The United States of America is trying to play an economic role competing with the Chinese role to build ports, technological networks and digital infrastructure in Europe, especially in the countries of “Greece and Italy” due to, the intensity of Chinese investments in them, in order to lead the efforts of “NATO” and encourage it practically to (confront growing Chinese influence in the main European ports), especially the talian and Greece ports.
What is worth analyzing here, is the (American International Development Finance Corporation) is leading of these American investments and financing initiatives in Europe and around the world, in order to compete with China’s financing, and the most dangerous here is the idea of an (alternative American project to the Chinese Silk Road), which was put forward by the administration of the American president “Joe Biden”, as an American project that acts as an (alternative strategic competitor to the Chinese Silk Road), through what President “Biden” announced at the “G7 summit”. Hence, the Egyptian researcher is trying to analyze the alternative mechanisms and dimensions of the American role in competing primarily with China and its financing in Europe, and leading the efforts of the “NATO” in the face of China, through:
The US administration, through US President “Joe Biden” himself, during his attendance at the G7 major industrial summit meetings in Cornwall City at Britain, put forward an alternative project to the Chinese Silk Road, which he called for “rebuilding a better world”. The American strategy is (transforming the course of the Chinese Silk Road through American investments in Greek ports to confront the Chinese investments).
On the other hand, the infrastructure race between China and the United States is also growing in Italy, in light of Washington’s increasing efforts to break the European Union’s dependence on Chinese investment’s flows. The Greek model represented by (the American offer to build shipyards in the Greek port of Elephesus) is not alone in this context, in contrast to other American scenarios, such as the attempt of American investment in (the Italian ports of Trieste and Taranto), and also facing the Italian ports in which China is investing heavily.
The United States of America is trying to invest in the construction and development of (the shipyards of the Greek port of Elepsis, facing the waters of the Greek Piraeus, with Chinese investments), with American efforts to “modernize the Greek port of Elepsis to be the model corresponding to the Greek port of Piraeus, which is controlled by the Chinese COSCO Shipping Group”, Which made it the most important port in the Mediterranean, handling 5 million containers, and it could reach 7 million containers for freight. The Greek port of Piraeus has now surpassed the Spanish port of Valencia and ranked fourth in Europe and 26th in the world.
Elephesus and Alexandropoulos ports in Greece, represents the top of the American moves related to Greek infrastructure in the face of Chinese investments, at a time when the dependence of the two largest ports in Greece, namely: (Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports), has moved from the Greek government to the Chinese side, which is currently proceeding the process of entrusting the management of six other ports to Chinese state companies, knowing that (the Greek port of Thessaloniki) has transferred its ownership to (Belterra Investment Company) to its owner, the Greek-Russian businessman “Ivan Savidis”, who is close to the Russian President “Putin”, as his location next to the (Tap and TANAP gas pipelines) was an element crucial to this deal.
In order to confront the growing Chinese influence in the ports of Greece, the United States of America made a great offer to the Greek government, throughvthe American “Lockheed Martincompany” with the Italian “Fincantieri” company”, to agree on an American deal to build shipyards, especially warships, and to produce The war frigates are manufactured in the shipyards in the Greek ports of “Elephesus and Scaramangas” with American experience, and the American agreement was reached to produce and manufacture the first unit of four ships in the shipyard of the American company in Italy, with the other three ships to be manufactured in the Greek capital “Athens”. The importance of this American deal is due to providing an optimal option for the Greek side to facilitate the (operations of training and modernizing the capabilities of Greek shipyards).
We find here, that the American deal includes two phases, namely: the construction of the American company for shipyards in the ports of Greece, and then this is linked to another American deal to manufacture frigates, that is, warships also inside the Greek ports, which is the deal that requested the American “Lockheed Martin Company” specialized in building shipyards and manufacturing warships frigates from the Greek government to take an urgent decision on them.
The note worth mentioning here, is the continuous American attempts to conclude and sign that deal with the Greek side, regarding the “construction of war frigates in shipyards in Greek ports”. The Greek government to complete and sign that deal, as well as several private meetings that took place between the American ambassador, “Bayat” with the Greek Minister of Development and Investment, “Adonis Giorgiadis”, who is represented in the American attempt to persuade Greece to accept the American deal to build “war frigates in the Greek shipyards” to increase the Greek naval and military power, diversifying and securing its sources.
American estimates indicate that both the (Greek ports of Elepsis and Sacramangas) are the ideal and potential locations for the production of the future Greek frigate, mainly given their direct confrontation with other Greek ports controlled by the Chinese side, which is the dangerous point in this regard.
The analysis worthy of discussion here is the link between the “US war frigates deal in the ports of Greece”, with the desire of the United States of America to (draw the features of the corresponding model of the Chinese Silk Road through it in the heart of the Greek ports themselves, in order to counter the growing economic influence of China in the ports of Greece), and this is through Washington’s implementation of huge strategic investments in Greek ports, which also coincided with US President “Joe Biden’s decision” to allocate two billion dollars to (besiege Chinese fifth-generation technology in Greece, Italy and all European countries), especially from NATO member states.
