While American analysts are looking for a military victory over China, EU experts are planning to “keep up” with China, not getting involved in a new war.
Known American geo-strategist, senior researcher at the Center for New American Security Robert D. Kaplan published an article A New Cold War Has Begun (“New Cold War Began”) on January 7 in which Foreign Policy Magazine predicted that the US-China geopolitical opposition would drag on for decades and will be not only commercial, but also military.
Robert Kaplan believes that ‘regardless of whether this or that trade deal is concluded between the leaders of China and America smiling at the camera, the new cold war is of a long-term nature.’ The contradictions between the US and China are fundamental, they can never be mitigated, and no negotiations can resolve them, the author writes.
And he continues: “Since relations between the United States and China are the most important in the world — with many second and third order effects — the cold war between them becomes a negative organizing principle of geopolitics that … will have to be taken for granted.”
Kaplan calls the arena of military confrontation between the United States and China rivalry for dominance in the South China Sea, Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific, as well as cyber war, which, in his opinion, China is already leading against America.
Any trade negotiations with China are doomed to failure, Kaplan believes, because of how China conducts business: ‘… theft of intellectual property, the acquisition of sensitive technologies through the repurchase of business … currency manipulation and so on.’ No trade negotiations will ever change these fundamentals of the Chinese business model. The economic tension between China and the United States will never disappear, it incites military conflict.
A day after the Robert Kaplan article was published on the website of the Institute of Modern Warfare at the American Military Academy of West Point, an article was published by military analyst, founder of The Company Leader, devoted to the study of combat tactics, Dag Meyer (Tracing the Contours of the New Cold War) “Tracing the contours of the new cold war”).
Doug Meyer, not denying the fact of the beginning of the Cold War between the two leading economic powers of our time, is trying to find an answer to the question of whether the United States and China can avoid the “Fukidida trap”. The ancient Greek historian wrote that the fear of Sparta in the face of the rapid growth of the power of Athens was the cause of the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens.
In the interpretation of Harvard University professor Graham Allison, the “trap Fukidida” is the fear of the dominant power over the rise of the new power. The Chinese strategy of the “new cold war,” Dag Meyer writes, is to calmly build up power, reaching a position in which America will never dare to challenge China. China will gradually change the balance of power between the United States and China.
Essentially, the American military analyst’s interpretation of the Chinese geopolitical strategy goes back to Fukidid’s alternative view of Sun Tzu’s teaching that the conflict encompasses a multidimensional continuum, and the strategist’s highest skill is not to organize a great military victory, but to “conquer the enemy without a fight” .
The American strategy of network-centric wars, the main concept of which is “operations based on a system effect” (Effect Based Operations), as noted by well-known military analyst Hrachya Arzumanyan, is built on the principles of Aristotle, congenial to the stratagem Sun Tzu, but the coming to power of Donald Trump marked a departure from this strategy in favor of the primitive “tyrannical imposition of the external high will of the United States” on their geopolitical rivals.
Returning to the question of whether war with China is inevitable, Doug Meyer comes to the conclusion that the question to some extent does not make sense, since modern wars are fought not only by traditional but also by irregular methods, including trade wars. This prompts to admit that ‘the war between the US and China … is already underway.’
However, if the United States considers itself in a state of new [cold war] with China, then the European Union is concerned only with economic and technological competition with the PRC. In mid-December 2018, the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) published a joint report with the German Institute of Chinese Studies Mercator on the Chinese strategy for innovative breakthroughs.
The document is interesting because, coinciding with American analysts in evaluations of the Chinese strategy of geopolitical expansion, Europeans are barred from participating in the new [cold] war and are aimed only at success in economic competition with China.
However, European analysts are concerned that China began to view Europe as a “technological piggy bank.” Beijing uses various methods, the report says, to gain access to European technologies that it needs for development, including investments in European companies, cooperation agreements with European organizations, cyber espionage, luring ‘European talents’, organizing joint ventures with European companies, wishing to work in the Chinese market.
The European authorities have recently begun to thwart China’s attempts to gain access to the latest technological developments of the European Union. So, the purchase in 2008 of the British Dynex Semiconductor by the Chinese railway company Zhouzhou CRRC Times Electric enabled China to get access to the latest electromagnetic catapults technology for the new Chinese aircraft carrier.
In 2003, China became a partner in the project of the European global navigation system Galileo, having invested 200 million euros in this project. In 2007, the European Union banned China from participating in Galileo, but China has already gained access to a number of innovations, integrating them into its Beidou navigation system.
Now the EU has firmly blocked China’s access to its advanced developments. For example, last year, for national security reasons, the German government banned the Chinese company Yantai Taihai Group from buying the German company Leifeld Metal Spinning, which manufactures metalworking machines for the aerospace industry. The European Commission is preparing to confront China in the field of cyber espionage.
However, British and German analysts believe that EU competition with China is not a zero-sum game, where only one side wins. They recommend that the EU leadership and the governments of the EU member states invest in the development of their technologies, including dual-use, without trying to blindly copy China’s economic strategies. European states should use their own competitive advantages.
Moreover, “where strategic interests, security or defense interests are not threatened, the European personnel reserve should look for opportunities to cooperate with China,” write the authors of the IISS report and Mekator, noting that Europe needs to “go to keeping up with China. ”