Page 1

STRATEGIC VISION Volume 2, Issue 10

w

Evolution of an Exercise Balikatan 2013’s Expansion of Scope & implications for regional defense ties

Wen-lung Laurence Lin

August, 2013

for Taiwan Security w

ISSN 2227-3646

ECFA and Integration Jen-Te Hwang The European Union on Asia Paul Joseph Lim Historical Lessons for Peace Muzaffer Eröktem Implications of Russia’s Rise Serafettin Yilmaz


STRATEGIC VISION

Volume 2, Issue 10

for Taiwan Security w

August, 2013

Contents Joint US-Philippine Balikatan Exercise 2013..................................4

Wen-lung Laurence Lin

ECFA and regional integration......................................................11

Jen-Te Hwang

EU statements on Asian security................................................... 16

Paul Joseph Lim

Asian peacemakers could learn from European history..............22

Muzaffer Erรถktem

The rise of Russia and geopolitics in Asia.....................................26

Serafettin Yilmaz

Submissions: Essays submitted for publication are not to exceed 2,000 words in length, and should conform to the following basic format for each 1200-1600 word essay: 1. Synopsis, 100-200 words; 2. Background description, 100-200 words; 3. Analysis, 800-1,000 words; 4. Policy Recommendations, 200-300 words. Book reviews should not exceed 1,200 words in length. Notes should be formatted as endnotes and should be kept to a minimum. Authors are encouraged to submit essays and reviews as attachments to emails; Microsoft Word documents are preferred. For questions of style and usage, writers should consult the Chicago Manual of Style. Authors of unsolicited manuscripts are encouraged to consult with the executive editor at dkarale.kas@gmail.com before formal submission via email. Manuscripts are subject to copyediting, both mechanical and substantive, as required and according to editorial guidelines. No major alterations may be made by an author once the type has been set. Arrangements for reprints should be made with the editor. Cover photograph of US Marines conducting fast rope training from a CH-46 helicopter during Balikatan Exercise 2012 is courtesy of Lance Cpl. Carl Payne.


Editor Fu-Kuo Liu Executive Editor Dean Karalekas Editorial Board Tiehlin Yen Raviprasad Narayanan Richard Hu Felix Wang Lipin Tien Laurence Lin STRATEGIC VISION For Taiwan Security (ISSN 2227-3646) Volume 2, Number 10, August, 2013, published under the auspices of the Center for Security Studies and National Defense University. All editorial correspondence should be mailed to the editor at STRATEGIC VISION, Center for Security Studies in Taiwan. No. 64, Wan Shou Road, Taipei City 11666, Taiwan, ROC. The editors are responsible for the selection and acceptance of articles; responsibility for opinions expressed and accuracy of facts in articles published rests solely with individual authors. The editors are not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts; unaccepted manuscripts will be returned if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed return envelope. Photographs used in this publication are used courtesy of the photographers, or through a creative commons licence. All are attributed appropriately. Any inquiries please contact the Executive Editor directly via email at: dkarale.kas@gmail.com.Online issues and archives can be viewed at our website: www.mcsstw.org. © Copyright 2013 by the Center for Security Studies. Articles in this periodical do not necessarily represent the views of either the MCSS, NDU, or the editors.

From The Editor

A

s our summer season comes to a close, we hope those of our readers who work in academia are well relaxed and ready for the new year. It has been a hot one in Taipei, with no lack of events happening in the region worth following. Perhaps the most relevant for our focus, as well as one of the most troubling to us here in Taiwan, has been the recent contretemps between Taipei and Manila over the shooting at sea and the tragic death of a Taiwanese fisherman. Readers will note a conspicuous absence of coverage of that story in this issue. This is because we will be following up with a super-sized special issue in a few weeks that will cover this event from several angles, as well as putting it into context given the overall state of maritime disputes throughout the Asia-Pacific littoral. In the meantime, there is no lack of interesting items being covered in the current issue, starting with an eye-opening look at the annual joint military exercise, Balikatan 2013, between the United States and the Philippines. Laurence Lin of the National Defense University, and member of our editorial board, examines how this year’s exercise differs from previous years, and what implications this has for security alliances in the region. Kainan University’s Dr. Jen-Te Hwang brings his knowledge of finance and macroeconomics to a look at the effectiveness of the trade agreements that Taipei has signed with Beijing, and how little progress has been made with other countries. Visiting scholar Paul Lim put his years of experience with the European Union at a Brussels-based think tank to work analyzing official statements issued by the EU and the European Parliament on the Asian security situation, particularly as the region looks to Europe to find ways to solve these disputes. With more on that theme, we are pleased to welcome Ambassador Muzaffer Eröktem back to our pages, with a unique insight on European history and what lessons this might hold for final cross-strait peace. Finally, our own Serafettin Yilmaz looks at the rise of Russia and how its continued good relations with China may lead to a bloc that could stand in opposition to America’s predominant role in the region. Dr. Fu-Kuo Liu Editor Strategic Vision


4  b 

Strategic Vision vol. 2, no. 10 (August, 2013)

Social Networking The context and implications of the joint US-Philippine Balikatan Exercise 2013 Wen-lung Laurence Lin

photo: Cpl. Courtney White U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jack L. Carver shows two young Filipino children games on his cell phone at a community-relations event during Balikatan 2013.

T

he 29th US-Philippine Balikatan Exercise 2013 (BK 2013) was held from April 5 to April 17. Thirty aircraft (20 US, 10 Philippine), three warships (one US, two Philippine), and more than 8,000 Philippine and American soldiers were dispatched to join the exercise. This was the biggestever exercise between the two countries, symbolizing that the relationship encapsulated in the 1951

the South China Sea. The six-decade-old treaty between the United States and the Philippines provided the legal basis for the Balikatan exercise, which has been held annually since 1981 to enhance the militaries’ combined planning, combat readiness and interoperability. After 9/11, Humanitarian and Civic Assistance (HCA) has become a more prominent aspect of Balikatan.

US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) has been consolidated to new heights. BK 2013 attracted a lot of attention as tensions continue to escalate in

HCA refers to the provision, for example, of medical, dental, and veterinary services, and small-scale infrastructure projects such as the construction of

Wen-lung Laurence Lin is an assistant professor at the Graduate Institute of Strategic Studies and an instructor at the Naval Command & Staff College, National Defense University, ROC. His research interests include Taiwanese nationalism and US maritime strategy. He can be reached for comment at laurence@ndu.edu.tw.


Balikatan 2013  b  5

roads, schools, bridges, and wells. Even the training conducted under Balikatan has moved into non-traditional areas such as maritime operations against piracy, drug smuggling, disaster response, and peace enforcement. Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) was ostensibly the focus of the Balikatan exercise in 2008, 2010, and 2012. BK 2013 represents the fourth time that HA/DR has been cited as the centerpiece of the exercise.

