Tag Archives: topic week

NAFAC Week Concludes on CIMSEC

By Dmitry Filipoff

Over the past week-and-a-half CIMSEC featured content from the 57th annual Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference, themed “A New Era of Great Power Competition.”

Our coverage began with overviews of major talks and panels that took place during the conference including: Rear Adm. John Kirby’s (ret.) address on fundamentals of decision-making and a panel on whether great power competition is occurring; Gen. John Allen’s address on global mega trends and the four-plus-one construct of international threats; Vice Adm. James Foggo’s III address on the fourth battle of the Atlantic and the panel on technology and cyber competition; Dr. Kathleen Hicks’ address on formulating policy to address present challenges and a panel on rival power perspectives on competition.

We followed our coverage with a full week featuring the top student essays selected from the 16 topical round tables. Their writings are listed below. Finally, we concluded with an interview with Jack McCain on the main takeaways and insights of the conference.

CIMSEC would like to recognize MIDN 1/C Charlotte Asdal, NAFAC Director, and her staff for allowing us to participate in this year’s events and for inviting our readership to virtually share in the conference’s rich academic proceedings.

Science Diplomacy in the Arctic by Jackie Faselt

“Due to its importance in environmental security, sizable natural resource reserves, and remote location, the Arctic incentivizes cooperation through science diplomacy.”

The Threat, Defense and Control of Cyber Warfare by Lin Yang Kang

“The ubiquity and reliance on cyberspace to improve the efficiency and capability of government, military, and civilian sectors lead to the Internet of Things (IOT) for day-to-day operations and in this pervasiveness of the use of Internet lies the potential for devastating cyber-attacks.”

Understanding Systems of International Order by Kimmie Ross

“Foundational literature exploring the respective merits and shortcomings of unipolar, bipolar, and multipolar international orders largely evaluate these systems in terms of their durability and propensity for peace. This essay serves to challenge these criteria as the main bases for evaluation, arguing that consideration of global prosperity and human rights is key in assessing the advantages of each system.”

Saving the Lives of Maritime Passageways: The Coast Guard and Maritime Chokepoints by Victoria Castleberry

“Coast Guard presence provides what no other U.S. asset can to this hostile region: provide security without an escalation of arms and the facilitation of transnational cooperation through various interagency programs. Expanding this model of strategic deterrence by increasing the U.S. Coast Guard’s presence internationally, the United States will be capable of protecting our most precious passages, promote international cooperation, and give the U.S. an advantage in determining how the international maritime waterways are governed.”

India’s Bid for Global Power in a Multipolar System During Development by Corey Bolyard

“By engaging in economic reform, India will have the opportunity to develop and exploit its large population and economic opportunity to become a global power in an increasingly multi-polar system, thereby allowing for an ambitious foreign policy permitting India to protect its interests in South Asia and act as the preeminent power in the region.”

Great Power Cooperation and the Role of International Organizations by Emil Krauch

“The atrocities of World War II have led to the creation of a union of countries that is unprecedented in its cooperation and interdependence. I intend to explore the European Union as an international collaboration of great powers, and to make the case for its importance and success.”

Iran and Saudi Arabia’s Proxy War in Yemen by Rose Cote

“While religion is a factor for the conflict, particularly for Iran supporting the Shia Houthi rebels, this conflict is primarily centralized around Yemen’s strategic value for both Iran and Saudi Arabia.”

Multinational Corporations in the Oil Industry by Monica Sullivan

“As multinational corporations are involved in the development of foreign infrastructure, their relationships abroad should be considered as a viable alternative for diplomatic action when military and state actors fail.”

A Balancing Act: U.S. and the Cross-Strait Relation by Jenny Chau Vuong

“There are three most likely outcomes in this conflict: Taiwan declaring independence, maintaining the status quo, or reuniting with China. In order to maintain positive relation with China, the U.S. should not bolster Taiwan’s confidence to declare independence.”

