Raffaello Pantucci

Raffaello Pantucci

Raffaello Pantucci is a senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London and a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore. His work focuses on terrorism, counter-terrorism and China's Eurasian relations. He has a forthcoming book on China's relations with Central Asia and most of his work can be found at raffaellopantucci.com. Prior to Covid-19, he spent a good portion of his time traversing the Eurasian continent seeking understanding about the new continental dynamics.

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Latest from Raffaello Pantucci

Opinion | How Pakistan’s new prime minister completes a favourable picture for China in the region

Shehbaz Sharif’s rise to power in Pakistan puts China in an advantageous position as its western neighbours are all friendly to Beijing. This also means China has a stake in the many problems that emanate from this region, though, and will be forced to take a more active role.

Shehbaz Sharif’s rise to power in Pakistan puts China in an advantageous position as its western neighbours are all friendly to Beijing. This also means China has a stake in the many problems that emanate from this region, though, and will be forced to take a more active role.

19 Apr 2022 - 10:22PM
Opinion | Ukraine war: how the West’s focus on China’s ties with Russia misses the bigger geopolitical picture

The US and EU’s condemnation of Russia and repeated calls for their allies to do the same reflects a world view in which democracies stand united against autocracies. In reality, drawing battle lines is far more difficult when interests and values rarely align.

The US and EU’s condemnation of Russia and repeated calls for their allies to do the same reflects a world view in which democracies stand united against autocracies. In reality, drawing battle lines is far more difficult when interests and values rarely align.

7 Apr 2022 - 9:00AM
Opinion | Eurasia in turmoil: how China’s passivity foments the chaos

From Afghanistan to Kazakhstan and now Ukraine, the Eurasian heartland has fallen prey to three forces: authoritarian incompetence, Russian adventurism and Chinese passivity. Beijing may be happy to sit out the chaos for now but it will ultimately spill over and create problems it cannot ignore.

From Afghanistan to Kazakhstan and now Ukraine, the Eurasian heartland has fallen prey to three forces: authoritarian incompetence, Russian adventurism and Chinese passivity. Beijing may be happy to sit out the chaos for now but it will ultimately spill over and create problems it cannot ignore.

13 Mar 2022 - 9:15AM
Opinion | Why China won’t lose sleep over Russian troops in Kazakhstan

Suggestions of China-Russia rivalry for power in Central Asia miss the mark. In reality, while both are active in the region, their roles are more complementary than competitive.

Suggestions of China-Russia rivalry for power in Central Asia miss the mark. In reality, while both are active in the region, their roles are more complementary than competitive.

12 Jan 2022 - 5:06AM
Opinion | Time for China to stop hedging its bets in Afghanistan

The flak Beijing has drawn for its Taliban engagement is not just unfair but also misses the point. If China’s Afghan strategy is to be faulted, it’s for doing too little.

The flak Beijing has drawn for its Taliban engagement is not just unfair but also misses the point. If China’s Afghan strategy is to be faulted, it’s for doing too little.

17 Aug 2021 - 4:10AM
Opinion | Why China cannot afford to take a passive role in post-US Afghanistan

There appears to be little evidence supporting Taliban assurances that trouble will not spill over onto Chinese soil. China needs to take a more proactive role in supporting the government in Kabul and visibly deploy more resources.

There appears to be little evidence supporting Taliban assurances that trouble will not spill over onto Chinese soil. China needs to take a more proactive role in supporting the government in Kabul and visibly deploy more resources.

16 Aug 2021 - 10:40PM
Opinion | How the West can best respond to China’s belt and road

Competing with China dollar for dollar is pointless as Chinese banks and state-owned firms are driven by different concerns. Building up governance capacity in developing countries will help them push back when Chinese firms step over the line.

Competing with China dollar for dollar is pointless as Chinese banks and state-owned firms are driven by different concerns. Building up governance capacity in developing countries will help them push back when Chinese firms step over the line.

25 May 2021 - 4:34AM
Opinion | How US withdrawal from Afghanistan offers promise and peril for China

The balance in Afghanistan seems weighted more towards opportunity than challenge for China. Beijing might believe it knows how to avoid pitfalls, but history is littered with powers that thought they could control the Eurasian region.

The balance in Afghanistan seems weighted more towards opportunity than challenge for China. Beijing might believe it knows how to avoid pitfalls, but history is littered with powers that thought they could control the Eurasian region.

26 Apr 2021 - 1:30AM
Opinion | How China’s Middle East charm offensive succeeded despite affecting little change

What Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to the region may lack in material achievements, it makes up for in good optics. China is a major player in the region. In highlighting this, Wang has undermined Western-driven condemnation and achieved China’s foreign policy goals.

What Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to the region may lack in material achievements, it makes up for in good optics. China is a major player in the region. In highlighting this, Wang has undermined Western-driven condemnation and achieved China’s foreign policy goals.

2 Apr 2021 - 5:23AM
Opinion | Belt and Road Initiative: China’s rosy picture is at odds with realities on the ground during Covid-19

Chinese officials have praised the initiative and its goal of improving cross-border flows of people and goods. The reality has been different, though, with China’s neighbours and partners frustrated by border closures and lengthy delays.

Chinese officials have praised the initiative and its goal of improving cross-border flows of people and goods. The reality has been different, though, with China’s neighbours and partners frustrated by border closures and lengthy delays.

