In spite of China’s slowing economy, Beijing has tightened restrictions on U.S. information technology firms investing in China,
spurring an uproar in the industry
and creating a climate that, according to Consonery, seems worse in
the eyes of foreign investors.
Furthermore, China’s staunch
position in territorial water disputes
and over Taiwan, which China considers its territory, are areas in which
it will remain steadfast, he said.
Still, the question of whether
China’s projection of military power
is being scaled back, given the Xi
administration’s internal development and reform objectives, is
debatable. If any caution has been
exhibited with regard to China’s military, Consonery said he believes it is
a reflection of where China is in its
development and the government’s
sense of the country.
“The reality is China has been able to benefit
enormously from the U.S.-led global system — political,
geopolitical, financial and economic,” he said. “The whole
thing created the framework that really allowed the
[Chinese] government to pursue this export- and invest-ment-oriented growth strategy that lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty in a way that the world has never seen.
So it is a huge success story, but definitely an important
variable was the stability provided from the U.S. system.”
Meanwhile, the U.S.-Russia nexus has grown increasingly tense over the past year with the crisis in
Ukraine. That was underscored by the latest developments involving the arrival in early March of 300 U.S.
Army instructors to engage in U.S.-Ukrainian military
drills in the Lviv region of western Ukraine, and the
expansion of a military aid package including more than
200 Humvees, radios and hand-launched Raven surveillance drones, according to the Associated Press.
Now a palpable military priority among U.S. policy-makers since the standoff in eastern Ukraine began in
April 2014, U.S.-Russia analysts are monitoring the
abrupt halt in U.S.-Russia joint military activities and
exercises, in, for example, the realm of Arctic cooperation, and in places such as Cape Horn and the Gulf of
Aden, where the two nations had joined the effort to
deter piracy off of the coast of Somalia.
Simon Saradzhyan, a research fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs,
said it will very likely take years before U.S.-Russia relations normalize.
“So, at the moment, nothing is going on,” Saradzhyan
told Seapower. “Russian is frozen out of its mission at
NATO headquarters, and all contacts, as I understand it,
have been halted. I don’t see any short-term prospects for
resumption of U.S.-Russian cooperation, such as
patrolling piracy-infested seas in the Gulf of Aden.
Nothing like that will be happening, I assume, until the
Ukraine crisis is resolved in some way.”
While Army GEN Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of
the joint chiefs of staff, called for Washington and NATO
allies to arm Ukraine against pro-Russian forces in a
March 3 testimony before the Senate Armed Services
Committee, Saradzhyan makes the case that Russia’s
actions in the Ukraine are largely driven by national
interests in the form of lucrative economic prospects —
and not aimed at antagonizing the United States
“Russia is in Ukraine not because it wants to spite
the U.S., but because it has interests,” Saradzhyan said.
Russia’s short-term objective in Ukraine is to ensure
that Ukraine introduces clauses into its constitution
that shift the country from a unitary, highly centralized
state into a decentralized state, where Russians have
great say in the way the nation is run, he said. Russia
also aims to codify Ukraine’s status as basically a militarily neutral state that has non-aligned status.
The longer-term objective involves trade status and
Russia’s goal of regaining access to the Ukrainian market, while ensuring that Russia continues to enjoy
privileged status when it comes to imports and
exports. Central to this is the guarantee that Russia has
LTJG Matthew Watts, left, navigator onboard the guided-missile destroyer USS
Lassen, discusses Lassen’s course with a Russian officer during the ship’s
approach to Vladivostok, Russia, May 7, 2013. The U.S.-Russia nexus has
grown increasingly tense over the past year with the crisis in Ukraine, and military collaboration and cooperation efforts have all but ceased.