Andrew Small is a senior transatlantic fellow with GMF's Indo-Pacific Program, which he established in 2006. His research focuses on U.S.–China relations, Europe–China relations, Chinese policy in South Asia, and broader developments in China's foreign and economic policy. He is the author of The Rupture: China and the Global Race for the Future / No Limits: the Inside Story of China’s War with the West, which was named one of the 2022 Financial Times Politics Books of the Year, and The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia's New Geopolitics.

He was based in GMF’s Brussels office for five years and the DC office for ten years, and has worked as a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and as an ESU scholar in the office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. His articles and papers have been published in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, and many other journals, magazines, and newspapers. Small was educated at Balliol College, University of Oxford.

His articles and papers have been published in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Washington Quarterly, as well as many other journals, magazines, and newspapers. He is the author of the book The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia's New Geopolitics published with Hurst / Oxford University Press in 2015. Small was educated at Balliol College, University of Oxford.

To contact him, please email [email protected].

Media Mentions

“The conflict in Ukraine shifted things,” said Andrew Small, a senior trans-Atlantic fellow with the German Marshall Fund’s Asia Program. “There is more appreciation now [in the EU] of how Indo-Pacific and Euro-Atlantic are more intertwined.”


Large-scale Chinese investments in critical European infrastructure are also believed to carry security risks. Chinese investments in European ports have been particularly controversial because ports are counted as strategic assets. Some of these European ports are, naturally, logistical hubs for NATO equipment.

“How could China use its control of critical European infrastructure in a wartime scenario? That’s a relevant question and a military scenario that needs to be taken into account while planning a China strategy,” added Small, of the German Marshall Fund.
Translated from English
But the strategy paper confirmed a shift. It did not talk of hope of “Wandel durch Handel“ (change through trade), once a motto of the Merkel era. “De-risking is urgently needed,” the document said, using the now standard language of EU and American officials when referring to the dangers of over-reliance on economic ties with China. It echoed the EU’s labelling of China as a “systemic rival” and said China’s friendly relations with Russia had “direct security implications for Germany”. It warned that military escalation by China in the Taiwan Strait would “affect German and European interests”. The paper promised that Germany would co-ordinate “more closely” with its partners in the EU on China matters. It did mention a relationship of trust: with America. Andrew Small of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a research centre, calls the language “markedly different from where we were with Merkel and the way she was willing to frame things”.

