijing’s deterrence capabilities against advanced air force powers. Plus, China and Russia have increased bilateral and multilateral military exercises, both at land and sea: for instance the SCO

China and Russia have tried to boost cooperation in economy and trade, long lagging behind those of the more developed political relations. Bilateral trade amounted to 90 billion USD in 2013 (up from 40 billion USD six years before) and goals were made to reach tar-

“Peace Mission 2014” which was the largest military exercise so far in the history of the organization. On regional cooperation, China and Russia have agreed to let the SCO expand with new members, as India and Pakistan will

gets of 100 billion USD in

to join the organization

2015 and 200 billion USD

next year. Regarding

by 2020. Much of the

international hot spot

trade relations are centered

around

issues, China and Rus-

pursuing

sia continue to coordi-

closer energy cooperation,

nate their positions,

illustrated by the signature

for instance regarding

of the gigantic natural gas

Syria. There are also

deal in May 2014, worth a staggering 400 billion USD, the most significant achieve-

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping

signs of increased coop-

stand during a signing ceremony at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing,

eration in the Arctic

Nov. 9, 2014 (Source Reuters)

region, as Russia has

ment in this regard. Although it is still too early to assess the commercial gains of the agreement, the energy deal is, according to Beijing and Moscow, a milestone in their bilateral energy rela-

started to invite China to invest into oil and gas exploration in the Russian Arctic. Counterbalancing The U.S.

tionship, especially considering that China and Russia had been negotiating a natural gas deal for the last decade. And in October 2014 when Chinese premier Li Keqiang met his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, China and Russia agreed to a 150 billion Yuan currency swap as a move to further increase trade, but also to lessen Moscow’s dependency on the dollar and promote the Chinese

For many observers, particularly in the West, the China-Russia relationship is often portrayed as nothing else than a pragmatic and strategic response to the post -cold war U.S-led international order, where Washington is perceived to be determined to remain the sole super power by constraining China and Russia to challenge its positon. In the eyes of Beijing and Moscow,

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

14


U.S. behavior and policies such as NATO eastward ex-

creasingly institutionalized their bilateral relations, but

pansion, the U.S. alliance system in Asia, U.S. support to

also incrementally improved cooperation in areas rang-

Taiwan, American military presence in Central Asia and

ing from trade and economics, border relations, and

U.S criticism of domestic affairs and human rights in Chi-

military, regional and international cooperation.

na and Russia, are all clear examples of U.S. actions directed at containing China and Russia. Since China and

Inherent Bilateral Factors

Russia are not currently powerful enough to counterbal-

While the “U.S factor” surely has been a significant

ance American power independently, Beijing and Mos-

driver for improved China-Russia relations, an often

cow have instead tried to do so jointly by developing clos-

overlooked aspect is the inherent value both Beijing

er bilateral relations. The Ukraine crisis and the ongoing

and Moscow see in improving bilateral relations per se.

standoff between Russia and the West is, according to

There are mainly three significant dimensions in this

this perspective, just following a similar logic.

regard. The first revolves around the weight of history and ideology in Sino-Russian relations. The long histo-

While the crisis in Ukraine surely has had this effect, it

ry between China and Russia has often been troubled

is important to note that this crisis should be regarded as

and deep-rooted mistrust has long characterized the

reinforcing a larger general trend of improved Sino-

relationship. During the Cold War, the relationship

Russian relations underway ever since the end of the Cold

seemed to change every decade; going from formal

War. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, China

alliance in the 1950s, to a split in diplomatic relations

and the newly independent Russia needed to move fast to

in the 1960s and border war in 1969, then to normali-

consolidate diplomatic relations as both countries faced

zation of relations from the start of the mid-1980s to

new external and domestic challenges in the early post-

the current state of strategic partnership. Inflamed ide-

cold war years. For Russia this meant domestic turmoil

ological confrontation over which country was to lead

following the collapse of the Soviet Union and for China,

world communism was also prevalent. In order to not

Tiananmen led to international isolation from 1989.

repeat the troubled past, leaders on both sides are

There had also been a constructive process of Sino-Soviet

committed to prevent ideology and historical memo-

normalization underway since the mid-1980s which lead-

ries to affect their relationship. Beijing and Moscow

ers in both capitals wished to see continue. Several agree-

often state the lack of ideological tension in current

ments and joint statements were thus made during the

relations as an important achievement when compared

1990s to early 2000s to first guarantee and stabilize bilat-

to the past.

eral relations in a period of uncertainty, and then slowly to establish firm foundations and principles to move the

