Systemic Rivalry

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Literature Review - May 2021: Cold War 2.0? Essential Readings on the New Systemic Conflict 05/21

Welcome to the May issue of our literature review on the systemic conflict with China. The EU is developing a new Indo-Pacific strategy and taking a tougher stance on China. The European Commission recently warned of China's "authoritarian shift" and "fundamental divergences" between the EU and China in the areas of business, human rights and global governance. The G7 foreign ministers agreed on a common stance toward an increasingly assertive China. Yet Berlin and Paris continue to give Washington the cold shoulder when it comes to the U.S. administration's efforts to build a unified front against China. This passivity has major implications for transatlantic cooperation not only on China, but also on other issues.While some of its most important allies still hesitate, Washington continues to implement its strategy of "extreme competition" with China. In his first joint address to Congress on April 28, U.S. President Biden spoke out against the forces that threaten democratic values and casted U.S.-China relations as a battle between democracy and autocracy. China continues to adhere to its ambitions to reshape the international order according to its own ideas but is experiencing that its "soft power" is being perceived with increasing skepticism, especially in Europe. In addition, China, for its part, had to learn that it cannot count on automatically converting its growing economic clout into a new geopolitical reality. Notwithstanding this, economic and technological competition continues to accelerate.In its 14th Five-Year Plan, Beijing has mapped out an economic strategy signaling greater protectionism to products not made in China. For its part, the European Commission released new policy proposals addressing economic and strategic challenges posed by China.As usual, I have tried to map the ongoing debate and point out contributions I consider essential readings. Please feel invited to comment on my selection. I look forward to your feedback. Wishing you an interesting read.

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Literature Review - April 2021: Cold War 2.0? Essential Readings on the New Systemic Conflict 04/21

Welcome to the April issue of our literature review on the systemic conflict with China. EU-China relations have deteriorated dramatically in recent weeks. After the EU imposed sanctions against four Chinese individuals and one entity involved in human rights abuses against the Muslim minorityin Xinjiang on March 22, Beijing responded with retaliatory sanctions targeting ten EU individuals and their family members as well as four entities, including the European Council's Political and Security Committee, the subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament and the think tank MERICS.China's unprecedentedly harsh response has further fueled the debate over how to deal with the People's Republic. Beijing’s retaliatory sanctions have made it unmistakably clear that it is a systemic rival to democracies around the world that will subject liberal values to their greatest test since the early days of the Cold War. Europe must position itself vis-à-vis this strategic rivalry but finds itself lacking a consistent policy. In contrast, the U.S. is in the process of implementing its strategy toward China. Against this backdrop, transatlantic cooperation on China is more important than ever. Early indications are that this collaboration is finally picking up steam. Meanwhile economic and technological competition continues to accelerate. As usual, I have tried to map the ongoing debate and point out contributions I consider essential readings. Please feel invited to comment on my selection. I look forward to your feedback. Wishing you an interesting read.

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Literature Review - March 2021: Cold War 2.0? Essential Readings on the New Systemic Conflict 03/21

Welcome to the March issue of our literature review on the systemic conflict with China. The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) has dominated public discussions about transatlantic cooperation on China since late December and produced some early strains between European policymakers and the new U.S. administration. However, such cooperation still holds great promise. How this potential can be unleashed is the subject of intense debate and, therefore, a focus of this review. At the same time, the strategic competition between the U.S. and China continues to unfold. How this competition can be managed to avoid war is the single most important question of all. Europe must position itself vis-à-vis this strategic rivalry but finds itself in lack of a consistent policy.Another focus of the review is China's response to the escalating strategic competition with the United States, which is characterized by confidence and caution, as well as Beijing’s crimes against humanity, most notably the atrocities it is committing against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. This review also covers contributions on economic and technological competition, two key arenas of the systemic rivalry with China. As usual, I have tried to map the ongoing debate and point out contributions I consider essential readings. Please feel invited to comment on my selection. I look forward to your feedback. Thanks for reading.

