Since the signing of the Lisbon Treaty in 2007, the European Union has gradually developed its own foreign policy agenda with the main objective of “strategic autonomy”. This term refers to the EU’s desire to reduce its dependence on the transatlantic alliance and to diversify its diplomatic and economic relations in order to remove its vulnerability to particular shocks in the international system. Strategic autonomy also includes the ability to act decisively and independently on foreign policy issues and to exert influence on global affairs. However, the concept of strategic autonomy of the EU has been criticized on the grounds that the Union lacks the political unity and the military weight to act as an autonomous power. That is, strategic autonomy is impossible for a unit that remains first an economic union and then a political union.
However, as outlined in this paper, the EU is able to achieve strategic autonomy by using its proven skills in economic and trade negotiations. In particular, this paper argues that strategic autonomy can be strengthened in the short term through an Interregional Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). While negotiations on a comprehensive EU-ASEAN free trade agreement initially stalled in 2009, the chaos of Brexit, the Trump presidency and China’s increasing assertiveness have prompted the EU to look for stable bilateral agreements with reliable partners in the region. As of this writing, free trade agreements with Singapore and Vietnam are in place, and one with Thailand is in sight. In the context of an increasingly unpredictable and bipolar world order, however, an interregional free trade agreement between the EU and ASEAN remains the key to ensuring the autonomy of these two organizations. The EU and ASEAN are two powerful regional groupings that are modern examples of intergovernmental cooperation. They are also central drivers of the multilateral, rules-based international order. At a time that is increasingly marked by the great power rivalry between the US and China, powerful regional organizations will be crucial in ensuring that third powers retain their autonomy and do not necessarily commit themselves to the interests of the two superpowers.
That is why interregionalism is important. As this paper is intended to show, an EU-ASEAN free trade agreement will provide the EU with a strong forum to build economic stability, to exert normative influence on world affairs and, in turn, to help achieve the strategic autonomy it desires. To this end, the paper will further outline what strategic autonomy entails and what obstacles there are to it. Most of the paper will then show how an EU-ASEAN free trade agreement will fulfill the objectives of strategic autonomy; firstly by discussing how the free trade agreement would build strategic stability by diversifying its economic dependencies and increasing its geopolitical security, and secondly by showing how the free trade agreement would increase the normative influence of the EU in the international system by promoting EU market standards and core values would ensure. In this way, the paper will show that the EU-ASEAN relationship will be key to maintaining the autonomy of these two organizations in an increasingly bipolar international system. This relationship will ensure the continuation of some semblance of the multilateral rules-based international order and in turn mitigate the effects of a new rivalry between the great powers. In short, the persistence of powerful intergovernmental organizations could be key to avoiding the worst of a new Cold War.
Achieving strategic autonomy
In an academic sense, the concept of strategic autonomy is pretty self explanatory. Lippert et al. describe it succinctly as “the ability to set your own priorities and make your own decisions on questions of foreign and security policy, together with the institutional, political and material means to implement them” (Lippert et al. 2019, p. 5). Strategic autonomy particularly describes the ability of a power to act as a “rule maker” – as opposed to a “rule taker” – in international affairs, to determine its own direction and interests, “instead of copying the models of others”. “(De Graça 2020). This includes that a power retains responsibility for its own security and takes an active role in international peace and stability (Hwee 2017, p. 3). Strategic autonomy also includes exercising a leadership role in response to global challenges and emerging trends in geoeconomics (Dr. Graça 2020). In this way, strategic autonomy encompasses diplomatic, political, economic, military and even geographical dimensions and thus apparently threatens “conceptual inflation” – to borrow from Mark Purcell (Purcell 2014, p. 141). Indeed, in the European context, the concept of strategic autonomy is often criticized as mere rhetoric with no real substance or achievable political results. Despite this criticism, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, defined what “strategic autonomy” means for EU policy in a rather specific way. For President Michel, achieving strategic autonomy includes three goals: ensuring the Union’s physical, ecological, social and economic stability, disseminating European norms and promoting European values (Michel 2020b). It is important that strategic autonomy is not protectionism, but rather “the maintenance and development of an at least rule-based, open and integrative international order” (Lippert et al. 2019; Michel 2020b).