The United States of America, through this approach towards Greece, aims at (Washington’s attempt to make all Greek and European ports, infrastructure and digital networks in the service of NATO, while trying to limit Chinese influence within Europe). In order to achieve this goal, the (contribution of the American International Development Finance Corporation to implement American projects in Greece, Europe, etc.), it stands out as the financing arm on which the US government depends in competing with China’s financing.
The new thing in the matter is the (alternative initiative approved by the Council on Foreign Relations of the European Union in its meeting on July 12, 2021), where its steps are highlighted in the European Union’s proposal for an alternative initiative to the American alternative initiative for the Chinese Silk Road, a few weeks after the announcement US President “Joe Biden” at the (G7 summit in Britain), Washington’s invitation came at that summit to support the alternative American initiative in confronting China, entitled: “The Initiative to Rebuild a Better World”, and the explicit American mention, that it is an alternative American initiative of China’s Belt and Road.
The European position can be analyzed by proposing another alternative initiative to the American alternative initiative to the Belt and Road China, as if it is a European reaction to prove itself towards Washington – despite the Europeans’ support for the American initiative at the time – as if it is a European message, that it has another alternative European initiative, because of the proposed plan or the American initiative, which is also worthy of discussion, and because Washington is not alone in making political decisions related to NATO, and made the countries of the European Union only (subordinate to the American decision), which is what the European Commission countries have suffered and are now strongly rejecting, as a result of confrontation positions and previous experiences with the United States of America.
The alternative European initiative to its American counterpart can also be analyzed as: (an attempt by the European Union itself to prove itself and its worth in the face of the American penetration in the ports of Greece and Europe, by issuing decisions aimed at positioning the European Union as a clear geopolitical player in front of Washington), so this new European project is added to a previous list of various initiatives launched by the European Commission headquarters in the Belgian capital, “Brussels” in order to (restore Europe to its position on the world stage and emphasize the excellence of the European voice and not to be subordinate to the American decisions or not to allow it to be marginalized by the United States).
Although the success of the European initiative is not guaranteed, it includes an important element, which is not present in the American initiative itself, which is (European planning to set a specific time limit for the completion of existing projects, as well as naming and launching pilot projects). This part in particular could be a great deciding tool, and a reason for the continuity and success of the European initiative, and perhaps consideration should be given to it.
We find that the previous European initiative in the face of its American counterpart faces several problems, most notably: the problem of financing, as (the European Union countries themselves find it difficult to obtain appropriate financing for infrastructure projects on the European lands themselves), and after the exacerbation of global economic crises, especially After the spread of the Corona pandemic, it became (it is difficult to include more European plans in the financial budget in the coming years).
Although the European Union is aware of this problem related to the lack of funding, it is (the European Union is not yet able to find alternative plans for finding financial resources and additional European financing from the private sector), because it’s a very complicated matter in Europe, in addition to that the European private sector is an inappropriate financing to cover the costs of the alternative European initiative to its American counterpart and of the alternative initiative of the Belt and Road Chinese.
Therefore, it is difficult to be certain of the European Union’s ability to take its initiative and the extent of its seriousness regarding “launching an alternative European Silk Road to China”. However, it is possible to analyze all the European Union’s recent moves, that it is moving in the direction of gaining more independence and European self-sufficiency in the face of imposing the American political decision on them, and in return for the projects launched by Beijing in Europe on the other hand.
Here, we note that the alternative initiative to the Chinese Silk Road, which was approved by the Council on Foreign Relations of the European Union, focused only on the same American track, meaning: (The European initiative may have come from a policy of reaction to the American initiative, and therefore it is not a European initiative Authentic originating from the heart of Europe, so it is difficult to judge it as a purely European initiative), with the European Union confirming that this initiative would enhance the security of the European and Eurasian region and the “NATO” countries, whether with regard to (energy supplies or the protection of communications networks from China).
The European initiative is also new, and the reasons for linking it to a “globalism phrase” Europe’s alternative Belt and Road Initiative for China is globally connected that can be understood and analyzed. This is a part of it (European geopolitical and strategic connotations), with the approval of the European Council at the end of the meeting. When launching this European initiative, the Special Rapporteur has the importance of (linking the countries of the European Union with each other more than linking their relations with outside the European circle or institution), provided that this is done through (two means), as the following:
The first method: implementing larger European investments in traditional infrastructure than investments and projects abroad.
The second method: Putting the Europeans to give greater attention to the regulatory frameworks that govern their relations in the first place, including the (existence of rules of the game that are transparent and common to all European players). This is what the Egyptian researcher has understood, that it may mean:
“The need to unify the European decision front, and not one of its countries to act alone, and to impose binding regulatory laws on everyone, especially with regard to the political and economic choices of one of its countries, or those related to opening its field for investment with other countries outside the European system”
What remains important here and has an analytical significance, is that the announcement of the launch of the “Connecting European initiative Globally”, which didn’t mention to China completely, but explicitly declared the European Union’s desire to cooperate with Japan, India, ASEAN countries and the United States of America, without mentioning China or refer to it in the proposed European initiative. In my own analysis, perhaps the European Union is trying to (diversify its options, in terms of capital flows for investments and trade routes so as not to depend almost always on relations with China).
We find that the Chinese reaction to the launch of the European Union initiative took a (neutral position, that is, without any public or explicit objection), and China confirmed its welcome to any new proposals to improve European connectivity and infrastructure, given that the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative is open to (international mutual beneficial cooperation for all).
Perhaps the European Commission in “Brussels” intended this European initiative, and linked it globally without reference to China, is the European gradually moving (away from the geopolitical orbit of China), and in order to reach this end, it is assumed that (European Union member states should move coherently, instead of moving in an individual way that lacks an objective organization).
Here, the researcher’s final analysis remains, that “unifying European positions towards China has become very difficult”, and this can be inferred by the French and German slowdown, and (their lack of haste in taking any hostile positions towards China in order to protect their economic interests with it). The same is the case for Italy and Greece, the (Chinese market is a top priority for them), because of China’s special importance to the flow of investments and economic interests in them.
However, in my simple analysis of the content of the European discourse, it attempts to control all exchanges, regarding the commercial interactions and the joint investments between Europe and the outside world, this may take a (new geopolitical path or direction), in which European self-sufficiency and its member states in the (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) “NATO” is the right choice for everyone.
The American Initiative for a “Better World” and its difference with the Chinese Belt and Road
During their summit held at the end of July 2021 in the city of “Cornwall” in Britain, the leaders of the countries (the Group of Seven major economic leaders “G7” led by Washington) have been announced the launch of an ambitious global initiative called “Rebuilding a Better World”. It is internationally, known as:
Build Back Better World (B3W)
The “Rebuilding a Better World” initiative aims to (meet the massive financing requirements for infrastructure needs). The most important differences and distinguishes between (the Chinese initiative for the Belt and Road and the American initiative to build a better world), are highlighted, through:
1) The intense Chinese interest in doing (development initiatives that are not politically conditional, unlike the American tool that sets political goals and conditions as a condition for the work of projects or the provision of loans, as well as China’s interest in infrastructure and community projects), and this is the most obvious and famous reason for the “Belt and Road” initiative, whereas the maps showed China’s roads, railways, and pipelines networks extending with partner countries, in addition to cooperation in (the field of digital technologies, educational and social institutions, and security services), which creates a network of relations that will continue in the future, in contrast to the US case or initiative.
2) We find that while (the leaders of the seven major economic countries neglected to develop long-term strategic plans in their initiative for a better world to serve poor and developing peoples), the vision of the “Belt and Road” has been more clearly manifested through the spread of many other developmental initiatives and the other extensions with it, which include the “Silk Road” for its projects, such as: (The Health Silk Road Initiative to combat “Covid-19”, and the launch of the “Digital Silk” initiative, known as (Information Silk Road).
3) At a time when Washington and its allies ignored the interests of developing countries, China has contributed to (leading the global development initiatives, especially the Healthy Silk Road to help countries affected by the spread of the pandemic), an initiative mentioned for the first time in the (White Book of Chinese Policy in 2015), Chinese President “Xi Jinping” announced officially the “Health Silk Road” that was presented in a 2016 speech delivered by the Chinese President in Uzbekistan, as well as the new road and the most recent Chinese initiative, known as the “Polar Silk Road”, which also known as the “Ice Silk Road”, which stretches across the “North Pole”, it was first highlighted in 2018.
4) In the belief of China to lead global development efforts, in contrast to ignoring the “Better World Initiative”, it was represented in China’s leadership in the field of “climate and environmental governance”, so the Chinese government initiated the launch of the “Green Silk Road Fund”, which was established by Chinese investors to promote (Chinese projects that take into account environmental standards), and the latest and most advanced here is the Chinese announcement of the “Space Silk Road”, which is the development of the Chinese “Beidou” system for artificial intelligence technology, and others.
5) Here, we find that at a time when China’s desire to support and modernize all African and poor countries is increasing, the American initiative, which is alleged to be an alternative to the Chinese plan, has come to China’s interest in projects (the Chinese satellite navigation system), and it is scheduled to be used and developed China as an alternative to GPS services.
6) The American President “Joe Biden” adopted the “Building Better for the World” project, stressing that its mainly focus on the (climate, health, digital sector, and combating social inequality), because the “Belt and Road” initiative – as stated by assistants to US President “Biden” – has transformed from a series of unauthorized projects connected to infrastructure, a cornerstone of Beijing’s foreign policy strategy, and the initiative supported China with raw materials, trade links, and geopolitical influence, so the “White House” wants to engage in projects with greater environmental and labor standards than those funded by China, and with complete transparency regarding financial terms. Perhaps that point raised by Washington towards China comes without (the United States of America presenting concrete evidence of the validity of those accusations to China, as well as Washington’s failure to penetrate deep into the African continent compared to the Chinese side).
7) American reports accuse Beijing of being (the reason for the decline of its influence on the African continent, and the United States faces many obstacles and challenges to regain its influence again in Latin American countries, which considers China as a trading partner and an important and vital investor in the African and Latin region). For example, bilateral trade between Brazil – the largest economy in South America, and China increased from $2 billion in 2000 to $100 billion in 2020. Perhaps this in itself (supports China’s credibility with its development projects to serve African and developing peoples, in contrast to African and Latin rejection, for example, of American influence and penetration in their countries).