Business decisions
Mr Small says that, though large German firms have expressed support for the strategy, “they haven’t jumped in to embrace it”. They have much at stake. According to the Rhodium Group, a research firm, Germany’s three big carmakers—BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen—plus BASF, a chemicals giant, accounted for more than one-third of all European direct investment in China between 2018 and 2021. But the paper is softer than a version that was leaked in November: no more talk of “stress tests” of German companies that are heavily involved in China, or making them “specify and summarise relevant China-related developments”. De-risking, it appears, will be up to businesses themselves. Some of them may not share the government’s sense of urgency.
Translated from English
There hasn't been a question yet on what kind of significant things China could be asked to do, because previously Russia didn't need to resupply. But they are hitting that juncture. How long is China willing to say to Russia it will not do it?
China needs a strong, capable Pakistan, to continue to function as an effective counterbalance to India.
It’s important that they’re not seen to let Pakistan down, because if they let Pakistan down in this situation, then the message to everyone else is that they can’t be relied on.
If they treat Russia as an equal -- even if they don't think they are -- then this will pay dividends for China, and that's been a growing part of how Xi has approached this entire relationship.
In one way, it's relatively normal that European leaders do their own bilateral visits. There is a national agenda, as well as the European one. I think the question from other leaders, as we saw in the European Council the other week, is, again, what has been coordinated by way of a European message?
The writing's on the wall. We're already facing a situation in which there will be a squeeze on firms' capacity to do good business in China
The unpredictability is going to be absolutely endemic for anyone—official or private sector—who’s operating in Afghanistan.
China had spent about $25 billion on CPEC by mid-2020, but that investment was already pushing the upper limits of the project, instead of being the base for a 'more ambitious plan.'
The combination of the kind of language used by the G7 and (China's formal inclusion) in NATO strategic documents is indeed a blow for (China), and something that they would have hoped and wished to be able to prevent.
It’s certainly the worst security situation China has faced in Pakistan since the late 2000s but now the economic presence is far greater and so there’s far more at stake for both sides.
China has been reluctant to have formal alliances that would essentially be treaty obligations — the only formal alliance it has is with North Korea but even that it treats as an aberrational case that it's slightly embarrassed about.
China thought that this would be successful and whatever was done... They hadn't expected it to drag out in the manner that it has, they hadn't expected the level of resilience on Ukraine's part, they hadn't expected Russia to be as ineffective as it has been, and I think they had also not expected to be called out for what they were doing to the level that they were.
The close Sino-Russian relationship means the impact of sanctions against Russia extends to China.
I think China will at least be disappointed and frustrated as they had counted on Russia to do better than this. They think Russia misjudged this and pulled China in — but it was their decision. If you hadn't had months of build up for this, you hadn't had people warning China, you hadn't had the level of the massing of troops on Ukraine's border, then you could've said China was tricked into it.
Pakistan should be one of the biggest winners from China’s rise as a global power. But if its internal security deteriorates or if Chinese anxieties about the country’s political direction worsen, it will be a great lost opportunity for the country.
Over the past few weeks, we've seen a lot of statements from European leaders expressing their concern about China's budding relationship with Russia. Regardless, EU leaders are increasingly aware of the need to bring about long-term rebalancing in its relations with China, as the Russian invasion has made EU nations realize the risks of dependence on authoritarian states that make military threats to their neighbors.
The current US measures against Moscow also have another goal, although the main purpose is of course to make Putin pay the price, but the secondary purpose is to warn China of the possible consequences of any military action against Taiwan.
Translated from Chinese (Mandarin)
I think the sense is still [China] would give Russia the space to do what it wants.
China seems unwilling to take any steps beyond expressing the desire for peace, as it wants to avoid directly interfering with what Russia wants to do. I think the sense is still they would give Russia the space to do what it wants... China is not comfortable leaning on Russia, and I think they would question whether it would be successful.
Putin may have done this anyway, but also it was unquestionably an enabling backdrop that was provided by the joint statement, the visit and Xi’s association with all of these things.
[China had hoped for a government in Afghanistan that, although Taliban-dominated, could] tick enough boxes with the international community [to achieve diplomatic recognition.]
China has had some bad experiences and is aware of the political and economic risks of the deteriorating financial situation in many countries. So they are lending less.
Translated from French
This ushers in a more competitive era in development aid. The recipient countries will now have an alternative to Chinese money. It is up to the EU to prove that its aid is better.
[This] marked the first serious effort from the European side to put packages together and figure out financing mechanisms, so countries considering taking loans from China have an alternative option.
China has limited means to coerce Lithuania economically. It could attempt to expand the pressure it extends towards the EU as a whole…but the risks of that backfiring are enormous, particularly given the deterioration in China-EU ties in recent years.
Translated from Chinese (Mandarin)
The Taliban have sought to avoid embarrassment with China as a result of any Uyghur militant activities, but it would be a very different matter if they actually handed them over.
Views differ within the bloc, but everyone agrees on some difficult policy areas, such as sanctioning Chinese officials for their repressive practices in Xinjiang.
China has since scaled back its efforts. The Covid-19 crisis has come and gone, and major projects are not without political and diplomatic consequences.
Translated from French
En effet, la nouvelle initiative américano-britanico-australienne est définie très précisément et étroitement comme un partenariat militaire et sécuritaire, puisqu’il s’agit de collaborer dans les domaines des sous-marins, du cyberespace, de l’informatique quantique et de l’intelligence artificielle.
The lines are blurred on China’s part between who constitutes a terrorist and who constitutes someone who has simply been politically active.
In Afghanistan, no EU state was able to operate without U.S. support, not even the U.K.
Beijing will be happy to dangle promises and engage in talks on the BRI and CPEC extensions, but will not move ahead with anything on the ground until they are confident of political and security conditions.
China is now seeing all of this as intertwined and part of a more adverse shift in the Pakistan and Afghanistan context.
[China] tends to see Afghanistan as a trap and will be wary about taking on too prominent a role there.
It’s not clear why China should have anything to do with [Afghanistan], let alone why China should be having friendly relations with a government that behaved and continues to behave in the manner that the Taliban does.
China does think the U.S. will have to count on it more in Afghanistan in [the] future, and they’re [also] attempting to couple it with climate change...
I think China’s still sees Afghanistan as kind of a wild west environment. It is not one that I think they want to see as some kind of fabulously interconnected hub for the entire region.