China Policy

From Hegemony to Community: 

A Vision of Realignment for U.S. Foreign Policy

Walter Sebastian Adler

Hunter College

A great power cannot rely purely on unilateralism. The world is too vast and the conflicts are too many. If the U.S. indeed stands behind principles like democratization and global stability it must cultivate a broader alliance of allies. It must be willing to act in meaningful partnership as well as seek to empower underdeveloped countries to reduce socio-economic conditions leading to poverty and unrest. The difficulty lies in combining our values with our national interest. The U.S. must demonstrate that its values are aligned with its foreign policy. It must sacrifice pure hegemony to achieve a just and stable global community. Says Brzezinski:

The alternative approach to defining America’s central strategic challenge is to focus more broadly on global turmoil in its regional and social manifestations in order to lead an enduring and enlarging alliance of like minded democracies in a comprehensive campaign against the conditions that promote that turmoil (Brzezinski, p.216)

The main problem behind much of the unrest that fueled both the Cold War and now directly factors into the current crisis of radical Islam is not in the adversarial ideologies that cloak these conflicts. Communism and Islam are appealing to the wretched of the earth; both offer visionary (and consequently violent) solutions of how to ease third world suffering. As the rift between developed and underdeveloped nations increases and a greater disparity of wealth focuses third world domestic anger towards an opulent U.S.; these conflicts of inequality will continue. The Neo-Reaganite call offered by Kristol and Kagan is flawed in tactics and motive. 

What should that role be? Benevolent global hegemony. Having defeated the “Evil Empire”, the United States enjoys strategic and ideological predominance. The first objective of U.S. Foreign policy should be to preserve and enhance that predominance by strengthening America’s security, supporting its friends, advancing its interests, and standing up for its principles around the world (Kristol & Kagan, p.279).  

The underlying flaw is that a benevolent global hegemony narrowly focused on national interest and achieved by an expanded military does not deal with the root of the problem. The three imperatives offered by Kristol and Kagan focus on a beefed up armed forces, supported by a jingoistic citizenry, operating with a new found sense of moral clarity. As the Cold War demonstrated, the U.S. is often willing to forgo moral clarity for ideological superiority. But that then said, this writer is not saying the U.S. should pull back from the global arena. However, the U.S. needs to tackle the issue of global inequality via programs of direct aid and genuine developmental support. Democracies are made sound with books and well fed population, not armed interventions. We will in the long run find ourselves with less of a need for defense if more of our potential enemies are won over not by struggle but with actualization of U.S. values. 

Multilateralism must be the watchword of future U.S. foreign policy. This means participation in the International Criminal Court, it means a U.N. with expanded policing powers, and it means subjecting the U.S. to increased restraint. If the objective remains a democratic and economically equalized world the U.S. must refuse all alliances with countries that do not embrace these values. It can extend aid and lead by example. It can be punished with sanctions and as a last resort engage in intervention, but it cannot compromise the democratic vision as it did during the Cold War to achieve immediate political results. With that in mind the U.S. must firmly cement our allies in Europe and Asia through existing political and economic structures. In Moravsik’s article he addresses the necessity of partnership with Europe. While Europe he feels will never again be a true hegemonic military power, they are an essential ally in terms of their economic stability and political ideology.    

A better approach to rebuilding the transatlantic relationship would aim at reconceiving it on the basis of comparative advantage, recognizing that what both parties do is essential and complementary. Europe may possess weaker military forces than does the United States, but on almost every other dimension of global influence it is stronger. Meshing the two sets of capabilities would be the surest path to long term global peace and security (Moravcsik, p.316).

With the aid of our democratic allies the U.S. must cement an alliance of development and democratization for the rest of the world. It must act in unison to underscore a commitment to global political participation and use the soft power as advocated by Nye to influence and not coerce third world masses to embrace our global perspective.     

The global war on terror lacks vision as well as a clear cut set of objectives. This is not to say the U.S. should abandon its efforts to prevent WMD proliferation and pursue enemies dedicated to its destruction. Tying into earlier arguments however the while the tactic of terrorism can never be eradicated nor suppressed; the motivations of the terrorists rooted in global poverty can be addressed. It is far more difficult to portray the U.S. as the “Great Satan” when we dedicate our global influence to enrichment, security, and peace. In pursuing our security against extremist elements of radical Islam we must not cultivate alliances with dictatorial regimes that serve as a catalyst for terrorist recruiting and anger. In settling for short term allies of convenience, we make strange and dictatorial bedfellow that undermine the very nature of our struggle against terrorism.