8) The most important analytical thing for me is that the relationship of the Chinese “Belt and Road Initiative” with African countries supports “the call of China and Chinese President “Xi Jinping” towards a multilateral and multipolar world”. Therefore, we find that (China’s agreement with these African countries came in their support for multipolarity in the world, which the United States rejects), while African countries and the developing world mainly welcome the “Belt and Road Initiative”, which meets the needs of economic development in their countries, which the alleged American initiative will be unable to meet.
9) It also represents the Chinese initiative for the Belt and Road (a prelude to the China-Pacific cooperation road to link China and Latin America more closely, through the 21st century Maritime Silk Road from China to Latin America, which the United States strongly opposed, which reduces travel time between them, it works on developing infrastructure and connectivity, and investing in port works and ocean corridors between the Atlantic and the Pacific. Which (made the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean consider cooperation with Beijing a huge investment opportunity and a support for economic and social development plans, as well as an improvement in the region’s competitiveness).
10) It is worth noting that what distinguishes (the Chinese initiative for the Belt and Road from the American Better World Initiative, is its “sweeping popularity globally”), especially if we know that more than 100 countries have joined the Beijing initiative, which made it stronger politically and diplomatically. China signed cooperation documents on Belt and Road construction with 171 countries and regions around the world, and the trade value between China and countries along the Belt and Road amounted to about 1.35 trillion dollars in 2020, accounting for 29.1 percent of the total value of China’s foreign trade which (the United States of America will be unable to provide in light of the current economic crisis, unlike China). The investment cooperation between them amounted to about $17.7 billion, and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce stated that the companies of the “Belt and Road” countries have established 4,294 institutions in China, with an investment value of $8.27 billion.
11) and even came (confessions by well-known American bodies of China’s developmental role in confronting the United States of America), for example, a report by the “American Council on Foreign Relations” confirmed that: “Since the launch of the “Belt and Road” initiative in 2013, Chinese banks and companies have funded and the construction of power stations, railways, highways, and ports, as well as communications infrastructure, fiber-optic cables and smart cities around the world, and if the initiative continues to implement its plans, China will be able to stimulate global economic growth, and meet the needs of developing countries for the long term”. This is an American testimony and a clear acknowledgment of the strength of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and its development projects around the world.
12) It remains to be noted here that (the American attempts to put forward alternative development initiatives for the Chinese Belt and Road is a kind of American political competition with China, so the question here is: Why did the United States not provide real development projects over the past long years), so we understand that the Belt Initiative The road is the largest infrastructure program in the world, and indeed it has become an economic and political challenge for Washington. Experts believe that the preoccupation of the United States with its financial and economic crises has contributed greatly to giving China the opportunity to extend its economic and development influence among the countries of the world. The “Rebuilding a Better World” initiative comes among other US initiatives to try to confront and confront China, such as the Ocos Defense Security Agreement with Britain and Australia, as well as the first meeting of the “Quad Quartet” with the leaders of India, Japan and Australia. The “Biden administration” is also seeking to hold bilateral talks with countries in order to promote the American initiative, and recently talks were held with Indian Prime Minister (Narendra Modi), especially since India has refused to join the Belt and Road Initiative due to border disputes with China. Therefore, we understand (the targeting of the United States of America to countries with conflict with China to attract them to its alternative initiative, in contrast to the openness of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative to the whole world).
Accordingly, we arrive at an important analysis that says that the term “rebuilding better in the American sense” ignores and neglects development initiatives to serve the people, a better world, which is (an American political initiative rather than a development one such as the projects of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative). Here it becomes clear to us that the American initiative for a better world appears to be (influenced by the slogans and policies of both US President “Joe Biden” and British Prime Minister “Boris Johnson”), Rebuilding Better is the slogan of the American campaign, but without setting specific agreed plans or a timetable for everyone.
Russia and the United States Mapping Out Cooperation in Information Security
Authors: Elena Zinovieva and Alexander Zinchenko*
The first committee of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly has adopted a draft resolution on international information security sponsored by Russia and the United States by consensus. The document has a record number of co-sponsors, with 107 countries putting their name to the document, although it is Russia and the United States that promote the document as its main sponsors. While the draft resolution still needs to go through a vote at the UN General Assembly this December, we can assume the vote will go more as less the same way it did in the committee.
The very fact that Russia and the United States came up with a joint draft resolution is a significant step forward in the bilateral cooperation in the field of international information security, especially given the fact that the United Nations hosted two competing platforms operating between 2019 and 2021, the Open‑Ended Working Group (the OEWG) established at Russia’s initiative and the Group of Governmental Experts (the GGE) led by the United States.
The joint draft resolution and a step towards an institutionalization of the dialogue came as a result of the agreements reached at the summit between President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Joe Biden of the United States on June 16, 2021. Four rounds of expert consultations have already taken place under the auspices of the security councils of the two countries, says Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States.
Besides, the Russian diplomat pointed to the successes in suppressing hacker activity and combating the criminal use of ICTs. The fight against cybercrime is one the main concerns voiced by the U.S. in this area, especially after the high-profile ransomware attacks on the energy and food industries in 2021. Subsequent dialogue led to a restoration of interaction in this area, which is occurring within the framework of the 1999 bilateral agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, a document that allows the parties to exchange information on cybercriminals in pretrial detention, including in matters when it comes to collecting evidence of the person’s guilt. Cooperation between the two countries has involved the United States transferring materials for the legal suppression of the activities of such international cybergroups as Evil Corp, TrickBot and REvil. In turn, Russia has informed the American colleagues that Moscow has managed to thwart the activities of a criminal group using the Dyre/TrickBot malware and prosecute those responsible.
