China and Eurasian Powers in a Multipolar World Order 2.0
Security, Diplomacy, Economy and Cyberspace
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This book argues that the World Order is no longer unipolar and the war in Ukraine proves this fact. As this study discribes and theorizes, it has been transformed into a Multipolar World Order 2.0 stage. This title critically examines Chinese, US, Russian, EU, Indian and number of powers cooperation and competition over security, diplomatic, economic and cyberspace issues.
Accomplished scholars from different regions of the Eurasian continent consider the impact of Russo-Ukrainian war, Sino-Russian strategic partnership, China's relations with the US and EU, the influence of the Belt and Road Initiative, the expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Eurasian Economic Union, China’s policies in the Middle East, Central Asia, Indo-Asia Pacific, the Caucasus, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as focus on details of growing contradictions and collaboration in Eurasian continent over markets, technologies, digital leadership, vaccine distribution, and financial institutions, in the Era of the Multipolar World Order 2.0.
Showing that the US-centred unipolar world order is replaced by Multipolar World Order 2.0 where conflicting powers fight to keep or extend their spheres of influence, this volume will be of great interest to decision makers, diplomats, scholars and students of international relations, politics, global governance, Eurasian studies, Chinese studies, cybersecurity, economics, and for those studying human security, international organizations, and geopolitics.
Table of Contents
Contents List of Figures Notes on Contributors Preface in Chinese Acknowledgements Foreword: Great Power conflict PART I China, Great Powers and Eurasian Security 1. Political and economic security in multipolar Eurasia: English school perspective 2. Eurasia and the Pacific as the "Golden apple of discord" between the US and China: the cases of Afghanistan, Ukraine, the AUKUS and Quad 3.The US and China as main powers in the Multipolar world order 2.0: a case study Turkey and the Middle East PART II:
Sino-Russian strategic partnership in Eurasia: politics, economy, trade and interregional interaction 4.The strengthening of the Sino-Russian partnership in the the era of the Multiplolar world order 2.0 5. Russo-Chinese trade and economic cooperation: achievements and challenges 6. Interregional interaction between China and Russia on the Russo-Chinese border in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic PART III:
Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Belt and Road Initiative’s China-Central Asia-Western Asia and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridors 7. China in Central Asia: the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, new developments and roles in 2013-2021 8.China’s Belt and Road Initiative and South Caucasus in the Era of Ukrainian war and Multipolar world order 2.0 9. Bangladesh and Belt and Road Initiative: strategic rationale and plausible repercussions PART IV: European subcontinent and China 10. China and the European Union: more partners than rivals? 11. Chinese relations with Central and Eastern European Countries in an era of Multipolar world order 2.0 PART V: Cybersecurity challenges, Digital Silk Road, and innovations in Eurasia 12. China’s Digital Silk Road: empowering capabilities for digital leadership in Eurasia 13. BRI’s Digital Silk Road and the EU: the role of innovation and communication in the Italian case study 14. Cybersecurity challenges between the EU and China and the way forward: thoughts and recommendations PART VI: The strategy of Communist Party of China: the historical experience and roadmap for the future 15. Comprehensive analysis of Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century PART VII Conclusion 16. Conclusion: colliding interests in Ukraine, Eurasia, and cyberspace in the era of Multipolar world order 2.0 Index
Mher Sahakyan is an Asia Global Fellow of the Asia Global Institute of University of Hong Kong. He is the founder and director of the China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research, foundation in Armenia. Mher Sahakyan also founded the annual international conference Eurasian Research on Modern China and Eurasia. He is an elected advisory board member of the International Institute for Peace, Austria. Mher is also a member of British Association for Chinese Studies and International Political Science Association. Mher holds a doctorate in international relations from China’s Nanjing University and is a lecturer at the Russian-Armenian University, Yerevan State University and the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. He is the author of the book China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Armenia, which was published in Armenian and in Russian. He is also author of "The New Great Power Competition in Central Asia: Opportunities and Challenges for the Gulf", a contribution published in 2021 by the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy in the United Arab Emirates. He is co-editor (with Heinz Gärtner) of China and Eurasia: Rethinking Cooperation and Contradictions in the Era of Changing World Order, which was published by Routledge in September 2021.
