War in Ukraine: Zeitenwende, new division of labor in the Indo-Pacific strategy and CCP criticism of Xi
Due to the Zeitenwende being invoked by the governing parties, media and elite representatives, SPD chairman Lars Klingbeil has now also announced a new foreign policy and a change of strategy. The CDU/CSU is pushing ahead and has now drafted its own strategy paper that makes the concept of security much broader than before and also calls for a National Security Council:
„New strategy paper: Union for a „Zeitenwende“ in security policy
A modern security and foreign policy must also take into account the consequences of labor market policy and development policy, the CDU and CSU demand. The new concept is to be decided on Monday. Anyone who would have called for a new security architecture ten years ago would almost certainly have been branded a warmonger and militarist. Now Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine has also led to a rethink in the Union parties. What is needed is „a turning point in German politics,“ says the draft of a paper that the presidencies of the two Union parties want to adopt this Monday at a joint meeting in Cologne. „What is important: Think security comprehensively and act accordingly.“ Germany will also have to assume more responsibility in the world. „Germany needs a danger radar, the country must measure and evaluate all of its dependencies,“ says the so-called Cologne Declaration. The threats include not only military threats, but also dangers from terror and organized crime, disinformation campaigns and all forms of extremism, but also climate damage and dependencies in the economy, technology, energy supply and food supply.
Think security comprehensively
The CDU and CSU are calling for the German defense forces to adapt “to the new reality”, for a comprehensive security strategy and for a National Security Council to embody the new security policy and present it to the outside world. “Business and employees, science and innovation drivers, civil society and think tanks” should also be integrated into the work. What is needed is “a common new way of thinking about security and sovereignty”. At the same time, disinformation and information manipulation from abroad must be uncovered and prevented. It is about thinking about the „security concept comprehensively, because it does not only affect the defense and interior departments,“ explained the CDU member of the Bundestag Serap Güler to the F.A.Z. „The core of the paper is a holistic security architecture, which is urgently needed in the current situation.“ It includes defense, economic and development policy. The economic dependency of the energy supply has not yet been discussed in the Security Council. A National Security Council is needed in the Chancellery that brings together strategic thinking and operational defense capability, said Güler, who is a member of the Bundestag’s Defense Committee. In the future, security policy must be conceived and designed across departments and with the involvement of the federal states and local authorities as well as the private sector. „Security policy must be transparent and informative,“ the paper says.
In climate policy, the CDU and CSU demand that the necessary reorganization of energy policy must be „consistently used to accelerate energy efficiency, renewable energies and technological innovation“. They also advocate a „climate club of international pioneers“ that combines progress in climate protection with economic opportunities. „Climate, energy, human rights and security are considered holistically.“ The 100 billion package for the Bundeswehr is far from enough to build a comprehensive security architecture, said Güler. Without „clear investment goals and procurement and structural reforms,“ the money will „fizzle out,“ the paper says. „Our humanitarian and our security policy responsibility must not end at the national borders – neither at the German nor at the European one, if we want to think security comprehensively“. This also includes taking refugee movements into account.
Feeling too safe?
Güler justified the fact that the Union, which has provided the defense ministers for the past 16 years, with the proposal for a new security architecture did not go public earlier with the fact that the Union – like society – changed too much in the first ten years of government felt safe and no longer thought in terms of war. The fact that peace cannot be taken for granted has only become apparent in the years since the annexation of Crimea. “The social climate has changed. There were never parliamentary majorities for such projects.” According to Güler, it was the Social Democrats Martin Schulz, Andrea Nahles and Rolf Mützenich who opposed the two percent target for defense spending. Germany’s security includes „also the security of jobs and income“ for employees and the self-employed. The Union notes that this can only be achieved with crisis-proof supply chains, reliable trading partners and the fight against inflation and currency devaluation. „Therefore, Germany needs a new globalization strategy that deals more with growth opportunities in the EU, the USA and Africa and reassesses its dependence on China,“ the paper says.
This was already evident in the German Indo-Pacific strategy, which Chancellor Scholz is now underpinning with his visit to Japan and not to China:
„End of the Japan visit: Scholz visits the hydrogen plant Created: 2022-04-29Updated: 2022-04-30 11:43 AM
Germany wants to strengthen its commitment in the Indo-Pacific region: Chancellor Scholz is setting an example with his visit to Japan. His predecessors Merkel and Schröder traveled to China first. Tokyo – Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) ended his visit to Japan in Tokyo with a visit to a hydrogen plant. The Chiyoda Corporation has developed a process in which hydrogen is combined with a solvent so that it can be transported in conventional containers and cargo ships. Scholz met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday and agreed to work more closely with him. „My trip is also a clear political signal that Germany and the European Union want to continue and intensify their commitment in the Indo-Pacific region,“ explained Scholz. He said that it is „no coincidence“ that he visits Japan first in this region of the world. His predecessors Angela Merkel and Gerhard Schröder traveled to China first. Japan is one of the G7 of the economically strongest democracies and will take over the presidency of this group of states from Germany at the turn of the year. China is Germany’s most important trading partner. At the same time, the autocratic People’s Republic is increasingly perceived as a system rival. dpa
In Japan, too, it is happily noted that Japan has now been visited for the first time:
“Scholz says Germany seeks closer ties with Indo-Pacific
April 29, 2022 at 07:40 JST
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in Tokyo on Thursday that his country wants to strengthen ties with countries in the Indo-Pacific region that share the same values, and work together to end Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
“My trip is a clear political signal that Germany and the European Union will continue and intensify their engagement with the Indo-Pacific region,” Scholz said after meeting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Kishida said he and Scholz agreed that as members of the Group of Seven industrialized nations they share a responsibility to work together to end Russian aggression and restore peace, stability and international order as quickly as possible.