Additionally, there has now been greater interaction between Russian and U.S. centers for responding to computer incidents, the Federal Security Service’s National Computer Incident Response and Coordination Center (the NCIRCC) and the Department of Homeland Security’s US–CERT. However, the sides still harbor their concerns, pointing to the fact that there is room for cooperation to be fostered and enhanced. For example, most attacks on Russian infrastructure in 2020, the NCIRCC suggests, were carried out from the United States, Germany and the Netherlands. By the same token, the Western media continues to level mostly unsubstantiated accusations against Russia for its supposed involvement in cyberattacks, while cyber defence activities have become overly politicized.
Meaningful interaction, once it produces positive results, facilitates an atmosphere of trust between the parties, opening the door for closer cooperation to establish a universal international regime for information security, including with respect to the issues that are more global and complex in their scope. Russia’s agenda in bilateral negotiations is not limited to combating cybercrime—Sergey Ryabkov, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, has stressed—as it includes a broad range of issues relating to international information security, including military and political use of ICT, which is the major threat to international stability today. Moreover, since 1998, Russia has been calling for a global regulation of international interaction in information security and for rules to be formulated under the auspices of the United Nations to guide responsible behaviour of states in this area.
The dialogue and the joint work in this area have been reflected in the draft resolution, and it takes Russia’s priorities into account. Specifically, the document sets out the important principles and rules of the responsible behaviour of states in the information space, which Russia has been advocating for since 1998: encouraging the use of ICTs for peaceful purposes, preventing conflicts arising in its use, preventing the use of ICTs for terrorist and criminal purposes. The document places a particular emphasis on the importance of preventing cyberattacks targeting critical infrastructure.
The draft resolution also welcomes the 2021 report adopted by the Open‑Ended Working Group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security, making special note of how important the renewed group’s proceedings will be for 2021–2025. At the same time, the resolution suggests that the OEWG’s activities may well result in a binding UN document on international information security to be adopted.
It would seem the United States and Russia have sent a positive signal to the international community, recognizing the threats to international information security and acknowledging the importance of norms to be devised that would guide responsible behaviour of states in the information space. These norms would underpin the international regime for information security, as is envisioned by the Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation on International Information Security adopted by the Russian President on April 12, 2021. The document aims to strengthen peace and international security, which are increasingly dependent on the advances in information and communications technologies. “The international community has proven in practice that it is capable of negotiating and working out acceptable solutions when it comes to resolving fundamental issues of national and international security,” noted Andrey Belousov, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Office in Geneva.
First published in our partner RIAC
*Alexander Zinchenko, Ph.D. in History, Lead Expert at the Centre for International Information Security, Science and Technology Policy at MGIMO University
How the Republican Party Has Tightened U.S.-Taiwan Ties
Taiwan, also known as the sovereign Republican of China (ROC), set up in the aftermath of the revolution in 1911 in China. The U.S. government recognized the ROC as the legal government of China till the end of 1978 and has thereafter maintained a non-diplomatic relationship with the island after its official recognition of People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the legal government of China in 1979. Even though the U.S.-Taiwan relationship is deemed as “unofficial” by the U.S. Department of State, official contacts between the two governments based on the Taiwan Relations Act have never ceased, the most important of which includes U.S.-Taiwan arms sales. The “strategic ambiguity” embedded in the three U.S.-PRC Joint Communiqués in 1972, 1979 and 1982 allows the U.S. to maintain its involvement in the regional security of Taiwan Strait under a statutory framework despite PRC’s countless opposition.
America’s long-standing commitment to Taiwan and involvement in the region is not only bound by the jurisdiction of the Taiwan Relation Act, but has created “historical and ideological connections”. The support for Taiwan, especially when in the face of an increasingly aggressive China, is usually bipartisan in the U.S., but the Republican party seems to be more provocative when it comes to defending Taiwan from the threat of mainland China. Historically, Republican politicians usually stroke first to take a pro-Taiwan stance when disputes across the Taiwan Strait arose. Meanwhile, the ongoing “asymmetric polarization” in the U.S. – the Republican Party is turning conservative more than the Democratic Party turning liberal – is influencing Washington’s policies involving the Taiwan Strait. In 2020, conservative Republican senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz introduced the Taiwan Defense Act (TDA) and Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty (Taiwan SOS) Act respectively, both of which aimed at defending Taiwan from Chinese Communist Party’s oppression and even invasion. As Republicans are rapidly turning more conservative, is it likely that the U.S.-Taiwan relations will enter a honeymoon phase? And how that would affect U.S.-Taiwan arms sales?
