Political strategies

Compared to Biden’s Strategies, NATO’s Strategic Concept Highlights Transatlantic Differences on China

Compared to NATOit is strategic conceptthe recently unveiled WE national security and defense strategies reveal transatlantic differences over China.

The Biden administration in 2022 WE the national security and defense strategies were revealed in October 2022. They are both China-centric. Everything revolves around China. Biden national security Strategy 2022 sees China as main WE opponent, move forward. He describes China as “America’s most important geopolitical challenge”. According to strategy, China is “the only contender intent both on reshaping the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to advance that goal”.

In the WE National Defense Strategy 2022 also unveiled in October this year, China is considered the “most important strategic competitor for decades to come” and the one that presents “the most significant and systemic challenge”. The biggest challenge WE faces is the strategic competition with China“The most comprehensive and serious challenge to the national security of the United States is the PRC’s coercive and increasingly aggressive effort to reshape the Indo-Pacific region and the international system according to its interests and of his authoritarian preferences.”

The 2022 NATO The strategic concept was adopted at the Madrid summit on 29 and 30 June 2022. Compared to the NATO strategic concept, Russia, and not Chinais the greatest and most direct threat to NATOaccording to NATO strategic design. The concept does not call China “aggressive”, for example, in relation to the WE strategies. NATOthe tongue on China is quite soft, especially compared to the language on Russian. The strategy read this NATO remains open to constructive engagement with China, including to build reciprocal transparency. When it comes to Russia, NATO takes a different tough stance:

The Russian Federation is the most significant and direct threat to the security of the Allies and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. It seeks to establish spheres of influence and direct control through coercion, subversion, aggression and annexation. It uses conventional, cyber and hybrid means against we and our partners. Its coercive military posture, rhetoric and demonstrated willingness to use force to pursue its political goals undermines the rules-based international order. The Russian Federation is modernizing its nuclear forces and expanding its new dual-capability disruptive vectors, while using coercive nuclear signaling. It aims to destabilize the countries in the East and in the South. In the Far North, its ability to disrupt Allied reinforcements and freedom of navigation across the North Atlantic is a strategic challenge for the Alliance. Moscow’s military build-up, including in the Baltic, Black Sea and Mediterranean regions, as well as its military integration with Belarus, challenges our security and interests.

Russia, no Chinais the greatest and most direct threat to NATOaccording to NATO strategic design. China laid “systemic challenges“to Euro-Atlantic security and its”coercive tactics“and the efforts are aimed at dividing the Alliance.

China is a matter mentioned up to paragraph 13 of the NATO concept:

The People’s Republic of ChinaThe stated ambitions and coercive policies of (PRC) challenge our interests, our security and our values. The PRC uses a wide range of political, economic and military tools to increase its global footprint and project power, while remaining opaque about its strategy, intentions and military reinforcement. The PRC’s hybrid and cyber malign operations and its divisive rhetoric and disinformation target Allies and undermine Alliance security. The PRC seeks to control key technological and industrial sectors, critical infrastructure, strategic materials and supply chains. It uses its economic leverage to create strategic dependencies and strengthen its influence. It strives to overturn the rules-based international order, including in the space, cyber and maritime domains. The deepening of the strategic partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undermine the rules-based international order run counter to our values ​​and interests.

What can explain this difference? First of all, NATO is built as an Alliance in response to Russia. Russia will always come first on the NATOthe list of opponents. It’s in NATO‘s DNA. But there is more than that. Poll after poll, Europeans do not see China as an adversary and do not see Europe as engaged in a cold war against China. On the other hand, the number of Americans who see China as the WEthe biggest opponent are quite high. That’s why you won’t see Europe NATO team up with the WE against China.

The WE could have hoped to lead Europe NATO in a greater confrontation with China but that won’t happen anytime soon. French President Macron said a while ago that he didn’t think everyone was ganging up on China was a viable option. The NATO strategic concept shows that China is definitely on NATO‘s radar but it is far from close to Russia and other priority issues. It is a difference with the WE it will only deepen. European NATO will not follow WE with regard to China.

Iveta Cherneva, author and analyst

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