However, the possibility of achieving strategic autonomy for the European Union remains controversial. According to Leonard and Shapiro, the EU has relied on three pillars for its security and stability in recent decades: first, the multilateral, rules-based order; second, the US Security Alliance; and thirdly, free and fair world trade (Leonard and Shapiro 2019, p. 2). However, all three pillars are currently weakening. The first pillar – the multilateral, rule-based order – is gradually giving way to a bipolar world order, which is shaped by the superpower rivalry between the USA and China (Kim et al. 2019; Leonard and Shapiro 2019, p. 3). In such a system, third-power autonomy is increasingly undermined by the interests of the hegemons, much as the US and USSR fought for influence in the “Third World” during the Cold War. The second pillar – the US security alliance – has become increasingly tense under the Bush and Trump administrations, with the EU’s foreign policy interests often at odds with those of the United States (Leonard et al. 2019, pp. 4–6). European strategic autonomy is therefore increasingly seen as the need to “decouple” from the US alliance, with the EU assuming sole responsibility for its security and defense (Drent 2018, p. 3). However, critics of the concept of European strategic autonomy insist that the EU cannot satisfy its defense interests on its own, especially in the context of an increasingly belligerent Russia (Brattberg and Valášek 2019; Drent 2018; Fiott 2018; Howorth 2019). . Strategic autonomy is therefore seemingly a paradox as it requires decoupling from the US alliance, which in turn would undermine the autonomy and stability of the EU. In addition, there is still a high degree of heterogeneity among EU member states in defense matters, with some nations being completely suspicious of proposals for EU defense cooperation (Lippert et al. 2019, pp. 16–22).
Finally, several questions arise with regard to the durability of the third pillar – free and fair world trade – in order to achieve European strategic autonomy. First, there is the rising trend of protectionism and the arming of trade negotiations – exemplified by the increasing tendency of the US and China to abuse their advantageous positions in order to gain economic or strategic advantages through tariffs, sanctions or other mechanisms (Leonard and Shapiro 2019 , P. 3, Leonard et al. 2019, pp. 3-6). In addition, Europe maintains “harmful dependencies” on Russia, the USA and China in its supply chains and economic connections, which increases its susceptibility to market shocks or even targeted abuse (Fiott 2018, p. 8; Lippert et al. 2019, p. 24) . Finally, the EU’s competition and antimonopoly laws prevent many EU companies from competing with state-supported Chinese companies (Leonard and Shapiro 2019, p. 3). Chinese firms have more resources at their disposal and Beijing – which does not differentiate between economic and strategic goals – will increasingly use them to achieve political and strategic results where the EU is ideologically incapable of doing the same (Leonard et al. 2019, pp 3-4). In this way, the third pillar of “free and fair world trade” has apparently become more of a weak point than a strength for the EU. Strategic autonomy therefore seems difficult to achieve in the face of the ongoing decline of the rules-based multilateral order, dependence on the US Security Alliance and the unequal conditions of competition in international trade.
Nevertheless, strategic autonomy remains feasible for the European Union. While there is not much it can do in the short term to redress its defense deficits, the EU can use its proven expertise in diplomatic and trade negotiations to maintain the rules-based order and strengthen its economic security. One way to achieve these goals would be to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with ASEAN. A common theme in the literature is that Europe’s strategic autonomy rests on the preservation of the multilateral order. Anghel et al. 2020, p. 29; Lippert et al. 2019, p. 23). An EU-ASEAN free trade agreement would greatly strengthen this order. The EU and ASEAN both rely on a rules-based international system, are united in their anti-protectionist stance and share important security concerns with regard to climate change, migration and terrorism (Hwee 2017, pp. 3-4). The EU also has common interests with ASEAN in terms of sustainable development, poverty reduction and the fight against pandemics (European Commission 2015, p. 14; European External Action Service [EEAS] 2020, p. 20). A free trade agreement between the two organizations would reaffirm their regional identity and give their actions more weight – or “strategic relevance” – on the international stage and provide a strong platform for multilateral responses to these common concerns (Anghel et al. 2020, p. 30 ; Hwee 2017, p. 6). In fact, the EU has long wanted a “strategic partnership” with ASEAN and regards an interregional free trade agreement as the most important instrument for this (European Commission 2015, p. 14). In addition, when negotiating an EU-ASEAN free trade agreement, the EU can concentrate on its strengths and use the “power resource” of the European Economic Area (Lippert et al. 2019, p. 24). An interregional free trade agreement would strengthen the EU’s strategic autonomy without having to develop “hard” military capabilities. Unless the international system engages in gun warfare, the fact that the EU is unlikely to be able to stop a Russian offensive has little bearing on whether or not it can exercise strategic autonomy. If the multilateral, rules-based order is preserved, the EU can continue to exercise its autonomy through diplomatic and economic channels. As the rest of this paper will show, an EU-ASEAN free trade agreement is a first step towards developing the EU’s strategic autonomy in this way. Specifically, an interregional agreement would ensure stability as well as contribute to the spread of European standards and values and fulfill the objectives outlined by President Michel.
Autonomy in stability
The first way an EU-ASEAN free trade agreement contributes to the EU’s strategic autonomy is to build stability. In particular, an interregional free trade agreement creates economic, geopolitical and physical stability for the EU. In terms of economic stability, the free trade agreement would diversify the EU’s trade relations and reduce its “harmful dependencies” on the US and China (Paderon 2020, p. 797). Trade between the EU and ASEAN is currently well below potential, and the EU actually has a trade deficit with ASEAN (Allison-Reumann 2019, p. 8; EAD 2020, p. 28). This deficit arises even though the EU is ASEAN’s second largest trading partner and ASEAN is the EU’s third largest non-European partner (EAD 2020, p. 28). According to the European External Action Service (EEAS), there are still numerous non-tariff barriers to trade between the EU and ASEAN, including regulations, capacity restrictions in customs and transport and certain protected markets (EEAS 2020, p. 36). An interregional free trade agreement would remove these obstacles by standardizing customs and transport procedures as well as competition law. In doing so, it would take advantage of the fact that the EU and ASEAN are “natural trading partners” who export numerous complementary goods and services and close each other’s market gaps (Paderon 2020, p. 797). This could reduce the dependence of both regions on Chinese and American goods and services and build autonomy in both directions (Chirathivat and Langhammer 2020; Hwee 2017). In addition, an EU-ASEAN FTA would diversify the EU’s energy relations and reduce its uncomfortable dependence on Russian natural gas (Indio 2019). Taken together, the ASEAN countries are the fourth largest natural gas exporters – only behind Russia, Qatar and Norway. An interregional free trade agreement would enable the EU to handle more of these exports and increase the stability of its energy supply chains.
An EU-ASEAN free trade agreement would also create geopolitical stability. Closer EU-ASEAN relations, facilitated by a free trade agreement, would reaffirm their regional identity and help “explain” the role of regional governance in a complex global landscape (Gilson 2020). In particular, an interregional free trade agreement would counterbalance the dominance of the US and China, both of which have tried to apply divide and rule strategies in Europe and Asia by attracting individual member states with economic incentives to deviate from their respective regional political groups Affairs (Chirathivat and Langhammer 2020, pp. 659-670). Such strategies become particularly clear in US trade negotiations under Trump and in Chinese investments as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) (Geeraerts 2019, p. 2). In Europe, for example, Chinese investments have successfully incentivized Greece and Hungary to block EU criticism of Chinese activities in the South China Sea and condemn crackdown on Chinese activists, while China itself has taken non-EU positions on Kosovo and North Macedonia ( Brattberg and Etienn 2018, p. 2; Rrustemi et al. 2019, pp. 99-102). There is therefore concern that both Eastern European countries and vulnerable Southeast Asian economies could similarly represent long-term “back door” obstacles to the integration of the EU and ASEAN (Chirathivat and Langhammer 2020; Geeraerts 2019, p. 2). In addition, there is concern that the engagement of BRI could be used by China in other negotiations as a “negotiating chip” and “less intense” [BRI] Commitment in return for political support in other portfolios ”(Gehrke 2019, p. 4). According to Biscop (2020, p. 6), developing the EU’s multilateral partnerships is the key to combating these practices. By diversifying the EU’s economic relations, the Union will be less susceptible to such geopolitical leverage, increasing its stability, unity and therefore its strategic autonomy. The EU’s membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and bilateral free trade agreements with Japan and South Korea are steps in the right direction, but a comprehensive interregional free trade agreement between the EU and ASEAN would above all stabilize the EU’s geopolitical ties (Biscop 2020, P. 2; Geeraerts 2019, p. 4). Such connections will indeed be particularly necessary to maintain a system of multilateral global governance after the COVID-19 pandemic – with a weakened and increasingly isolated US and a more confident China. Welfens (2020, p. 570) argues that without a coherent multilateral response to the economic consequences of the pandemic, the EU runs the risk of experiencing a “Euro Crisis 2.0”. An FTA between the EU and ASEAN would provide an effective platform for such a response and facilitate the kind of intergovernmental cooperation that the pandemic crisis requires. Thus, an interregional free trade agreement not only gives the EU geopolitical stability so that it does not submit to the interests of the global hegemons, but also offers a platform to counteract the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis – to ensure that the EU remains stable and autonomous actor in the international system.