Wider participation In previous exercises, only US and Philippine forces took part in Balikatan. Since 2012, however, the exercise has included multilateral engagement in the form of additional participants from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as from colleagues from partner nations including Japan, Korea and Australia. Balikatan has thus developed beyond its previous framework of being simply a bilateral exercise. There are pertinent similarities, as well as differences, between BK 2012 and BK 2013 that are worthy of note. Both consisted of computer-simulated command post exercises (CPX), multiple field training exercises (FTX), and medical, veterinary, and engi-

neering HCA projects. For comparison, a table of the contents of BK 2012 and BK 2013 on this page itemizes some of these differences and similarities. BK 2012 was unique in that it was the first time that Balikatan included an additional 20 participants from ASEAN and 15 colleagues from partner nations, including Japan, Korea and Australia, taking part in the CPX portion of the exercise. In contrast, only the US and the Philippines took part in the CPX in BK 2013. BK 2012 took place amid the backdrop of a deteriorating standoff between Chinese and Philippine maritime forces at the Scarborough Shoal, and during the FTX, around 6,800 US marines and their Philippine counterparts conducted combat maneuvers including the mock retaking of an oil rig ostensibly seized


6  b  STRATEGIC VISION

by terrorists in the offshore areas near northwestern Palawan—an area in which the Philippine government has invited foreign investors to explore for oil and gas.

Reorientation The FTX appears to be a signal that the United States is reorienting its regional defense cooperation toward high-intensity military operations against China, such as oil rig- or island-retaking. The FTX was practically paving the way for use of the AirSea Battle doctrine in an Asia-Pacific context. Although the mock retaking of an oil rig is not included in BK 2013, over 8,000 soldiers, 12 F/A-18 Hornet jet fighters, eight MV-22 Osprey helicopters, one amphibious dock landing ship the USS Tortuga (LSD-46), and some AAV-7 amphibious assault vehicles were dispatched for field training. Compared to the 6,800 soldiers and the single amphibious assault ship—the USS Essex (LHD-2)—used

in BK 2012, it appears that BK 2013 was designed for an even more formidable amphibious assault mission, which inevitably suggests the FTX was meant as a message to China. The HCA project in 2013 was very similar to that of 2012. BK 2013 sought to support the Philippine government with the development of regional disaster-

“USPACOM specifically indicated that China’s participation in the exercise signaled that HA/DR war gaming had entered a new era.”

management and emergency-response mechanisms, and was also aimed at testing and validating the military HA/DR Concept of Operations in a multinational and multi-organizational exercise. The HA/ DR tabletop exercise featured representatives from 11 countries, including China. The United States Pacific

photo: Michael R. Holzworth US Air Force Tech. Sgt Thomas Wojack, a pararescueman assigned to 320th Special Tactics Squadron, Okinawa, is participating in his first Balikatan exercise.


Balikatan 2013  b  7

photo: Cpl. Courtney White Armed Forces of the Philippines and US Marines practice combat assault tactics during convoy operations training as part of Balikatan Exercise 2013.

Command (USPACOM) specifically indicated that China’s participation in the exercise signaled that HA/ DR war gaming had entered a new era. The characteristics and implications of BK13 can be viewed in the context of strategic rebalancing. US President Barack Obama announced in January 2012 his intention to “rebalance toward the AsiaPacific region.” This new approach to the future of US influence and military makeup as recommended by the doctrine is commonly referred to as “strategic rebalancing,” or a “rebalancing strategy.”

Pacific strategy of the United States for reassuring hegemonic stability in the region. The USPACOM commander, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, said he believes the rebalance has been and continues to be about “strengthening relationships,

“Philippine nationalism is being further galvanized, and the South China Sea issue is helping America expand its foreign military sales.”

Military cornerstone Although the strategy may draw on the strengths of the entire government, it is the Defense Strategic Guidance that gave birth to strategic rebalancing, and it was then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey that accompanied Obama to announce the strategy, which denotes that the military element is the cornerstone of strategic rebalancing. The rebalancing strategy has thus become the Asia-

adjusting military posture and presence, employing new concepts, capabilities and capacities” to ensure regional stability and security. The keys to success will be innovative access agreements, greatly increased exercises, rotational presence increases, and efficient force-posture initiatives. From the perspectives of strategic rebalancing, BK 2013 may carry the following characteristics: the United States is conducting a variety of military transfers to the Philippines; a return to Subic Bay and the


8  b  STRATEGIC VISION

Clark Air Base helps America consolidate its deployment in the South China Sea. US-dominated bilateral alliances and strategic partnerships are converging in the South China Sea, and America is gaining ground in realizing its commitment to the MDT. Moreover, Philippine nationalism is being further galvanized, and the South China Sea issue is helping America expand its foreign military sales. Finally, it seems that the United States intends to integrate China into the system of regional maritime security cooperation in the name of HA/DR.

water surveillance system near Subic Bay so as to consolidate its FORCEnet system and facilitate the effectiveness of the AirSea Battle concept in the South China Sea.

“Procurement of American weapons will enhance the interoperability of joint operations between the United States and its defense partners, and therefore restrict freedom of action of any potential rival.”

Critical implications As a result, BK 2013 may bring about many critical implications for the regional strategic environment. With its return to Philippine bases, the United States may promptly commit its mighty forces to dealing with any conflict in the South China Sea when necessary. It is expected that the US might deploy an under-

That America is helping the Philippines develop regional disaster-management and emergencyresponse mechanisms implies that the US-Philippine MDT might become the pivot for Washington’s adjustment of its bilateral alliances and strategic partnerships in the South China Sea. Accordingly, related claimants may further get behind the United States,

photo: Robert Dea U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Cansin Hardyegritag documents US Marines connecting a quadcon to an MV-22 in support of the HA/DR exercise Freedom Banner.


Balikatan 2013  b  9

photo: Jerome S. Tayborn Philippine Marine Staff Sgt. Ernesto Elijan Jr. demonstrates how to use multiple machete swords in personal combat in a martial arts expertise exchange.

forming a balancing coalition against China in the South China Sea that is being facilitated by America. The South China Sea issue also helps Washington in terms of foreign military sales. More importantly, procurement of American weapons will enhance the interoperability of joint operations between the United States and its defense partners, and therefore restrict freedom of action of any potential rival. Chinese attendance at the HA/DR war gaming implies that both America and China intend to use exchangeable combat and noncombat military operations other than war as dual tracks for shaping the security environment in the South China Sea, which increases the dynamics of seapower competition and cooperation, and raises the stakes of regional peace

its military might to defend its vital interests. In late 2011, America asserted that freedom of navigation in the South China Sea was one of those vital interests. Bonnie Glaser of the Center for Strategic and International Studies argued that America’s position emboldens various claimants to hedge against China’s rising power by supporting and facilitating the US forward presence to act as a counterbalance. The success of BK 2013 denotes that claimants of islands in the South China Sea, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, may stick to their positions and defend their own interests more aggressively than ever. This inevitably poses a serious challenge to the position of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan.

and stability. The 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review of the US military defined vital national interests to include, among other things, ensuring freedom of the seas and security of international sea lines of communication. The 1998 National Security Strategy stated that the United States would unilaterally and decisively use

Recommended measures Facing this volatile situation, it is recommended that Taipei take the following measures to defend its maritime interests. Firstly, Taiwan may formulate a South China Sea Peace Initiative similar to East China Sea Peace Initiative already proposed. Taipei may use this


10  b  STRATEGIC VISION

South China Sea Peace Initiative to help build a foundation for negotiation for all claimants, de-escalate regional tensions, fulfill the goal of peaceful resolution, and turn a disputed sea into a sea of peace and

“Maritime strategy should be developed to cultivate comprehensive smart power for safeguarding Taiwan’s blue-water territory.” cooperation. Moreover, pressing to be included in any code of conduct in the South China Sea would indicate that the ROC is serious about the formation of a multilateral international regime. Secondly, Taipei should continue to advance its naval capabilities to safeguard its maritime security and interests. Decision-makers ought to bear in mind that struggle for maritime sovereignty and resources belongs to the field of traditional security, which depends

on military force to provide ultimate assurance and protection. It takes reliable defense capabilities for the promotion of peace and the implementation of policy. Thirdly, Taipei should develop naval diplomacy for integration into regional maritime security cooperation. This means that the ROC Navy needs to participate in regional exercises such as Balikatan, or at least attend similar HA/DR war gaming/tabletop sessions to expand its associations and prevent miscommunication with regional navies. Lastly, a national-level maritime strategy should be developed to cultivate comprehensive smart power for safeguarding Taiwan’s blue-water territory. In the modern era, a sound maritime strategy harnesses all elements of national power, and an island republic such as Taiwan must develop seapower oriented around smart power. Only through the demonstration of versatile and awesome seapower can Taiwan effectively play the role of a “responsible stakeholder” in the increasingly complicated South China Sea. n

photo: Chris Fahey US Navy Lt. Cmdr. (Dr.) Jennifer Almy listens to the heartbeat of 2-year old Jude Freduluces during a medical community-relations project at a health clinic.


b  11

Strategic Vision vol. 2, no. 10 (August, 2013)

Not So Free Trade The cross-strait economic framework agreement and regional integration Jen-Te Hwang

S

trategically, China sees Taiwan as a “core interest,” while the United States considers it a de facto ally. On the one hand, China has consistently reiterated its view that “Taiwan is part of China,” and the leadership in Beijing perceives the prevention of a de jure independent Taiwan as being absolutely critical to the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime. On the other, Taiwan’s unique geopolitical position as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” safeguards the integrity of the first island chain and hence the American security guarantee in the Pacific. The strategic consequences of these facts cannot be neglected, which is why many experts believe that Taiwan is the most likely flashpoint in the region with the potential to pit these two competing, nuclear-capable powers in a face-to-face conflict. Economically, intensive trade interaction and capital flow not only encourages the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to establish integrated production networks and achieve economies of scale, but also, through tremendous tourism and personnel exchanges, helps eliminate long-term hostility and improve interdependence upon each other. US-based commentators such as Douglas Paal, former director of

After almost a decade during which Taiwan was ruled by a party that Beijing considers hostile, the Chinese Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), was voted back into power in 2008 and quickly began a series of quasi-official negotiations with representatives from China. Using the “1992 Consensus” as a mechanism to sidestep Beijing’s insistence that Taiwan negotiators declare their support for the “One China” principle, these talks so far have yielded 19 agreements on practical issues concerning the immediate interests of both sides.

the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), have openly praised closer cross-strait economic integration as a promising avenue to giving Taiwan greater economic and political stability in the region, and in the world.

the other way. On June 21, 2013, officials in Taiwan and China announced that the two sides—through the quasi-official bodies in Beijing and Taipei that are charged

Hopes for ECFA The most widely reported of these has been the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), a preferential trade agreement between China and Taiwan aimed at reducing tariffs and commercial barriers between the two sides. The ECFA Early Harvest program for trade in goods, which covers 539 Taiwanese goods and 267 Chinese products, has been in effect since 2011, with analysts at the time predicting that tariffs would drop on US$13.8 billion worth of Taiwanese products entering China, with only US$2.9 billion in Chinese goods coming

Dr. Jen-Te Hwang is a professor in the Department of Banking and Finance at Kainan University. His research field includes international finance and marketing. He can be reached for comment at jhwang@nccu.edu.tw.


12  b  STRATEGIC VISION

photo: Andrew Kuo Taiwan’s largest harbor, the Port of Kaohsiung, is operated by Taiwan’s state-owned harbor management company, Taiwan International Ports Corp.

with conducting such talks—had completed negotiations and inked a comprehensive trade agreement on services. A study commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs revealed July 16 that the pact was expected to contribute to Taiwan’s economic growth by an estimated 0.025 to 0.034 percentage points. Optimists conjecture that further talks on other pending issues, such as a bilateral disputeresolution mechanism, might also be completed by the end of 2013, provided the difficulties are not insurmountable. Nevertheless, there are many in Taiwan who are concerned about the pace of Northeast-Asian economic integration, and who worry that China may offer preferential tariff treatment in the same areas to South Korea, Japan, and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). China is free to negotiate and sign free trade agreements (FTAs) with these countries, whereas Beijing continues to use its influence to block Taipei from entering into similar bilateral arrangements with other countries. Thus, in any follow-up negotiations

between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, China has to address Taiwan’s doubts.

Seeking protections in China With an increasing number of Taiwanese people choosing to do business, work, study and even settle in China, issues surrounding the protection of their human rights under the Beijing regime are becoming increasingly complicated and important, and hence many were relieved when it was announced last August that a long-awaited Cross-Strait Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (BIA) had been signed. According to its signatories, the pact reflected considerable progress in addressing the establishment of mechanisms for resolving business disputes involving Taiwanese investors. In substance, however, several concerns remained. Because China does not consider Taiwan a country, ROC citizens do not enjoy the protection of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, of which China is a signatory. Thus, businessmen from other


Free Trade Agreements  b  13

countries that become embroiled in commercial disputes and who get arrested by the Chinese authorities are accorded protections by international law, which directs the Chinese government to inform the detained individual of his right to contact his embassy or consulate, as well as to receive visits from consular officers and have legal representation. Taiwanese enjoy no such protections, however, and many businessmen who experience arbitrary detention have no way to tell their families and colleagues where they are, no opportunities to meet with them, and indeed, no assistance in securing their freedom. It was hoped that the cross-strait BIA would not only require immediate family notification, but also dictate what information must be given, and spell out the rights of the detainee, his family, and their lawyers. Disappointingly, however, neither the agreement nor its appendix includes such provisions. Instead, negotiators from the two sides jointly issued a separate “Statement of Common Understanding” (not a formal agreement) that gives the appearance of

increased security without any actual protections. Likewise, although the fruit of the ECFA tree appeared to be flourishing at the beginning, there have undeniably been diminishing returns on the agreement. Observers argue that, in real terms, the overall benefit of ECFA has been below expectations, and that cross-strait economic talks have proceeded at a snail’s pace.