The Middle Way: A Balanced Approach to Growing America’s Navy by Riley Jones

“The United States Navy should adopt an intermediate approach to growing the fleet in order to maintain a favorable balance of power while also making efficient use of limited budgetary resources.”

The Reawakening of the Russian Bear by Jared Russel

“Thus, it is evident that Russia is not an emerging power in the global landscape, and furthermore, it is safe to assert that they are not ‘reawakening’ under any conditions. Instead, amidst their decline (or possibly even within the monotony of stability via mediocrity), the United States must be cautious of the dangers posed by a disruptive nation that acts like it has nothing to lose.”

The Beijing Consensus: A Threat of our own Creation by Jhana Gottlieb

“Contrary to the beliefs of Western alarmists, the Beijing Consensus’ power derives mostly from its definition as an alternative to Western neoliberalism, not from any ideological strength of its own. In emphasizing the dichotomy between the Washington and Beijing Consensuses, Western observers thereby only further extend China’s ideational power.”

The Unfriendly Scramble for Everywhere: Investment’s Role in Foreign Policy by Phillip Bass

“Investment changes a state’s foreign policy if the state is the investor, or if invested states have more to gain than by pursuing an alternative avenue.”

Assessing the United States’ Bioterrorism Preparation by Samuel Klein

“Because the United States’ biological WMD preparedness is inadequate, the United States government should substantially increase its investment in biological weapons response, including private- and public-sector biomedical research, treatment coordination infrastructure, and intelligence-driven threat mitigation.”

The Next Great Space Race: From a Sprint to a Marathon by Madison Fox

“Now, as tensions rise once again, and not only as space exploration but habitation become realistic possibilities, America will once again be called upon to lead. In this work, I hope to illustrate how the U.S. has done so thus far, and will continue to do so in the coming decades, with particular assistance from their most valuable resource, competitive innovation.”

Understanding the Role of Hybrid Warfare and U.S. Strategy for Future Conflicts by Rebecca Farrar

“By deconstructing the idea of hybrid war, the U.S. can better articulate an effective form of strategy, like budget reform and multilateral cooperation, to address inherent threats without the fervor created by the exaggerated significance given to this dystopic concept.”

Dmitry Filipoff is CIMSEC’s Director of Online Content. Contact him at Nextwar@cimsec.org

Featured Image: U.S. Naval Academy (Wikimedia Commons)

Understanding the Role of Hybrid Warfare and U.S. Strategy for Future Conflicts

Note: Original essay title: “Deconstructing Dystopia: Understanding the Role of Hybrid Warfare and U.S. Strategy for Future Conflicts.”

NAFAC Week

By Rebecca Farrar 

The boundaries of war have widened significantly with the technological investments each new era brings. Some believe war has lost the boundaries it once possessed, prompting an adoption of what some see to be a new way of war. The idea of “hybrid warfare” has become the 21st century political obsession, and allegedly poses a problem for the United States’ military strategy against growing powers like Russia, China, and even non-state actors like Daesh. While it may be true that the U.S. has reached a difficult point in foreign relations, the notion of “hybrid warfare” poses a fatal threat to U.S. security only so long as it continues to be hyperbolized. By deconstructing the idea of hybrid war, the U.S. can better articulate an effective form of strategy, like budget reform and multilateral cooperation, to address inherent threats without the fervor created by the exaggerated significance given to this dystopic concept.