Finally, an interregional free trade agreement creates stability by facilitating the EU and ASEAN responses to common security concerns. As discussed above, the EU-ASEAN FTA acts as a counterbalance to the harmful dependencies that the two organizations have on the great powers. Beyond the economic and strategic dimensions, however, there is a specific security dimension in the relationship between the two organizations and the hegemons. In particular, both the EU – in the case of Ukraine and Eastern Europe – and ASEAN – in the case of the South China Sea – have open territorial disputes with the great powers (Michel 2020a). The economic and geopolitical stability gained through an EU-ASEAN free trade agreement would allow a more resolute response to these security concerns. In the case of the EU in particular, the economic sanctions imposed on Russia in response to the Ukraine crisis cost European economies around € 100 billion and the EU has been reluctant to follow the US in imposing sanctions on Russian oil and gas, as this is Europe’s energy supply (Heller and Carbonnel 2017; Sharkov 2015). In contrast, under an EU-ASEAN free trade agreement, the EU would have the stability in its economic and energy relations to introduce a more resolute sanctions regime in response to future Russian expansionism.
In addition, an interregional free trade agreement would facilitate the EU and ASEAN’s response to the nontraditional security concerns related to anthropogenic climate change. The consequences of climate change are the most important security problem of modern times and developing comprehensive policy responses to “green” our economies and reduce the environmental impact of economic development will be the defining challenge of this generation (Barnett and Adger 2007). The EU is already planning to invest 1.2 billion euros in the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility of the Asian Development Bank (Michel 2020a). This facility will support ASEAN in meeting the sustainable development goals and transitioning to a green economy (Asian Development Bank 2020; Wu and Gaenssmantel 2020). A free trade agreement between the EU and ASEAN would not only increase these investments, it would also enable mutual capacity building in the areas of solar and wind power, technology transfer and sharing of best practices to ensure that both regions meet the standards for a green transition (Indio 2019). In addition, an EU-ASEAN free trade agreement could serve as a vehicle for the dissemination of European Green Deal standards and policies in the areas of transport, emissions and, above all, plastics production – as ASEAN remains an important source of global plastics supply (EAD 2020 , P. 42.). ). Indeed, President Michel recognizes the ability of the EU and ASEAN to “[join] Forces on renewable energies, biodiversity and climate ”and ultimately envisages an“ EU-ASEAN Green Deal ”(Michel 2020a). The EU-ASEAN FTA is thus not only a forum for building physical security, but also for coordinating an intergovernmental response to anthropogenic climate change and for facilitating the green transition.