Early harvest blues The reasons for this are many. First, in order to reduce popular opposition to ECFA and assuage fears that it would lead to a political union, Taipei requested that Beijing accept the principle of handling “easier issues before difficult ones,” and that it “make a concession” in the early phase of the ECFA negotiations. The aforementioned early harvest list was that concession. Nevertheless, Beijing is unlikely to continue to make unilateral concessions to Taipei ad infinitum, and

photo: Yufu Lin Activists gather at an anti-ECFA protest on May 20, 2010, in Taipei. Despite promises that ECFA would benefit the economy, many were against the pact.


14  b  STRATEGIC VISION

photo: ROC Presidential Office New Zealand representative Stephen Payton and National Security Council Secretary-General Jason Yuan celebrate the signing of the FTA.

there are already voices in China calling for an equalization of the disparate early harvest projections. Chen Deming, who succeeded Chen Yunlin in April as chairman of China’s quasi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), said at a press conference during the CCP’s 18th National Congress last November that Taiwan should put the principle of equality into practice by giving mostfavored-nation treatment to Chinese goods in cases where its markets are open to similar goods from other countries. Second, China’s unilateral concession did not come with no strings attached. Wang Yi, who was recently appointed China’s minister of foreign affairs, was quoted in the July 1, 2012, issue of the Qiushi Journal (a CCP organ) as saying that, “at present, we are seizing opportunities … to consolidate cross-strait relations. In turn, this will allow us to go on creating favorable conditions for China’s peaceful reunification.” Clearly, the economic opening was proffered by China with expectations of a political quid pro

quo to follow. For the time being, however, political talks with China are not on Taiwan’s list of negotiation priorities. Most Taiwanese merely want to engage with China for pure economic and trade purposes. This does not mean the two sides must put their political cards on the table anytime in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the average Taiwanese worries that the old adage “political issues follow economic ones” will prove more or less true, and this fear influences the Taiwanese attitude toward further economic cooperation with Beijing. Third, with each passing month, Taiwan is becoming more and more anxious about the lack of progress in signing FTAs with its other trading partners. In order to make the ECFA deal more palatable to the Taiwanese electorate, the KMT’s white paper on ECFA promised, among other things, that it would convince Beijing to allow Taipei to enter into FTAs with other countries. Now, almost three years after ECFA took effect, there has been distressingly little forward motion on this front.

Further trade pacts After signing ECFA, Taiwan started talks on trade pacts with Singapore and New Zealand, the latter of which was signed on July 10, 2013. However, both of those countries combined account for a paltry 3.8 percent of Taiwan’s total trade, and the extent of deregulation under a cross-strait agreement on trade in services may be limited. Even if all these agreements are signed, they will be of limited assistance to Taiwan and will not be enough to get it out of its current isolation. Still, the psychological effect of such FTAs would have been a boost to national morale, and to the popularity of the KMT administration. Currently, there exist three large-scale economic integration regimes under negotiation in the AsiaPacific region that threaten to eclipse Taiwan’s par-


Free Trade Agreements  b  15

ticipation in regional economic activity. They are the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), based on the existing Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement and spanning the entirety of the AsiaPacific region; the various Northeast-Asian FTAs between China, Japan, and South Korea; and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which seeks to integrate Asian economies. As these three FTAs become fully implemented, it will radically reshape the Asia-Pacific economic scene. However, despite being the world’s 19th-largest economy, Taiwan is not involved in any of these negotiations, and it has slim chance of being allowed to take part; a fact that is seriously chipping away at its economic advantages. By contrast, Taiwan’s major trade competitor, South Korea, has already signed FTAs with nine economic entities, including ASEAN, India, the European Union and the United States, and is negotiating FTAs with a further eight economies, including China. Moreover, Seoul is always keen to bring its FTA talks to an early conclusion: Its negotiations with

Brussels were concluded after 27 months, and those with Washington took only 15 months. The administration in Taipei needs the determination to implement bold changes. For example, a good start would be all-round economic liberalization, and to promote an equal, far-reaching cross-strait trade liberalization agreement with Beijing. Only by doing so can the nation take advantage of the situation and ask China to demonstrate good will by helping—or at the very least, not obstructing—as Taiwan engages in FTA talks with its other trade partners. This would truly represent a welcome breakthrough in crossstrait relations. ECFA has indeed played an important role in crossstrait relations since it was put into practice almost three years ago, but there still exist many challenges to overcome, and important goals to achieve. As another former AIT chairman, Richard Bush, put it; Taiwan should wary of putting all of its eggs in the China basket. For this reason, Taiwanese should continue to make important advancements in industrial innovation, as well as seek participation in FTA talks with other trade partners. n

photo: FutureAtlas.com A truck celebrating US-Taiwan friendship. In addition to sharing democratic values, Taiwan safeguards the integrity of the first island chain.


16  b 

photo: Martin Lahousse From left, MEPs Paweł Zalewski and Ioannis Kasoulides, and then head of the Taipei Representative Office in Brussels David Lin, discuss EU-Taiwan trade.

Strategic Vision vol. 2, no. 10 (August, 2013)

Europe Looking East Examining European Union’s security policy statements on Asia and Taiwan Paul Joseph Lim

T

here was a declaration by the High Representative on recent developments in East Asia’s maritime areas dated September 25, 2012, which referred to the Diaoyutai/Senkaku islands. It spoke of peaceful and cooperative solutions in accordance with international law—in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)—and called on claimants to clarify the

Relations, the European Parliament noted the peace initiative put forward by Republic of China (ROC) President Ma Ying-jeou. The resolution took note “of Taiwan’s initiative with a view to reaching a consensus on a code of conduct for the East China Sea and the establishment of a mechanism allowing all sides to cooperate in the joint exploitation of the region’s natural resources, including capacity for the genera-

basis for their claims. It called for steps to calm the situation. It must be said that this is a rare occasion, for the EU to make such a statement. In a resolution dated March 14, 2013, on EU-China

tion of electricity from renewable sources.” Indeed, in the paragraph immediately preceding this, the resolution called on all parties concerned (specifically China, Japan and Taiwan), “to demon-

Dr. Paul Joseph Lim is presently MOFA Fellow in Taiwan and retired professor, and formerly an adviser to a political group in the European Parliament. He has a long history at a Brussels-based think tank.


