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The War and Detent in The USA’s China Strategy

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Since the Opium Wars western powers have been working, in order to acquire economical-commercial privileges, to seize the market of the country in question and the integrate Chine to the rest of World. The struggle in which England, France and United States of America (USA) are involved, several facts that have undergone a changes are the name of international system, its functioning and the diversity of actors that shape this system. The system in which great powers such as Russia, India and China are involved as balancing actors or new polars of system, is multipolar.

he most recent indicators of this arguments have been observed in Europe at the Group of Seven (G-7) summits on 12 June 2021 and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summits on 14 June 2021. For example, one of the most important criticisms about China in the final declaration of the G-7 Summit held in England was that China should contribute more to the global economy and keep up with the neoliberal international order by ending its non-market transactions. China declared that She contributes to global economy more than a third and works on creating the most favorable and fair business circle for Foreign investors. In this framework, China is in the “minority group” that can not be dictated by the west.

At the NATO summits, a call is was made for the whole allies to act together against China’s armament and coercive attitudes. In response to NATO’s these decisions, China stated that NATO aspires to manipulate China’s legitimate interests, and create a conflict and exacarbate geopolitical competition between parties. Beijing also declared that They will not create systematic challenges against any actor, but they will not remain indifferent in case of such a challenge against them. Because of the fact that proper functioning of the multipolar world system the actors which are uncomfortable with the rise of Russia, India and especially China, such as USA and her allies challenge to the system. But according to China the West no longer reflects the opinions of international public and therefore it has no position and power to regulate, and shape international system nor build its future.

On the other hand, USA which considers states such as Russia and China as actors that challenge the west act with the reactions of Cold War era, keeps the possible risk of conflict on her agenda. According to the US, the actions of Russia and China endanger global peace and security Therefore western elements must be on alert position against the aforementioned actors. However many analysts and diplomates in the US argue that The Chinese diplomacy of USA is aggressive and should be appeased.[1]

According to Liberals, Beijing can be seem strong but it is actually harmless “paper tiger”. Therefore, Aggressive attitudes of USA may provoke China and the policies in question may cause a global war. USA has been following policy of uncertainty on Taiwan for many years. In this context, Washington did not clearly stated that in case of any conflict in Taiwan Straits, She will send aid to Taiwan.[2] The purpose of Washington administration on this strategy is to avoid provoking Beijing and to prevent global war due to Taiwan.

Another important states is made by former ministry of Foreign Affairs of USA Henry Kissinger, If China and USA can not reach an agreement, the world will come to the brink of War. In this context, Kissinger have emphasized that USA should adopt an attitude in favor of reconciliation with China[3]. Because, Similar with the Kissinger, many analyst have said that Hostile attitude of USA towards China has damaged USA’s global image and  its position in international arena. The point which is made on this arguments is that Hostile attitudes of USA towards China and steps taken in term of polarization is dangerous strategy which takes the world to the brink of war. Although the USA acts with the reflexes of Cold War era, the parameters of nowadays have undergone a change and different from aforementioned period. The Soviet Union and her allies were isolated from world economy during the Cold War but Today, China is one of the cornerstones of the World economy and this economy is intertwined with the US economy.[4]

On the other hand American experts argue that China recently has increased its nuclear capability and this fact pose a threat to USA’s security[5]. However number of nuclear weapons of China is quite less in comparison to USA’s and Russia’s nuclear weapons. Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute indicated in its 2021 report that China increased the number of nuclear warheads from 320 last year to 350 this year. It should be noted that Russia has 6255 warheads, USA has 5550 nuclear warheads[6]. This gap in term of nuclear warheads undoubtedly caused by Nuclear armament race during the Cold War period between USA and Soviet Union. In this context, in a statement which is made by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last week, Washington administration criticized for its plan to deploy missiles and defense systems into neighboring countries, and a call made for the both United States and Russia to reduce their nuclear capabilities[7].

Conclusionally, USA desires to return to Cold War conditions and China is keeping up with this desire. In international relations, a “race of escalation” has been taking place between China and the USA. While China is increasing its capacity; The USA keeps NATO ready against a possible risk of war. In addition, the USA is trying to establish a new NATO by forming QUAD against the Chinese threat. As long as this race of escalation between the parties continues, the USA will not be able to get rid of the Cold War psychology and will strive to defeat China.


[1] “Strengthen Asia to Weaken Beijing”, WSJ, https://www.wsj.com/articles/strengthen-asia-to-weaken-beijing-11620684893, (Date of Accession: 15.06.2021).   

[2] “Concerns Grow over China’s Taiwan Plans”, The Hill, https://thehill.com/policy/defense/558103-concerns-grow-over-chinas-taiwan-plans, (Date of Accession: 15.06.2021).

[3] “U.S. Needs New Understanding with China or it Risks Conflict, Kissinger Says”, Reuters, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-kissinger-idUSKBN2BI2MK, (Date of Accession: 11.05.2021).

[4] “ABD ve Çin arasında yeni bir ‘Soğuk Savaş’ mı Başlıyor?”, BBC, https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-56427609, (Date of Accession: 15.06.2021).

[5]“China’s Nuclear Threat to US Grows, Mainly in the Risk of a Mishap, Experts Say”, SCMP https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3136856/chinas-nuclear-threat-us-grows-mainly-risk-mishap-experts-say, (Date of Accession: 15.06.2021).

[6] “China Expanding Nuclear Arms Stockpile in 2021, Swedish Think Tank Says”, SCMP, https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3137229/china-expands-nuclear-arms-stockpile-2021-swedish-think-tank, (Date of Accession: 15.06.2021).

[7] “China Hits out at Washington’s Missile Plans and Calls for Cuts to US and Russian Nuclear Arsenals”, SCMP, https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3137086/china-hits-out-washingtons-missile-plans-and-calls-cuts-us-and, (Date of Accession: 15.06.2021).

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ANKASAM Asya-Pasifik Uzmanı