The current context: understanding China and Eurasia in the Multipolar World Order
A conventional assumption in geopolitics today is that the post-Cold War "unipolar moment" is passed and that what has emerged is an international system in which the United States is no longer the dominant global power. This transition has played out over three decades, marked by signal events and trends that have given impetus and credence to the narrative – the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the American misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, the global financial crisis, the degradation of the American political system and democracy (so shockingly demonstrated by the January 6, 2021, coup attempt and insurrection on Capitol Hill), heightened tensions with China and Russia, the inept handling of Covid-19, and the bungled withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
Arguably the deterioration of American authority and influence began long before the collapse of the Soviet Union – the Watergate scandal that brought down a president in 1974 and the military retreat from Vietnam a year later being twin portents of imperial decay. Indeed, the slow-melt of American primacy has been prompted by its own actions and domestic deficiencies and dysfunctions, as well as by the drive and daring of challengers – mainly regional such as Russia and Iran but also global, China. Consider Fareed Zakaria’s (2008) assertion that the "rise of the rest" has diminished America’s ability to "dictate to this new world" but not its ability to lead. The advent of Donald Trump and his disruptive approach to international relations, alliances and partnerships seemed to confirm for much of the world that the US was drifting downward, by its own devices hastening the arrival of a new world order.
The term "multipolar" has come into vogue to describe this new condition, the implication being that the US is now only one of three or more poles or centers of power in the world. This geopolitical imagery evokes the concept of "trilateralism", an idea still in currency as recently as the 1980s of three-sided global governance – North America, Western Europe and Japan, acting as a tribune for Asian countries – though certainly not on an equilateral basis. "Multipolarity" implies a world of regional powers, even hegemons, and a framework of balancing and/or bandwagoning – a fluid dynamic of non-alignment (not having to choose sides) and competition (among economies and clusters of economies).
But the idea of multipolarity does not fully capture the asymmetry of a constellation of clusters around but at varying distances to the two principal poles, the incumbent (the US) and the ascendant (China). It is a complex system of relationships, partnerships and alliances no longer roughly in the bifurcated Cold-War arrangement. The US-China strategic competition and decoupling narrative, the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war have fueled the impression of a return to a take-sides power duopoly or an East-West dichotomy. But greater clarity is not likely; ultimate decoupling is not possible. Rather, uncertainty due to geopolitical, geo-economic and geotechnological contestation and shifting allegiances is the probable global steady state, however fuzzy and difficult to navigate.
In this context, China and Eurasian Powers in the Multipolar World Order 2.0 is a significant contribution to the understanding of this complicated and still-evolving order. The use of the term "multipolar world order 2.0" is purposeful and critical, as the editor and authors adopt a more nuanced and textured understanding of multipolarity than conventional analysts. This predicate is an important aspect of this wide-ranging study. The context is current.
Indeed, coming after the publication in 2021 of China and Eurasia Rethinking Cooperation and Contradictions in the Era of Changing World Order, this new collection of papers moves forward the leading edge of scholarship on China and emerging Eurasia, what Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies Kent Calder (2019) dubbed the "super continent". As with the earlier volume, the book offers on-the-ground research and perspectives on the many different dimensions of China’s role in the Eurasia project, the shaping of what might arguably be the center of gravity of the global economy.
This essential and comprehensive tour d’horizon of the region starts with an overview that presents the strategic and geopolitical landscape from Europe to the Indo-Pacific, an important effort to connect the dots in light of the Ukraine war, which has sparked discussions of risk and security comparisons and linkages between the transatlantic theater and the East Asia. Consider the landmark participation of the Japanese prime minister and the South Korean president in the NATO summit in Madrid in June 2022, the parallel (but unconnected) discussions and debates over the expansion of NATO and the evolving role of the Quad, and NATO’s (2021) geographic stretch in June 2021 to characterize "China's stated ambitions and assertive behavior" as "systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to Alliance security."