Words from Europe  b  17

strate restraint and to take steps to calm the situation on the disputed islands.” It urged them “to settle disputes peacefully in a spirit of cooperation and in compliance with international law, in particular the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and agree on de-escalating measures of engagement in the event of unforeseen incidents.”

Western conception While the focus on exhortations to adhere to international law, and particularly UNCLOS, demonstrates a typically Western conception of conflict resolution, the statute has been embraced in parts of East Asia, with the 30th anniversary of UNCLOS being celebrated at an international conference in Yeosu, South Korea in 2012. Still, how comfortable are the leaders in Beijing and Taipei with this perspective? On the issue of the South China Sea, referring in particular to the Paracels and Spratly islands, the EU generally continues to echo the American encouragement of China and the Association of Southeast

Asian Nations (ASEAN) to advance a code of conduct and to resolve the region’s territorial and maritime disputes through peaceful, diplomatic and cooperative solutions. The joint US-EU Statement on the Asia-Pacific Region issued July 12, 2012, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

“Taiwan’s inconvenient existence in official communications clearly demonstrates that Taipei cannot realistically expect the EU to speak on its behalf.” was clearly drafted to carefully avoid taking sides. When picturing what must have gone on behind the scenes, however, one wonders what were the real feelings of participants—especially the Americans. In official-level discussions about the Diaoyutai/Senkaku islands dispute, for example, the ROC is almost always completely excluded, with only the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Japan listed as claimants.

photo: Karine Langlois Delegates socialize at a celebration marking the 30th anniversary of UNCLOS, which was held at an international conference in Yeosu, South Korea.


18  b  STRATEGIC VISION

While the European Union wants to have economic relations with Taiwan, purely on a bilateral level, China hangs overhead. This track record of clouding Taiwan’s inconvenient existence in official communications clearly demonstrates, therefore, that Taipei cannot realistically expect the EU to speak on its behalf in its efforts to gain admittance to Asian multinational fora like the ASEAN Regional Forum, or even into discussions on framing a code of conduct for a body of water in which Taipei itself has claims. On the issue of the South China Sea, the European Parliament’s resolution underlines the sea’s global importance as a trade route through which one-third of the world’s trade passes. It expresses Europe’s alarm “at the escalating tension and therefore urgently appeals to all the parties involved to refrain from unilateral political and military actions, to tone down statements and to settle their conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea.” How is this to be accomplished? Once again, by means of “international

graphic: European Parliament

arbitration in accordance with international law, in particular the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, in order to ensure regional stability.”

Statements by parliament If the EU as such does not make any statements, one can expect the European Parliament to do so, even on Taiwan and cross-strait relations. What has been seen are statements on Taiwan itself and on crossstrait relations, the first going back to March 8, 1996, over the PRC conducting missile tests in an attempt to coerce voters in Taiwan’s first presidential elections. Since the 1992 Maastricht Treaty created the Common Foreign and Security Pillar of the European Union, there have been statements made concerning Taiwan, the last of which was on April 20, 2013, on the ROC’s continued use of the death penalty. One might say that, during the Ma administration, there have been fewer statements on the cross-strait issue, while there were more during the administration of former President Chen Shui-bian, due largely to there being a more tension-filled relationship across the Taiwan Strait. To widen the focus, there are EU policy statements on Asia in general going back to the first 1994 policy communication, “Towards a New Asia Strategy.” In all these policy communications, security is treated in the context of external relations and lumped in with human rights, trade, development, the environment, and energy, inter alia. Since then we have seen such communications as the joint EU-US statement quoted above, as well as the released text of the speech delivered by European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton at the June 1, 2013, Shangri-La Dialogue, titled “Defending national interests, preventing conflict.” Again, in the latter, Taiwan did not even merit a mention. Unfortunately, it may be that elites in Taiwan and


Words from Europe  b  19

photo: Pierre Holtz A soldier wears the EUFOR emblem on a 2008 mission in Africa. Some 400 troops, from France, Austria, Finland and Sweden, have been deployed to the area.

other Asian countries are expecting much more from the EU, beyond just statements about its stake in Asia-Pacific security. As a policy recommendation, the European Union must begin by developing an appreciation for how it is perceived in the eyes of Asian leaders, policymakers, and leading academics. These elites are increasingly concerned with issues of regionalism and forming effective and workable multinational fora as a means of solving the region’s problems, and they uniformly look to the experience of European integration as they seek to craft a roadmap to that end.

Bolstering regional security In the latest EU policy statement on Asia, titled “Guidelines on the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy in East Asia” and released in 2012, it is acknowledged that Europe’s unique experience of its own post-war reconciliation (confidence-building, preventive diplomacy, conflict resolution) and political and eco-

nomic integration, position it well to play an important role in helping to bolster regional security in Asia. A number of its regional partners had signaled they would welcome enhanced EU engagement in this respect. Consequently, there is a stated need for a more developed, coherent, and focused common foreign and security policy in East Asia with the purpose of securing and advancing EU interests. What would this look like in practice? It is about sharing experience; it is talking, talking, talking. There are several examples of how this principle is already being translated into action in Southeast Asia, which include the EU-ASEAN Migration and Border Management Programme, the Aceh Monitoring Mission, and the Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and Development Component of the International Monitoring Team in Mindanao. These kinds of projects demonstrate the EU’s concern for security among ASEAN nations. The activities mentioned above fall under the rubric of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy


20  b  STRATEGIC VISION

photo: Chad McNeeley

image: Rock Cohen

(CSDP). Military operations under CSDP are to be carried out by one of 18 EU Battlegroups, each consisting of a battalion-sized force of about 1,500 troops. Although in practice these battlegroups have yet to see deployment, other CSDP-operated European Union Force (EUFOR) rapid reaction forces have seen deployment in such places as the Congo, Chad, and Macedonia. EUFOR complements other EU military forces such as EU Battlegroups, which were created to focus primarily on the so-called Petersberg tasks: humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping, and peacemaking. Clearly, their mandate is not one of

domestic governments of the countries themselves, and the simple existence of the CSDP does not mean that each of the 28 member states does not have its own foreign, security and defence policies. Moreover, each has its own historical security alliances, as well as obligations under separate common-defense bodies such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It would be remiss not to address here the issue of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), as CSDP is itself an instrument of the wider CFSP of the European Union. “Foreign” has to be noted here as security and defence are only components of for-

an offensive nature, i.e. going to war. The formation of the battlegroups for military operations depends upon the contribution of member states, and the EU itself has no armed forces to carry the flag: it is not the United States of Europe: at least not yet. Going to war as was recently done in Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali, and Libya are decisions for the

eign or external relations of the EU. External relations also cover the likes of human rights, development policy, humanitarian assistance, and trade—issues that need not be securitized. Indeed, they have a right to an existence of their own. While this may seem like common sense, it bears stating in today’s world where there is a tendency to securitize every aspect


Words from Europe  b  21

of international relations. Those in security studies need to have a wider perspective of other disciplines and frames of thinking. The CSDP is there to give the CFSP teeth, albeit limited to the Petersberg tasks. This is spelled out on the CFSP website, which states, “the European Security and Defence Policy aims to strengthen the EU’s external ability to act through the development of civilian and military capabilities in Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management.”

