For more than three-quarters of a century, the United States has played an outsized, constructive role in the world. To be sure, there have been major errors, including the Vietnam War and the 2003 Iraq War, but the US got it right far more often than not.
PacNet #7 – Dealing with Increased Chinese Aggressiveness – PART ONE
The following are some of the key findings and recommendations from the August 2022 US-Taiwan Deterrence and Defense Dialogue. PacNet 7 provides a summary of the dialogue. The full report, with expanded key findings and recommendations can be found here.
Taiwan is under attack by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) politically, economically, psychologically, and militarily—the latter through more aggressive Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) gray zone military operations short of actual direct conflict. This multidimensional threat requires a multidimensional response in ways that complement and enhance military deterrence. PRC behavior represents a global—and not just a Taiwan or US—problem which demands a global response.
DUISBURG, Germany — Suad Durakovic, the owner of a truck driving school on the outskirts of the western German city of Duisburg, made it into Chinese newspapers in 2019 by testifying that Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative had triggered a local logistics industry boom.
Today, his business benefits from a shortage of qualified truckers, but not because of China’s global infrastructure development strategy.
“The Silk Road has not developed for us,” Durakovic told Nikkei Asia. “First it was COVID, then it was the Ukraine war, so the boom is no longer about Silk Road logistics.”
Duisburg, a city of half a million people, is located in Germany’s industrial heartland at the junction of the Rhine and Ruhr rivers. A downturn in the country’s steel and coal industries in the 1990s and early 2000s battered its economy.
But the city found a savior in Chinese President Xi Jinping, who visited Duisburg in 2014 to officially make its inland port Europe’s main Belt and Road hub. While this fueled anticipation of a new heyday, recent events suggest the prospects are dimming.
Much of this stems from the Ukraine war and Germany’s awkward relationship with China.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz was the first European leader to visit Beijing since Xi secured a third term as party leader at the Communist Party Congress in October. But German attitudes have soured recently over China’s cozy relationship with Russia, Taiwan and human rights, as well as its growing trade deficit with the world’s second-biggest economy.
For many citizens, the American dream has been downsized. In recent decades, the United States has ceased to be the world’s workshop and become increasingly reliant on importing goods from abroad. Since 1998, the widening U.S. trade deficit has cost the country five million well-paying manufacturing jobs and led to the closure of nearly 70,000 factories. Small towns have been hollowed out and communities destroyed. Society has grown more unequal as wealth has been concentrated in major coastal cities and former industrial regions have been abandoned. As it has become harder for Americans without a college degree to reach the middle class, the withering of social mobility has stoked anger, resentment, and distrust. The loss of manufacturing has hurt not only the economy but also American democracy.
China now is attempting to expand its control to the southernmost extent of its nine-dash-line claim in the South China Sea, in waters ever closer to Indonesian and Malaysian shores. This area of the South China Sea, spanning from Indonesia’s Natuna Islands to the South Luconia Shoals, has greater strategic importance than the Spratly or Paracel Island chains farther to the north. Whereas the Spratlys have for centuries been regarded as “dangerous ground” and commercial mariners have avoided them, the vital sea lines of communication (SLOCs) connecting the Pacific and Indian Oceans flow through this part of the southern South China Sea. Therefore, these areas are far more vital to international commerce and navigation than the dangerous grounds closer to China’s Spratly Islands outposts.
Naval War College Press
Newport, Rhode Island
China Maritime Studies, China, South China Sea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Expansion
Bentley, Scott, “The Maritime Fulcrum of the Indo-Pacific: Indonesia and Malaysia Respond to China’s Creeping Expansion in the South China Sea” (2023). CMSI Red Books, Study No. 17.
Actually, there is a global energy crisis. From Indonesia to the UK and Peru, people across the globe have taken their anger to the streets. As many as 92 countries witnessed protests against high fuel prices between January and September 2022. These include developed European countries like France, Spain and the UK.
Biden wasn’t initially sold on sending the tanks, despite pressure to do so to give cover to Germany to send Ukraine some Leopard 2 tanks, the officials said. He warmed to the idea after Secretary of State Antony Blinken presented him with potential solutions to an issue that was very publicly exposing divisions within the U.S.-European alliance, the officials said.