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In great power competition, country size doesn't matter

24.10.2020
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According to A. Vemer


The United States is preparing for a long-term rivalry with adversaries such as China and Russia - the US Department of Defense reveals new plans to strengthen the American network of alliances and partnerships. “Our global network of allies and partners remains an enduring force that our competitors and adversaries cannot match,” US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said during an Atlantic Council event.
Specifically, according to Esper, the Department of Defense has launched two new initiatives: the new Guide to Developing Alliances and Partnerships (GDAP) and the Defense Trade Modernization Initiative. As Esper explained, these new programs will help the United States maintain an edge over Russia and China.
“Our main competitors, China and Russia, are rapidly modernizing their militaries and using their growing power to shift the balance of power in their favor,” Esper said. While Beijing and Moscow's efforts to modernize their armed forces are troubling, Esper argues that both countries lack a key instrument for international influence: partnership.
In contrast, the United States has not only an extensive “network of allies and partners,” but also relationships that “are deeply rooted in our shared values ​​and interests,” Esper explained. “In the past, our international commitments were guided by regional priorities and interests,” Esper explained, “now the United States is entering an“ era of global great power competition ”that will require a“ common set of rules ”
GDAP will enable the US Department of Defense “to prioritize, align, and synchronize security cooperation activities across all governments. "International partners often do not understand exactly what US policymakers want from them," the minister said. GDAP will standardize Defense Leadership meetings so that partners receive clear and consistent signals from the United States.
The new strategy assumes that:
1. The burden of implementing the program of confronting China and Russia will be shared among all US allies.
2. Not less than 2% of GDP will be spent on defense not only by NATO members, but by all US allies.
3. Allies will provide the US with easier access to their own resources.
US policy in the implementation of the new strategy will focus on four areas: the demand for "early export of critical weapons systems"; creating a “flexible framework for technology release”; prioritizing "countries or opportunities, or both, to capture or retain key markets"; and increasing the “predictability of international demand to generate commercial investment and increase industrial potential”.
Esper also stressed that "great power competition requires more strategic engagement with each country, regardless of its size."

 
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