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Countering Chinese and Russian Alliance Wedge Strategies

David WallshAndrew TafferDmitry Gorenburg
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This study examines China’s and Russia’s statecraft toward US allies and assesses the extent to which they weaken US alliances. Specifically, we examine six cases of Chinese and Russian strategies targeting US allies: Russia-Germany (2014–2018); Russia-Greece (2018–2019); Russia-Turkey (2016–2019); China-South Korea (2013–2017); China-Australia (2016–2021); and China-Philippines (2016–2021). Among our findings, we conclude that China and Russia frequently exhibit an initial preference for reward-based strategies but often resort to coercive and subversive approaches after rewards fail. We also find that China’s and Russia’s use of coercion and subversion generally have a poor record of “wedging” success. In some cases, they simply fail. In others, they backfire, such as by triggering balancing responses that strengthen rather than weaken opposing alliances. The study concludes with recommendations for exploiting opportunities and mitigating risks associated with competitor wedge strategies.

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Details

  • Pages: 134
  • Document Number: IRM-2021-U-031302-Final
  • Publication Date: 5/25/2022
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