English 首页 中心简介 人员队伍 新闻动态 研究项目 学术成果 国际合作 媒体评论 图书馆 美国问题研究
Remedial action required

China Daily 2024-04-02

(来源:China Daily,2024-04-02)


Concerted efforts needed to prevent the polarization and militarization of the international order

The comprehensive confrontation between the Western world and Russia, which has found its latest expression in the Russia-Ukraine crisis, as well as the United States' escalation of its strategic pressure on China and accelerated steps to promote its Indo-Pacific strategy, have had significant impacts on the international order in at least three aspects.

First, the international political order is trending toward bloc confrontation. On the issue of the Russia-Ukraine crisis and sanctions against Russia, the West, led by the US, advocates for extremely harsh comprehensive economic sanctions against Russia and provides massive military aid to Ukraine. Under US pressure, a group of like-minded countries have formed closer political and security partnerships, emphasizing the competition and rivalry between democracy and autocracy.

However, countries in the Global South, such as China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia, refuse to join the US-led economic sanctions against Russia, advocating for the right to maintain normal economic and trade relations with the country and seeking a cease-fire and political resolution to the crisis.

Most countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the African Union, the Gulf region, and Latin America reject the democracy versus autocracy narrative and a new Cold War, advocating for dialogue and engagement to reduce confrontation and ease international tensions. With the intensification of US-China strategic competition, the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and international economic inequality, the Global South has increasingly become an important international political force outside the West, promoting the multipolar development of the international system.

Second, the international economic order is trending toward fragmentation. The economic sanctions imposed by the US and its Western allies on Russia aim to cut the energy and trade ties between Russia and Europe. At the same time, the Joe Biden administration has accelerated steps to advance its Indo-Pacific strategy, increase its technological blockades against China, and push for decoupling and reshoring of its manufacturing sector. In doing so, Washington has politicized and securitized economic and trade relations, and weaponized technological exchanges and supply chain dependencies, severely disrupting international economic exchanges and the division of labor in the global industry and value chains.

Moreover, the rise of economic nationalism and trade protectionism in the West has exacerbated the North-South development gap and international economic inequality. The energy and food crises, along with various trade protection measures and steps to build small circles in economy, trade and supply chains, have obviously led to more economic damages and a greater drag on the Global South than on developed countries. Especially, Washington has intensified its drive for the resurgence of its manufacturing sector, under slogans such as America First and friendshoring, which have intercepted investments, production and manufacturing originally flowing to many developing countries, further exacerbating the development gap and international economic inequality. A study by the World Trade Organization shows that decoupling and the formation of small trade blocs increase trade costs. According to the study, if the global economy decouples, the public well-being in some countries could drop by up to 12 percent, with low- and middle-income regions hit the hardest.

Third, the international security order is trending toward militarization. The Russia-Ukraine crisis and the advancement of the US' Indo-Pacific strategy have triggered a new arms race in Europe and the Asia-Pacific, exacerbating regional and international tensions. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, global military spending reached a record $2.24 trillion in 2022, with European military spending surging by 13 percent and Asia's military spending also climbing. The substantial increase in military spending by European and Asian powers, together with the shocks from the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the Biden administration's formation of a small multilateral security network against China in the Indo-Pacific region, has greatly propelled the militarization and bloc confrontation in the international security order, casting a shadow over world peace.

To avoid the international order falling into possible disorder and to prevent a resurgence of the Cold War and bloc confrontation in international relations, it is necessary for the international community to work together to promote the establishment of an international order with lasting peace, inclusive cooperation and common prosperity.

First, it is important to seek a political resolution to end the Russia-Ukraine crisis as soon as possible. The prolonged crisis has not only led to huge losses both sides but also greatly intensified the confrontation between major powers, endangering global energy and food security. Currently, the Global South, including China, are actively seeking a political resolution, hoping to end the crisis and restore peace as soon as possible. This requires complying with the United Nations Charter and the basic principles of international relations, seeking common ground through dialogue, consultations and compromises, and finding a peaceful way out of the crisis. Moreover, as major external military and economic aid providers to Ukraine, the US and the European Union should also join the international community to promote peace talks and seek a political resolution to the crisis, allowing Europe to regain peace as soon as possible.

Second, it is important to strengthen engagement and strategic communication between Beijing and Washington to prevent a new Cold War. In recent years, the narrative that China-US relations are entering or have already entered a new Cold War has been incessant in the West. The Russia-Ukraine crisis and the accelerated advancement of Washington's Indo-Pacific strategy have undoubtedly further exacerbated the concerns of the international community. To prevent China-US relations from sliding into a new Cold War, it is necessary to enhance engagement, eliminate misunderstandings and reduce misjudgments. It is also important to view China-US relations from a global and long-term perspective, rationally handle the differences and disputes between the two countries, strengthen the management of strategic risks and enhance strategic guidance for the relationship. The goal is to avoid the traditional path of confrontation and conflict between hegemonic countries and emerging powers, and embark on a new path of peaceful coexistence and joint development.

Last, the so-called democracy versus autocracy narrative championed by the US, attempts for decoupling and friendshoring in the economic and trade fields, and building a small yard with high fences and the democratic tech alliance, as well as the piecing together of small groups in the military field, have exacerbated the suspicions and risks for strategic competition among major countries, pushing the international order toward disorder, fragmentation, polarization and militarization. To prevent the international order from further sliding toward confrontation, the US needs to truly take on the responsibility of a major country, strengthen exchanges with China and other countries of the Global South on an equal footing, and jointly explore ways to establish a fair, just and lasting peaceful international order. Washington must abandon the incitement of trade protectionism and the implementation of decoupling policies, and work toward a new model of major-country relations based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.

The author is a professor at the Center for American Studies at Fudan University. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.