Using analyst Frank Hoffman’s definition, “hybrid warfare” is “a tailored mix of conventional weapons, irregular tactics, terrorism, and criminal behavior in the same time and battlespace to obtain [a group’s] political objectives.” Despite the new-aged prominence political analysts are assigning to it, hybrid warfare does not entail anything the international community has not contended with before, having previously named similar conflicts “compound war.” For example, the rape and trafficking of thousands of women by Daesh is a component of their hybrid strategy. Yet, this cultural weapon has been systematically enforced from the top down in cases like the Dirty Wars, the Bangladeshi Liberation War, and the genocidal rapes commissioned by the Serbian forces. It seems that the narrow difference to justify a new slogan is the modern technology and information systems being used today. Yet, even the effects of these systems seem to be exaggerated. The supporters of this “new” concept point to the use of unmarked “Little Green Men” by Russia in the annexation of Crimea. However, the conditions in which Russia obtained Crimea are hardly innovative, nor are they indicative of future reproductions. In fact, Crimea supported a large population that held pro-Russian sentiments, and Russia possessed an “in” in the form of the Sevastopol base in southwestern Crimea. Furthermore, the divestment of patches hardly speaks of a new tactical form of war, and is instead more indicative of the high-end special forces operations the U.S. has long participated in. If anything, the focus on hybrid warfare as a new concept has hindered the U.S. by implying the existence of a new strain of conflict to be addressed. Aggressors like Russia and China may wave shiny new toys under the eye of the Western allies, all while operating in simultaneous spheres to achieve their political aims; but the reality is, they are not moving too far from the conventional and irregular methods of past conflicts. The U.S. should look at aggressors not as innovators, but as exceptional strategists recycling old algorithms of war to appear unrecognizable. When the U.S. can step out of the dystopia painted by the terror of a new form of war, it will see that current threats have not deviated from the path of history.

The U.S. must change its force structure to meet all potential threats and achieve its desired interests for order and protection. Threats can emerge from different categories, ranging from great powers to rogue states. As a global hegemon, the U.S. has the need and capability to address all of these threats, but must maintain a flexible force structure to meet demand. Currently, primacy – the preservation of current U.S. hegemony – is the most beneficial and cost-effective way to ensure the peace of a liberal world order. The U.S. defense budget should reassess its priorities to achieve this grand strategy. While the current budget still supersedes Cold War and WWII numbers, just over $600 billion, its priorities reflect the misleading understanding of today’s inherent threats. For example, the U.S. expects to spend up to $1.45 trillion on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter , technology that has proven to be unnecessary and fraught with developmental problems. Alternatively, funds should be appropriated to much needed naval technology, like littoral combat ships, to preserve U.S. power projection in the Pacific. Instead of cutting active-duty soldiers, the U.S. could increase ground forces to meet the demand for land based warfare, reflected in the guerilla attacks from non-state actors and conventional training in Russia’s military. An investment in Army, Marine, SFO, NGO, or human intelligence programs, is a much-needed element of our force structure to combat the cultural strains of war the U.S. is facing. The U.S. needs to step out of a technocentric mindset, reallocate funds being spent on imprudent technological programs, and invest in areas like training for protean threats and power projection abroad. For example, in addition to the investments in navy technology that would increase intelligence capabilities in the Pacific, the U.S. should secure ties with states near the South China Sea, “possibly including new U.S. deployments or even bases,” to provide a firm resistance to Chinese expansion. A benevolent flex of power not only deters feasible revolution, but also allows for our allies to shoulder a part of the cost to police that region.

Overall, the terror brought about by the phrase “hybrid warfare” hasn’t been constructive for U.S. foreign policy and security. Discussing current threats in this way distorts the role advanced technology and war strategies are actually playing in the international community. By deconstructing hybrid warfare to its parts, it becomes easier for the U.S. to adapt military strategy to meet those specific avenues of conflict. While the U.S. should not anticipate any serious oncoming threats to its security, it should still work to ensure its global primacy and future well-being through revising the budget and securing ties with states abroad.

Rebecca Farrar is a Senior at Baylor University in Waco, TX. Majoring in Political Science and minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies, she has been involved in many political and activist related organizations on Baylor’s campus. She has served in groups like the Baylor Democrats, the campus feminist club, Baylor Undergraduate Student Senate, Baylor University Mock Trial, and the All-University Civil Rights Resolution Committee. In addition to feminist activism and campaign work, Rebecca enjoys reading, traveling, and keeping up with her one-year old dog and sidekick, Penelope. Rebecca will be moving to NYC in the fall to pursue her law degree at St. John’s University School of Law, where she hopes to develop the skills to work specifically with crimes against women and children.