“The Ukraine crisis shakes the foundation of the international order not only in Europe but also in Asia. Any attempts to change the status quo must be avoided, especially in East Asia,” Kishida said at a joint news conference.
“If we do not clearly show (to Russia) that this kind of unilateral change to the status quo by force and recklessness has a high cost, it will give the wrong message to Asia,” he said.
On his first trip to Tokyo as chancellor, Scholz said both Germany and Japan are defenders of the “rules-based international order,” the principles of the U.N. Charter and the defense of universal human rights. Scholz said he also wanted to come to Japan because Tokyo will take over as chair of the G-7 after Germany.
Japan has imposed sanctions against Russia in line with other G-7 countries and provided support for Ukraine out of concern that Russia’s invasion could embolden China and intensify tensions in East Asia. China has long sought to take control of independently governed Taiwan, and has threatened to do so by force if necessary.
Japan has also provided Ukraine with non-lethal defense equipment in an exception to its policy against exporting military materials to nations in conflict.
Germany had initially refused to send any offensive weapons to Ukraine and later balked at sending heavy equipment such as armored vehicles.
Scholz’s government, under pressure domestically and from allies, recently reversed that policy and agreed to send offensive weapons and allow Ukraine to purchase German armaments, and to support weapons swaps with allies who in turn are sending heavy equipment to Ukraine.
Japan hopes to work closely with Germany as strategic partners on “various challenges that the international community faces, including responses to China,” Kishida said.
Scholz said Germany and Japan also agreed to work together to strengthen economic cooperation in areas such as 5G technologies and economic security.
He said ensuring that supply chains become less dependent on individual countries is “a task that is more relevant than ever,” in a reference to China.
Conversely, India’s President Modi also visited Germany: “
Visitor from New Delhi India’s Prime Minister Modi begins a European tour in Germany. What both countries have in common: their complicated relationship with Moscow. |
When the last German-Indian government consultations took place in 2019, dark smog hung over India’s capital New Delhi. India and Germany are good and reliable trading partners for each other, stressed the Chancellor at the time. Not much has changed in those two things since then. Only recently was EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen in India and presented a trade and technology council, and talks about a free trade agreement are to be continued, from which Germany as an exporter of machines and cars could benefit. The agreement is part of a 2019 motion by the CDU/CSU and SPD parliamentary groups to strengthen Indo-German relations. Bilateral talks in Berlin are now continuing. A strategic partnership has existed between Germany and India since 2001. As part of this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi (BJP) and Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) will chair the sixth edition of the Indo-German intergovernmental consultations on Monday. Ministers of finance, foreign affairs and education are expected from India. Several agreements have recently been signed, including in areas of scientific exchange, sustainable mobility and artificial intelligence.
Scholz will receive Modi with military honors in the Federal Chancellery. It is the Indian head of government’s first trip abroad this year, which he will use for further EU visits such as an Indo-Nordic summit. Modi said he wanted to „discuss ways to boost trade and the economy.“ He is also looking forward to meeting the Indian diaspora, a statement said. However, Modi’s European trip is marred by the government of India’s non-aligned stance towards Russia, which it sees as an old friend and with whom it has close military ties. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had their sights set on this friendly military partnership during their recent visits to India and offered joint armaments production with European know-how in India. Great Britain is also hoping for its own free trade agreement with India.
India abstained at the UN General Assembly
At the emergency session of the UN General Assembly in March, India and 34 other countries did not support the motion condemning Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. India also abstained from demanding an immediate Russian troop withdrawal. Nevertheless, the federal government does not classify India in the camp of unconditional friends of Russia, but sees the country in a quandary: the traditionally strong ties to Russia, both militarily, economically and diplomatically, on the one hand, and the regional competition with China and the interest in a good one on the other Connection to the democracies in the west. The German government treats India with leniency and strives to maintain good relations.
Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants to seal a partnership for green and sustainable development with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There are already initial partnerships in this area. Germany wants to support India with billions in the expansion of renewable energies, both in the areas of solar and wind energy and green hydrogen. The demand for electricity in India is growing. At the moment, however, supply is lagging behind, as current power outages during the heat wave make clear. They also want to work together on sustainable agriculture. According to government circles in Berlin, India is needed as a partner in climate protection, in the fight to preserve biodiversity and against plastic waste. India is also expected as a guest at the G7 meeting at the end of July in Elmau, Germany.
Withdrawing India from Russia’s influence will not be an easy task, as parts of German politics also have their problems with it. What India is playing into the cards is that since the last government consultations, the German view of Asia has changed as a result of the pandemic. In the past 20 years, Germany has focused very strongly on China, and that is gradually changing. India is considered a key partner of German and European foreign policy in the Indo-Pacific, and the Modi government is interested in attracting investments such as joint ventures to the country and boosting exports. https://taz.de/Deutsch-indische-Relationships/!5847514/
The British think tank Chatham House welcomes the German rethink, but sees Germany’s role, especially in military matters, less in the Indo-Pacific. The Europeans should enter into a division of labor with regard to the two main battlefields. UK and France should be mainly in charge of the Indo-Pacific, while the rest of Europe more towards Russia, with Germany upgraded to relieve UK and France there and become the backbone of European defences:
“How Ukraine will change Europe’s Indo-Pacific ambitions
The Russian invasion of Ukraine reinforces the reality that only France and the UK can lead a European contribution to Indo-Pacific security.
