Zersplitterter Marmor
Der Angriff auf die Ukraine ist ein offener Bruch des Völkerrechts und eine machtpolitische Aggression gegen die bestehende Weltordnung. | Photo: Tom Barret auf Unsplash

Frieden am Ende? Die Eskalation im Russland-Ukraine-Konflikt und die Rolle der Friedenspolitik

Russland hat den Krieg begonnen. Der Angriff auf die Ukraine und die Anerkennung der „Volksrepubliken“ Donezk und Luhansk sind ein offener Bruch des Völkerrechts und eine machtpolitische Aggression gegen die bestehende Weltordnung. Die unmittelbaren Opfer sind die Menschen in der Ukraine. Die Kritik und Erbitterung des Westens ist groß. Ebenso die Enttäuschung über das Scheitern der eigenen Deeskalationsbemühungen. Ist mit dem Frieden auch die Friedens- und Sicherheitspolitik am Ende? Und mehr noch: War der Kurs der Vergangenheit, auf Diplomatie, Ausgleich und gemeinsame Sicherheit zu setzen verkehrt, wie jetzt von vielen behauptet wird?


Wladimir Putin besucht Xi Jinping im Vorfeld der Olympischen Winterspiele 2022
Treffen Wladimir Putin mit Xi Jinping im Vorfeld der Olympischen Winterspiele 2022 in Peking | Photo: CC BY 4.0

A new Sino-Russian Entente? The limits of cooperation on Ukraine and beyond

As the military standoff over Ukraine continues, both sides have attempted to mobilize international support for their respective positions. While Kiev has received increasingly robust NATO backing, Russia has turned to its “strategic partner” China. A recently published joint Sino-Russian statement has fueled speculation that Beijing could weigh in on Moscow’s side and perhaps even lead to the resurgence of competition between ideological blocs in world politics. However, diverging interests on Ukraine limit such cooperation in the short term. A long-term alignment between both sides is a more serious possibility, but can still be influenced by Western policy choices.


Brick factory in Kabul 2012 | © FotoGablitz

China’s ‘constructive involvement’ in Afghanistan: an alternative to Western peacebuilding?

The Western withdrawal from Afghanistan and the following collapse of the local government to the Taliban has left many international observers to ponder who might fill the resulting vacuum. Many eyes have turned to China, which had already engaged the Taliban in political dialogue, is open to formal recognition of the new regime, and is also one of its more plausible aid donors. Beijing has also increasingly touted an alternative to the Western program of liberal peace- and statebuilding that failed in Afghanistan, focused on developmental objectives and tying into Chinese strengths and interests especially under its global “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI).


Deutsch-chinesische Verhandlungen während eines Besuchs von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel in Peking, 2018. | Photo: picture alliance/Michael Kappeler/dpa

Deutsche China-Politik zwischen Partnerschaft und Rivalität

Chinas scheinbar unaufhaltsamer wirtschaftlicher Aufstieg hat inzwischen auch die deutsche Parteipolitik erreicht, und die Frage nach dem zukünftigen Umgang mit der neuen Supermacht als bedeutendes Wahlkampfthema etabliert. Die deutschen Parteien begegnen dieser Herausforderung, indem sie 2021 erstmalig ausgewiesene China-Politiken skizzieren. Das ist neu: noch 2017 fanden sich nur vereinzelte Erwähnungen von „China“ in den damaligen Programmen, und ausschließlich in unspezifischen Kontexten wie dem Umgang mit autoritär verfassten Staaten. Wie ein Vergleich der aktuellen Programme zeigt, ist China inzwischen nicht nur eines von vielen außenpolitischen Themen, sondern sogar wichtiges Element ihrer allgemeinen weltanschaulichen Positionierung.


Photo: © picture alliance / ASSOCIATED PRESS | STR)

China in transitionary Myanmar. Challenging paths to democratization and peace

The recent military coup in Myanmar reversed a decade-long experiment towards incremental political liberalization. At the same time, it also brought China’s engagement there back into the spotlight, and initial Chinese reactions led to suspicions that Beijing had welcomed or even aided the return to military rule. However, the reality of China’s role in Myanmar’s democratic transition and simultaneous peace process is far more complicated, and instructive for its overall engagement in conflict societies.


Growing closeness in times of social distancing? European leaders and Xi Jinping during the videoconference that sealed the EU-China investment agreement. | Photo: © European Union, 2020 / EC - Audiovisual Service / Photographer: Lukasz Kobus | Free use.

The EU-China Investment Agreement: a sign of political naïveté or strategic autonomy?

The recently-concluded EU-China Investment Agreement has attracted severe criticism, with many commenters focusing specifically on the supposed naïveté of concluding a separate agreement with China instead of pursuing a joint approach together with the incoming Biden administration. However, this approach is in line with the EU’s stated desire to achieve a greater strategic autonomy, and in fact a sensible reaction to the uncertainty that has marked international politics since the Trump era.


Outgoing secretary of state Mike Pompeo has emerged as one of China’s harshest critics and may seek to build a future presidential campaign around this profile. | Photo: flickr, Gage Skidmore | CC BY-SA 2.0

From China Threat to Red Scare: a Post-Trump Republican Perspective on US-China Relations

In its last months in office, the Trump administration published a new, comprehensive framework on China policy. Despite the upcoming change in government, this report is notable for introducing a very ideology-centered perspective and rhetoric reminiscent of the Cold War. It could therefore provide a glimpse on how Republicans will approach China policy in opposition and exert pressure on the new government to stick with the confrontative course taken by Trump.


Toast to better times? How could the US-China relations change under a possible US President Biden? | Photo: US State Department.

China Policy in the 2020 Election: Same Same, but Different?

With US-China relations caught in a seemingly inescapable downward spiral and mounting speculation about a new „Cold War“, could a Biden victory in the upcoming US election lead to a reduction in tensions? Based on what is known about Biden’s approach to China, we should not expect a fundamental shift, and the US-China confrontation is likely to shape the international system for years to come. However, a Biden strategy would seek to re-engage allies in Europe, and may offer them a bigger chance to influence this process.


Xi Jinping and Donald Trump at the 2018 G20 in Buenos Aires
Xi Jinping and Donald Trump at the 2018 G20 in Buenos Aires | Photo: Dan Scavino | (Wikimedia Commons)

Fraying Ties: The Securitization of the US-China Relationship

The security dimension has long been the most contentious aspect of US-China relations, marked by strategic mistrust, great-power competition and several flashpoints in East Asia. Until recently, these tensions were moderated by much warmer and closer economic ties, civil society exchanges in business, education, academia, culture and tourism, as well as shared interests in globalization and trade. However, recent moves by the US and Chinese governments to “securitize” the previously cooperative aspects of their relationship have fundamentally altered this dynamic and greatly increased the likelihood of a permanent confrontation between the two great powers.