References

Hoffman, Frank. “On Not-So-New Warfare: Political Warfare vs Hybrid Threats.” War on the Rocks. August 07, 15. Accessed March 18, 2017. https://warontherocks.com/2014/07/on-not-so-new-warfare-political-warfare-vs-hybrid-threats/.

Kofman, Michael. “Russian Hybrid Warfare and Other Dark Arts.” War on the Rocks. March 11, 2016. Accessed March 22, 2017. https://warontherocks.com/2016/03/russian-hybrid-warfare-and-other-dark-arts/.

Kofman, Michael, and Matthew Rojansky. “A Closer Look at Russia’s “Hybrid War”.” The Kennan Cable, no. 7 (April 2015). Accessed March 20, 2017. https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/7-KENNAN%20CABLE-ROJANSKY%20KOFMAN.pdf.

Minasyan, Sergey. ““Hybrid” vs. “Compound” War: Lessons From The Ukraine Conflict.” PonarsEuarasia – Policy Memos. November 20, 2015. Accessed March 21, 2017. http://www.ponarseurasia.org/memo/hybrid-vs-compound-war-lessons-ukraine-conflict.

O’Hanlon, Michael, and David Petraeus. “America’s Awesome Military And How to Make It Even Better.” Tomorrow’s Military. Foreign Affairs, September/October 2016.

Mackubin, Thomas Owens. “A Balanced Force Structure To Achieve a Liberal World Order.” Orbis 50, no. 2 (2006): 307-25.

Schóber, T. and P. Pulis. “F-35- Win or Loss for the USA and Their Partners?.” Advances in Military Technology 10, no. 2 (December 2015): 81-94. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed March 21, 2017).

Stavridis, James.  “Maritime Hybrid Warfare Is Coming,” Proceedings, U.S. Naval Institute, December 2016, http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2016-12-0/maritime-hybrid-warfare-coming.  (Accessed March 23, 2017).

White, Andrew. “How Best to Combat the Terrorist Threat.” Military Technology 39, no. 2 (February 2015): 6. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed March 23, 2017).

Featured Image: Pro-Russian armed men stand guard at a checkpoint after pro-Russian activists set tires on fire when Ukrainian soldiers arrived on armoured personnel carriers, on the outskirts of Slaviansk, eastern Ukraine April 30, 2014. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)

The Next Great Space Race: From a Sprint to a Marathon

NAFAC Week

By Madison Fox

In 2010, during a speech at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, President Obama ushered in a new era of American space exploration, marked by intense partnership with United Sate’s industry leaders.1 In the past, specifically during the Cold War Space Race of the 1960s, the United States’ achievements in space served as a bright beacon of the power of free markets, society, government, and innovation.2 Now, as tensions rise once again, and not only as space exploration but habitation become realistic possibilities, America will once again be called upon to lead. In this work, I hope to illustrate how the U.S. has done so thus far, and will continue to do so in the coming decades, with particular assistance from their most valuable resource, competitive innovation.

In the past decade, NASA’s budget has been on the chopping block. In fact, since 1993, NASA’s budget has never exceeded 1 percent of the federal budget; this is in stark comparison with 1966, when NASA received 4.41 percent of the entirety of the federal budget, it would seem the U.S. government no longer sees space exploration as a priority.3 Yet, many world-renowned scientists, businessmen, and even historians feel otherwise. The quest for space exploration has evolved to a quest for space habitation. The more humans learn about the universe we live in, the more aware we have become of our own precarious position in it. All of humanity’s achievements could come to a succinct end at the hand of any number of cosmological events, over which we have little to no control. While it may seem like science fiction or a doomsayer’s heedless cry, the possibilities are very real and must be considered in all their weight.

Threats to humanity are not solely man-made. While weapons of mass destruction are reaching far greater levels of effectiveness, possibly in space, Mother Nature maintains her own arsenal. The most obvious threat to humanity, and the threat that wiped out our predecessors on this planet, is an asteroid. The massive number of asteroids in our solar system mean that an asteroid strike is not just a possibility but highly probable; in fact, estimates put the likelihood of dying of an asteroid strike as high as 1 in 200,000, the same as dying in a passenger aircraft crash.4 As recently as 1908, a relatively small object, only 200-ft wide, landed in Siberia and brought with it the destructive power of 1,000 Hiroshima bombs, leveling 100 miles of forest.5 A mere 81 years later, a much larger asteroid passed within 400,000 miles of Earth, in a space Earth had occupied only 6 hours earlier. The effects of asteroids can be as “harmless” as a Hiroshima bomb or as harmful as Carl Sagan’s nuclear winter theory, and even extinction, as was the case with the dinosaurs.6 It is not  a possibility we can dismiss as sensational, but one for which we must actively prepare. But even if asteroids aren’t convincing enough, other threats like the reversal of Earth’s magnetic field, giant solar flares, and rogue black holes, all have strong precedence in scientific research and would lead to cataclysmic results for our home planet.7

Our realization of the Earth’s precarious position in the cosmos has been the gun that set off the next great space race: the race to Mars. No longer in the realm of science fiction, billions of dollars have been invested by both private and public entities to assess the feasibility of the red planet as a harbor for humanity. The leaders of the effort are NASA and SpaceX, who have been working together over the past decade, a true testament to American economic and scientific principles.8 There has, in effect, been a divvying up of responsibilities between NASA and corporate space enterprises. Companies like SpaceX, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Orbital ATK, have taken on the physical logistics of space travel, after NASA retired its space shuttle program in 2011.9 Since then, it has shifted its focus on to the research required to achieve successful and sustained life beyond Earth, and it has been effective in doing so. As Elon Musk, the founder and head of SpaceX stated, his company’s mission is to build a modern day Union Pacific Railroad, but it is NASA’s mission to promote the feasibility of moving “West.”10

In December of 2008, NASA awarded two of the most forward thinking corporations in the world, Boeing and SpaceX, contracts for completing cargo shipments to the International Space Station.11 While the companies are perfecting their spacecraft, NASA has relied on Russia for transport to and from the American-funded and Russian-built International Space Station. Since 2006, the United States has been paying Russia for seats in it spaceship, Soyuz, the only spaceship on Earth able to transport humans to and from the ISS.12 In 2007, NASA was paying $21.8 million per seat for a ride in the Soyuz.13 In 2011, however, when NASA grounded its shuttles, prices skyrocketed, with the most recent estimates coming in at roughly $81 million for a 2018 seat.14 As tension builds, it is high time the United States took its mark in the next great space race.

World War II enlightened man to his own destructive power, and resulted in the Space Race of the 1960’, a quest for faster, cheaper, better missiles to dominate outside threats. In this present environment, with tensions between nations and ever increasing offensive capabilities, and Mother Nature in all her power and unpredictability, it is no longer a question of if the United Sates will compete in the next great space race, but how. Gone are the days of 250,000 miles, the distance to the moon; the next space race will measure around 250 million miles, the distance from our home planet to our neighbor, Mars.15 Only through sheer human ingenuity will man achieve such a goal, and it is the economic, scientific, and social climate of the United States that will allow us to break the ribbon across the next finish line of human exploration.

Madison Fox is a junior at The College of William & Mary. She has spent the past academic year studying abroad at Oxford University, resulting in a deep respect for both pubs and America. Upon graduation, she intends on pursuing a career in financial consulting and to eventually earn MBA. 

Citations

Grush, Loren, The biggest lingering questions about SpaceX’s Mars colonization plans. The Verge, September 28, 2016. http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/28/13087110/spacex-elon-musk-mars-plan-habwwharton.upenn.edu/live/news/1619-the-implications-of-the-privatization-of-space#.