Historical links between U.S. Republican Party and Taiwan
- 1949 – 1971: The China Lobby
Throughout the history U.S.-Taiwan relations, there have been multiple times when conservative Republican officials and public figures have worked at the forefront of campaigning for closer U.S.-Taiwan ties, often along with anti-PRC policies.The Republican Party’s intimacy with Taiwan dates back to 1949 when the Chinese Civil War ended. The defeat of Chiang Kai-shek split U.S. policymakers on the issue of whether to defend Taiwan if Communists from China initiated an attack. Democratic Secretary of State Dean Acheson was prone to abandon the island while Republican Senators Robert Taft and William Knowland, together with former Republican President Hoover adamantly demanded that America should protect Taiwan.
In the 1950s, the China Lobby, a broad network of people who shared the common goal of support Chiang Kai-shek’s recovery of mainland China from Mao Zedong-led communism, represented the apex of Taiwan’s success in America. It involved both Nationalist Chinese officials and right-wing American politicians who were mostly Republican politicians, including Senator Barry Goldwater, Jesse Helms, Senator Bob Dole, and Representative Dana Rohrabacher. Although not every supporter of Chiang actually cared about Taiwan issues since many of them simply took advantage of it to advance their own political agendas, the China Lobby, supported by the Republican Party, was capable of arguing for their cause aggressively and intimidating dissidents.
2.2 1971-1991: The Sino-US Normalization – Inner Conflicts among Republicans
Republican President Nixon won bipartisan support for his trip to China in 1972, which marked the end of U.S. efforts to isolate People’s Republic of China. Praises for Nixon’s China initiative came not only from leading congressional Democrats such as Senator Ted Kennedy and Mike Mansfield, but liberal communist James Reston. However, domestic controversy and criticism also arose and mostly came from conservative Republicans who complained that the preliminary rapprochement undermines America’s longtime ally – Taiwan. As the conclusion of Nixon’s visit to China, the “U.S.-PRC Joint Communique (1972)” was issued, which incurred opposition and even wrath of Nixon’s conservative Republican supporters who were upset by the gradual reduction in U.S. forces in Taiwan as implied by the communique.
A decade later, Republican President Ronald Reagan issued the “U.S.-PRC Joint Communique on Arms Sales” – also known as 1982 Communique – which clarified that the U.S. intended to gradually decrease its arms sales to Taiwan, but Reagan’s secret Memorandum on the 1982 Communique specified that the reduction in U.S. sales of arms to Taiwan was “conditioned absolutely upon the continued commitment of China to the peaceful solution of the Taiwan-PRC differences”. As a matter of fact, not only did the Reagan administration have Republicans in Congress reassured through his written clarification that the communique would not disadvantage Taiwan, but he continued to work to assuage potential criticism from the pro-Taiwan Republicans by selling twelve C-130H military transport aircraft to Taiwan in 1984.
2.3 1992-2016: The Gradual Revival of Republican-Taiwan Ties
In 1992, an agreement was reached by PRC and ROC governments in the name of “1992 Consensus” in which the commitment of “one China, respective interpretations” was shared and seen as the foundation of the rapprochement between the two sides of Taiwan Strait ever since. Douglas H. Paal, the Director of American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) between 2002 and 2006, buttressed the 1992 Consensus by emphasizing its critical importance to maintaining cross-strait peace in 2012, days before the presidential election of Taiwan. However, the former Republican Senator Frank H. Murkowski supported Tsai Ing-wen’s challenge to the 1992 Consensus – “Taiwan consensus”, and claimed that Tsai’ proposal “represents the will of the Taiwan people”.
Two years after the proposal of 1992 Consensus, the Clinton administration sought to upgrade the U.S.-Taiwan relations but still restricted high-level Taiwanese government officials’ access to U.S. visas. In the same year, Republicans swept the mid-term elections, which led to a growing movement in the Congress that favored closer relations with Taiwan. In 1995, Newt Gingrich, the Speaker of the House as well as the conservative Republican representative of Georgia stated that president of ROC should not only be able to visit the United States, but ROC itself deserved a seat in the United Nations.
The majority of House Republicans’ support for Clinton Administration’s efforts into bringing China into WTO was surprising, but harsh criticism against China also came from Republican politicians and public figures such as Representative Chris Smith, Representative Dana Rohrabacher, and 1992 Republican presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan, most of whom were allies of conservative forces that held anti-PRC and pro-sentiment.
2.4 2017 – present: Increasingly Conservative Republicans and Closer U.S.-Taiwan Ties
After winning the 2016 U.S. president election, the Republican president-elect Donald Trump had a 10-minute conversation with the President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen, an unprecedented move for a soon-to-be U.S. president and Taiwan’s top leader. This led many people to label Trump as a pro-Taiwan president and some even speculate his intention to support the independence of Taiwan.
The conservative Republican president’s policies toward Taiwan were as bold and aggressive as his domestic policies. Even though some may claim Trump’s attitude was “neither new nor Taiwan-specific”, it cannot be denied that his leadership, directly or indirectly, accelerated Republican Party’s right-leaning dash and that came with more pro-Taiwan policies that got under Beijing’ nerve. In 2018, Trump “gladly signed” the Taiwan Travel Act that encourages all levels of U.S. government officials to travel to Taiwan and high-level Taiwanese officials to enter the U.S.. The bill was introduced by the Republican representative Steven Chabot and won bipartisan support before being signed into law by Trump. In 2020, the Republican Senator Josh Hawley introduced the Taiwan Defense Act (TDA) to ensure America’s obligations of defending Taiwan from Chinese Communist Party’s invasion. In the same year, the Republican Senator Ted Cruz recognized Taiwan’s National Day and introduced Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty (Taiwan SOS) Act.
