On Tuesday, June 23rd, Javier Solana facilitated a discussion with Bruce Jones of the Brookings Institution and Tao Wang of the Carnegie-Tsinghau Center for Global Policy regarding the New Silk Road and its geopolitical and business implications for Europe.
Bruce Jones argued that we are going to see both integrating and conflicting US and Chinese strategies. Both sides are developing these strategies based on a zero sum game, which in reality, this scenario is not. Currently, China cannot integrate or develop because the US is controlling its access points. Jones spoke of two risks associated with the New Silk Road: (1) this could be the beginning of the breakdown in East Asian peace and (2) the political willingness of the US to have a more integrated economic strategy with China will most likely erode.
Jones pointed out that there are some shared interests between the US and China; however, they are not succeeding in lowering strategic tensions. As an example, although not explicit, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is built up to constrain China. The hope is that cooperation will balance security issues. Although there is no evidence of this thus far, Jones believes the US and EU should collaborate and cooperate on security issues related to the New Silk Road, rather than having the EU stuck in the middle.
Tao Wang delved into a discussion about the economic slowdown in China, specifically the reduction in energy consumption as well as the decrease in crude oil and natural gas demands. Meanwhile, the scale of investment overseas is huge, particularly in the oil and gas industries of Russia, Venezuela and other Latin American countries, and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. In terms of security, Wang projected that the New Silk Road could integrate the region and soften conflict.
Wang argued that there is a strong role for the EU to play as China rises into a Eurasian power and looks for stronger cooperation. The EU can expect huge investments from China, particularly because China wants to develop a stronger technology relationship with the EU.
Javier Solana advised that there is too strong a focus on tactics, and a lack of focus on strategy related to the security issues that accompany the development of the New Silk Road. Solana recommended that debates on the topic continue, especially in Spain, where they are lacking, in order to foster understanding of these megatrends.
This event was part of ESADEgeo’s Mainstreaming EU Knowledge in Business Studies and Strategy (MEKBiz) project funded by the European Commission. [read more]