References

1. Barack Obama, ” REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON SPACE EXPLORATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY” (speech, John F. Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, Florida, April 15, 2010), NASA.

2. Barack Obama, ” REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON SPACE EXPLORATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY” (speech, John F. Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, Florida, April 15, 2010), NASA.

3. Shi, Lina. “The Implications of the Privatization of Space Exploration.” Penn Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, Public Policy Initiative.

4. Stephen, Petranek. “10 Ways the World Could End.” Filmed September 2002. TED video, 29:42. Posted September 2007.

5. Stephen, Petranek. “10 Ways the World Could End.” Filmed September 2002. TED video, 29:42. Posted September 2007.

6. Stephen, Petranek. “10 Ways the World Could End.” Filmed September 2002. TED video, 29:42. Posted September 2007.

7. Stephen, Petranek. “10 Ways the World Could End.” Filmed September 2002. TED video, 29:42. Posted September 2007.

8. Loren Grush, The biggest lingering questions about SpaceX’s Mars colonization plans. The Verge, September 28, 2016

9. Shi, Lina. “The Implications of the Privatization of Space Exploration.” Penn Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, Public Policy Initiative.

10. Loren Grush, The biggest lingering questions about SpaceX’s Mars colonization plans. The Verge, September 28, 2016

11. Shi, Lina. “The Implications of the Privatization of Space Exploration.” Penn Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, Public Policy Initiative.

12. Dave Mosher and Skye Gould, Introducing NASA is paying Russia more than $70 million to bring an astronaut home in this spaceship tonight (Business Insider, September 6, 2016)

13. Dave Mosher and Skye Gould, Introducing NASA is paying Russia more than $70 million to bring an astronaut home in this spaceship tonight (Business Insider, September 6, 2016)

14. Dave Mosher and Skye Gould, Introducing NASA is paying Russia more than $70 million to bring an astronaut home in this spaceship tonight (Business Insider, September 6, 2016)

15. Petranek, Stephen. “Your kids might live on Mars. Here’s how they’ll survive.” Filmed March 2015. TED video, 17:14.

Featured Image: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Heavy first stage land landing. (Photo: SpaceX)

The Unfriendly Scramble for Everywhere: Investment’s Role in Foreign Policy

NAFAC Week 

By Phillip Bass

Because wars between great powers are no longer frequent, many great powers use indirect action and soft power to push foreign policy objectives.1 Joseph S. Nye Jr. describes soft power as the ability of a state to persuade another state to do what it wants without force or coercion. Soft power can come in the form of diplomatic pressure, trade relations, investment, and loans.2 The People’s Republic of China has been using soft power in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America (LA) to fulfill foreign policy objectives. Chinese soft power in LA is a potential challenge to the United States’ hemispheric dominance.3 The Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary showed the United States was willing to use hard power to keep great powers out of LA.4 The United States’ dominance could be challenged if Chinese investment influences LA foreign policy.5 China has used soft power to pursue its foreign policy objectives in LA to delegitimize the Republic of China (Taiwan), access LA raw resources, and provide an alternative to American investment. These moves have made China vulnerable to events in Latin America. Investment changes a state’s foreign policy if the state is the investor, or if invested states have more to gain than by pursuing an alternative avenue.

Chinese investment in LA has increased from $15 billion in 2000 to $268.7 billion in 2013.6 China has invested $116.4 billion into Brazil, Venezuela, and Ecuador from 2007 to 2016.China gave Venezuela $60 billion worth of loans to help the country prior through 2015.8 China formed the China-CELAC Forum to promote economic relations between China and LA.At its first meeting in January 2015, Chinese President, Xi Jinping pledged China would invest $500 billion into LA by 2019.10 China has signed free trade agreements with Chile, Peru, and Costa Rica.11 China is one of the top five export destinations for Argentina, Cuba, and Peru. Additionally, China is Brazil and Chile’s largest trading partner. China is also one of the top five importers for Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay.12  With Chinese interests investing large amounts of funds and trade into LA, it is important to see if investment changes states’ foreign policy.

