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Mostrando postagens com marcador new cold war. Mostrar todas as postagens
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terça-feira, 30 de junho de 2020

The New Cold War USA-China - Stephen Walt (Foreign Policy)

Everyone Misunderstands the Reason for the U.S.-China Cold War
The left says it’s U.S. arrogance. The right says it’s Chinese malevolence. Both are wrong.
FOREIGN POLICY, JUNE 30, 2020, 11:02 AM

The United States is pretty polarized these days, but nearly everyone seems to agree that China is a big problem. The Trump administration has been at odds with China on trade issues since day one, and its 2017 National Security Strategy labeled China a “revisionist power” and major strategic rival. (President Donald Trump himself seems to have been willing to give Beijing a free pass if it would help him get reelected, but that’s just a sign of his own venality and inconsistent with the administration’s other policies.) Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden may have started his campaign in 2019 downplaying fears that China was going to “eat our lunch,” but his campaign has grown increasingly hawkish over time.
Not surprisingly, hard-line Republican members of Congress like Josh Hawley and Matt Gaetz have been sounding the alarm as well, while progressives and moderates warn of a “new cold war” and call for renewed dialogue to manage the relationship. Despite their differing prescriptions, all of these groups see the state of Sino-American relations as of vital importance.
Unfortunately, discussion of the Sino-American rivalry is also succumbing to a familiar tendency to attribute conflict to our opponents’ internal characteristics: their ruling ideology, domestic institutions, or the personalities of particular leaders. This tendency has a long history in the United States: The country entered World War I in order to defeat German militarism and make the world safe for democracy, and later it fought World War II to defeat fascism. At the dawn of the Cold War, George Kennan’s infamous “X” article (“The Sources of Soviet Conduct”) argued that Moscow had a relentless and internally motivated urge to expand, driven by the need for foreign enemies to justify the Communist Party’s authoritarian rule. Appeasement would not work, he argued, and the only choice was to contain the Soviet Union until its internal system “mellowed.” More recently, U.S. leaders blamed America’s problems with Iraq on Saddam Hussein’s recklessly evil ambitions and portrayed Iran’s leaders as irrational religious fanatics whose foreign-policy behavior is driven solely by ideological beliefs.
In all of these conflicts, trouble arose from the basic nature of these adversaries, not from the circumstances they found themselves in or the inherently competitive nature of international politics itself.
And so it is with China today. Former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster maintains that China is a threat “because its leaders are promoting a closed, authoritarian model as an alternative to democratic governance and free-market economics.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agrees: In his view, relations have deteriorated because “it’s a different Chinese Communist Party today than it was 10 years ago. … This is a Chinese Communist Party that has come to view itself as intent upon the destruction of Western ideas, Western democracies, Western values.” According to Sen. Marco Rubio: “Chinese Communist Party power serves no purpose but to strengthen the party’s rule and to spread its influence around the world. … China is an untrustworthy partner in any endeavor whether it’s a nation-state project, an industrial capacity, or financial integration.” The only way to avoid a conflict, Vice President Mike Pence said, is for China’s rulers to “change course and return to the spirit of ‘reform and opening’ and greater freedom.”
Even far more sophisticated China watchers, such as former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, attribute much of China’s increasingly assertive stance to President Xi Jinping’s centralization of power, and Rudd sees this behavior as “an expression of Xi Jinping’s personal leadership temperament, which is impatient with the incremental bureaucratism endemic to the Chinese system, and with which the international community had become relaxed, comfortable, and thoroughly accustomed.” The implication is that a different Chinese leader would be a much less serious problem. Similarly, Timothy Garton Ash believes that the “primary cause of this new cold war is the turn taken by the Chinese communist party leadership under Xi Jinping since 2012: more oppressive at home, more aggressive abroad.” Other observers point to rising nationalism (whether spontaneous or government-sponsored) as another key factor in China’s greater foreign-policy assertiveness.