25 April 2022
Alice Billon-Galland Research Fellow, Europe Programme
Hans Kundnani Director, Europe Programme
The war in Ukraine has dramatically refocused attention on Euro-Atlantic security. As European nations – alongside the US – have imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia and increased military support to Ukraine, this war will further complicate the already limited ability of Europeans to play a meaningful security role elsewhere.
It could be tempting to conclude that the renewed threat from Russia spells the end of Europe’s embryonic involvement in the Indo-Pacific. For example, the UK’s Integrated Review in 2021 had identified Euro-Atlantic security and Russia itself as the priority for London – and the outbreak of war in Europe seems only to further confirm this. Given limited resources, some analysts see the current war as confirmation that the idea of a ‘tilt’ to the Indo-Pacific was always a fantasy which now can no longer be sustained.
Whereas the UK is more at ease following and integrating with a US-led security architecture in the region as evidenced by AUKUS, France sees its role – and the EU’s – as adding value by providing regional partners with a different and less confrontational set of options
Other analysts argue that the two theatres – the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific – are merging into one, especially if China and Russia become closer and as both regions roughly rely on US security guarantees. And because a growing threat from Moscow should not lead to complacency regarding other challenges, some form of European involvement in the Indo-Pacific is even more crucial.
A changing division of labour
However, a more subtle analysis of the security role of different European countries in each theatre, and how they are being changed by the war in Ukraine, shows how these two opposing views can be reconciled.
Before the war, some countries – in particular, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK, as well as the EU – had published Indo-Pacific strategies or ‘guidelines’ and deployed naval resources to the region.
Even then the European capacity to get involved in Indo-Pacific security was limited and the main challenge for Europeans was to be seen as reliable partners and achieve a persistent presence in the region. The real fault line in terms of resources and ambitions was between France and the UK on the one hand, and the rest of Europe on the other.
As the Ukraine war refocuses NATO’s role onto its core task of collective deterrence and defence, it will certainly further restrict the ability of most small European states – already with limited assets, interest, and bandwidth – to contribute to Asian security. Even France and the UK may have to recalibrate their priorities and means – especially if the war escalates or as it leads to a revised defence and deterrence posture on the eastern flank.
However, the shock of the Russian invasion has also led to a dramatic increase in German defence spending and, if the so-called Zeitenwende becomes a reality rather than an aspiration – with some increasingly frustrated it is moving too slowly – Germany could revert to something similar to the old West Germany’s Cold War role as the ‘backbone’ of NATO’s conventional collective defence in Europe.
A greater German contribution to European security may allow France and the UK to free up resources to lead a European contribution to Indo-Pacific security, which makes it even more important for the two countries to resolve some of their differences
But despite this increased defence spending and willingness to confront Russia, Germany has not yet changed its approach to China – on which its manufacturing sector, especially the automobile industry, depends as an export market. Many in Berlin are likely to agree with the recent comment by Angela Merkel’s former foreign policy adviser Lars-Henrik Röller that ‘China is not Russia’. As it takes more responsibility for European security, Berlin could prove even more risk-averse in the rest of the world than it was before the war.
Therefore, France and the UK should have limited expectations of what other Europeans, especially Germany, are now willing and able to contribute to Indo-Pacific security. However, a changing division of labour among European countries in Europe could create an opportunity for Paris and London to continue linking the two regions.
A greater German contribution to European security may allow France and the UK to free up resources to lead a European contribution to Indo-Pacific security, which makes it even more important for the two countries to resolve some of their differences.
A shared set of security objectives
Paris and London have roughly similar readings of what is at stake in the Indo-Pacific, as well as similar strategic interests at play which differentiate them from other Europeans. With more than 1.5 million citizens and five permanent military bases, France also has a direct interest in the region which will not be altered by the conflict in Ukraine.
But cooperation between the two has remained limited because of ongoing political tensions over Brexit as well as national posturing and defence-industrial competition. The AUKUS agreement between Australia, UK and US led to an almost complete breakdown in bilateral relations between France and the UK.
Even if tensions and competitions can be managed – and the war in Ukraine has put things in perspective to some extent – there remains a ‘big picture’ divergence between Paris and London around their role in the Indo-Pacific relative to US-led security frameworks and how Europeans can add value to the region.
Whereas the UK is more at ease following and integrating with a US-led security architecture in the region as evidenced by AUKUS, France sees its role – and the EU’s – as adding value by providing regional partners with a different and less confrontational set of options in order to respect sensitivities around great power competition and lower the risk of confrontation with China.
These approaches are not incompatible and could even be complementary as both aim to provide security, stability, and options to roughly the same set of regional partners such as Japan, India, Korea, and the ASEAN countries.
Charting the way forward
Paris and London are likely to continue conducting big operational deployments separately, but should work more closely together on presence operations, sanctions enforcement, and regional diplomacy on areas such as arms control, capacity building, law of the sea, and nuclear proliferation.
Meanwhile, the US and UK are deepening their relations with Japan and South Korea, especially in military terms. Japan now wants to promote so-called first strike capabilities, also called counterattack capabilities, which means a change of strategy and is also widely praised by US Secretary of Defense Austin, as it allows China and North Korea to be deterred and attacked more credibly:
“LDP panel hands Kishida proposal for counterattack capability
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
April 28, 2022 at 15:12 JST
The Liberal Democratic Party’s Research Commission on Security formally submitted recommendations to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on April 27 that Japan should possess so-called “counterattack capabilities” against a potential foe.
Kishida, who is expected to compile a new National Security Strategy by the end of the year, said, “I take (the recommendations) seriously and hope to move the discussion forward.”
Itsunori Onodera, a former defense minister who chairs the commission, told reporters that Kishida said it will not be possible to move forward on acquiring counterattack capability and increasing the defense budget accordingly without first obtaining the public’s understanding.
The LDP will also need to hold discussions about this with its junior coalition partner, Komeito.
Discussions over this are expected to start after the Upper House election in summer.
One of the recommendations used the term “counterattack capability,” with which the Self-Defense Forces could strike an enemy base believed to have started preparing for an attack against Japan, such as with ballistic missiles or other military means.
The way the idea was first broached had made it sound like pre-emptive strike capability, but Komeito objected to that wording amid concerns it would fly in the face of Japan’s defense-only posture, so it was changed.
Potential targets would include the enemy’s command and control functions.
The recommendations also urged the government to increase defense spending to at least 2 percent of gross domestic product within five years.
This capability would allow Japan to play a part in U.S. strike capabilities and help launch a broader attack.
In the clause mentioning the term “counterattack capabilities,” the commission did not mention North Korea and instead focused on China, which has boosted its military capabilities, as a figurative example.
The recommendations also said Japan has been “reliant on the United States in terms of strike capabilities against an enemy region” and that “it is feared that only (relying on) interception (would not be enough to) defend our nation,” suggesting Japan needs to possess strike capabilities.
A source involved in drafting the recommendations said the purpose is to allow the SDF to “play a role in a U.S. military attack,” a departure from the long-held “exclusively defense-oriented policy” based on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.
The exclusively defense-oriented policy has limited Japan’s defensive capabilities, both by degree and equipment, to the minimum necessary.
But the recommendations suggested what counts as minimum works on a sliding scale.
“The specific limitation of the minimum necessary self-defense capacity will be determined depending on how the government looks at it on the grounds of various conditions, such as the international climate and scientific technologies, and under the idea of an exclusively defense-oriented policy.”
“U.S. hails Japan’s move to consider first strike capability
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
May 5, 2022 at 17:06 JST
ARLINGTON, VA.–The United States welcomed moves by Japan to consider first strike capability against enemy bases as part of efforts to bolster its defense in a rapidly changing security environment.
Defense chiefs of both nations, meeting here May 4, also reaffirmed the urgency of implementing programs to strengthen their ability to deter and respond to possible threats from China.
During the wide-ranging talks, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and his U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin also condemned Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, calling it totally unacceptable as it challenges the world order. They reaffirmed that the two countries would continue to provide utmost support to beleaguered Ukraine.
Kishi pledged to expand Japan’s commitment to helping restore security in Europe.
“We can no longer separate the security of the Indo-Pacific from that of Europe, and I am determined to enhance Japan’s commitment to the security of Europe from such a point of view,” he said.
Austin expressed concern during the 75-minute meeting about China, citing its maritime advances and aggressive behavior in the East China and South China seas.
“China’s recent behavior poses a profound challenge to common norms, values and institutions that underpin that order,” he stated.
Austin also reassured Kishi that Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Treaty, which stipulates that the United States has an obligation to defend Japan, would be applied if China makes any move to seize control of the disputed Senkaku Islands, which come within the jurisdiction of Okinawa Prefecture in far southern Japan. The uninhabited isles are also claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu Islands.
Austin said the United States is opposed to any unilateral action intended to change the status quo and administration of the islands by Japan.
The two chiefs also agreed on the importance of maintaining peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.
Austin touched on the U.S. extended deterrence, including the nuclear umbrella, for Japan, at the outset of the meeting.
He said the United States would maintain its “unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan to include our extended deterrence commitments using our full range of conventional and nuclear capabilities.”
The gesture follows threats by Russian President Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons in relation to the war in Ukraine. Another matter of concern is North Korea’s continuing push to advance its nuclear development program.
Hailing the U.S. stance, Kishi said it is becoming more important for Tokyo and Washington to work together to ensure that U.S. nuclear deterrence remains credible and resolute.
In the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has argued that the two allies should work together to allow U.S. nuclear weapons to be deployed in Japan for use in an emergency.
While some lawmakers in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party support Abe’s argument, the incumbent prime minister, Fumio Kishida, is against the proposal.
Austin’s reassurance concerning U.S. extended deterrence commitments acted to dampen any discussion on the sharing of nuclear weapons.
Great Britain and Japan also signed a new defense deal:
“U.K. and Japan reach new defense deal amid Russia concerns
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
May 6, 2022 at 13:35 JST
LONDON–The militaries of Britain and Japan will “work more closely together” under a defense deal that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced during talks with his Japanese counterpart Thursday.
Johnson hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the British leader’s 10 Downing St. residence. He noted the “strong stance” Japan has taken “against the Russian aggression in Ukraine” and drew a parallel with the security situation in Asia.
“There is direct read across from the actions of autocratic, coercive powers in Europe to what may happen in East Asia,” Johnson said. “That’s why we want to work more closely together.”
Johnson’s office said the deal will allow the armed forces of the two Group of Seven countries to deploy together for training, joint exercises and disaster relief.
The prime ministers agreed that “democracies around the world needed to stand in unity against authoritarian regimes,” the office said after their meeting.
Kishida’s first official visit to the U.K. as prime minister was marked with an overflight of London by three Royal Air Force planes.
Japan has condemned Russia’s invasion and joined Western nations in imposing sanctions against Moscow. Japan also has supplied Ukraine with helmets and other non-lethal military aid.
Japan is concerned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could have an impact in East Asia, where China’s military has grown increasingly assertive and threatened to unite with Chinese-claimed Taiwan by force if necessary.
Britain has announced an “Indo-Pacific tilt” in its foreign policy in the wake of its departure from the European Union in 2020 and sees Japan as its key East Asian ally.
Chris Hughes, a professor of international politics and Japanese studies at the University of Warwick, said Kishida’s visit “will further consolidate a U.K.-Japan ‘quasi-alliance’ that has been worked on for the last decade or more.”
He said U.K.-Japan relations are “becoming much stronger in security, but they will be tested by seeing how far Japan will be forthcoming to do more in security with the U.K. outside its own East Asia region and, likewise, how far the U.K. can sustain substantive cooperation with Japan outside its region with the ongoing Ukraine crisis.”
They also want to encourage the City of London to invest more in Japan and less in China.
“‘Japan is a buy,’ Kishida tells City of London
May 5, 2022 at 18:35 JST
LONDON–Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday said Japan’s economy would continue to see robust growth and told an audience in London that its shift to an upgraded version of capitalism meant investors could back the „powerhouse“ with confidence.
„Japan is a buy“, he told the audience.
He told the audience at the Guildhall that Japan’s new economic policy was an upgraded form of capitalism, in which public and private sectors worked together.
He acknowledged the country would face labor challenges and said companies there needed to become more diverse. He added that the government would introduce tax incentives to encourage the private sector to boost wages, while he said further investment was needed in R&D to hit international levels.
Like countries around the world, Japan has been hit by rising energy, food and living costs that have been exacerbated in recent months by a sharp decline in the yen and the war in Ukraine.
The yen’s fall to two-decade lows would normally be a boon for in-bound travelers, but Japan, fearing COVID, has kept its borders closed to tourists.
The government recently upgraded its assessment of the economy for the first time in four months, citing an expected recovery in spending, but added a caveat that the outlook was clouded.
Kishida had been on an extended visit to Southeast Asia before he arrived in London to address the City of London and later meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
China is perceiving this angrily and is warning Asian countries to join an NATO expansion into Asia, also in light of the anniversary of NATO’s bombing of the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia. The Global Times warns of a kind of Global NATO in Asia as well:
“Asian countries warned of NATO’s global expansion as China honors people killed in 1999 bombing against former Yugoslavia
By Liu Xin and Leng Shumei Published: May 06, 2022 06:31 PM Updated: May 06, 2022 11:06 PM
Without reflecting on the disastrous results on the current Ukraine crisis, which was caused by its eastward expansion, US-led NATO is working to bring Finland and Sweden into the alliance and increase its presence in the Asia-Pacific region. As Saturday marks the day to honor martyrs killed in the NATO bombing of Chinese Embassy in the former Yugoslavia 23 years ago on May 7, the Chinese people will never forget the barbaric atrocities of NATO, and analysts warn countries especially those in Asia to keep on high alert when it comes to NATO’s expansion and confrontation.
The White House on Thursday welcomed deliberations by Finland and Sweden on potentially joining the NATO alliance, Reuters reported and called it „a development resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.“
Finland and Sweden took a major step toward joining NATO in the middle of April citing concerns of Russia’s military actions in Ukraine. However, Russia had repeatedly warned that the move is a provocation and said it would have to „rebalance the situation“ with its own measures.
With the crisis continuing in Ukraine, the US-led NATO has done nothing useful to deescalate the conflict, but to add oil to the fire by offering weapons to Ukraine continuously. To make things worse, NATO is using the opportunity to expand in Nordic countries and globally, which has raised growing concerns over security, analysts said.
It is obvious NATO is using the Ukraine crisis to seek its enlargement globally, especially in Asia or to include more topics of Asian countries, Li Kaisheng, research fellow and deputy director at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
South Korea and Japan have been chosen by NATO as a bridge to help with its expansion in Asia as they are allies of the US, the main pusher of NATO’s enlargement globally, Li said, noting that Japan has always played a crucial role in helping US‘ Indo-Pacific strategy while South Korea, after President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol takes office in May, may get even closer with NATO as he aims to enhance alliance with the US.
South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers were invited to join the high-profile NATO session in April for the first time as NATO seeks to gain cooperation from Asia to isolate Russia and pressure China over the Ukraine crisis.
South Korea’s state intelligence agency, the National Intelligence Service, said on Thursday that it has joined the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence as the first Asian member, according to Yonhap.
By cooperating with South Korea’s spy agency, the US-led NATO is attempting to turn the Northeast Asian country into a chess piece to contain China and Russia in the realm of cyber defense. It has extended its cyber defense to the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia and even the Indo-Pacific region, paving the way for the interference of Western forces in regional geopolitical affairs, according to observers.
Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Friday that the US, as the main member of NATO, expects to expand NATO’s influence in the Asian-Pacific region. But some members in the organization may not necessarily agree with the US and it is important to see how NATO deems its relations with China in the June summit.
Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, NATO is taking tougher tones against China. At the Madrid Summit in June, NATO is scheduled to finalize its Strategic Concept, which takes account of NATO’s future relations with Russia and „China’s growing influence“ on allied security.
Bringing NATO, a rather mature security alliance into Indo-Asia Pacific, will facilitate US‘ coordination of different mechanism, including the Quad and AUKUS to better contain China, Li said, warning of a possible arms race in Asia as NATO in nature is the weapon for the US to maintain its hegemony and brings no good but wars to regions, which has been proven by history and witnessed by the international community.