The conservative Republican Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also known for his staunch support for Taiwan. During the final days of Trump’s presidency, Pompeo announced that the U.S. was lifting restrictions on U.S.-Taiwan relations by allowing U.S. government contacts with Taiwan despite an increasing risk of invoking Beijing to trigger a new cross-strait crisis. Even in the post-Trump era, Republicans does not seem to put a stop to their pro-Taiwan cause. In April 2021, the Republican Representative John Curtis introduced the “Taiwan International Solidary Act” to condemn China’s overreach of the sovereignty of Taiwan – a year after he authored the “Taipei Act” to strengthen Taiwan’s international diplomatic recognition and had it passed by bipartisan support. The ongoing partisan divide has yet to show a sign of deceleration after Trump left the office. Based on the redder Republican Party’s historical favor toward Taiwan, it is likely that there will be more Republicans initiating anti-PRC and pro-Taiwan policies, including increasing U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.
Asymmetric Polarization in the U.S.
As early as in the 1990s, themes of polarization, division, and fragmentation started to be discussed by media and political commentators of American politics. The editor of the Columbia Journalism Review declared the conservative politician Patrick Buchanan’s speech at the Republican convention in 1992 a “culture war” and asserted “There is increasing polarization in American society over race, religion, family life, sex education and other social issues”. Similar perceptions include “the sharpening cultural polarization of U.S. society after the mid-1970” and the two dividing values camps in America – the “culturally orthodox” and the “culturally progress”. As shown in Figure 1, Republican legislators have been turning more conservative and Democratic legislators more liberal, which makes the Senate and House more divided than ever since the end of the first World War.
Figure 1: Increasing Polarization in Congress 1870-2010 based on DW-NOMINATE Index
Each point represents the discrepancy between two parties’ mean DW-NOMINATE scores. Higher values along the y-axis indicate stronger political polarization. (source: Moskowitz & Snyder, 2019)
The Republicans and Democrats in the U.S., with their ongoing conflicts commonly acknowledged, are not simply mirror images of each other. A wealth of studies find that the two parties are not moving away from the center at equal speeds. Scholars such as Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson point out that the phenomenon “asymmetric polarization” – Republicans have marched much further right than Democrats have moved left – is what has escalated partisan conflicts, which is also demonstrated by Figure 2. Nolan McCarty, the professor of Politics and Publica Affair of Princeton University, asserts that the polarization is “a Republican-led phenomenon where very conservative Republicans have replaced moderate Republicans and Southern Democrat”. The disproportionate share of rising polarization is thereby greatly explained by Republican party’s march toward the ideological extreme.
Figure 2: Asymmetric Polarization based on DW-NOMINATE Scores
(source: Moskowitz & Snyder, 2019)
Correlations between U.S. Asymmetric Polarization and US-Taiwan Relations and Arms Sales
Compared to 1991 when it had more than 20 countries as suppliers of arms, Taiwan only has the U.S. as its supplier nowadays. America, however, remains Taiwan’s sole and largest supplier of arms by taking advantaging of the strategic ambiguity of the U.S.-PRC Joint Communique of 1982 and the Taiwan Relations Act. More importantly, keeping arms sales to Taiwan can be used as political leverage by the U.S. for the U.S.-RPC relations. The U.S. military sales agreements with Taiwan amounted to $9 billion and delivers totaled $12.3 billion between 1991 and 1998. During the Bush and Obama Administration, U.S.-Taiwan arms sales were oftentimes delayed or cancelled due to concerns over relations with the RPC or U.S. domestic political disputes in Taiwan. However, to counter the cross-Strait military imbalance, the arms sales to Taiwan during the Trump Administration exceeded any previous administrations over the last four decades, including seven packages of arms sales in 2017, C-130 and F-16 fighter parts and accessories in 2018 and 2019. As shown by Figure 3, the overall volume of U.S.-Taiwan arms sales experiences an increase between 1981 and 2010 despite some fluctuations.
Figure 3: U.S. Government Arms Deliveries to Taiwan 1981 – 2010 ($billion, values not adjusted for inflation)
The scatterplot is composed by the author of this article (source: Arms Control Association, n.d.)
For years, Republicans constantly praise the common value shared by the U.S. and Taiwan and never attempt to hide their stance on defending Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act should China violate the peaceful status quo across the strait. The U.S. support for Taiwan is oftentimes dominated by Republicans who tend to convert their anti-CCP ideology to pro-Taiwan policies. Those prominent Republican politicians include Senator Marco Rubio, Senator John McCain, and former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Republicans’ pro-Taiwan impression culminated when Donald Trump, the Republican then-President-elect, had a phone call from Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, the first official U.S.-Taiwan conversation since 1979. Throughout history, most prominent pro-Taiwan Republican politicians have shown a higher level of conservatism than their colleagues based on DW-NOMINATE ideology scores, including Senator Barry Goldwater, Senator Frank H. Murkowski, and Senator John Curtis, whom of which have made great contributions to tightening the relations between the U.S. and Taiwan. According to those Republicans, Taiwan is a loyal friend of the United States who deserves their strong support which includes the timely sale of defensive arms.
