Thursday, March 24, 2016

Power Politics in (Eur)Asia

The most salient feature of current Chinese foreign policy is the manner in which relations with the US are souring over maritime disputes in Asia, while those with some European Union members are blossoming. There is an inherent tension in how China approaches the broader Western community of states, which can be described as 'geopolitics versus geo-economics'. However, differentiating between the medium and long term is necessary, as there is speculation that the ongoing slowdown in the Chinese economy would foster domestic instability in case China falls into the 'middle income trap' that plagues many developing countries. It is also uncertain whether the Chinese military can count on receiving double-digit budget increases every year, especially once competition for funding increases from the internal security agencies.
This chapter provides a pan-optic view of great power relations in Eurasia since 2014, before focusing on their local impact in the South and East China Seas. It will first outline how Russian actions in Eastern Europe have overshadowed similar Chinese tactics in East Asia, and driven Moscow into a state of quasi-dependency on Beijing that will work in the latter's favor even as China bolsters its international standing without backing down on maximalist maritime claims. Thereafter, the chapter will turn to the claims themselves and elaborate on their present trajectory. Lastly, the chapter will discuss how the United States and its allies are preparing to deal with an anticipated increase in Chinese assertiveness.

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