Chinese soft power has put pressure on Central American states to not recognize Taiwan in favor of stronger relations to China. Twelve of the twenty-one countries that recognize Taiwan are in LA.13 After Costa Rica switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 2007, China and Costa Rica began negotiations for a free trade agreement in 2008 and the free trade agreement launched in 2011.14 In ten years, China has grown to deliver 12.6 percent of Costa Rica’s imports.15 When China-CELAC was launched, Costa Rica was asked to serve as the first chair of the Forum.16 Not every Chinese initiative has worked as well as its endeavors with Costa Rica; setbacks on the development of the $50 billion Nicaraguan Canal have disturbed bilateral relations between China and Nicaragua, where setbacks have delayed the development project from its late 2016 start date.17 In January 2017, Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega and Taiwan’s President Tasi Ing-wen had meetings to promote bilateral relations. Afterward, Ortega vowed to expand Taiwan’s international presence.18

Investment from China in LA focuses on the extraction of raw resources. Venezuela, Brazil, and Ecuador are the top three destinations for Chinese investment in LA. Twenty-eight of the thirty-two projects from the Chinese Development Bank in Brazil, Venezuela, and Ecuador are energy deals.19 High volumes of Chinese investment into raw resources is consistent across LA. Four-fifths of all Chinese investment in LA have been in resource extraction, with 70 percent of investment into oil and gas.20 Chinese shares of LA exports increased from 2 percent in 1993 to 9 percent in 2013.21 While China’s manufacturing imports from LA remain at 2 percent since 2003, their share of extraction and agriculture sectors has increased to 15 percent each.22 LA exports to China have also changed. From 1999-2003, oil and gas extraction consisted of 25 percent of LA exports to China. By 2013, oil and gas extraction consisted of 56 percent of LA exports to China.23

Chinese loans and investment in LA suggest they are using soft power to support countries wanting an alternative to American investment. While Brazil is less resistant to the United States’ presence in LA, Ecuador and Venezuela are both members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA). ALBA seeks to promote the self-determination of LA states against United States’ investment. ALBA derailed the Free Trade Area of the Americas.24 Chinese investment in ALBA members suggests that Chinese investment finances countries wanting an alternative to the United States’ investment. China has invested $62.2 billion into development projects in Venezuela; almost 48 percent of total investment in LA.25 Venezuela also accepted $60 billion dollars in loans from China prior to the current economic crisis.26 Ecuador has borrowed upward of $11 billion from China between 2008 and 2014, covering 61 percent of Ecuadorian government spending.27 While China is not directly challenging American soft power in LA, Chinese investment supports governments that desire an alternative to the United States’ dominance.

Chinese investment and desire for LA raw resources has influenced China’s foreign policy. Prior to investing into LA, China would not be involved in crises in LA, but became involved in LA domestic crises in recent years. As Venezuela’s economy continues to spiral downward, the Chinese government invited economists and opposition lawmakers from Venezuela to Beijing throughout 2016. Officials discussed the $20 billion Venezuela owes China for loans and the possibility of a transitional government to bring stability to Venezuela.28 Ultimately, China decided to invest $2.2 billion to gain more share of the Venezuelan oil economy, from 500,000 barrels a day to 800,000 barrels a day in January 2017.29 Whether for good or bad, China’s foreign policy must now react to developments in LA to protect economic interests and imports of raw resources from LA.

Chinese investment in LA shows that investment changes a state’s foreign policy if they are the investor, or if the invested state has more to gain than an alternative. China is using soft power in LA to delegitimize Taiwan, have access to new raw resources, and to provide an alternative to U.S. dominance. Some of these efforts have led to positive results for China, but there have been setbacks for China. The more China invests into these objectives in LA, the more LA crises will affect Chinese foreign policy. If this relationship is beneficial for LA countries, they will also commit more to bilateral relations with China.

