Tag Archives: partnerships

Asian partnerships offer double-hedge for European Grand Strategy


From Wall Street Journal article “China Sees Itself at Center of New Asian Order”, 9 November 2024 (click for link)

There is a lot of thought going into the need for Europe to have a grand strategy. Some of it is very good (link). Here is a simple suggestion:

A: What do Europeans want? Safety and prosperity.

B: Europe’s only real security threat? Russia. The main driver of global prosperity? Asia, centred on China.

C: So Europe should (i) partner with China on trade to build a strategic hedge against Russia, and (ii) partner with Indo-Pacific powers to insure against dependence on China.

What would that look like?

(i) Partner with China to balance Russia. China is countering the US Pivot with its two silk roads (link, link), and cooperating with this plan represents a golden opportunity for Europe to kill two birds with one stone. First, it offers a way to lock in trade interdependence with China. Second, it offers a basis for strategic cooperation that will create a balance against Europe’s only major security threat – Russia. So Europe should pour diplomatic, economic resources into partnering with China to establish the silk road around Russia and to develop market and strategic opportunities in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East (link here for ideas). After all, since the whole purpose of the silk route is to connect China and Europe, this is the most natural basis for our common interest. The fact that it offers a chance to drive a wedge between China and Russia is a bonus in terms of European security (link).

(ii) Partner with Indo-Pacific powers to encourage peaceful growth in the region, and to insure against the risk of an all-powerful China becoming a threat to regional peace and global prosperity. While Europe wants a peaceful and prosperous relationship with China, it would not be in Europe’s longer term interests to see China turn East and South East Asia into a Sino-centric block. European prosperity is increasingly dependent on on the health not just of China’s economy, but of the economies of the whole Asian region. Currently the most likely source of conflict – and threat to continued prosperity – in Asia is rivalry in the maritime sphere. A quadrilateral alliance (made up of the United States, Japan, Australia and India) is already taking shape to prevent Chinese naval hegemony at sea. It helps that these countries  broadly share the same set of values as Europe. If China’s neighbours continue to feel intimidated, then this alliance will be supported by the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. No matter how far and how fast China rises, it would be futile to oppose such a coalition. If European diplomacy, technology and naval forces are put in the service of this coalition to support freedom of navigation and uphold UNCLOS then it will support the international order and prosperity in Asia, and provide a hedge against the possibility that China might be tempted to do anything that threatens global free trade and prosperity. Europe’s message to China should be ‘we welcome your return to great power status and want to trade with you, but we stand by the rules based order of international relations, and we will pay the price to uphold it’.

A more developed version of this idea was posted at the website European Geostrategy here:

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NATO and Asia – don’t underestimate Article 4.

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 12.37.17Carnegie Europe has posted a new discussion piece on its ‘Strategic Europe‘ blog, in which Karl-Heinz Kamp, (research director of the NATO Defense College in Rome) says:

NATO needs to follow the US pivot to Asia

As for how, Karl-Heniz has the following ‘big hand, small map’-type suggestions:

“First, NATO has to Continue reading

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Some views on what Obama’s Asia Pivot means for Europe

Sir Malcom Rifkind, (a former British Foreign Secretary)  writes in ‘The Diplomat’ that ‘while the United States’ “pivot” is welcomed by much of Asia, it is causing concern to the nations of Western Europe’. How does he think Europe should react?

He recommends three priorities for Europeans –

  1. Do more for their own security (through increased contributions to NATO and interoperability)
  2. Do some of their own ‘outreach’ to Asia – but his examples are only of economic development  and trade initiatives.
  3. Be happy the US is ‘back’ in Asia because we can ride on their coat-tails.

Considering his present role (chairman of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee), these three seem a bit meagre. (1) is old wine in new bottles. The UK has been playing this tune since before the pivot was a twinkle in Obama’s eye. (2) and (3) are lacking punch in security or diplomatic terms.

Could it be a simple matter of that famous UK Conservative party ‘euro-scepticism’? Continue reading

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