In its security strategy, the United States sees China as the main competitor over the next ten years. Russia must be kept “under control”.
Despite the Russian war of aggression in
Ukraine and nuclear threats from Moscow, the United States sees China as the biggest geopolitical challenge. “Beijing wants to expand its sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific region and become the number one world power,” says the new national security strategy released by the US government in Washington on Wednesday.
“The People’s Republic of China is the only competitor that not only intends to transform the international order, but also has the economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to do so.” In competition with China, the next ten years are “clearly the decisive decade”.
Since taking office, US President Joe Biden’s government has focused on China in terms of foreign policy and has taken a tough stance on Beijing. Russia’s attack on Ukraine overshadowed the issue somewhat. The paper said the goal was to compete effectively with China by keeping “a dangerous Russia” in check.
Referring to Moscow, the US government wrote in the new strategy: “Over the past decade, the Russian government has opted for an imperialist foreign policy aimed at overthrowing important elements of the international order.” This culminated in the invasion of Ukraine.
“The United States has made multiple efforts under various administrations to shake hands with Russia to limit our rivalry and find pragmatic areas of cooperation. President Putin has rejected these efforts and it is now clear that he will not change,” he further said. “Russia now represents an immediate and ongoing threat to international peace and stability.”
China and Russia are the only countries to have their own chapters in the 48-page document. Otherwise, there is a rough draft of how the US wants to position itself internationally. Among other things, the US government emphasizes the general approach of strengthening international coalitions, but also of cooperating where possible with opponents such as Russia and China to address global challenges that cannot be solved otherwise, such as the climate crisis, the food security or pandemics.
Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan acknowledged that it’s not always easy: “Obviously there are tensions between trying to advance cooperation to solve these common challenges and trying to position ourselves effectively to compete strategically.”
The US government is also focusing on dissolving the line between domestic and foreign politics, because its strength at home and abroad is “inextricably linked”. To address global challenges, the United States should strengthen its competitiveness through inward investment. It is also important to modernize the US military so that it is prepared for “the era of strategic competition”.