November 18, 2022

Taking on China and Russia

By Richard Fontaine

Meeting at the Madrid summit in June, NATO leaders issued their first new “strategic concept” in a decade. As expected, Russia took center stage in the document, and the heads of state declared Moscow a manifest threat to the transatlantic alliance. In a joint statement, they pledged their commitment to Ukraine “for as long as it takes” and committed to spend more on defense.

If it wants to succeed, the United States is going to have to pick its battles carefully.

Russia, however, was not the only major threat identified in the new strategy. For the first time, the allies said China posed “systemic challenges’’ to “Euro-Atlantic security,” and that its ambitions and policies challenge the alliance’s “interests, security and values.” To drive the point home, leaders from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea were on hand to demonstrate unity and resolve.

NATO’s new focus is just one of many indications that a new strategic era has begun. The Biden administration’s national security strategy, for instance, states that “the most pressing strategic challenge” is from “powers that layer authoritarian governance with a revisionist foreign policy.” The new U.S. strategy, which was released in October, labels Russia “an immediate threat to the free and open international system” and China as the only competitor with the intent and power to reshape that system. Today Washington has chosen, perhaps by default, to compete with—and if necessary, confront—both Russia and China simultaneously and indefinitely.

Read the full story from Foreign Affairs.

  • Congressional Testimony
    • November 30, 2022
    Opportunities and Challenges for Trade Policy in the Digital Economy

    This hearing addresses digital trade, and I will focus my testimony on the national-security problems in this area posed by China – specifically, concerns about China’s open a...

    By David Feith

  • Podcast
    • November 16, 2022
    Russia’s Withdrawal from Kherson, with Mike Kofman and Mick Ryan

    Last week, Kiev reached an important milestone when Russian troops withdrew from the city of Kherson. This retreat has both strategic and symbolic significance, given that Khe...

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Michael Kofman & Mick Ryan

  • Commentary
    • November 2, 2022
    Sharper: The Future of Russia Relations

    While the recently released U.S. National Defense Strategy names the People's Republic of China as the greatest pacing threat facing the United States, Russia poses the most i...

    By Anna Pederson

  • Commentary
    • October 19, 2022
    Sharper: The State of AI

    The U.S. government's recent chip export controls are the latest salvo in the U.S.–China rivalry in artificial intelligence. Semiconductors are a key input for AI systems and ...

    By Anna Pederson

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia