THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA COMPETE FOR SUPREMACY IN THE EMERGING ‘À LA CARTE’ GLOBAL ORDER, ACCORDING TO A RECENT SURVEY

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THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA COMPETE FOR SUPREMACY IN THE EMERGING 'À LA CARTE' GLOBAL ORDER, ACCORDING TO A RECENT SURVEY

Table of Contents

Key Points:

Uncommon and high-stakes diplomatic discussions between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping this Wednesday unfold in a world characterized by increasing fragmentation.

A recent survey of 21 countries reveals a shift towards an “à la carte” approach in international relations, where nations are more inclined to selectively form geopolitical alliances based on individual issues rather than adhering to a traditional West versus the rest model.

A significant number of citizens express concerns about the decline of the West, foreseeing potential collapses of U.S. democracy and the European Union within the next two decades. The allure of enhanced economic ties with China is on the rise.

LONDON

Unusual and high-stakes talks between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday occur against the backdrop of an increasingly fractured world, as revealed by a new survey conducted across 21 countries. Geopolitical relations no longer conform to the traditional West versus the rest model, as outlined in the study by the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank and Oxford University.

The survey indicates a shift towards an “à la carte” approach in international relations, where countries are more inclined to “mix and match” their geopolitical alliances based on individual matters rather than fully committing to one side. Pluralities of global citizens express a belief in the decline of the West, with concerns about potential collapses of U.S. democracy and the European Union within the next 20 years. Additionally, there is a growing appeal for increased economic ties with China, according to polling conducted across 11 European countries and 10 non-European ones.

In light of these findings, co-author and director of the ECFR, Mark Leonard, emphasizes the need for leaders to grasp the dynamics of the new “à la carte game” in international relations. He urges leaders to seek new partners across crucial issues facing the world, moving away from the idyllic world of the past.

The survey also underscores the significance of the Russia-Ukraine war in shaping the future of the West. Respondents outside of Europe and the U.S. consider Western nations as a bigger obstacle to peace than Russia, with many viewings Moscow as the ultimate victor. The conflict is perceived by some as a “proxy war” between the U.S. and Russia, with majorities in Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey indicating that the two Cold War powers are “already at war.”

China’s international appeal is on the rise, with pluralities of citizens, particularly in middle and emerging powers, expressing optimism about closer economic ties with China. Despite China’s slowing growth prospects, majorities in Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Indonesia, along with 50% of people in Turkey, feel closer to Beijing than to Washington on trade.

Nevertheless, Western nations maintain superior popularity on values such as human rights, leadership, security, and overall living standards. The survey indicates that if forced to choose, respondents across various regions would prefer to be part of an American bloc rather than cooperating with China and its partners, with Russia being the single outlier.

The report’s authors suggest that many citizens now believe their countries can benefit from European values, U.S. security guarantees, and economic partnership with China. They advocate for a policy of “strategic interdependence” to navigate this evolving landscape and establish a broad coalition of partners across multiple issues.

Biden and Xi’s meeting in San Francisco on Wednesday aims to renew efforts to stabilize U.S.-China relations amid trade and security concerns, as well as ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East.

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