Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Fareed Zakaria (CNN)
First, here’s my take. Some American commentators want summit meetings between China and the United States, such as the one in California this week, to turn into a kind of G2, a relationship of equal powers to manage the world’s problems.

But that’s not the way to think about this relationship. China is not the world’s other superpower and we should not treat it as such.

China has always played a weak hand brilliantly. In February 1972 when Richard Nixon went to China and restored Sino-U.S. relations that had been broken for 23 years, Beijing negotiated as if from commanding heights.

In fact, China was in the midst of economic, political and cultural collapse and chaos. Its per capita gross domestic product had fallen below that of Uganda and Sierra Leone.

Now, today, of course, China has tremendous assets. It is the world’s second largest economy and, because of its size, will one day become the largest. But power is defined along many dimensions and by most political, military, strategic and cultural measures; China is a great but not global power.

Its military spending, for example, is not even a quarter of America’s. Perhaps, most crucially, it lacks, for now, the intellectual ambition to set the global agenda. The scholar David Shambaugh, who has always been well-disposed toward China, put it this way in a recent book, “China is,” he wrote, “In essence, a very narrow-minded, self-interested, realist state, seeking only to maximize its own national interests and power.”

“It cares little for global governance and enforcing global standards of behavior, except its much-vaunted doctrine of noninterference in the internal affairs of countries.”

“Its economic policies are mercantilist and its diplomacy is passive. China is also a lonely strategic power, with no allies and experiencing distrust and strained relationships with much of the world.”

Now, Beijing wants good relations with the United States and a general climate of external stability. That’s partly because it faces huge internal challenges.

Chinese leaders want to embark on a serious program of reforms at home and they’re searching for ways to generate greater legitimacy for the Communist Party of China, experimenting with both a return to Maoist rhetoric and a revival of nationalism.

Also, Beijing wants to rise without creating a powerful anti- Chinese backlash among Asia’s other powers like Japan and India. For its part, the United States is right to seek good and deep relations with China. They would mean a more stable, prosperous and peaceful world.

Further integrating China into an open global system would help maintain that system and the open world economy that rests on it.

But this can happen only if China recognizes and respects that system and operates from the perspective of a global power and not that of a “narrow-minded” state seeking only to maximize its interests.

In other words, when China starts acting like a superpower, we should treat it like one.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1306/09/fzgps.01.html

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Posted June 10, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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