A three-pillar strategic framework for competing with China

China is not yet a military challenge as Russia is (or the Soviet Union was during the Cold War), but neither is it simply an economic competitor. In this article, Peter Watkins introduces a series of blog posts that LSE Business Review will be publishing along the next couple of weeks. The series summarises the new report ‘Protect, Constrain, Contest’, by LSE IDEAS, the foreign policy think tank at LSE. In the report, academics and China watchers set out the important policies needed to put Western relationships with China on a firmer and more manageable footing.

The past year has seen a growing realisation in the traditional “West” – including the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom – of the challenge posed by China. There was unease before, particularly in defence and security circles in the U.S. But the dominant narrative, especially in the EU and the UK, was of China as an economic opportunity. Although few Western politicians simplistically “blamed” China for causing the coronavirus pandemic, the latter helped crystallise the change in tone. Commentators have generally agreed that the pandemic would accelerate existing geo-economic and geopolitical trends (including the shift in economic power from the Euro-Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific). Additionally, the Chinese authorities’ handling of the initial outbreak in China and their subsequent behaviour towards Australia and Hong Kong highlighted the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership’s nationalistic and authoritarian instincts and values.

China is not yet a military challenge in the same way as Russia (or the Soviet Union was during the Cold War). But neither is it simply an economic competitor. It is something in-between that conventional Western analytical and policy frameworks struggle to define. There are three interlinked elements:

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Πηγή: blogs.lse.ac.uk

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