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Carisa Nietsche, Research Associate for the Transatlantic Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), details recommendations for coordinating with transatlantic allies to compete with China

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) has a new roadmap for cooperation with transatlantic allies and others to address China, which the National Defense Strategy lists as a top concern. Carisa Nietsche, Research Associate for the Transatlantic Security Program at CNAS, discussed some of the principles she and her colleagues propose.

“The key message of this report is that we have to bring in our European partners. It’s a precondition to be successful in a great power competition with China,” said Nietsche. She explained that the United States has spent four years going it alone on competition with China, so we should start coordinating with our transatlantic partners, even if our policies are not exactly the same.

The report also recommends expanding beyond the transatlantic players, because “there are certain areas, especially in multilateral export controls, where … the types of partners that we’ll want to work with might look a little bit different than some of the current constructs and forums that currently exist.” Nietsche said that for export controls on semiconductors, for example, we would need to bring in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Another recommendation from CNAS is remaining open to engagement with China, and the more partners we bring together, the more likely we are to succeed, said Nietsche. “If we’re bringing in G-77 democracies, if we’re really expanding the aperture here, there is a greater chance that we can take China to task and that we can be sure that they’ll follow up and be good on their word.”

Nietsche said it is critical that all of our partners share the same perspective. “We have to all act in lock step, because just one crack is enough to provide a window or opening for China,” she explained.

Acting with urgency is another of the principles. Nietsche said this is a competition between two competing world views. “The pandemic has really laid bare Beijing’s global ambitions,” she said. “Now is the moment in time that we can work together with our European allies as their shared threat perception has begun to converge with ours.”

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