Relying on categories originally conceived by the late Kenneth Waltz, international relations scholars variously refer to such accounts as “unit-level,” “reductionist,” or “second-image” explanations. The many variations within this broad family of theories all view a country’s foreign-policy behavior as primarily the result of its internal characteristics. Thus, U.S. foreign policy is sometimes attributed to its democratic system, liberal values, or capitalist economic order, just as the behavior of other states is said to derive from the nature of their domestic regime, ruling ideology, “strategic culture,” or leaders’ personalities.
Explanations based on domestic characteristics are appealing in part because they seem so simple and straightforward: Peace-loving democracies act that way because they are (supposedly) based on norms of tolerance; by contrast, aggressors act aggressively because they are based on domination or coercion or because there are fewer constraints on what leaders can do.
Focusing on the internal characteristics of other states is also tempting because it absolves us of responsibility for conflict and allows us to pin the blame on others. If we are on the side of the angels and our own political system is based on sound and just principles, then when trouble arises, it must be because Bad States or Bad Leaders are out there doing Bad Things. This perspective also provides a ready solution: Get rid of those Bad States or those Bad Leaders! Demonizing one’s opponents is also a time-honored way of rallying public support in the face of an international challenge, and that requires highlighting the negative qualities that are supposedly making one’s rivals act as they are.
Unfortunately, pinning most of the blame for conflict on an opponent’s domestic characteristics is also dangerous. For starters, if conflict is due primarily to the nature of the opposing regime(s), then the only long-term solution is to overthrow them. Accommodation, mutual coexistence, or even extensive cooperation on matters of mutual interest are for the most part ruled out, with potentially catastrophic consequences. When rivals see the nature of the other side as a threat in itself, a struggle to the death becomes the only alternative.
What unit-level explanations either overlook or downplay are the broader structural factors that have made Sino-American rivalry inevitable. First and foremost, the two most powerful countries in the international system are overwhelmingly likely to be at odds with each other. Because each is the other’s greatest potential threat, they will inevitably eye each other warily, go to considerable lengths to reduce the other’s ability to threaten their core interests, and constantly look for ways to gain an advantage, if only to ensure that the other side does not gain an advantage over them.
Even if it were possible (or worth the risk), internal changes in either the United States or China are unlikely to eliminate these incentives (or at least not anytime soon). Each country is trying—with varying degrees of skill and success—to avoid being in a position where the other can threaten its security, prosperity, or domestic way of life. And because neither can be completely sure what the other might do in the future—a reality amply demonstrated by the erratic course of U.S. foreign policy in recent years—both are actively competing for power and influence in a variety of domains.
This troubling situation is exacerbated by the incompatibility of their respective strategic objectives, which derive in part from geography and from the legacies of the past century. Quite understandably, China’s leaders would like to live in as secure a neighborhood as possible, for the same reasons that the United States formulated and eventually enforced the Monroe Doctrine in the Western Hemisphere. Beijing need not impose one-party state capitalist regimes around its periphery; it just wants all of its neighbors to be mindful of its interests and does not want any of them to pose a significant threat. Toward that end, it would like to push the United States out of the region so that it no longer has to worry as much about U.S. military power and so that its neighbors cannot count on American help. This goal is hardly mystifying or irrational: Would any great power be happy if the world’s most powerful country had significant military forces arrayed nearby and had close military alliances with many of its immediate neighbors?
The United States has good reasons to remain in Asia, however. As John Mearsheimer and I have explained elsewhere, preventing China from establishing a dominant position in Asia strengthens U.S. security by forcing China to focus more attention closer to home and making it harder (though of course not impossible) for China to project power elsewhere in the world (including areas closer to the United States itself). This strategic logic would still apply if China were to liberalize or if America were to adopt Chinese-style state capitalism. The result, unfortunately, is a zero-sum conflict: Neither side can get what it wants without depriving the other.
Thus, the roots of the present Sino-American rivalry have less to do with particular leaders or regime types and more to do with the distribution of power and the particular strategies that the two sides are pursuing. This is not to say that domestic politics or individual leadership do not matter at all, either in influencing the intensity of the competition or the skill with which each side wages it. Some leaders are more (or less) risk acceptant, and Americans are currently getting (another) painful demonstration of the harm that incompetent leadership can inflict. But the more important point is that new leaders or profound domestic changes are not going to alter the inherently competitive nature of U.S.-Chinese relations.