Phillip Bass is a junior studying International Relations at the University of Central Florida. Phillip is the Vice President of the International Relations Club, an organization that promotes academic and professional development of international relations students. Phillip is primarily interested in European studies.  Phillip is interested in moving into policy making fields or graduate school after his undergrad.

References

1. Kissinger, Henry A. 2012. “The Future of U.S.-Chinese Relations: Conflict Is a Choice, Not a Necessity.” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 91, No. 2 44-55.

2. Nye, Joseph. 1990. Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power. New York: Basic Books.

3. Kissinger. 48.

4. Coatsworth, John H. 2017. United States Interventions. March 20. http://revista.drclas.harvard.edu/book/united-states-interventions

5. Committee on Foreign Affairs: House of Representatives. 2015. “China’s Advance in Latin America and the Caribbean.” 2.

6. Committee on Foreign Affairs: House of Representatives. 2.

7. “The Dialogue”. 2016. China-Latin America Finance Database. March 25. http://www.thedialogue.org/map_list/.

8. Vyas, Kejal. 2016. China Rethinks Its Alliance With Reeling Venezuela. September 11. https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-rethinks-its-alliance-with-reeling-venezuela-1473628506?mg=id-wsj.

9. China-CELAC Forum. 2014. About the Forum. Accessed March 27, 2017. http://www.chinacelacforum.org/eng/.

10. Jinping, Xi H.E. 2015. “Jointly Write a New Chapter in the Partnership of Comprehensive Cooperation Between China and Latin America and the Caribbean.” Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States of America. January 8. http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zgyw/t1227730.htm.

11. Chinese Ministry of Commerce. 2015. November 18. http://fta.mofcom.gov.cn/english/index.shtml.

12. United Nations. UNcomtrade Analytics. Accessed March 27, 2017. https://comtrade.un.org/labs/data-explorer/.

13. Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of China. 2017. Diplomatic Allies. March 24. http://www.mofa.gov.tw/en/AlliesIndex.aspx?n=DF6F8F246049F8D6&sms=A76B7230ADF29736.

14. Chinese Ministry of Commerce. 2015. November 18. http://fta.mofcom.gov.cn/english/index.shtml.

15. World Trade Organization. 2017. Costa Rica. March 20. http://stat.wto.org/CountryProfiles/CR_e.htm.

16. China-CELAC Forum. 2014. About the Forum. Accessed March 27, 2017. http://www.chinacelacforum.org/eng/.

17. Watts, Jonathan. 2016. Nicaragua canal: in a sleepy Pacific port, something stirs. November 24. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/24/nicaragua-canal-interoceanic-preparations.

18. Pretel, Enrique Andres. 2017. Nicaragua pledges to fight for Taiwan recognition on global stage. January 11. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-taiwan-usa-nicaragua-idUSKBN14V03Z?il=0.

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22. Gallagher et al. 5.

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26. Vyas, Kejal. 2016. China Rethinks Its Alliance With Reeling Venezuela. September 11. https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-rethinks-its-alliance-with-reeling-venezuela-1473628506?mg=id-wsj.

27. Kuo, Lily. 2014. Ecuador’s unhealthy dependence on China is about to get $1.5 billion worse. August 27. https://qz.com/256925/ecuadors-unhealthy-dependence-on-china-is-about-to-get-1-5-billion-worse/.

28. Vyas. https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-rethinks-its-alliance-with-reeling-venezuela-1473628506?mg=id-wsj.

29. Vyas. https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-rethinks-its-alliance-with-reeling-venezuela-1473628506?mg=id-wsj.

Featured image: Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Brazil’s President Michel Temer during their meeting at the West lake State Guest House in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, September 2, 2016 (Minor Iwasaki/Reuters).