Msc 2023, the game of the dragon. The role of China in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict

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By Alberto De Filippis
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China vs the rest of the world. One of the most important dossier to discuss at the Security Conference in Munich

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The security order in Europe, which now needs to be entirely reimagined, has become the event's origin due to Russia's war against Ukraine. It will be necessary to do this by creating new regulations, updating institutions, and reevaluating the entire European security apparatus in light of emerging or previously unidentified threats.

More generally, this conflict necessitates a reconsideration of the guiding principles and ideals of the international system, which is currently beset by conflicting "visions" between democracies and autocracies.

Here six things to watch:

One, China

The conference's main objective will be to define what the European Union's relationship with China should be, both as a whole and as individual countries. This conversation is more difficult than it used to be because of the connection between economic expansion and national security, whether it be in innovation, trade, energy, or pandemic preparedness.

The Sino-Russian collaboration will continue to be in the spotlight a year after their "no-limits alliance," and China will continue to help Russia with necessary supplies. Wang Yi, a former foreign minister and new member of the Politburo, is expected to attend, whereas Russia has not gotten an official invitation for the first time in many years (Russia did not send a delegation in 2022).

Mirko Campochiari one of the most succesful military analysts on the web, says: "It is thought that China wants to play a game called escalate to de-escalate. They create a crisis situation and then they offer a compensation or a political reconciliation. China has not yet exposed itself about the war in Ukraine. Partly because China has a very careful, soft-power oriented policy. For them to come out of the closet and play a part in the conflict, to become a major player and try to mediate the Ukrainian crisis, this could bring great gains in visibility, but it could also be a major failure. It could undermine the way China sees itself (as a world power). Therefore I don't believe China will play any role in this conflict, not to mention the fact that a weak Russia might even be convenient to China in the long run, because Beijing could so acquire cheap hydrocarbons and gas, since Russia wille necessarily have to venting other markets".

Two, Ukraine

Several days after the Munich Security Conference in 2022, Russian soldiers first occupied Ukraine. The resilience of the two opposing armies will be a hotly debated topic once springtime returns. According to the existing plan, war will likely continue indefinitely. Even though there has been a great deal of loss and damage, it does not seem that this strategy will be opposed in the near future.

Three, NATO

It will likely be examined if NATO can maintain its unity over the long term as well as the widening East/West division. Despite the unity brought about by the current situation, many eastern member states that share a border with Russia feel that western states are acting irrationally more often than not. The alliance's ability to adapt to this division, be agile, and be able to fulfill the needs of the current security environment will determine how successful it is in the future.

Other conversations will center on the issue of Sweden and Finland joining NATO, which is ultimately dependent on Turkey's approval and is expected to be inactive until Turkey's presidential elections later this year. There will be discussion of Ukraine's application to join NATO, but no immediate decision is anticipated. At the NATO summit to be held in July in Vilnius, members are likely to focus on the operational integration of Ukraine, which could take the shape of a Membership Action Plan (MAP).

There will probably be a focus on operational reinforcement for NATO's European pillar. Those who support European strategic autonomy have been ignored in the context of the war in Ukraine since the priority is for the entire alliance to form a block against Russia.

Four, Defense expenditures

In this new geopolitical environment, Germany and France have each pledged billions of euros in funding to support and modernize their armed forces, raising important questions for business about how these funds will be accessed, how much will go to domestic companies, whether foreign companies can receive funding, etc. Important queries in a situation where businesses are more visible than ever at the conference.

New EU legislation, which requires military corporations interested in the European market to prove their commitment in Europe, is based on the idea of the "Europeanization" of defense. Strong agreement with ESG principles, such as human rights respect and greening militaries, is another factor. The eagerly anticipated first German National Security Strategy, which might be made public at the conference, may hold some of the answers, at least for Germany.

Five, Energy and the environment

As governments' commitments to using green energy sources continue to be jeopardized by the ongoing energy security problem, energy will emerge as a crucial issue. Europeans will keep talking about how to relax their stringent collective limits on state subsidies and how to respond to the US Inflation Reduction Act. A focus on the urgency of increasing resilience to climate impacts, such as migration, may also be present, especially in areas of the world that have already seen significant consequences from climate change, such as Africa and Southeast Asia.

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Six, Cybersecurity and technology

In particular between the EU and the US, there will likely be a focus on expanding collaboration through collaborative standard-setting in the areas of technology and cybersecurity, as well as a continuous dedication to a democratic and reliable information environment. The Digital Services and Digital Markets Act, which aims to create a safer online environment, safeguard fundamental user rights, identify and eliminate gatekeepers, and level the playing field for businesses, will be highlighted together with other European tech regulations.

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