If an escalating situation in the South China Sea inaugurates a more alarming Cold War-type rivalry between Beijing and Washington, it is more than just academically interesting to wonder what form such a strategic competition might actually adopt. A spring 2016 article from the Chinese-language journal China’s Foreign Affairs (中国外交) may offer some hints regarding Beijing’s possible embrace of “dark arts” within such an escalating rivalry. The article, “Research on Wedge Strategies: Review and Evaluation” discussed in this edition of Dragon Eye is by author Ling Shengli, a scholar at the Foreign Affairs College (外交学院) in Beijing. There is reason to view the article as significant, since it was published earlier in the prestigious journal World Economics and Politics (世界经济与政治) and was supported by government research grants.
The article’s very first, crisp sentence illustrates the author’s analytical inclinations: “The struggle for power is the normal state of international relations.” (权利竞争是国际政治的常态). In a similarly straightforward tone, Ling states that a “wedge strategy” (楔子战略) is one that a state (or group of states) employs to block the formation of a potentially hostile alliance or to “separate, destroy, or collapse a hostile alliance that has already been formed. . . ” (分化, 破坏, 瓦解已经形成的敌对联盟). Above all, the author seems focused on “decreasing the possibility for containment.”….Message to US — Don't back the Bear or Dragon into a corner. Those teeth and claws are sharp.
The National Interest
Does China Think America Is Using a 'Wedge Strategy'?
Lyle J. Goldstein | Associate Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island
The first group is called the liberal internationalists. Their motivating ethos is that the United States is, in former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s words, the “indispensable nation.” This group believes that the United States must play a decisive leadership role on all fronts—military, economic and diplomatic—with the rest of the world.
Hillary Clinton, of course, is the current torchbearer for this group, which is composed primarily of well-educated and well-to-do Democrats and includes most Democratic elites and party leaders.…
In contrast, restrained internationalists support the cooperative and economic aspects of American foreign policy but hold a much stronger preference for the use of diplomacy over the use of force. Some in this camp are supportive of limited military efforts to prevent humanitarian disasters, but this group includes the sizeable number of dovish Democrats who have opposed most major military actions since Vietnam.…
Finally, the Sanders campaign has provided a huge boost to the isolationist-protectionists, who believe that the United States needs to focus its energies inward. Rejecting claims that the United States is the indispensable nation, this group believes that the United States does too much to help other countries solve their problems at the expense of critical domestic priorities.
Unlike the liberal internationalists, isolationist-protectionists tend to have less education and lower incomes. They are the people most affected by the death of American manufacturing and the restructuring of the economy. Given this, isolationist-protectionists view globalization and the global economy with great suspicion and overwhelmingly oppose free trade deals.The author just doesn't get that many Democrats are anti-war, and they view Hillary Clinton's record as more than concerning.
Finally, thanks to this laser focus on domestic issues, isolationist-protectionists tend to be the least supportive of the use of force whether the issue is terrorism, defending allies, or protecting human rights.This is contradicted by Bernie's policy position on War and Peace. Bernie is for diplomacy before war, whether hybrid war, proxy war, or hot war with the US military involved.
The Democrats' Three-Way Split on Foreign Policy
A. Trevor Thrall | senior fellow at the Cato Institute and an associate professor at George Mason University in the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs