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Book Review. Nicola Casarini. Remaking Global Order. Oxford University Press, 2010

Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press

I recently wrote a book review: Nicola Casarini. Remaking Global Order. The Evolution of Europe-China Relations and its Implications for East Asia and the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Pp. 344. ISBN: 978-0-19-956007-3

As I am expecting the book review to be published (I myself would really more elaborate on the style of the review), I am afraid of rewriting it here, and would rather later link this review here. At present, suffice it to say that the monograph analyses the rise and fall in Europe-China relations and the effect of those relations on the East-Asia’s major powers, the US and the global order, and builds on the author’s doctoral dissertation completed at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and post-doctoral research. It was very educative to read a comprehensive high level analysis about how the PRC became the EU’s second biggest trading partner (after the US), and how the EU became the PRC’s biggest trading partner, and how in addition to economic relations was established strategic political partnership between the EU and the PRC in 2003, which developments marked at that time the rise of both the PRC and the EU as significant global actors,  but have by today ended up with stay of the proposal to lift the EU arms embargo on China and exclusion of Chinese contractors from the II phase of implementation of Galileo.

The author has in a detailed way given an overview of evolution of the EU-China relationship, the strategic reasons for that relationship, but also of the bilateral relations between China and other Asian states (both China’s partners, and the US Asian Allies) on one side and between China and the individual EU Member States on the other side, China’s position in the WTO (but also opposition by the EU to granting China the MES (Market Economy Status) that Casarini considers a political decision, caused by the wish to adopt anti-dumping measures in the framework of the WTO (at 62)).

The monograph thoroughfully touches the economic, technological, high-politics, strategic and security-related aspects (space and satellite navigation cooperation; advanced technology transfers; arms). It indicates that the EU-led global navigation satellite system Galileo is alternative to the American GPS and understands the EU-China strategic partnership as a clear attempt to challenge US primacy in key high-tech and defence-related industrial sectors that could fit under new balancing order and the challenge of US primacy, to which challenge the  US answered by including as many EU members and companies as possible in the Joint Strike Fighter Project. 

Thereafter, a survey was conducted in eighteen countries among ca 1000 random participants, who were asked, whether China represents a threat or an opportunity. The large majority of the questioned in the US (59%) considered China being a threat – such survey seems unreasonable to me, as long as there is no data available about how questioning of random people, included people not specifically educated in highly strategic issues, could contribute to determining high techno-political issues.

But Casarini also refers to the EU-China’s own dialogue on human rights, under which dialogue the EU has considered useful to raise criticism against China for human rights violations, undermining China’s political prestige on international arena. At the same time Casarini demonstrates that the EU Member States (France, for instance) have sometimes considered useful to exercise different policy from the EU policy toward China (at 72). Important are also the indicated by the author democratic lines (human rights, human resource development, other EU assistance and cooperation programmes toward the civilians) by what lines the EU could influence (also control?) China through the civilians.

The solution offered by Casarini to the present stay in EU-China relations is that he recognizes the world as a complex interdependence, where it cannot be escaped that China – who influences all the critical issues – should be cooperated with.

The skillfully designed monograph highly contributes to the (actually lacking) discussions on the emerging global order and the EU’s and China’s status in it.

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