Does a strategic triad exist? This article argues that the international order is undergoing a transformation that points towards a ‘new bipolarity’ between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. This new bipolarity is characterized by deep interdependence and mixed motives, rather than by the ideological antagonism and power struggle of the East-West conflict. It also is a much weaker axis of world order than the old bipolarity. This means it will likely fall short of providing the levels of global governance the world will need to cope with the challenges and opportunities produced by the relentless advance of globalization.
To form this new bipolarity into a strategic triad, it would require the existence or ascent of a third party (a state, a coalition of states, or the European Union (EU)) with the capacity and credibility to influence the policy behaviour of both Washington and Beijing. In the case of the EU, what is missing is the capacity of the EU to act as a third party with its own, independent policy agenda that is taken seriously by both China and the United States.European Foreign Affairs Review