Taking time In conclusion, it must be remembered that both the CFSP and the CSDP developed over time. European peace was eventually achieved through economic integration, with small initial steps like the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)—itself an economic organization to regulate the raw materials of war making—and the European Economic Community (EEC). In the 1950s, the failed attempt to establish the European Defence Community demonstrated that

the time was not ripe for such a quantum leap forward. Even by the 1970s, though the oil crisis triggered the thought of coordinating foreign policy, the different EEC member states took different positions. It would be 20 more years before the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 would enunciate a foreign and security policy in the new EU. The CSDP formally came into existence with the Helsinki European Council of 1999, but the nuts and bolts had to wait till the Nice European Council of the following year. In other words, Rome wasn’t built in a day. This is worth keeping in mind as security tensions rise over the conflicting maritime claims in the Asia-Pacific region, and as elites seek to emulate the European experience in developing a common frame of reference for solving the continent’s security problems. It starts with small—and more importantly, achievable—steps that can be built upon. At the very least, a code of conduct that is amenable to all parties and enforceable by the norms of Asian foreign relations would be just such a step. But for this to have any chance of success, all claimants must be allowed to take part, including Taiwan. n

photo: TC Lin M60A3 main battle tanks (MBT) fire off shells during Taiwan’s Han Kuang 2013 exercise as they practice defending against a Chinese amphibious invasion.


22  b

Strategic Vision vol. 2, no. 10 (August, 2013)

The Long Road to Peace Europe offers historical lessons in peacemaking to Taiwan Strait leaders Muzaffer Eröktem

I

t has proven to be the case throughout much of human history that dramatic decisions and agreements in international relations can be accomplished when the right men happen to be at the right place at the right time. It is also a general truth that historic decisions have been made immediately following extraordinary periods. The Peace of Westphalia of 1648 was achieved at the end of the Thirty Years’ War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years’ War between Spain

and the Dutch Republic. As a result of this remarkable diplomatic achievement, a new system of political order based on sovereign statehood emerged in Europe. The 1814-1815 Congress of Vienna, which created the Concert of Europe, was held after the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, as well as upon dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. The ill-fated League of Nations was founded after the First World War. The Second World War caused immense human and

The Ratification of the Treaty of Munster by Gerard Ter Borch (1648). The treaty ended the Eighty Years’ War and formed part of the Peace of Westphalia.

Ambassador Muzaffer Eröktem, a graduate of the Faculty of Political Sciences, Ankara University, has represented Turkey as a diplomat in Taipei, Tokyo, Beirut, Helsinki, and as Consul General in Tabriz, Melbourne, Alexandria, and as Ambassador in Bishkek. He is presently a visiting fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Taipei where he conducts research on international issues.


Road to Peace  b  23

material loss both in Asia and Europe. Following the war, there was a general desire amongst European governments to ensure that this would never happen again. In 1949, the Council of Europe was established to deal with issues of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. The founding fathers of this council were Winston Churchill, prime minister of the United Kingdom; Konrad Adenauer, chancellor and minister of foreign affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany; Robert Schuman, minister of foreign affairs of the French Republic; Paul-Henri Spaak, prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of Belgium; and Alcide de Gasperi, prime minister of Italy. Founded by 10 nations, the Council of Europe now encompasses the entire European continent and its 47 member countries.

Seeds of European unity It was in 1950 that Robert Schuman proposed that “Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organization open to the participation of the other countries of Europe.” The idea behind this offer was to eradicate the means of conflict—namely, the resources necessary to wage war between longtime enemies France and Germany. This proposal, authored by Jean Monnet, is known as the Schuman Declaration, and it led to the Treaty of Paris in 1951 that formed the European Coal and Steel Community, consisting of France, West Germany, Italy, and the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg). Those developments were followed by the 1957 Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community. The objective of the EEC was to create a full customs union between members. Today’s European Union was established by the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 and presently covers 28

countries, and is the product of the aforementioned developments. If Schuman, Monnet, Adenauer and de Gasperi had not been there, at the right time and the right place, Europe would arguably never have achieved the exceptional outcome that we see today. Certainly, due to differences in background, environment, and conditions, a model which has been successful in one region or country cannot be applied in its entirety to another region or country. On the other hand, it is wiser to benefit from certain aspects of history instead of totally ignoring them. For dramatic decisions and agreements, wise and committed leadership is a must. Fortunately, both China and Taiwan nowadays have leaders of high caliber who are committed to pursuing policies of smooth rapprochement. Moreover, they know and understand each other’s conditions very well. This opportunity should not be missed by the parties concerned. In the past, both China and Taiwan were adversely

photo: beogles A bust of Robert Schuman, the father of the European Union, in Brussels.


24  b  STRATEGIC VISION

affected by continuous tension and conflict. Now is the time for reconciliation and improving relations. Conflicts bear a resemblance to accidents: No accident takes place without the fault of both parties. Therefore nothing can be restored without the contribution of both parties. The personalities and leaders of the past are gradually fading away, and the resolution of their conflict will only be more difficult for succeeding generations if it is left as an inheritance to them. In politics, whatever path is chosen will inevitably be subject to criticism, as each choice has advantages and disadvantages. At present, the charismatic leaders on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait can handle such issues and reach their desired ends. All societal actors should be invited to join the process of rapprochement, with the role of the media being of particular importance. Some people seem to be complacent, avoiding any new developments. Their concerns and suspicions should also be addressed. Moreover, this subject should rise above party politics, with a national consensus achieved

on any policy established. Through careful and meticulous talks, with good will and a constructive approach, under the “One China” principle, an arrangement that respects

“If and when both parties agree on a mutually satisfactory formula, the Chinese dream of cross-strait unity will be realized.” Taiwan’s sovereignty and allows it to have its international space can no doubt be achieved. However, this is easy for an outsider to say, but not so for an insider. In connection with this point, it is worthwhile to remember the Dumbarton Oaks Conference of 1944, where the blueprint for the United Nations was first drafted. At that gathering, the representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Ambassador Andrei Gromyko, insisted on a seat for each of the USSR’s 15 constituent republics, plus a seat for the Soviet Union itself, for a total of 16 members.

photo: The National Archives, Ref: INF 14/447 The Big Three—British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and USSR General Secretary Joseph Stalin—meet at Yalta.