NATO owes debt to China. On the late night of May 7, 1999, NATO bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade with missiles during its campaign against the former Yugoslavia, killing three Chinese citizens and injuring dozens. Every year on May 7, which falls on Saturday this year, Chinese netizens commemorate martyrs and condemn the US-led NATO’s violence.
On April 4 – one day before the Tombing Sweeping Day, diplomats and working staff from Chinese Embassy in Serbia visited the old site of the Chinese Embassy to the former Yugoslavia and laid wreaths to commemorate martyrs.
At a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine crisis on Thursday, China’s permanent representative to the UN Zhang Jun said that the Chinese people never forgot the savage act and will not allow history to repeat.
At the press conference on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian also noted that NATO claims to be a defensive organization but it violated international laws to wantonly start wars in other countries and caused casualties of numerous civilians.
NATO’s five rounds of eastward enlargement didn’t make Europe any safer but planted the seeds for the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The Cold War ended a long time ago and NATO should make adjustments in accordance with modern times.
The US-led NATO should abandon the Cold War mentality, stop inciting confrontations of different groups in Europe, the Indo-Pacific and globally, and make concrete actions to promote global peace and stability, Zhao said.
Li noted that in facing with US‘ attempt to drag China into confrontations with different groups, China needs to keep strategic focus in safeguarding its core interests, including on the island of Taiwan. „We should also unite regional countries to stress cooperation.“
But like Dr. Alexander Görlach makes it clear in Focus that there are now also critical voices against Xi’s course on Russia, which the Chinese Communist Party is now articulating in the run-up to the 20th party congress:
“Not everyone in the CP is following Xi Jinping’s course The communist leadership is therefore sending tentative, critical words out into the world, which are intended to show in a gentle way that not everyone is interested in Xi Jinping’s cuddly course with Putin and that they certainly don’t want to go down with Russia. Xi Jinping wants to be proclaimed president for the third time at the National Congress of the Communist Party this fall. His fatal positioning alongside Russia and the terrible management of the Covid pandemic could throw a spanner in the works. That would indeed be good news for the world and the harassed people of Xi’s unfree China alike. In a rare move, circles in the leadership of the CCP have allowed three authors to publish opposing opinions on Xi Jinping in the journal International Politics and Society, in order to illustrate that the Chinese Communist Party still criticizes the course of the ruler.“
Just to quote a critical contribution by Dr Henry Huiyao Wang, the Founder and President of Center for China and Globalization (CCG), a leading Chinese non-governmental think tank.
“China’s foreign policy is misunderstood
China doesn’t want to forge an anti-Western alliance with Russia — but to cooperate with the West on shared interests in a multipolar world
Fifty years ago last week, President Nixon made a landmark visit to Beijing that thawed tensions with China and reshaped the geopolitics of the Cold War. After the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s had effectively turned a bipolar world order into a ‘tripolarity’, Nixon’s trip and the rapprochement it symbolised substantially altered the balance of power in the triangle of China-Soviet-US relations.
The ‘strategic triangle’ was the dominant frame through which geopolitics was understood at the height of the Cold War. It largely fell dormant with the fall of the USSR but has now been revived by some Western observers, with Putin’s Russia filling in for the Soviet Union.
This revival has been triggered by events in Ukraine and the joint statement between China and Russia on 4 February , which was seen by some as a mirror moment of Nixon’s 1972 China visit – one that today brought Beijing and Moscow together against the US. It has generated a wave of headlines in the US warning of ‘The New Axis of Autocracy’, an ‘alliance of autocracies’, and a ‘New Superpower Struggle Among US, Russia, and China’.
But whatever the Cold War echoes in the current Ukraine crisis, applying this 20th-century triangular framing to our world today is a dangerous and misguided anachronism, for three major reasons.
The multipolar world
First, it misreads China’s relations with Russia and intentions vis-à-vis the West. Ultimately, China wants to stabilise and improve ties with the US and its allies, not forge an anti-Western alliance with Russia.
The next major flaw with the triangular view is that our world is not tripolar, or indeed bipolar, but multipolar.
The 4 February statement was a commitment to work together on shared interests, not the declaration of a joint anti-Western front that some have made it out to be. China has no alliance with Russia and has never supported a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as made clear again recently by Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s call to respect the sovereignty of any country and find a solution to the Ukraine crisis through dialogue and consultation.
For all the budding talk of ties with Moscow, it is worth remembering that China’s economic interests with Russia are dwarfed by those it shares with the West. In 2021, bilateral trade between China and Russia jumped by 35 per cent to a value of $147bn. This was still less than a tenth of the combined trade with the US ($657bn) and EU ($828.1bn).
Russia may be a big fish militarily, but it is an economic minnow in long-term structural decline, with a GDP barely larger than that of the EU’s fifth-largest economy, Spain. It is not in China’s interests to open up a long-term confrontation against the West with such a partner and there is no intention of doing so.
The EU’s quest for strategic autonomy
The next major flaw with the triangular view is that our world is not tripolar, or indeed bipolar, but multipolar. The Cold War framing leaves out important geopolitical players, not least the EU, which has major interests at stake in Ukraine and is pursuing an increasingly independent foreign policy.
True, the EU has traditionally punched below its weight strategically and the Ukraine crisis has temporarily reinvigorated the transatlantic alliance. But the EU no longer wishes to be hemmed to the US position and appears to be at the dawn of a new political era in which it will carve out its own global role.
