The Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at the ICDS had the pleasure of inviting Bonnie Glaser from the German Marshall Fund of the United States to speak on “China’s Power Projection Efforts – Near & Far”, an in-depth discussion encompassing topics ranging from China’s regional and global policies, disinformation during the Covid-19 crisis, and China’s influence overseas in political, economic, and ideological manners.
The discussion took place via Teams on 21 September and was the final discussion of EFPI’s series entitled “Understanding China’s Power”. Following the discussion, the participants had the opportunity for a question-and-answer session with Bonnie Glaser, moderated by Frank Jüris, Research Fellow of EFPI at the ICDS, spanning a wide-range of topics.
Bonnie Glaser is the director of the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. She was previously senior adviser for Asia and the director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Ms. Glaser is concomitantly a nonresident fellow with the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, and a senior associate with the Pacific Forum. For more than three decades, Ms. Glaser has worked at the intersection of Asia-Pacific geopolitics and U.S. policy. Ms. Glaser is the host of the German Marshall Fund’s “China Global” podcast.
During her presentation, Ms. Glaser focused on various aspects that make up the intricacies of Chinese foreign policy, including its regional interests in Taiwan, island chains, and the South China Sea, as well as China’s desire for a reduction of US military presence in the region. Global goals were also analyzed in depth, focusing in on what Ms. Glaser termed “the ways and means of China’s Grand Strategy”, including its’ aspiration of technological dominance. As Ms. Glaser described, technological “dominance will help China to shape the international order in its preferred direction”. Through both incentive and coercive practices, such as the Belt and Road Initiative, the purchasing of foreign companies, and economic punishments, China’s foreign policy aims to expand its sphere of influence beyond its country and region. As shown by Glaser’s extensive list of economically coercive measures such as blocks, boycotts and cutting ties that China has implemented in response to other countries ‘undesirable’ policies, one can see China’s sphere of influence is not limited to its neighborhood, but effects areas far from it geographically, such as Australia, Canada and Europe (as seen recently in the example of Lithuania).
This combination of policy direction and aspirations, coupled with China’s attempts to establish new values on the world stage, culminate to provide an overview of China’s toolbox in, to use Ms. Glaser’s phrase, a potential attempt to “revise the international order”.
But although these aforementioned policies are seemingly opposed to the current ‘world order,’ Bonnie’s presentation poses us the question, “is cooperation possible?” This question is complex and one that requires in-depth situational analyses. Topics discussed such as climate change, global health crises, as well as nuclear non-proliferation present opportunities for cooperation, but pose the question of how this cooperation can be executed.
Following the discussion with Ms. Glaser, a short book presentation was given by the editors, Bart Gaens, Frank Jüris and Kristi Raik, of the recently published book “Nordic-Baltic Connectivity with Asia via the Arctic: Assessing Opportunities and Risks”. The book, published by EFPI/ICDS in cooperation with the Finnish Institute of International Affairs and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, provides insights into the Artic region and the influence of other actors within, including China, the European Union and Russia. You can read the book here.
An insightful question and answer session with Ms. Glaser followed the discussion and book presentation and covered a multitude of topics ranging from China’s position in Afghanistan, Covid-19, climate change and China’s view of Europe.