Promotion of European values and standards
An EU-ASEAN free trade agreement further develops the EU’s strategic autonomy by expanding President Michel’s second and third objectives – the dissemination of European standards and values - and by increasing the diplomatic reach of the EU in the region in general. The EU has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to export its market and regulatory standards through its trade relations: the so-called “Brussels Effect” (Bradford 2019, pp. 4–5). This term refers to a “race to the top” trend in which it makes more economic and legal sense for companies to adopt the regulatory standards that are most stringent in the countries in which they operate (Bradford 2019, Pp. 4-5). For example, if a large company wants to open up both the American and the European market, it is – in the latter case – obliged to adopt the Brussels standards for its activities in the European Economic Area. It then makes economic sense to simply apply these standards throughout the company and to operate in accordance with European standards even in the more lax US regulations. An EU-ASEAN free trade agreement would similarly act as a catalyst for the diffusion of European standards in emerging Asian economies, as Asian companies would tend to adopt European standards in order to increase their competitiveness (Paderon 2020, p. 797). This in turn would ensure that a large emerging region with ten member states and almost 650 million people complied with Europe’s high standards in the areas of the environment, data protection, industrial relations and competition law (Kiron et al. 2016, p. 71; Michel 2020a). But while the EU is negotiating bilateral free trade agreements in the region with this aim, there is a risk that it will fall behind the hegemons if an interregional free trade agreement is not negotiated soon. ASEAN is already involved in free trade agreements with almost all other major powers except the EU – including China, USA, Japan, India and Australia (Paderon 2020, p. 798). There is therefore a risk that the regulatory standards of these great powers will begin to shape the markets before the EU has the chance to penetrate the region (Meissner 2016, pp. 333–334). If this is the case, there is a risk that the “Brussels effect” will be hindered in the long term, as the EU cannot exert any influence on a region that will play a central role in the already recognized “Asian century” (Deng 2020, p. 118). In order for the EU to exercise strategic autonomy, it must play a significant role in the emerging Asia-centered order (Deng 2020, p. 119). An interregional free trade agreement with ASEAN offers a clear path to ensure that the EU can gain a regulatory foothold in this crucial part of the world.
Likewise, achieving strategic autonomy for the EU in the Asian century also requires the continuous promotion of European values. The EU is increasingly trying to combine its diplomatic and economic efforts with the promotion of “European values” such as democracy, the rule of law, transparency and equal opportunities (EEAS 2020, p. 20). For President Michel, this practice is an integral part of strategic autonomy, as it ensures that the EU can operate in a “more respectful, ethical and just” world in which “sovereignty, independence, empowerment” are upheld (Michel 2020b). In fact, Lippert et al. (2020, p. 32) describe an essential aspect of European strategic autonomy as the ability “to participate in shaping the international environment on the basis of European values and interests, instead of accepting a role as recipient of strategic decisions by others”. An EU-ASEAN free trade agreement would provide a strong forum for this. An early analysis of the FTA negotiations between the EU and ASEAN initially indicated that the EU either failed to respect human rights and the promotion of democracy in its trade negotiations or that ASEAN was not receptive to such practices (Pinhão 2009, p. 3–4; Alfredo and Robles 2014, p. 1324). In addition, several ASEAN member states have historically had problematic relations with democracy and questionable human rights records (Alfredo and Robles 2014). However, recent studies have shown that the ASEAN countries were more open to promoting democracy and social liberalization in order to take advantage of the economic benefits of increased engagement for prosperous democracies (Lim 2011, pp. 859-692; Bae 2018, p. 33 -35). According to Lim (2011, p. 821), ASEAN’s experience with bilateral free trade agreements – including the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership and the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand free trade agreement – has shown that East Asian states can be normatively influenced by their trade partners. Bae (2018, pp. 33–35) states that value-adding countries have been recognized as reliable and competent through the sustainable interaction with the ASEAN actors through a free trade agreement. This positive image has in turn increased the openness of the ASEAN economy and political leaders to a policy of social and political liberalization. Similar to the promotion of European market standards – as discussed above – the EU needs a way to effectively promote its particular values and model of government before the interests of China and the USA dominate the socio-political landscapes of the region. As ASEAN’s experience in its numerous other free trade agreements shows, an interregional free trade agreement with the EU would effectively achieve this goal.
The openness to European standards and values in the region also depends on the ongoing projection of EU soft power. As is well known, soft power is described by Joseph Nye (2004) as the art of “seduction” in international politics; the ability to influence the affairs of other nations by charm rather than coercion. Soft power is realized in a positive perception of the culture, the values, the people and the reliability of a nation. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a major driver of this perception. By bringing goods and services to a recipient country, foreign direct investments effectively increase the “brand awareness” of the country of origin, promote its values and increase its influence on soft power (Anguelov and Kaschel 2017, p. 5). Currently, the EU is the largest single source of FDI in ASEAN – a total of one third of capital flow into the region (Gilson 2020). The EU therefore seems well positioned to exert influence in the soft power region. However, China has rapidly increased its direct investments in ASEAN as part of its Belt and Road strategy (Ujvari 2019, pp. 1–2). This investment has led to “even more” intense friction between the member states than in Europe in the case of Greece and Hungary (Ujvari 2019, pp. 1–2). Wenn die ASEAN-Mitglieder in ihren China-Beziehungen gespalten und zunehmend abhängig von Investitionen aus Peking werden, verliert die EU ihre Chance, starke interregionale Beziehungen aufzubauen und Soft Power-Einfluss in der Region auszuüben, was in der Folge ihre Bemühungen um strategische Autonomie untergräbt. Ein EU-ASEAN-Freihandelsabkommen hingegen würde den Vorsprung der EU bei den FDI-Strömen in die Region erleichtern – und sogar erhöhen – und sicherstellen, dass die ASEAN-Staaten Brüssel gegenüber empfänglicher bleiben als Peking (Leonard et al. 2019 , S. 14; Paderion 2020, S. 797). Das interregionale Freihandelsabkommen würde somit strategische Autonomie aufbauen, nicht nur durch die Verbreitung von EU-Standards und -Werten, sondern auch durch die Gewährleistung der EU-Soft Power in der wichtigsten Region dieses Jahrhunderts.
