China-Europe Relations: Implications and Policy Responses for the United States
CSIS | May 2008 | ISBN 9780892065332 | English | 61 pages | PDF | 1 MB
Today, as China’s influence in the world grows and as the European Union moves to strengthen its position as a more cohesive and effective voice in international affairs, it is all the more critical for U.S. policy leaders to take careful stock of China-Europe relations and their implications for U.S. interests. Europe-China relations have become increasingly regularized, institutionalized, and mutually beneficial, encompassing a broadening range of political, economic, military, scientific, technological, educational, and cultural ties. The China question has arisen as an area of potential transatlantic disagreement, especially over the arm embargo issue, but also on broader concerns of global order, multipolarity, balancing U.S. power, and economic competition.
Given the political, economic and security-related importance of China and Europe to the United States, and their steadily improving relationship, these developments pose important challenges and opportunities for U.S. interests. These developments may not only challenge the U.S. position vis--vis China and Europe; they also could contribute to an increasingly competitive, confrontational, and ultimately detrimental deterioration in traditionally strong transatlantic relations, while also further exacerbating persistent mistrust in U.S.-China ties.
Were U.S.-Europe-China relations to deteriorate, Washington could lose out on the enormous strategic opportunities that would encourage positive political, economic, and security-related outcomes in China, which favor U.S., European, and Chinese interests over the longer term.
Key questions need to be addressed. What are the most important drivers and developments in contemporary China-Europe relations? Will rapidly developing China-Europe relations drive a strategic wedge into transatlantic relations? Will intensifying China-Europe relations result in closer Sino-European ties, damaged U.S. strategic interests, and diminished transatlantic relations? What needs to happen in the United States, in Europe, and in transatlantic relations to avoid or alleviate a strategic rift over China? Do the United States and Europe share more common interests and values vis--vis China than differences? How can the United States and Europe achieve complementarity and bring their respective strengths to bear in their approaches to China?
Given these high stakes, potential challenges, and difficult questions, Washington needs to vastly improve its understanding of China-Europe relations on the one hand and broaden transatlantic common ground regarding China’s growing influence in the world on the other.
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