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Literature Review - February 2021: Cold War 2.0? Essential Readings on the New Systemic Conflict 02/21

Welcome to the February issue of our literature review on the new systemic conflict with China. On January 22, 2021 the European Commission published the text of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) following the agreement “in principle announced” on December 30, 2020. The CAI has unleashed a firestorm of criticism in Europe and among the EU's key partners, directed both at the deal itself and at the timing and political context of the agreement. It is therefore a focus of this review, especially as it has significantly complicated transatlantic cooperation on China and the formulation of the Biden administration’s policy toward Beijing. Another focus is China's expanding authoritarianism, as evidenced by intensified efforts to influence media content around the world or its campaign of transnational repression directed at Chinese living abroad. This review also covers contributions on economic and technological competition, key arenas of competition with China. As usual, I have tried to map the ongoing debate and point out contributions I consider essential readings. Please feel invited to comment on my selection. I look forward to your feedback. Wishing you a stimulating read, I do hope this issue of our literature review will provide useful insights for your work.

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Literature Review - January 2021: Cold War 2.0? Essential Readings on the New Systemic Conflict 01/21

Welcome to the first issue of our literature review on the new systemic conflict with China this year. After U.S. President Biden took office on January 20, many around the world are wondering what lies ahead for U.S.-China relations. Meanwhile, after seven years of negotiations, the EU and China have concluded “in principle” the negotiations for a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), which has sparked a fierce debate on both sides of the Atlantic. Thus, while 2021 is still in its infancy, China remains front and center on both the American and the European foreign policy agenda. This review covers both developments and how they may affect transatlantic cooperation towards China. Another focus is on China’s economic strategy of “dual circulation” and its intensified efforts to promote its authoritarian model at home and abroad. In addition, I have compiled contributions on technological competitionconsidered by many observers asthe new epicenter of geopolitics. As usual, I have tried to map the ongoing debate and point out contributions I consider essential readings. Please feel invited to comment and complement my selection. I look forward to your feedback.

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Literature Review - December 2020: Cold War 2.0? Essential Readings on the New Systemic Conflict 12/20

What are the prospects of U.S.-China relations and transatlantic cooperation after the presidential election in America? Not surprisingly, the December edition of our monthly literature review on systemic conflict is dominated by articles analyzing the outcome and impact of the U.S. presidential election. Another focus of this review is the debate on Europe’s sovereignty and strategic autonomy. In addition, it features articles on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and technological competition with China as well as on China’s rise ambitions and weaknesses. As usual, I have tried to map the ongoing debate and point out contributions I consider essential readings. Please feel invited to comment and complement my selection. I look forward to your feedback.

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Literature Review - November 2020: Cold War 2.0? Essential Readings on the New Systemic Conflict 11/20

Democratic states are increasingly challenged by assertive authoritarian powers. China, in particular, has become an economically successful, technologically advanced autocracy and an ambitious global geopolitical actor who promotes its model as an alternative to liberal democracies and their values. At Bertelsmann Stiftung, we think (and worry) a lot about this new systemic conflict and its consequences for Germany and Europe and so do many of our peers in politics, think-tanks, academia or media. In this monthly compilation, Peter Walkenhorst maps the ongoing debate and points to important contributions we consider essential readings. Please feel invited to comment and complement our selection.

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Literature Review - October 2020: Cold War 2.0? Essential Readings on the New Systemic Conflict 10/20

Democratic states are increasingly challenged by assertive authoritarian powers. China has become an economically successful, technologically advanced autocracy and an ambitious global geopolitical actor who promotes its model as an alternative to liberal democracies and their values. Other authoritarian governments like Russia or Turkey pursue similar narratives. At Bertelsmann Stiftung, we think (and worry) a lot about this new systemic conflict and its consequences for Germany and Europe and so do many of our peers in politics, think-tanks, academia or media. In this compilation, Peter Walkenhorst maps the ongoing debate and points to important contributions we consider essential readings. Please feel invited to comment and complement our selection.