From this perspective, both progressives and hard-liners in the United States are getting it wrong. The former believe that China poses at most a modest threat to U.S. interests and that some combination of accommodation and skillful diplomacy can eliminate most if not all of the friction and head off a new cold war. I’m all for skillful diplomacy, but I do not believe it will suffice to prevent an intense competition that is primarily rooted in the distribution of power.
As Trump said of his trade war, hard-liners think a competition with China will be “good and easy to win.” In their view, all it takes is more and tougher sanctions, a decoupling of the U.S. and Chinese economies, a big increase in U.S. defense spending, and a rallying of like-minded democracies to the U.S. side, with the ultimate goal of ending Chinese Communist Party rule. Apart from the obvious costs and risks of this course of action, this view overstates Chinese vulnerabilities, understates the costs to the United States, and greatly exaggerates other states’ willingness to join an anti-Beijing crusade. China’s neighbors do not want it to dominate them and are eager to maintain ties with Washington, but they have no desire to get dragged into a violent conflict. And there is little reason to believe that a supposedly more liberal China would be any less interested in defending its own interests and any more willing to accept permanent inferiority to the United States.
So what does a more structural view of this situation imply?
First, it tells us that we are in it for the long haul; no clever strategy or bold stroke of genius is going to solve this conflict once and for all—at least not anytime soon.
Second, it is a serious rivalry, and the United States should conduct in a serious way. You don’t deal with an ambitious peer competitor with a bunch of amateurs in charge or with a president who puts his personal agenda ahead of the country’s. It will take intelligent military investments, to be sure, but a major diplomatic effort by knowledgeable and well-trained officials is going to be of equal if not greater importance. Maintaining a healthy set of Asian alliances is essential because the United States simply cannot remain an influential power in Asia without a lot of local support. The bottom line: America cannot entrust the care and feeding of those relationships to campaign contributors, party hacks, or dilettantes.
Third, and perhaps most important, both sides have a genuine and shared interest in keeping their rivalry within boundaries, both to avoid unnecessary clashes and to facilitate cooperation on issues where U.S. and Chinese interests overlap (climate change, pandemic prevention, etc.). One cannot eliminate all risks and prevent future crises, but Washington must be clear about its own red lines and make sure it understands Beijing’s. This is where unit-level factors kick in: The rivalry may be hard-wired into today’s international system, but how each side handles the competition will be determined by who is in charge and by the quality of their domestic institutions. I would not assume that America’s will fall short, but I wouldn’t be complacent about that either.

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.

domingo, 6 de maio de 2018

A Russia e o resto: a nova guerra fria - Book review, Richard Sakwa

'Russia against the Rest: The Post-Cold War Crisis of World Order' [review]

Richard Sakwa. Russia against the Rest: The Post-Cold War Crisis of World Order. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. ix + 362 pp. $84.99 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-107-16060-6; $24.99 (paper), ISBN 978-1-316-61351-1.

Reviewed by Gerard Toal (Virginia Tech) Published on H-Diplo (May, 2018) 
Printable Version: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=51562

Richard Sakwa does not like the term the “new Cold War.” To him, the label is misleading and obscures a much broader shift in global politics since 2014. His new book, Russia against the Rest: The Post-Cold War Crisis of World Order, is an account of that larger shift, and Russia’s place within it. Sakwa is Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent and an associate fellow at Chatham House. He is a remarkably productive scholar. This is his seventh book on Russian politics since 2008, and there is another, The Putin Phenomenon, in the works (cited p. 119). Sakwa, who is of British Polish decent, is also no stranger to controversy. His 2015 book, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands, argued that Euro-Atlantic expansionism and Ukrainian nationalism were key negative forces contributing to the Ukraine crisis of 2014. The book was strongly criticized by some Ukraine scholars though critically appreciated by others. Sakwa is part of a select group of scholars regularly invited to the Valdai Discussion Group (which includes the chance to hear Vladimir Putin in person) and his latest book reflects his deep knowledge of Russian elite thinking on world order and geopolitical change.
Sakwa provides a comprehensive account of post-Cold War geopolitics, with a decided emphasis on great power diplomacy, institution-building, strategic competition and its baleful results. He dubs the twenty-five years between 1989 and 2014 an era of “cold peace,” one characterized above all by the failure of Western security organizations to transcend Cold War institutions and habits. Russia was shut out of negotiations over the creation of a post-Cold War security order in Europe as NATO and the EU saw matters in terms of enlargement of their own existing structures, not the creation of something new in dialogue with Russia. By denying “the logic of transcendence,” Sakwa argues, this enlargement precipitated the result it sought to avert. “Europe could not be ‘whole and free’ if Russia was effectively excluded” (p. 6) is an arresting early claim (repeated p. 165). Throughout Sakwa uses a distinctive vocabulary of contrasting geopolitical visions to describe this dynamic. The EU and NATO represented the Historical West; they viewed themselves as victors in the Cold War. Afterwards, they wanted to create a Wider Europe based around extended and radicalized Historical Western norms and practices (what others term an expanded liberal empire). Russia’s aspiration, however, was to become a founding member of a transformed Greater West that would establish a Greater Europe on the Eurasian landmass. Mikhail Gorbachev’s “common European home” and Charles de Gaulle’s Europe “from the Atlantic to the Urals” are expressions of this vision. Greater Europe is ostensibly pluralist, open to political regimes of many different types. The European Union is only one of many different visions of being European. The problem of the cold peace, according to Sakwa, was that NATO and the EU represented monological visions of security and prosperity. The Historical West viewed the United States as the security lynchpin on the European continent and liberal market democracies as normative for the domestic structure of states. Willing only to enlarge not to change, the Historical West generated accumulating frustration, disillusionment, and resistance on the part of an excluded Russia. With Greater Europe off the table, Russia sought instead to create a Greater Eurasia (the Eurasian Economic Union). In 2014, the cold peace impasse on the European continent gave way to a hot war in Ukraine. Russian neorevisionism emerged as a predictable backlash against the expansionist logic of Euro-Atlantic liberal hegemony. Today, Russia and China are both neorevisionist powers. It is not, in the end, Russia against the Rest but Russia as part of the Rest against the Historical West.
Sakwa documents this thesis in great detail in the book, providing an impressive synthesis of international relations theory, post-Cold War history, and in-depth discussion of contemporary contentious issue areas. The great value of Sakwa’s work is its thorough articulation of Russian leadership perspectives and commentariat writings on the dilemmas of cold peace geopolitics alongside those of select Western observers, usually political realists but not exclusively so. Sergei Karaganov, dean of the faculty at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, and honorary chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, and Henry Kissinger are liberally quoted through the text. Karaganov argued in 2016 that the West after the Cold War sought to continuously limit Russia’s freedom, sphere of influence, and markets while expanding its own. The West “used Russia’s weakness to take away its centuries-old gains and make it even weaker” (p. 39). Sakwa sees this argument as “going too far” for the West was open to Russia’s inclusion in Western security structures but “it wanted a different Russia to the one on offer; while Russia wanted to join the community, but on its own terms” (p. 39). Kissinger argued that Russia should have been engaged by the West in traditional realpolitik terms. The goal should not have been transformation of Russia but the development of a strategic concept that could manage their differences within an emerging multipolar world order.
