Essay by security expert Professor Zhang Wenmu gives a glimpse of China’s geostrategic outlook, from the ‘Western Pacific Chinese Sea’ to the far side of the moon
The top story of 2019 – and the years ahead – will continue to revolve around the myriad, dangerous permutations of the economic ascent of China, the resurgence of nuclear superpower Russia and the decline of the US’s global hegemony.
Two years ago, before the onset of the Trump administration, I sketched how the shadow play might proceed in the New Great Game in Eurasia.
Now the new game hits high gear; it’s the US against the Russia-China strategic partnership.
Diplomatic capers, tactical retreats, psychological, economic, cyber and even outer space duels, all enveloped in media hysteria, will continue to rule the news cycle. Be prepared for all shades of carping about authoritarian China, and its “malign” association with an “illiberal” Russian bogeyman bent on blasting the borders of Europe and “disrupting” the Middle East.
Relatively sound minds like the political scientist Joseph Nye will continue to lament the sun setting on the Western liberal “order,” without realizing that what was able to “secure and stabilize the world over the past seven decades” does not translate into a “strong consensus … defending, deepening and extending this system.” The Global South overwhelmingly begs to differ, arguing that the current “order” was manufactured and largely benefits only US interests.
Expect exceptionalists to operate in condescending overdrive, exhorting somewhat reluctant “allies” to help “constrain” if not contain China and “channel” – as in control – Beijing’s increasing global clout.
It’s a full-time job to “channel” China into finding its “right” place in a new world order. What does the Chinese intellectual elite really think about all this?
Never fight on two fronts
An unparalleled roadmap may be provided by Zhang Wenmu, national security strategy expert and professor at the Center of Strategic Studies of the University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Beijing, who wrote an essay published in August 2017 in the Chinese magazine Taipingyan Xuebao (Pacific magazine), that was translated recently into Italian by Rome-based geopolitical magazine Limes.