Road to Peace  b  25

photos: Angélica Rivera de Peña & pedist Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and President of the Republic of China on Taiwan Ma Ying-jeou, right, in a composite photograph.

Thereupon, the US delegation offered the counterproposal that, if such is the case, it would be appropriate to allow each of the 48 states then making up the United States to join as well. By the close of the conference, this issue was left unresolved.

Meeting halfway Later, in the Yalta Conference of February 1945, Russian leader Joseph Stalin suggested that the Soviet Union, plus three republics (Lithuania, Ukraine, and Byelorussia) should be original members. Franklin D. Roosevelt understood that Stalin was seeking a balance against the large number of Western countries in the forthcoming organization. In the end, it was agreed that the Ukraine Soviet Socialist Republic and the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic could attend the San Francisco United Nations Conference on International Organization, and that they would be accepted as original members. This good will and constructive attitude on the part of both Roosevelt and Stalin allowed the issue to be settled amicably. In the same way, the current political impasse in the Taiwan Strait can move beyond a deadlock. Under the

present circumstances, a broadening of the existing ties between the two sides of the strait is important, if the existing modus vivendi and status quo can be maintained as long as possible. On the other hand, both parties should benefit from this convenient environment and not miss the opportunity to resolve the question once and for all. Bolder steps need to be taken. In the meantime, track-II activities must be intensified. During this period, as is often repeated, the parties should refrain from negative representations against each other in third countries and at international meetings. These sorts of actions and initiatives not only tarnish and depreciate their images and reputations, but also adversely affect reliability and trust, which are of utmost importance for further rapprochement. Moreover, the international community can become annoyed by such embarrassing behavior. If and when both parties agree on a mutually satisfactory formula, the Chinese dream of cross-strait unity will be realized. As is always emphasized, this question is completely a Chinese internal affair. On the other hand, the international community will benefit if the current stalemate does not remain in perpetuity. n


26  b

photo: Presidential Press and Information Office Now that Putin, left, has retaken the reins of power in Moscow, Russians once again have a strong leader that they can look to in opposition to the West.

Strategic Vision vol. 2, no. 10 (August, 2013)

On the Rise

The rise of Russia promises to contribute to remaking Asia’s geopolitical map Serafettin Yilmaz

C

hina’s rise has been partly due to the relative decline of the United States. The Soviet-US rivalry opened the door for the then-marginalized Chinese communist government to be admitted into the world system. Shortly after the Soviet threat was eliminated, the United States took up arms against the threat of terrorism, and its focus became centered on the Middle East and North

Similarly, two developments in the early 2000s facilitated Russia’s emergence. First, the Color Revolutions in Central Asia and the 2008 Five-Day War between Russia and Georgia alienated Moscow from the USled international system and strengthened the hand of strongman Vladimir Putin. Second, shortly after then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov symbolically

Africa. As America seemed to get stuck in two protracted wars, China enjoyed a precious decade during which it kick-started an ambitious development and modernization program.

pushed the “reset button” on US-Russia relations in March 2009, the United States pressed ahead with plans for the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) up to the Eastern borders of

Serafettin Yilmaz is a doctoral candidate at National Chengchi University and researcher at Academia Sinica in Taiwan. He can be reached for comment at syilmaz@qq.com.


Russia’s Rise  b  27

Russia. Then President Dmitry Medvedev’s experimental policies experienced blowback, and Putin comfortably regained his position as Russia’s top decision-maker in the 2012 general elections. The crisis in Syria added salt to the wounds of already sour relations. As the strategic chasm between the United States and Russia deepened, further points of contention emerged. In parallel to its growing capabilities, and hence confidence, issues surrounding the accountability of foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Russia and the fate of Russian orphans adopted by US citizens came to the surface, further deteriorating US-Russia relations. Russia’s emergence cannot be thought of in isolation with the rise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). As distinct from the Cold War years when China was both weak and had an ideological struggle against Russia’s Marxist revisionism, today the PRC has become an economic powerhouse and abandoned its ideology-based foreign policy. The official finalization of the Sino-Russian border demarcation

has led to something of a mini Great Leap Forward in bilateral relations. As a result, Moscow no longer needs to spend a significant portion of its national wealth on the vast border areas in its far east to protect them from a Chinese incursion. Instead, Moscow can now better concentrate on the immediate threat of NATO closing in on its southwest.

Natural partners Moscow’s ability to accommodate China’s rise facilitates its own emergence. It also eliminates the likelihood of a united front against Russia. Otherwise, a front composed of China, the United States and US allies would pose a serious challenge to Russia’s emergence as a geopolitical player. However, Washington does not currently find a sympathetic ear in Beijing on the many global issues over which US policy is in discord with Moscow. Among those points of contention, perhaps the most important ones are the NATO missile shield, the Syrian Crisis, and the Iranian nu-

photo: Alex Twose Moscow’s willingness to accommodate the rise of China facilitates its own emergence, while eliminating the likelihood of a united front against Moscow.


28  b STRATEGIC VISION

clear dilemma. It is safe to say that Beijing stands closer to Russia than to the United States on these issues. Hence, it makes sense for Moscow to maintain policy alignment with the second most powerful country in the world when it has a series of disagreements with the most powerful.

An end to weak leadership The most important component of Russia’s emergence is the end of weak leadership and the resulting domestic political stability. In his first two terms as president, Putin provided the country with strong, stable leadership. Hence, although one can debate the quality of Russian democracy, the era of political maneuvering has come to an effective end with Putin’s reinstatement as president. He not only restored confidence in the government but also enabled predictability. Unlike Mikhail Gorbachev, who mismanaged

the fall of the Soviet Union, and Boris Yeltsin, who allowed the country to be taken over by a business oligarchy, Putin ended the control of the state apparatus by powerful private interests in his first term.

“Due to a lack of morale and proper training, the military failed to contain the separatist militancy in the Caucasus during the 1990s.” Just as with Russian politics, the condition of the once powerful Red Army suffered a heavy blow after the fall of the Soviet Union. In the mid-1980s, the Soviet military was about 5 million strong. By the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, that number had fallen to 2.7 million men. Due to a lack of morale and proper training, the military failed to contain the separatist militancy in the Caucasus

photo: David Snelling Matryoshka dolls of Russian Leaders. Unlike Putin, right, Gorbachev, left, and Yeltsin are seen as having given away too much to accommodate the West.