There is a danger that framing the world as a strategic triangle of competing powers will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
With Angela Merkel gone and Germany’s new chancellor Olaf Scholz still finding his feet, Emmanuel Macron is set to be the EU’s dominant voice for some time to come, provided he wins the upcoming presidential election in April as expected.
The French president is a strong proponent of ‘strategic autonomy’ for the EU and has made it clear the EU should not gang up on China with the US. In a call with President Xi Jinping on 16 February, the leaders pledged that China and the EU will work together on shared interests like trade, the delayed China-EU investment agreement (opposed by the US), and climate change.
This is not another Cold War
The issue of climate brings us to the third and perhaps the most important reason Cold War framings are an unhelpful way to view power and security in the 21st century.
In an age of global threats that cannot be overcome by brute force or any country acting alone, to focus solely on ‘power over’ other countries is to neglect the more important dimension of ‘power with’ other countries to tackle our shared challenges. The need to consider power in both its competitive and cooperative forms should be clear as we continue to face a global pandemic and looming climate emergency.
There is a danger that framing the world as a strategic triangle of competing powers will become a self-fulfilling prophecy and lock us into a zero-sum view of our interests, when in fact the biggest threats we face come not from other states, but from a collective failure to cooperate on our shared challenges.
Fifty years ago, the leaders of China and America were able to put pragmatism over ideology to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough that reshaped the Cold War triangle and served the interests of both countries.
But reviving this outdated view of the world half a century later will only push China and Russia closer together, raising the risk of great-power conflict, and hampering our ability to work together on existential threats that go far beyond Ukraine.
Or another critical comment:
“Possible Outcomes of the Russo-Ukrainian War and China’s Choice
Hu Wei is the vice-chairman of the Public Policy Research Center of the Counselor’s Office of the State Council, the chairman of Shanghai Public Policy Research Association, the chairman of the Academic Committee of the Chahar Institute, a professor, and a doctoral supervisor. To read more by Hu, click here to read his article on “How did Deng Xiaoping coordinate domestic and international affairs?”
Written on March 5, 2022. Translated by Jiaqi Liu on March 12, 2022.
|The Russo-Ukrainian War is the most severe geopolitical conflict since World War II and will result in far greater global consequences than September 11 attacks. At this critical moment, China needs to accurately analyze and assess the direction of the war and its potential impact on the international landscape. At the same time, in order to strive for a relatively favorable external environment, China needs to respond flexibly and make strategic choices that conform to its long-term interests. Russia’s ‘special military operation’ against Ukraine has caused great controvsery in China, with its supporters and opponents being divided into two implacably opposing sides. This article does not represent any party and, for the judgment and reference of the highest decision-making level in China, this article conducts an objective analysis on the possible war consequences along with their corresponding countermeasure options. I. Predicting the Future of the Russo-Ukrainian War 1. Vladimir Putin may be unable to achieve his expected goals, which puts Russia in a tight spot. The purpose of Putin’s attack was to completely solve the Ukrainian problem and divert attention from Russia’s domestic crisis by defeating Ukraine with a blitzkrieg, replacing its leadership, and cultivating a pro-Russian government. However, the blitzkrieg failed, and Russia is unable to support a protracted war and its associated high costs. Launching a nuclear war would put Russia on the opposite side of the whole world and is therefore unwinnable. The situations both at home and abroad are also increasingly unfavorable. Even if the Russian army were to occupy Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and set up a puppet government at a high cost, this would not mean final victory. At this point, Putin’s best option is to end the war decently through peace talks, which requires Ukraine to make substantial concessions. However, what is not attainable on the battlefield is also difficult to obtain at the negotiating table. In any case, this military action constitutes an irreversible mistake. 2. The conflict may escalate further, and the West’s eventual involvement in the war cannot be ruled out. While the escalation of the war would be costly, there is a high probability that Putin will not give up easily given his character and power. The Russo-Ukrainian war may escalate beyond the scope and region of Ukraine, and may even include the possibility of a nuclear strike. Once this happens, the U.S. and Europe cannot stay aloof from the conflict, thus triggering a world war or even a nuclear war. The result would be a catastrophe for humanity and a showdown between the United States and Russia. This final confrontation, given that Russia’s military power is no match for NATO’s, would be even worse for Putin. 3. Even if Russia manages to seize Ukraine in a desperate gamble, it is still a political hot potato. Russia would thereafter carry a heavy burden and become overwhelmed. Under such circumstances, no matter whether Volodymyr Zelensky is alive or not, Ukraine will most likely set up a government-in-exile to confront Russia in the long term. Russia will be subject both to Western sanctions and rebellion within the territory of Ukraine. The battle lines will be drawn very long. The domestic economy will be unsustainable and will eventually be dragged down. This period will not exceed a few years. 4. The political situation in Russia may change or be disintegrated at the hands of the West. After Putin’s blitzkrieg failed, the hope of Russia’s victory is slim and Western sanctions have reached an unprecedented degree. As people’s livelihoods are severely affected and as anti-war and anti-Putin forces gather, the possibility of a political mutiny in Russia cannot be ruled out. With Russia’s economy on the verge of collapse, it would be difficult for Putin to prop up the perilous situation even without the loss of the Russo-Ukrainian war. If Putin were to be ousted from power due to civil strife, coup d’état, or another reason, Russia would be even less likely to confront the West. It would surely succumb to the West, or even be further dismembered, and Russia’s status as a great power would come to an end. II. Analysis of the Impact of Russo-Ukrainian war On International Landscape 1. The United States would regain leadership in the Western world, and the West would become more united. At present, public opinion believes that the Ukrainian war signifies a complete collapse of U.S. hegemony, but the war would in fact bring France and Germany, both of which wanted to break away from the U.S., back into the NATO defense framework, destroying Europe’s dream to achieve independent diplomacy and self-defense. Germany would greatly increase its military budget; Switzerland, Sweden, and other countries would abandon their neutrality. With Nord Stream 2 put on hold indefinitely, Europe’s reliance on US natural gas will inevitably increase. The US and Europe would form a closer community of shared future, and American leadership in the Western world will rebound. 