The second factor is geographical proximity. China

relationship forward. Important milestones in this regard

and Russia are neighboring great powers and share a

where the “Strategic Partnership” agreement in 1996, the

4 300 kilometer long border. For both China and Rus-

2001 “Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Coop-

sia, upholding a stable border to guarantee and main-

eration” and the 2010 “Comprehensive Strategic Partner-

tain a secure external environment is of outmost im-

ship” agreement. From the early 1990s and up to now,

portance. The Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s and the

China and Russia have thus not only formalized and in-

subsequent border war in 1969 turned the Sino-Soviet

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

15


border into the most militarized border in the

most sophisticated weapons and instead sold these to

1970s and 1980s. Not until the normalization

India. True as this might be, there is no doubt that

process was initiated in the mid-1980s, which also

Russia’s arms sales to China have been of significant

included resolving the border conflict and fol-

importance for China’s military modernization pro-

lowed by a series of border agreements through-

gram. And as pointed out above, there are signs that

out the 1990s, did the border issue finally come to

Russia is now willing to sell more advanced weaponry

an end in 2004. By resolving the border issue the

to China.

necessary foundation was laid to move political relations forward. Moreover, it also allowed Chi-

A Formal Alliance In The Making?

na and Russia to reallocate resources and attention

A common question often raised is whether Bei-

elsewhere, where the challenges were more

jing and Moscow are in the making of forging a formal

pressing: in East Asia and South East Asia for Chi-

military-political alliance, and if such an alliance could

na, and in the post-Soviet sphere for Russia.

pose a threat to the current international order as such. While there are increased signs of more outright

The third factor relates to domestic moderni-

rejection of Western values and ideas in both capitals,

zation and economic development. China and

an alliance directed against the West is not likely as

Russia are currently undergoing major domestic

neither Beijing nor Moscow wish for this. Despite all

transformations where both countries play a tangi-

the frustration with the U.S dominance in world af-

ble material role for each other. For China, Russia

fairs, both China and Russia are still dependent on

offers an important source for its growing demand

constructive and cooperative relations with the Unit-

for oil and natural gas imports to fuel its contin-

ed States. Sino-U.S. bilateral trade which in 2013

ued economic development. There is already a

stood at 521 billion USD, well exceeded Sino-Russian

major oil pipeline in place, the Eastern Siberia-

trade. And although China is now Russia’s largest

Pacific Ocean (ESPO), which supplies China with

trading partner, Russia is only China’s tenth largest.

15 million tons of oil annually, and the above

China and the U.S. also need to have workable rela-

mentioned natural gas deals supplement this

tions to handle many of today’s global issues such as

growing area of energy trade. There has also been

combating climate change. Moreover, a severe dis-

a beneficial military-technical cooperation for a

ruption in Sino-American relations would threaten

long time. China, still subjected to boycotts from

China’s need for a stable and secure external environ-

Western arms providers has turned to Russia for

ment, the key precondition for China to continue to

its military modernization. And Russia, in need of

modernize its economy. And although Putin nowa-

capital, especially in the financially troubled

days seems willing to jeopardize links with the West,

1990s, has seen China as an important buyer. Ac-

Russia still needs to have cooperative ties with Europe

cording to a SIPRI report, between 1991 and

and the U.S and cannot in the long run risk to isolate

2010, up to 90% of China’s conventional weapons

itself from the West. Finally, it should also be pointed

where supplied by Russia. Critics have often

out that closer Sino-Russian ties do not imply that

pointed out that Russia has withheld much of its

there are no challenges or underlying tensions facing

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

16


the relationship such as a deep-rooted lack of mutual trust, increased competition in Central Asia and different long-term perspectives on international order. These factors can not only limit, but also severely constrain the relationship in the future. Observers have also pondered over what implications closer China-Russia ties could have for Europe. One particular issue worth considering is the closer energy relation between Beijing and Moscow, which can have certain implications for Europe-Russia relations. As noted above, the Western sanctions following Russia’s annexation

About the author Christopher Weidacher Hsiung is a researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies and a PhD-candidate at the political science department at Oslo University, specializing in Chinese foreign policy, Sino-Russian relations and China’s Arctic policy. Mr. Weidacher Hsiung has a master’s degree in political science from Lund University and has previously worked at the Swedish Embassy in Beijing, at the Swedish Trade Council in Taipei and at the European University Centre at Beijing University. In the spring of 2014, he was a visiting scholar at the School of International Studies at Beking University. Mr. Weidacher Hsiung has also conducted Chinese language studies at Lund University, Taiwan National University, Beijing Foreign Language University and at Wuhan Huazhong University.

of Crimea have not isolated Russia to the extent intended, as Moscow turned to China instead. For one, this has shown that Europe needs to diversify its own gas and oil imports away from Russia for such measures to have any effect. However, as both Russia and Europe seek to diversify their respective energy relations, both sides are locked in an interdependent energy relation. Russia still heavily needs the European market for the high price it pays for Russian gas. And for Europe to diversifying energy sources, it is easier said than done. Moreover, the China-Russia May 2014 gas deal mentioned above is set to supply China with 38 billion cubic meters, still considerably smaller when compared to the 161.5 bcm that Russia supplied Europe with in 2013. It is thus fair to say that Russia’s improved energy relation with China will give Moscow some needed maneuver and bargaining power vis-à-vis Europe, but that it will not replace Europe as its main energy partner with China any time soon.