There are some standout chapters in Russia against the West. Using English school international relations theory, Sakwa provides a compelling account of the Kremlin’s geopolitical attitude towards world order. This distinguishes between two levels of the international system, the primary institutions of international society which are states, and the secondary level of institutions which are collective organizations that seek universal practices and norms. Russia is a clear supporter of the primary level of institutions, which rest on state sovereignty and bargaining between great powers in a multipolar system. The secondary level is the realm of international organizations, regimes of norms, and systems of global governance. These bind and constrict state sovereignty in the name of universal norms and aspirations. Russia and other non-Western powers object to what they see as the capture of this second level by liberal internationalist norms and values, which ultimately advance the self-interest of Western states. Sakwa argues that Russia is not a revisionist power seeking to tear up the current international order. Rather, it is a neorevisionist state, critiquing the hegemonic ambitions and double standards of the liberal international order but, at the same time, defending the autonomy of an international society organized around state sovereignty. “Moscow assumed the paradoxical position of challenging the practices of the liberal order while defending the principles of international society” (p. 129). Putin is a traditionalist, not a radical; a “legitimist,” not a revolutionary. Neorevisionism is “an unstable combination of attempts to modify the structures and practices of the hegemonic global order while remaining firmly ensconced in that order” (p. 132). International law has different meanings in this contest. To neorevisionist states, international law belongs to the primary level of international society. It is or should be delimited by respect for state sovereignty above all else. To liberal hegemony, international law is an expression of universal values and rules. It can and should be used against states that violate these.
Sakwa also gives us a succinct chapter on Russia’s grievances against the West, one that is empathetic without being uncritical. NATO enlargement gets a full discussion but so does missile defense, critique of Western interventionism, and objections to “trans-democracy.” This latter notion describes how democracy got absorbed into Euro-Atlantic visions of security. The spread of democracy and the pursuit of security became fused in practice. Democratic peace theory became dogma: “the security of the Atlantic power system is best advanced by creating a system of states moulded in the Western image and committed to liberal internationalism, the ideological foundations of post-war American power” (p. 99). This liberal imperial compound generated a Kremlin backlash that saw “colored revolutions” as Western-sponsored active measures, interpreting popular protests against autocratic and kleptocratic rules on Russia’s borders as Western plots. Implicit here is a Kremlin domino theory wherein the West is toppling autocratic regimes as a means of eventually knocking over the final piece: Putin’s Russia. Sakwa will infuriate many when he writes: “In a philosophical sense Putin was right: popular democratic revolutions have become a way for the Atlantic ideological and power system to advance. There is plenty of evidence that Western agencies have prepared for, funded and provided ideological support for pro-democracy movements whose ideological orientation is Atlanticist” (p. 102). But he also writes that this denies independent agency and popular demands for free and fair elections, less corrupt administrative systems, and, above all, civil dignity (p. 102). This mode of reasoning—affirming a Kremlin-friendly position yet articulating criticism also—is one he adopts on the all-important question of Crimea: “Crimea’s return can legitimately be considered a ‘democratic secession,’ since the overwhelming majority of the population (as later independent opinion polls confirmed) favored being part of Russia; although the view that it represents an ‘imperial annexation’ is justified to the degree that it lacked agreement with the country from which the territory seceded” (p. 157). Sakwa also writes that the armed insurgency in the Donbas was “covertly assisted by activists and some state bodies in Russia” (p. 157).
Sakwa’s work is impressively comprehensive. He discusses in relative detail the evolution of Russian foreign policy and European Union diplomacy, Eurasian integration, the Ukraine crisis, Western sanctions, Russia’s evolving military doctrines and modernization efforts, NATO’s responses to Russia, the breakdown of arms control regimes, US foreign policy and Russian interventionism in the Syrian civil war, information warfare, and Russia’s aspirational pivot towards China. The book concludes by outlining what he describes as a “global impasse.” This is a new “normal” of wide-ranging and increasingly deeply rooted confrontation between Russia and the United States. The United States is concerned to maintain its hegemonic status while China, Russia, and other powers are forcing a global realignment of power and the rules governing international affairs. He sees a rising of McCarthyism in the United States which is having a chilling effect on the quality of public debate, with those advocating “dissident” views condemned as “Putin apologists” (p. 313). On the central issue inflaming elite opinion in the United States (Russia’s information operations during the 2016 presidential election), Sakwa is skeptical that Russia’s role has been fully proven. The Steele dossier “hit a new low in its puerile collection of unsubstantiated allegations” (p. 241). Instead, he sees a renewed “Russian threat” as generating considerable budget increases for US and NATO agencies to fight Russian “information warfare.”
