Archive for the ‘China’ Tag

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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

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

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Re North Korea:

FAREED ZAKARIA (CNN): Do you think the Obama administration has handled this well?

BRET STEPHENS, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COLUMNIST, WALL STREET JOURNAL: I think, and painful and unnatural as it is for me to say this, I think they’ve handled it superbly, certainly in contrast to both predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

ZAKARIA: Both of whom fell for this …

STEPHENS: Both of whom fell for this story, but not understanding that this is a regime that doesn’t stay bribed and they manufacture crises in order to extract concessions from the West then you have a period of a year or two.

Meanwhile, the crisis serves the purpose of Kim Jong-un, or however, you say his name, because it helps consolidate his power base. We don’t want that to happen.

Now, I agree with Tom that China is the country that can solve this, but China is the country that will never solve this because their interests are two — I think they’ve had a conviction for a very long time that a reunified South Korea is a disaster for them.

It’s also potentially a humanitarian problem for them. I mean there are millions of Koreans who are going to be streaming north of the Yalu River if you have a disaster in Korea. So they are going to prop up this regime for a long time.

The Obama administration and Japan and South Korea, I doubt Russia, is going to have to engineer some kind of policy towards North Korea that works to make Kim’s rule shorter, that creates humanitarian avenues for North Koreans to leave, that puts public pressure on the Chinese to allow the underground — the North Korean Underground Railroad to move people to Mongolia or Thailand or however they get out.

But so far this administration has done better than anyone.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1304/07/fzgps.01.html

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Fareed Zakaria ” Secretary of State John Kerry is making news on his first foreign trip swinging through nine countries in Europe and the Middle East.

He’s talking about European trade deals, about providing greater assistance to the Syrian opposition and he’s talking about Iran, of course. These are all important issues.

But I wonder if Kerry should instead have just visited two countries on his first trip, China and Japan. That’s where the most significant and dangerous new developments in international relations are unfolding and where American diplomacy could make a bit difference.

The world’s second- and third-largest economies have been jostling for months over territory, reviving ugly historical memories and making clear that, in the event of a crisis, neither side would back down.

Trade between the two countries, which usually hovers around $350 billion a year, is down substantially. An accident, miscalculation or unforeseen event in the East China Seas could easily spiral out of control.

And that would mean conflict between great powers in the fastest growing region of the world. The kind of problems that always has global consequences. The Obama administration came into office determined to make Asia a priority, topped by its ties to China. Hillary Clinton’s first trip as Secretary of State was to Asia. The administration wanted to engage China as a partner.

China’s reaction to these overtures was confused and muddled. Beijing worried that it was being asked to involve itself in superpower diplomacy, which would distract it from its single-minded focus on economic development.

Some in the Beijing foreign-policy elite wondered if this was a trap, forcing their government to rubber-stamp decisions that would be shaped out of Washington. As a result, Beijing’s response to the administration’s initial diplomacy was cool, sometimes even combative.

Meanwhile in Asia, many of the continent’s other powers had begun worrying about a newly assertive China. From Japan to Vietnam to Singapore, governments in Asia signaled that they would welcome a greater American presence in the region, one that would assure them that Asia was not going to become China’s back yard.

The Obama administration shrewdly responded with its pivot in 2011, combining economic, political and military measures, all designed to signal that the U.S. would strengthen its role in Asia, balancing any potential Chinese hegemony.

The result of the pivot, however, was to further strain relations with Beijing. Today China and the United States maintain mechanisms, like the strategic and economic dialogue between senior officials, but they are formal and ritualistic.

No American and Chinese officials have developed genuinely deep mutual trust. Beijing views the pivot as a containment strategy and believes that rising Japanese nationalism, tolerated by Washington, is responsible for the crisis in the East China Sea.

The lack of progress in U.S.-China relations stands as the single greatest vacuum in President Obama’s otherwise reasonably successful foreign policy.

Whoever is to blame, the fact remains that the only durable path to peace and stability in Asia is a strong relationship between the United States and China. The two countries are not always going to agree, but they need to have much better and deeper ties.

So when he gets back from his trip, Secretary Kerry should start planning his next one, to Asia.”

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1303/03/fzgps.01.html