9 Mar 2021 - 5:15AM
Opinion | As the face of China’s foreign policy, the belt and road will survive debt and coronavirus

The belt and road was not meant to be a single large infrastructure project. Rather, it provides the great machine of China’s external-facing apparatus with a new driving vision.

The belt and road was not meant to be a single large infrastructure project. Rather, it provides the great machine of China’s external-facing apparatus with a new driving vision.

18 Dec 2020 - 4:04AM
Opinion | Why China playing bystander to the trouble in Eurasia is not ideal

Beijing’s reluctance to get involved in the Eurasian unrest is in line with its attitude towards conflicts that do not impinge on its own security. But, given China’s growing influence, its disinterested posture muddies the waters for others trying to resolve unrest.

Beijing’s reluctance to get involved in the Eurasian unrest is in line with its attitude towards conflicts that do not impinge on its own security. But, given China’s growing influence, its disinterested posture muddies the waters for others trying to resolve unrest.

22 Oct 2020 - 7:59AM
Opinion | Crumbling China-India relations suggests escalation will continue

China has never taken India seriously, while New Delhi has continually hedged and never made a clear choice about what it wants from its relationship with Beijing. The possibility of miscalculation is growing and a dangerous new normal is setting in.

China has never taken India seriously, while New Delhi has continually hedged and never made a clear choice about what it wants from its relationship with Beijing. The possibility of miscalculation is growing and a dangerous new normal is setting in.

25 Sep 2020 - 11:09PM
Opinion | Why China is becoming the bogeyman in its border lands

Chinese people, embassies and projects are increasingly the target of separatist and terrorist violence as protests against Uygur treatment grow. As a big player, China’s mere presence and support for the authorities in the region makes it a target for local anger.

Chinese people, embassies and projects are increasingly the target of separatist and terrorist violence as protests against Uygur treatment grow. As a big player, China’s mere presence and support for the authorities in the region makes it a target for local anger.

2 Sep 2020 - 3:37AM
Opinion | There is no new cold war, the West is just losing influence in Eurasia

Is there a new axis between China, Russia and Iran against the West? Not quite. Beneath the surface of the anti-US alliance, there are undercurrents of hostility and scepticism. Across Eurasia, there is also a reluctance to take sides.

Is there a new axis between China, Russia and Iran against the West? Not quite. Beneath the surface of the anti-US alliance, there are undercurrents of hostility and scepticism. Across Eurasia, there is also a reluctance to take sides.

31 Jul 2020 - 5:46AM
Opinion | Beijing faces a perfect storm as the world turns against its narrative amid rising nationalism, leaving it no room for compromise

In the face of growing global criticism, Beijing may be painting itself into a corner with its narratives, which fuel an increasingly angry nativism in China, forcing it to take the dangerous path of doubling down on confrontations.

In the face of growing global criticism, Beijing may be painting itself into a corner with its narratives, which fuel an increasingly angry nativism in China, forcing it to take the dangerous path of doubling down on confrontations.

16 May 2020 - 11:31AM
Opinion | How China’s coronavirus medical diplomacy is failing to win over the world

Forget Pax Sinica, China’s medical outreach is failing. Even though Russia and Iran, its closest allies, may be on the same page, underlying tensions remain. There is a global leadership gap but Beijing is not filling it.

Forget Pax Sinica, China’s medical outreach is failing. Even though Russia and Iran, its closest allies, may be on the same page, underlying tensions remain. There is a global leadership gap but Beijing is not filling it.

4 Apr 2020 - 3:53AM
Opinion | Is China getting real with its grandiose visions for the belt and road?

Beijing is toning down its rhetoric for the grand plan and rethinking its massive international infrastructure programme, Raffaello Pantucci writes.

Beijing is toning down its rhetoric for the grand plan and rethinking its massive international infrastructure programme, Raffaello Pantucci writes.

14 Feb 2020 - 6:25PM
Opinion | Why Iran has got China wrong: Beijing will follow its own playbook in countering the US-led West

While regional players like Iran seek to bring China into the conversation, Beijing continues to rely on the rhetoric of non-interference. Its single-minded focus on its own interests will see China become stronger.

While regional players like Iran seek to bring China into the conversation, Beijing continues to rely on the rhetoric of non-interference. Its single-minded focus on its own interests will see China become stronger.

26 Sep 2019 - 11:29AM
Opinion | Time for South Asia to more closely monitor regional terrorism with global reach

Raffaello Pantucci writes that growing regional anger must be kept from spiralling out of control and creating broader havoc.

Raffaello Pantucci writes that growing regional anger must be kept from spiralling out of control and creating broader havoc.

22 May 2019 - 2:26AM
Opinion | Does Beijing grasp the portent of embracing Afghanistan and the Taliban?

Raffaello Pantucci says it is not clear that Beijing fully appreciates the role it is taking on by trying to broker peace in strife-torn Afghanistan and getting a Taliban-inclusive political structure in place.

Raffaello Pantucci says it is not clear that Beijing fully appreciates the role it is taking on by trying to broker peace in strife-torn Afghanistan and getting a Taliban-inclusive political structure in place.

10 Feb 2019 - 10:19AM
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19 Aug 2017 - 11:04PM