Sakwa’s work has some clear weaknesses. First, his focus is largely on great power politics. As a result, he has little to say about the strategic dilemmas faced by post-Soviet states next to Russia. There is some discussion of Ukrainian crisis but little about Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, or Armenia, nor of the enduring territorial conflicts in the near abroad. Central Asia is discussed but only as it relates to the great powers. He shows little interest or empathy for the position of these states. Instead his arguments are shaped by conversations on panels at Valdai, Moscow, London, and Brussels—not Kyiv, Tbilisi, and Tallinn. Sakwa’s book is valuable in terms of enriching the quality and depth of debate over topics that tend to quickly polarize interlocutors, but debate should extend to consider the historical experiences and aspirations of small and medium states too. This does not mean privileging that experience over Russian experiences, as often happens in the West where curated nationalist versions of subaltern experiences, and traumas, are a means of establishing superior victimhood. Rather, the conversation need to include everyone and hold all to the same critical standards of reasoned debate.
Second, Sakwa’s schemas and categorizations tends to structure debate toward Russian standpoints and positions. In some ways, this is a function of his desire to be a correction to widespread antipathy against Russia. But this correction itself needs a critical check. For example, Sakwa makes frequent use of the distinction between “monological” and “pluralist” perspectives, with the former standing in for Western liberal hegemony or Ukrainian nationalism whereas the latter expresses tolerance for diverse regime types and civil nationalist traditions. In practice, however, this reduces divergent traditions of politics—liberal, center-right and social democratic—into a singularity while creatively configuring acceptance of autocracy as “pluralism.” Indeed, autocracy is a category that is largely missing from Sakwa’s discussion. It deserves greater consideration as do variant kleptocratic state arguments made by scholars of Eurasian states. Sakwa does articulate positions that are critical of Russian government behavior, but in a mild manner. The Duma election of December 4 2011, is described as “flawed” (p. 115). Putin’s lies to Angela Merkel early in the Crimea crisis were his “being economical with the truth” (p. 217). Russia’s endorsement of European populists has damaging reputational consequences (p. 276). Because he is much more a hermeneutist of Putin than critic, Sakwa’s arguments shows considerable empathy for Russian government positions. This leads him to re-present arguments more than probe them for contradictions. Thus, for example, he writes that “Russia is not so much concerned with changing international hierarchy, but to defend a space for the conduct of international relations for itself, through the universal application of international law and respect for state sovereignty throughout the international system” (p. 129). Needless to say, many of Russia’s neighboring states would scoff at this.
Third, Sakwa engaged throughout his work with international relations theory but only the most traditional kind: realism (offensive and defensive), liberalism, and some constructivism. Emergent issue areas like cyber warfare and climate change are discussed in passing. There is little consideration of gendered practices or the role of affect, of feminist analysis, or of contemporary scholarship on visuality, memory, and nonhuman agency. This is not because it is absent in the speeches, debates, and practices he discusses. Rather, it is not called out and given separate analytical treatment by him. We need to think deeply, after all, about the micro- and macrosociological dynamics of respect, humiliation, frustration, anger, fear, and reassurance, as well as about the gripping power of spectacles of revolution, “self-determination,” and national glory. Sakwa’s work is more a deliberative approach to Russia-explaining, focused on presenting contentious debates and divergent practices based on clashing conceptualizations.
Finally, some may find the book frustrating because its key concepts and arguments are discussed again and again in the text. Because the book strives to engage with nearly all aspects of current debates on Russia, it sometimes feels like Sakwa has written too much and that his chapters are not as joined up as they could be. In sum, however, Russia against the West is a valuable addition to the growing literature on the “new cold war” (that may not be a new cold war). It deserves to be read,  debated, and criticized.
Citation: Gerard Toal. Review of Sakwa, Richard, Russia against the Rest: The Post-Cold War Crisis of World Order. H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews. May, 2018. URL: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=51562
This work is licensed under a Creative Common