Russia’s Rise  b  29

photo: Graham Webster

graphic: Evan Centanni (www.polgeonow.com)

during the 1990s. Russia seemed to have lost its military edge. In 2012, Moscow embarked on its most comprehensive military modernization program of the past 40 years, aiming to restructure its armed forces into leaner and more deployable units capable of dealing with new types of conflict. To this end, there are plans to increase spending on the military by 50 percent over the next three years. This modernization also includes an upgrade of Russia’s strategic nuclear capabilities to overwhelm the proposed NATO missile shield. Although actual implementation may take longer than planned, and problems may yet arise, the government’s intention to upgrade Russia’s military capability on a par with its geostrategic emergence is noteworthy. The rise of Russia is also manifest in the country’s growing global power-projection capabilities. Russia has traditionally fared well in national power comparisons, but the country suffered a dramatic downturn after the fall of the communist system and the disintegration of the USSR. However, Moscow has recently undergone a major power resurgence: the nation’s

overall impact over global economic and geopolitical developments has increased considerably. One notable example is the ongoing Syrian Crisis. Despite mounting Western pressure, Russia has maintained its position and prevented any UN-sanctioned military action against the Syrian regime.

War with Georgia Another contemporary example is the brief Russian clash with Georgia over South Ossetia. Hoping to reclaim the territory, Georgia initiated a military offensive against South Ossetia, whereupon Russia quickly and effectively drove Georgian forces out of the occupied areas, regardless of US and European assurances to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. One would have been hard pressed to anticipate such an unwavering stance by Moscow during the 1990s. Hence, the signs of Russia’s emergence are also visible in the geostrategic realm. What are the implications of Russia’s rise for the United States and China? The main cause of concern in Washington could be that it is tougher to


30  b STRATEGIC VISION

talk to the Kremlin than it is to Zhongnanhai. The main difference—as seen in the Syrian Crisis, or the proposed (and now delayed) NATO missile shield in Eastern Europe—is that Russia often means what it says. Both in rhetoric and in action, Russia acts more like a Cold War rival than a putative partner. One can expect Russia’s rise to make cooperation on international and regional matters increasingly less likely, unless a working formula can be found to streamline relations. Furthermore, there is the likelihood that the SinoRussian partnership will evolve into heavy-duty strategic cooperation, involving comprehensive political, economic and military interaction under the institutional umbrella of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and as members of the BRICs economies. Such developments as the bilateral military exercises that the two sides have been holding annually (China and Russia held their largest-ever joint naval drills in July), regular high-level civilian and military visits, and a 2010 agreement that paved the

way for their respective currencies to trade against each other in spot interbank markets, will further reinforce Russia’s power and capabilities. For China, a rising Russia is good news. At a time when the United States is rebalancing toward Asia, anything that distracts the US government will be welcome to Beijing. Russia’s emergence means that the Atlantic military theater will never really be fully closed for the United States, and thus it will have to continue to spend money to maintain a strategic edge over Moscow at a time when domestic economic performance is sluggish at best.

Striving for balance As Russia plays its own version of geopolitics in the Middle East, Washington will not easily be able to close the book on the Atlantic to become a fullfledged Pacific power again. At best, the United States will strive to be a balanced power, which, considering the country’s financial woes, will demand compro-

photo: Mariano Mantel The Federation Tower is a complex of skyscrapers being built in Moscow. Upon completion, one is expected to be one of the tallest buildings in the world.


Russia’s Rise  b  31

mises on both military fronts. Indeed, the appointment of John Kerry as secretary of state has been seen as a sign of a major shift from Hillary Clinton’s Asiafirst strategy to a “re-pivoting of the pivot.” In the Asia-Pacific theater, Russia’s rise will help China enjoy more room to maneuver, since a stronger Russian Pacific Fleet will likely undermine US containment efforts. Unlike the Cold War era, when the United States had China on its side, a “Cold War II” with China will not find Russia so readily marginalized. On the contrary, the US-Russia strategic rivalry makes it certain that the United States will not be able to keep Russia at bay as a neutral bystander, should the United States and China lock horns in the Asia-Pacific. Though shadowed by the emergence of China, Russia’s geostrategic ascension will have equally consequential implications for great-power relations. As seen in China’s three UN Security Council vetoes on Syria, a growing Russia encourages Beijing to move outside the confines of its traditionally reticent Middle East diplomacy. Unlike the years of mutual distrust and ideological rivalry, Beijing worries less about its giant neighbor thanks to growing confidence in its own power and capabilities. Similarly, Russia sees in Beijing a partner it can work with. The simultaneous rise of China and Russia poses a unique challenge for the United States as both retain dissimilar but corresponding strengths. Russia’s rise offers a greater geopolitical challenge to the United States, whereas that of China is largely economic. Time will tell whether Washington can face this double threat.

Beijing and Moscow into a greater mutual understanding. This trend may continue to eventually lead into a less unipolar international system. Russia’s rise threatens the dominance of the USled security system in the Atlantic and Pacific. The Syrian Crisis is a prime example of Russia effectively holding off NATO from overt military intervention.

Political stability is the most crucial factor for Russia and China as they endeavor to sustain their rise. For the United States, breaking the strategic cooperation between Beijing and Moscow will be the most urgent task. Yet, it may already be too late for Washington. The rebalancing strategy in the Asia-Pacific and the collapse of the US-Russia strategic reset have guided

sure on the United States and weakens its hold on the region’s waterways, Taiwan may find itself both abandoned and trapped. The most viable option for Taiwan, in this regard, seems to be one of reinforcing its network of security alliances in the Asia-Pacific, thereby making the nation less reliant on the exclusive protection provided by the United States. n

“The most viable option for Taiwan seems to be one of reinforcing its network of security alliances in the Asia-Pacific.”

In the Pacific theater, the presence of the Red Banner Pacific Fleet, bolstered by new acquisitions and more frequent activity, challenges US naval dominance. The impact of a rising Russia will be felt even more explicitly as the interoperability of the Russian and Chinese navies grows. This development will have implications for the countries situated within the US security framework, including Taiwan and Japan. Since both countries have yet to become normal states (Japan is constrained militarily and Taiwan is constrained politically), their dependence on US military protection will only grow further in the coming decade. It follows that, while Japan still has the option of revising its military doctrine and reinforcing its national security independent of the United States, Taiwan’s hand is more constrained because of the nature of its dispute with China. Hence, if a stronger Russian presence in strategic alignment with China puts pres-


Visit our website:

www.mcsstw.org/web/Journal_Publication.php

Strategic Vision, Issue 10  

Strategic Vision is a magazine put out by NCCU's Center for Security Studies and the ROC National Defense University that provides analysis...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you