Conceptualizing Chinese Continentalism
Chinese Continentalism is something I've been thinking about for a while and finally had the opportunity to write it down on paper when Raffaello Pantucci asked me to contribute something to China in Central Asia. Here are the key paragraphs:
Chinese Continentalism is a nod to Kent Calder and his work The New Continentalism, where he outlines the post-Cold War geopolitical logic of multilateral configurations in Eurasia. Calder posits that economic growth in Asian economies has created a symbiotic relationship with energy producers in the continent’s western regions. Geographic proximity was not enough to draw these partners together because of Cold War divisions; but with the Soviet Union’s collapse came a reshaping of the continental order.
In a similar vein, Chinese Continentalism describes the logic behind Beijing’s turn toward its Eurasian backyard. Chinese Continentalism cannot be explained merely by a ferocious appetite for energy, though this is an important motivator. Rather, an overwhelming geographic, political, and economic logic compels China to invest in relations with Russia, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. Geographic proximity incentivizes economic investments to secure energy flows; and the U.S. naval dominance over sea-lanes encourages Beijing to find overland routes for energy transportation. Beijing has a stake in how Eurasia addresses the security vacuum in Afghanistan and Central and South Asian safe havens for terrorists targeting China. There is also political convergence in Eurasia as autocratic regimes keep a tight grip on power and maintain heightened vigilance against new colored revolutions. These regimes publicly support each other to justify human rights violations and circumscribe civil society in the name of stability.
Read the full article.