Frequently Asked Questions
2023 Vol. 31, No. 7 Published: 28 July 2023
Return or Adjustment: Debates on the Sphere of Influence in the U.S. Strategic Community
RUAN Jianping, LI Qi
2023, 31(7): 1-16 | Full text
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Since the emerging of liberal internationalist foreign policy during the era of the post-Cold War, Sphere of Influence has once again become an important issue in the discussion for the U.S. strategic community in recent years. In the discussion, the realists advocate to confront the change in the power balance, emphasizing a prudent use of force with a reduction of unnecessary costs and risks, taking an advantage of alliance to check the rivals and split the basis for their international cooperation. Liberals insist on the liberal internationalist diplomacy with a determinant resistance in the “expansion” of the international influence from China and Russia. An allover isolation and confrontation will be at ready if remolding cannot be attained. In the process of the discussion, the realists are on the offensive side while the liberals are on the defensive one. In the view of the professional background, the liberals have a high level of political and social influence, while in the respect of the significance of reality, both are aimed at the strategic competition against China and Russia.
In a historical view, this discussion has embodied the cyclical adjustments in the U.S. foreign policies with the changes in the power balance. Liberalism and realism have been the two major principles directing the U.S. foreign diplomatic policies with different types of the structural. Since having an absolute advantage, the U.S. prefers a liberal foreign policy. Conversely, as the advantage declines, a realist foreign policy will be preferred. The discussion in this round has been triggered at large in this orientation and the international conflicts and major events have intensified the relative discussion. Regardless of these considerations, the primary goal continues to be protecting the American overall realistic interests and its global dominance.
With the wind vane for the adjustment in the American diplomacy, the discussion has unfolded the change in the American diplomatic gravity and policy orientation toward China. The U.S. has seen the strategic contraction as a general tone for the American global strategy, constructing the alliance containment and alienation as the major way to compete against China and having comprehensive ideological attacks as the key hands.
In the respect of experience, Sphere of Influence mainly refers to the particular region in which a country has a dominating influence with the exclusion of other forces. However, China’s communication and interaction with other countries has been based on the respective independent interests with equality and mutual benefit through open cooperation with no exclusion of any third party. The positive response from the international society to China is sourced from China, but not a result from the Sphere of Influence. Faced with the pressure from the U.S., China should insist on equality and cooperation beyond its ideological discourse trap, openness and win-win strategy to break away from its alliance control and alienation, in its initiative to promote the reform of global governance.
Politics and Law
NATO’s Pivot to the Asia-Pacific Region in the Context of the Biden Administration’s Strategy for the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean
2023, 31(7): 17-30 | Full text
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The Biden administration’s twooceans strategy to connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans has become obvious in light of the U.S. global strategic shift towards the East and the Ukraine crisis, quickening the trend of the NATO’s pivot to the AsiaPacific region, and this is the core of global NATO’s soft expansion. The primary focus of the trend has seen how the NATO has responded to the so called China’s challenges and it has strengthened the tight ties to Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand identified as crucial strategic assets. The NATO’s transition to a multilateral military alliance centered on AsiaPacific security remains challenging. However, there are key obstacles including the U.S.European alliance’s different views on China and Russia, the presence of regional forces to limit the NATO, and the imbalance between NATO’s strategic aims and means. A new transatlantic arrangements between the U.S. and Europe around the major power competition will rely on the NATO’s pivot to the AsiaPacific region, while this will split the alliance’s global focus. The regional security situation will also deteriorate as a result of the NATO’s pivot to the AsiaPacific, significantly increasing strategic pressure on China. China should therefore remain vigilant on how the NATO’s pivot to AsiaPacific will have been developing, discuss with all parties on stabilizing the AsiaPacific security, and create a strategic environment for China.
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