• Wednesday, 24 April 2024

DR. JUNE TEUFEL DREYER FOR GULAN: Expansionist tactics of China have increased resentment about that country

DR. JUNE TEUFEL DREYER FOR GULAN: Expansionist tactics of China have increased resentment about that country

JUNE TEUFEL DREYER is Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, where she teaches courses on China, U.S. defense policy, and international relations. Professor Dreyer has lectured to, and taught a course for, National Security Agency analysts, consults for organizations including the National Geographic and Centra Technology. She is a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a member of International Institute for Strategic Studies. In an interview with our Magazine, she answered our questions like the following:

Gulan: China considers the last year to have been successful despite the recent tragedies in the Middle East, as Beijing amassed a string of strategic victories, not just by boosting its economy but also by calling leadership meetings, mediating peace agreements, and even organizing a combined military drill with one of the most significant regional allies of the United States, so how do you interpret these developments and expansion of China influence and footprint in this region? 

Dr. JUNE TEUFEL DREYER: China indeed has had successes in 2023, as you wrote.  It is also slowly squeezing the Philippines into surrendering parts of its EEZ to Chinese control, and doing the same thing to Japan in the East China Sea, and had reduced Taiwan’s ADIZ.  But these expansionist tactics have increased resentment about China.  Beijing certainly did not get its way in the Taiwan election, where the DPP candidate William Lai Ching-te bested his KMT opponent Hou Yu-ih by several percentage points. The PRC’s overflights over Taiwanese airspace have brought warnings from the US and Japan.  And the Chinese economy continues to decline.  Youth unemployment is at an all-time high, and there’s a worrisome flow of capital from China---from both foreigners and Chinese themselves---despite the party government’s efforts to restrain it and to reassure foreign investors.

Gulan: As far as the Russia-Ukraine war is concerned, China, enhancing its reputation as a broker of peace, profiting from the turmoil in global markets by purchasing cheap gas and oil and bolstering Russia's economy by making up for lost GDP as a result of Western sanctions, so can we safely say that China is the main beneficiary of this war?

Dr. JUNE TEUFEL DREYER: Has China really enhanced its reputation as a broker of peace? I see it more as an international bully, using its military power and large economy to bend other countries to its will. Its offer to act as an honest broker in the Russia-Ukraine and Hama-Israel conflicts have been ignored for good reason. China has certainly profited financially from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, forcing Russia to sell oil and gas at cheap prices, but Putin is surely resentful about that.   I don’t think that any country will truly benefit from this war, though it is accurate to say that China can be said to have benefited more than any other.

Gulan: Under the new normal of "competition without conflict," a return to the engagement era is not expected, but China and the US deserve credit for reducing the possibility of the worst negative tail risks, which include armed confrontation and total decoupling, but how sustainable will this be in your opinion? 

Dr. JUNE TEUFEL DREYER: It’s sustainable, at least in the near future. Biden doesn’t want any trouble before the election in November. If Trump wins he will have to avoid making incendiary statement on the one hand and declaring his admiration for Xi Jinping on the other.  As we’ve seen, Trump has great difficulty in avoiding incendiary statements.  (I am a Republican, yet Trump’s penchant for tweeting first and thinking, if at all, afterward scares me)

Gulan: With respect to Taiwan, Washington and Beijing are cautious about possible unrest, particularly since their leaders are under internal pressure not to seem weak. China has persisted in entering the Taiwan Strait with military aircraft, navy ships, and balloons, so, do you expect further escalation of the situation and possibly the invasion and occupation of Taiwan by China? 

Dr. JUNE TEUFEL DREYER: I expect that China will continue to keep up pressure against Taiwan with disinformation, hacking, threatening words and well as military aircraft, navy ships, balloons.   But not with an actual invasion. Until China can assure itself of a stable supply of high-end computer chips,

Gulan: Obviously, the road and belt initiative has not been the game changes as it had been hoped for, accordingly do you believe that has run its course? 

Dr. JUNE TEUFEL DREYER: Xi Jinping cannot give up on the BRI, since it is his signature project.  Yet clearly it has run into troubles despite having a few successes.  I believe that the BRI will continue, but at a much lower level of funding and with the party government being more careful about what projects they invest in.

Gulan: Some say that China seeks to rewrite the fundamental pillars of the world order rather than revisiting it, what is our perspective about Chinas ambitions in this regard? 

Dr. JUNE TEUFEL DREYER: This is definitely true, as an article in today’s Financial Times makes clear.  I made a pdf of the article but can’t seem to attach it.  Here’s the link, which goes into a lot of detail to support your point.  https://www.ft.com/content/c51622e1-35c6-4ff8-9559-2350bfd2a5c1