With Republicans’ accelerating right-leaning dashing, the anti-China sentiment has been rising and a large portion of it has been translated into pro-Taiwan actions. The Trump Administration’s hardline reprimand of CCP has starkly juxtaposed Taipei and Beijing in the current international political environment. This has enhanced the image of Taiwan as “a tiny democratic ally threatened by a totalitarian neighbor”, which has given Republicans more legitimacy to take aggressive actions to defend democracy of Taiwan by means of promoting more arms sales to the island.
However, is the asymmetric polarization the only reason behind the increasing U.S.-Taiwan arms sales? Even the polarization of Republicans seems to proceed at a faster pace, Democrats’ process of radicalization is tagging along. The boundary between liberal and left had almost vanished by the end of the 1980s, and the self-identifying radicals started to be replaced by leftists relabeled as “progressive”. The progressive movement of Democrats has been accelerated by “neoliberal globalism” and the “Cyber Left” – an amalgamation of hundreds of thousands of online organizations, blogs, Twitter and Facebook groups. A study of Brookings finds that the ratio of progressive non-incumbent House winners to total democratic candidates was as high as 41% in 2018, a huge increase compared to 26% in 2016 and 17% in 2014. There is a chance that Democrats could also show stronger support for Taiwan to help the island stand up to the presence of increasingly aggressive China, which is also consistent with their emphasis on a harmonious global community and “social responsibility”. It is true that notable Democrats such as Senator Bob Menendez, Senator Ted Kennedy or Speaker Nancy Pelosi do have been open about their appeal for Taiwan’s rightful place on the global stage and have never been shy about celebrating Taiwan’s democracy. Whereas, it is also progressive Democrats’ pro-globalization stance that makes them tend to downplay anti-Communism ideology and thus provide insufficient legislative support for Taiwan. Therefore, military support for Taiwan is still and will be dominated by the conservative Republicans who uphold anti-Communism ideology and value a strong military power to increase security and peace.
The history has proven the Republicans’ overall pro-Taiwan stance from the perspective of ideological similarity, strategic purposes and common values. The increasingly right-leaning Republicans’ support for Taiwan is not only confined to the legislative branch, but has permeated the executive branch. Being regarded as the most pro-Taiwan president in the US history, Donald Trump lifted U.S.-Taiwan arms sales “to the next level” by not only upgrading the quality of arms, but significantly changing the frequency and procedure of sales.
Biden’s ambition to reunite the U.S. is not likely to happen on a short notice given the highly divided American society in terms of income inequality, identity politics, race divergence and so on. The ongoing asymmetric polarization is only going to get worse before it gets better, and that would lead more conservative Republicans, instead of moderate ones, to take power in the foreseeable future. Against the backdrop of deteriorating U.S.-PRC relations, hawkish policies for China will become the mainstream among Republicans. That may not necessarily increase the arms sales to Taiwan under the Biden Administration, but the partisan divide in the current American political environment has made and will make pro-Taiwan policies one of the few agendas that can reach a bipartisan agreement. Therefore, that would neither leave sufficient scope for the Biden administration to adjust its Taiwan policy nor make its China policy too different than his predecessor despites his eager to fix the relations with the second largest economy.
Best Extracurricular & After-School Activities to Reduce Stress
Being a student is a fun and exciting experience. However, it is also tightly connected with constant stresses. The lack...
Workers with HIV-AIDS continue to face stigma, discrimination
“Myths and misconceptions” about HIV and AIDS continue to fuel stigma and discrimination in the workplace, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Tuesday. Despite some improvement...
What can I do with an Economics degree?
A degree in economics will increase your employability in any industry. High-skilled graduates are in high demand worldwide. The wide...
Israel-Palestine: Risk of ‘deadly escalation’ in violence, without decisive action
With violence continuing daily throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process urged the Security Council on Tuesday to adopt...
Amidst Strong Economic Rebound in Russia, Risks Stemming from COVID-19 and Inflation
Following a strong economic rebound in 2021, with 4.3 percent growth, Russia’s growth is expected to slow in 2022 and...
COP-26 Results: High Hopes for Low Temperatures
The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP-26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in...
An Uneven Recovery: the Impact of COVID-19 on Latin America and the Caribbean
Employment rates in some Latin American and Caribbean countries have experienced a relative recovery, although in most, rates fall short...
Science & Technology3 days ago
Digital Child’s Play: protecting children from the impacts of AI
East Asia4 days ago
The Chinese diplomatic force in the IAEA to confront Western leadership
Middle East3 days ago
Testing the waters: Russia explores reconfiguring Gulf security
East Asia4 days ago
Summit for Democracy Attempts to Turn Multicolor Modern World into Black and White Divisions
Africa3 days ago
Xi Jinping’s Global Development Initiative and the Sustainable Development Agenda of China-Africa in 2030
Americas3 days ago
Russia and the United States Mapping Out Cooperation in Information Security
Tech News4 days ago
Industrial innovation to accelerate transitions towards greener and digital economies
Economy3 days ago
A Good Transport System Supercharges the Economic Engine