Belt And Road Initiative
In Western capitals, shifting attitudes on China
Washington and Europe’s major capitals are taking a more critical view of China, and concern about the implications of Chinese investment is on the rise. The question is whether these governments can align their policies to formulate a coordinated response to the challenges posed by China’s rise. The international rules-based order is at stake.
Greater Eurasia – a Kremlin pipe dream
The Kremlin’s vision for a “Greater Eurasia” partnership with China is often held up as Russia’s most important geostrategic priority. According to this concept, the two countries would control a powerful bloc of non-Western states to challenge American hegemony. However, the two have vastly different goals, and it is becoming clearer that China would become the dominant member of the initiative.
ASEAN: A nexus of conflict and prosperity
For the first time since the Vietnam War, Southeast Asia has become a cockpit for great-power rivalries. China’s inexorable rise has split the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which had become a regional broker for peace and prosperity. The ASEAN countries have the demographics and infrastructure to leapfrog into the ranks of the advanced economies, but everything depends on whether China’s growing dominance can be accommodated peacefully.
The strategic implications of China’s Arctic Road
China has proposed building a link to Western Europe through the Arctic as part of its huge Belt and Road Initiative. Beijing insists its intentions are purely economic and scientific, but such a pathway dominated by China would tip the strategic balance in the region. So far, the Western response has been mixed, but as Chinese influence grows, so will concerns about its potential role in the Arctic.
A free and open Indo-Pacific: Regional and global implications
One of the techniques devised for managing China’s ascent and its destabilizing impact is the concept of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” This idea, embraced by the governments of Japan, India and the United States, includes military, economic, political, legal and diplomatic dimensions. Some argue it is a smoke screen to mask U.S. disengagement, while others maintain it is a Japanese-inspired effort to enlist American help.
GIS Dossier: The South China Sea
The South China Sea is critical for global trade and security. Beijing’s moves to extend its influence throughout the sea have heightened tensions, risking conflict with neighbors and the United States. China’s global position, economic power and energy riches are all at stake. This survey presents GIS experts’ analyses and predictions for this crucial body of water.
2018 Global Outlook: World trade
After a surprisingly good 2017, world trade should do even better this year. But that doesn’t mean that Europe and the United States can afford to be passive. China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which will turn most of Asia into a privileged trade zone, demands a choice – either join the initiative or promote free trade outside it. For now, the West is doing neither.
Djibouti remains well-positioned, despite uncertainty
Geography is Djibouti’s key asset. Its strategic location in the Horn of Africa has lured global powers to establish military bases there, bolstering its economy and security. How much the country will continue to benefit will depend on regional stability, especially in Ethiopia and Somalia, as well as ethnic tensions domestically.
China’s soft landing in the Balkans
In the next few years China will be opening an investment bridgehead in the Balkans. As other powers such as Russia and Turkey have increased their geopolitical presence in the region, China’s expansion will be even stronger – but different in kind because it will be a “soft,” mostly economic penetration. The push will be all the more powerful if the European Union neglects the region, as seems probable with its decision to delay the next round of accession until 2025.
How domestic instability shapes the power play over Myanmar
Competing forces are pulling Myanmar in different directions. China is deeply involved in the country's politics and economy, while the West is withdrawing after several years of engagement. ASEAN, Japan and India are interested in business opportunities and countering Chinese influence. How these factors affect Myanmar will be determined by the country's internal politics, including the interplay between the military and civilian authorities, and whether it can peacefully resolve its ethnic conflicts.