The book then drills down into the partnership between China and Russia, which its leaders, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, in February 2022 characterized as having "no limits". The reality, captured in three key chapters, is more complex than that tagline suggests. The focus then shifts to regional cooperation – first, developments in the SCO, an often overlooked mixed political, economic, security collaboration of its members, observers and dialogue partners.
There follow two insightful updates on the BRI, China’s signature foreign economic policy program, focusing on the South Caucasus and on Bangladesh, a country that to some extent is torn by the classic choice between economic opportunities offered by Beijing and the logic of strategic alignment or association with regional power India. The book also includes two chapters on the DSR, one that looks at developments in Eurasia and the other presenting a case study of Italy, which signed a memorandum of understanding with China on the BRI in 2019.
The remaining survey chapters cover China’s relations with Central and Eastern European countries and with the EU. Beijing’s ties with the EU have become more fraught and tense, given sources of friction that led to the freezing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) and disappointment in Brussels over China’s stance on the Ukraine war. There is a separate chapter on China-EU cybersecurity challenges, a notable discussion in light of the US-EU attempts to coordinate data governance and China’s own efforts to set standards with neighbors, participants in the DSR initiative, and partners in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), essentially the ten ASEAN members and four other dialogue partners. The area of data governance and cybersecurity is notably an area on which the Quad member states are aiming to collaborate.
The book ends with a concluding chapter that examines the "colliding interests" in Eurasia by Mher Sahakyan, the editor, neatly tying up the threads of analysis that run through the volume. Sahakyan, who is fortuitously based in Yerevan, Armenia, and was with Heinz Gärtner (2021) the co-editor of the earlier book, is a rare scholar in the Eurasia space who has deep experience across the region, including China, where he earned his doctorate. It takes a specialist with a transregional background and expertise built from on-the-ground knowledge to get a handle of the fast-moving developments in the region, especially in the context of major global disruptions such as the pandemic and the Ukraine war.
Sahakyan asserts from the beginning the death of unipolarity, and he and his fellow contributors are firmly focused on setting their analysis within the parameters of the multipolar world order. Their contribution to the study of Eurasia within the global context as it is, however difficult it is to take an accurate snapshot of these volatile times, is invaluable to all scholars and analysts of China and how its continued surge in status, significance and sway is changing the world."
Professor, Dr. Alejandro Reyes, Director, Knowledge Dissemination, Asia Global Institute, The University of Hong Kong.
Calder, K. E., 2019. Super Continent: the logic of Eurasian integration. Redwood: Stanford University Press.
Fareed, Z., (2008). The Post-American World. New York: WW Norton & Company.
NATO, 2021. Brussels Summit Communiqué, Press Release 086.
Sahakyan, M. and Gärtner, H., ed., 2021. China and Eurasia rethinking cooperation and contradictions in the era of changing world order. Abingdon/New York: Routledge.
One of the main results of the III Eurasian Research on Modern China and Eurasia Conference in 2021 was the unification of the international team of scholars. In 2022 this team continued cooperation and prepared China and Eurasian Powers in a Multipolar World Order 2.0: Security, Diplomacy, Economy and Cyberspace book. The authors analyze China’s politics in Asia-Pacific, Central Asia, South Caucasus, Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe. They also discuss China’s relations with Russia, the US, EU and other powers in the era of Multipolar world order 2.0. Special attention is provided to the great powers' competition in Eurasian cyberspace, which has become one of the main engines of human life. This edited volume addresses core issues and priorities of interrelations between these two essential parts (China and Eurasia) of Geopolitics, raising points of mutual interests and benefits based on comprehensive analysis of the existing situation and perspectives for future. Thanks to initiators, and in particular editor Dr. Mher Sahakyan, this contribution gathers top-class researchers and analysts both from policy-making centers and academic institutions. This edited volume is highly appreciated and welcomed by policy advisors and professionals from Eurasian states as well as China.
Professor, Dr. Armen Darbinyan, Former Prime Minister of Republic of Armenia, Rector of Russian-Armenian University, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, Foreign Member of Russian Academy of Sciences.