2. The “Iron Curtain” would fall again not only from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, but also to the final confrontation between the Western-dominated camp and its competitors. The West will draw the line between democracies and authoritarian states, defining the divide with Russia as a struggle between democracy and dictatorship. The new Iron Curtain will no longer be drawn between the two camps of socialism and capitalism, nor will it be confined to the Cold War. It will be a life-and-death battle between those for and against Western democracy. The unity of the Western world under the Iron Curtain will have a siphon effect on other countries: the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy will be consolidated, and other countries like Japan will stick even closer to the U.S., which will form an unprecedentedly broad democratic united front. 3. The power of the West will grow significantly, NATO will continue to expand, and U.S. influence in the non-Western world will increase. After the Russo-Ukrainian War, no matter how Russia achieves its political transformation, it will greatly weaken the anti-Western forces in the world. The scene after the 1991 Soviet and Eastern upheavals may repeat itself: theories on “the end of ideology” may reappear, the resurgence of the third wave of democratization will lose momentum, and more third world countries will embrace the West. The West will possess more “hegemony” both in terms of military power and in terms of values and institutions, its hard power and soft power will reach new heights. 4. China will become more isolated under the established framework. For the above reasons, if China does not take proactive measures to respond, it will encounter further containment from the US and the West. Once Putin falls, the U.S. will no longer face two strategic competitors but only have to lock China in strategic containment. Europe will further cut itself off from China; Japan will become the anti-China vanguard; South Korea will further fall to the U.S.; Taiwan will join the anti-China chorus, and the rest of the world will have to choose sides under herd mentality. China will not only be militarily encircled by the U.S., NATO, the QUAD, and AUKUS, but also be challenged by Western values and systems. III. China’s Strategic Choice 1. China cannot be tied to Putin and needs to be cut off as soon as possible. In the sense that an escalation of conflict between Russia and the West helps divert U.S. attention from China, China should rejoice with and even support Putin, but only if Russia does not fall. Being in the same boat with Putin will impact China should he lose power. Unless Putin can secure victory with China’s backing, a prospect which looks bleak at the moment, China does not have the clout to back Russia. The law of international politics says that there are “no eternal allies nor perpetual enemies,” but “our interests are eternal and perpetual.” Under current international circumstances, China can only proceed by safeguarding its own best interests, choosing the lesser of two evils, and unloading the burden of Russia as soon as possible. At present, it is estimated that there is still a window period of one or two weeks before China loses its wiggle room. China must act decisively. 2. China should avoid playing both sides in the same boat, give up being neutral, and choose the mainstream position in the world. At present, China has tried not to offend either side and walked a middle ground in its international statements and choices, including abstaining from the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly votes. However, this position does not meet Russia’s needs, and it has infuriated Ukraine and its supporters as well as sympathizers, putting China on the wrong side of much of the world. In some cases, apparent neutrality is a sensible choice, but it does not apply to this war, where China has nothing to gain. Given that China has always advocated respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity, it can avoid further isolation only by standing with the majority of the countries in the world. This position is also conducive to the settlement of the Taiwan issue. 3. China should achieve the greatest possible strategic breakthrough and not be further isolated by the West. Cutting off from Putin and giving up neutrality will help build China’s international image and ease its relations with the U.S. and the West. Though difficult and requiring great wisdom, it is the best option for the future. The view that a geopolitical tussle in Europe triggered by the war in Ukraine will significantly delay the U.S. strategic shift from Europe to the Indo-Pacific region cannot be treated with excessive optimism. There are already voices in the U.S. that Europe is important, but China is more so, and the primary goal of the U.S. is to contain China from becoming the dominant power in the Indo-Pacific region. Under such circumstances, China’s top priority is to make appropriate strategic adjustments accordingly, to change the hostile American attitudes towards China, and to save itself from isolation. The bottom line is to prevent the U.S. and the West from imposing joint sanctions on China. 4. China should prevent the outbreak of world wars and nuclear wars and make irreplaceable contributions to world peace. As Putin has explicitly requested Russia’s strategic deterrent forces to enter a state of special combat readiness, the Russo-Ukrainian war may spiral out of control. A just cause attracts much support; an unjust one finds little. If Russia instigates a world war or even a nuclear war, it will surely risk the world’s turmoil. To demonstrate China’s role as a responsible major power, China not only cannot stand with Putin, but also should take concrete actions to prevent Putin’s possible adventures. China is the only country in the world with this capability, and it must give full play to this unique advantage. Putin’s departure from China’s support will most likely end the war, or at least not dare to escalate the war. As a result, China will surely win widespread international praise for maintaining world peace, which may help China prevent isolation but also find an opportunity to improve its relations with the United States and the West.|
Although the critics judge the effects and consequences of the Russia-Ukraine war differently, they do not seem to consider Xi’s current Russia policy useful, albeit from different perspectives. However, it is also questionable whether such voices would prevail, and whether Xi would even be overthrown at the party congress. But perhaps a partial course change can be effected