Strategische Autonomie ist erreichbar. Während das Konzept zunächst als vage und undefiniert kritisiert wurde, hat es sich unter der Von-der-Leyen-Kommission zu einem kohärenten außenpolitischen Zielkatalog entwickelt. Auch wenn Zweifel an der Fähigkeit der EU, Autonomie in militärischen Angelegenheiten auszuüben, begründet sind, verkennt diese Kritik die erwiesene Fähigkeit der EU, ihre Interessen mit diplomatischen und wirtschaftlichen Mitteln zu vertreten. Wie dieses Papier gezeigt hat, liegt die strategische Autonomie der EU in der Bewahrung der multilateralen, regelbasierten Ordnung. Solange diese Ordnung eingehalten wird, sind Fragen der militärischen Leistungsfähigkeit irrelevant. Ein interregionales Freihandelsabkommen EU-ASEAN bietet ein klares Vehikel sowohl zur Wahrung dieser Ordnung als auch zur Erreichung strategischer Autonomie.
Erstens würde ein interregionales Freihandelsabkommen wirtschaftliche Stabilität durch Diversifizierung der Abhängigkeiten der EU und geopolitische Stabilität durch Gegengewichtung des Einflusses der USA und Chinas aufbauen. Darüber hinaus würde das Freihandelsabkommen multilaterale Antworten auf gemeinsame traditionelle und nicht-traditionelle Sicherheitsbedenken der beiden Organisationen erleichtern. Ein interregionales Freihandelsabkommen würde auch die Verbreitung der hohen Marktstandards der EU ermöglichen – die Verlängerung des sogenannten „Brüsseler-Effekts“ sowie die Förderung europäischer Werte der Demokratie und des Sozialliberalismus. Schließlich stellt das Freihandelsabkommen sicher, dass die EU in einer so wichtigen Region die notwendige Soft-Power-Reichweite behält und somit ein bedeutender Akteur im internationalen System bleibt.
Tatsächlich ist – mehr als alles andere – diese Zentralität Südostasiens in der entstehenden asienzentrierten Weltordnung der Grund, warum ASEAN der Schlüssel zur strategischen Autonomie der EU ist. Die Fähigkeit, Einfluss auszuüben und Marktstandards in dieser Region zu gestalten, wird die Determinante einer autonomen Macht sein, ähnlich wie der europäische Einfluss die Großmächte des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts bestimmt hat. Wenn europäische Interessen ins Abseits gedrängt werden, ASEAN-Fragmente zersplittert sind und wenn die USA und China die Region mitgestalten und definieren dürfen, dann wird die multilaterale Ordnung einer entschieden bipolaren Ordnung weichen, und jede Vorstellung von strategischer Autonomie wird zur Fantasie von eine vergessene Ära. Ein interregionales Freihandelsabkommen ist der Schlüssel zur Vermeidung einer solchen Welt. Das Freihandelsabkommen EU-ASEAN würde die Existenz von mindestens zwei weiteren Großmächten in der internationalen Ordnung erleichtern, den Anschein eines multilateralen Systems bewahren und die strategische Autonomie beider Organisationen stärken. Auf diese Weise könnte Interregionalismus der Schlüssel sein, um das Schlimmste eines neuen Kalten Krieges zu vermeiden, über die schwer fassbare Vorstellung von Autonomie hinaus.
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