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 1

Bibliography Bobo Lo, Axis of Convenience: Moscow, Beijing, and the New Geopolitics, London: Chatman House, 2009 Elisabeth Wishnick, Mending Fences: The Evolution of Moscow’s China Policy from Brezhnev to Yeltsin, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001 European Union External Action , EU-Asia Fact Sheet. Availabe at: http://eeas.europa.eu/factsheets/ docs/20140714_factsheet_eu-asia_en.pdf Gilbert Rozman, The Sino-Russian Challenge to the World Order. National Identities, Bilateral Relations and East versus West in the 2010s, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014 Guan Guihai (ed.), Sino-Russia Relations: History and Reality (second edition). [Zhong’E guanxi de lishi yu xianshi], Beijing: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe, 2009 International Monetary Fund. Regional Economic Outlook. Asia and Pacific. April 2014 Linda Jakobson, Paul Holtom, Dean Know and Jingchao Peng, “China’ Energy and Security Relations with Russia”, SIPRI Policy Paper, No. 29, October 2011 World Bank , Data Indicators for GDP Growth (annual %). Availabe at: http://data.worldbank.org/ indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.KD.ZG

17


ATA Programs The Estonian Atlantic Treaty Association is pleased to announce that the third annual NATO & EU Roundtable will take place on April 2-

Atlantic Voices is the monthly publication of the Atlantic Treaty Association. It aims to inform the debate on key issues that affect the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, its goals and its future. The work published in Atlantic Voices is written by young professionals and researchers.

4, 2015 in Tallinn at the Hotel Palace, and in Saka Cliff Manor in Eastern

The Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA) is an international non-

Estonia. The Roundtable will focus on three key issues: Upcoming chal-

governmental organization based in Brussels working to facilitate global

lenges in ensuring security in the alliances; Cyber security; Relations with

networks and the sharing of knowledge on transatlantic cooperation and

partner countries. The event will bring together about 60 young profes-

security. By convening political, diplomatic and military leaders with

sionals and students who will discuss the security challenges related to the

academics, media representatives and young professionals, the ATA promotes

work of NATO and the European Union. The goal of the event is to in-

the values set forth in the North Atlantic Treaty: Democracy, Freedom,

crease the knowledge of young people in foreign and security policy and

Liberty, Peace, Security and Rule of Law. The ATA membership extends to 37

to discuss the working principles of NATO.

countries from North America to the Caucasus throughout Europe. In 1996, the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA) was created to specifially

The Atlantic Council is now accepting applications for an inaugu-

include to the successor generation in our work.

ral class of fellows. The Millennium Fellowship is a two-year program.

Since 1954, the ATA has advanced the public’s knowledge and

Throughout the fellowship, and beyond, fellows will join a global net-

understanding of the importance of joint efforts to transatlantic security

work of outstanding peers, have unparalleled opportunities to engage

through its international programs, such as the Central and South Eastern

with world leaders at flagship Atlantic Council events, learn directly from

European Security Forum, the Ukraine Dialogue and its Educational Platform.

top experts, collaborate on projects with global impact, and develop professional skills through training, master classes, and mentorship. To apply for the fellowship, please complete the following ques-

In 2011, the ATA adopted a new set of strategic goals that reflects the constantly evolving dynamics of international cooperation. These goals include:

tions and submit no later than 11:59 PM EST on March 1, 2015. Please email us at millennium@atlanticcouncil.org with any ques-

the establishment of new and competitive programs on international security issues.

tions.

the development of research initiatives and security-related events for its members.

Atlantic Voices is always seeking new material. If you are a young researcher, subject expert or professional and feel you have a valuable contribution to make to the debate, then please get in touch. We are looking for papers, essays, and book reviews on issues of importance to the NATO Alliance. For details of how to submit your work please see our website. Further enquiries can also be directed to the ATA Secretariat at the address listed below. Editor: Flora Pidoux & Elizabeth Williams

Images should not be reproduced without permission from sources listed, and remain the sole property of those sources. Unless otherwise stated, all images are the property of NATO.

the expansion of ATA’s international network of experts to countries in Northern Africa and Asia. The ATA is realizing these goals through new programs, more policy

activism and greater emphasis on joint research initiatives. These programs will also aid in the establishment of a network of international policy experts and professionals engaged in a dialogue with NATO.

The views expressed in this article are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the Atlantic Treaty Association, its members, affiliates or staff.

This publication is co co--sponsored by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Atlantic Voices Vol 5, No. 01 (January 2015)  

Looking Far East: Pivoting Global Security To Asia-Pacific

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