In dealing with Rogue states like Iran and North Korea we must remember that despite the belligerent and authoritarian nature of their regimes there remain vast segments of the population in both countries that seek democracy and inclusion on the global community. While these two countries pose an increased threat with each seeking to develop nuclear weapons, there are many brutal dictatorships across the globe without weapons that should be targets of regime change. Our strategy must be more subtle than the neoconservative belief in hegemony via force. As our disastrous campaigns in Vietnam and Iraq have demonstrated; democracy doesn’t come from the barrel of a gun. If regimes threaten their neighbors and persist with the development of WMD we must take action. But our response needs to be the elimination of immediate threat and not prolonged occupations. Yet, these regimes are not operating in a vacuum; the main reason for their procurement of WMD is to prevent a U.S. invasion. With enough time their regimes will atrophy and a constant bombardment of U.S. aid and ideas will see this through in far more orderly fashion then conventional warfare. 

In all this we must commit to a strategy of global security. We must develop a multinational peace keeping and rapid intervention force via the U.N. to pacify regional violence and prevent genocide. As was demonstrated in the piece by Steinberg, humanitarian intervention is a vital role to be played by a hegemonic power. By allowing the Rwandan genocide the U.S. failed to live up to its proclaimed values. With a similar conflict escalating in Sudan, the U.S. must not hesitate to stop mass killings and look beyond mere geo-strategic importance.    

The central idea of this new foreign policy approach is to make America a showcase for what the world ought to be. We must sell the American people the idea that national boundaries do not separate our common link of being human. It is possible for the U.S. to facilitate a vision of globalization that brings together mankind and raises the bar on living standards globally. We have “talked a talk on democracy” for half a century and it is now time to live up to the great expectations our country once presented to the world. This is radically more important with the rise of the People’s Republic of China and the BRIC economic alliance between Brazil, Russian, India, China and South Africa positioning themselves for a world that is neither Eurocentric, or Democratic.

China’s Rising Multipolarity

It is vitally important that we shed the Cold War mentality. We cannot look at the U.S. national interest through the prism of an ideologically bound bi-polar world. That is to say geopolitics will not be driven on an ideological alignment (of say West versus the Rest) and that an emerging power like China need not be viewed as the paramount threat. The threat China poses and the conflict that will arise between the two powers is sophisticated and is not based on a Chinese demand to replace the U.S. as the single global hegemon. China welds a different kind of power and the strategic realignment of the foreseeable future is not a China vs. U.S. paradigm, but a global multipolarity.

East Asia is not yet hegemonically Sino-Centric, but it is now a place where Chinese interests and influence cannot be disregarded. This is because the new Chinese foreign policy is to tie the region together in a growing web of economic codependences. The United States is still the global center (that is to say its comprehensive national power is incontestably the greatest), but the multipolar vision expounded by China’s leaders will lead to drastic realignment of global power in the immediate future. The concept of regional power must be altered to account for China functioning within a greatly expanded region that stretches from Central, South, and Southeast Asia to the Middle East and beyond. It must be accepted that China is flexing its muscle as a power in ways outside the traditional U.S. paradigm of international relations.

China’s willingness, even eagerness, to improve the Sino-American represents a tactical gesture rather than a strategic one. Beijing has tempered its confrontational rhetoric and retreated from some of the actions that most annoyed Washington. China’s deference reflects its continued interest in the burgeoning trade and technology transfer relationship with the United States and its hope of quelling anti-Chinese sentiment in Congress and with the America public (Bernstein, p.3) 

According to David Lampton there are four factors that affect the rise of Chinese Power. The first is the Chinese need to cooperate with others to constrain Washington and reshape the international order. This is the Chinese concept multipolarity directly manifesting itself through greater participation in ASEAN and military alliances like the Shanghai Cooperative Organization. Second, is China’s impressive and sustained economic success giving China options and tools it never had before. That is to say for the first time in 200 years China enjoys the material strength it needs to develop itself into a potentially hegemonic power. Third, is China’s ability to shape the new economic order of Asia by becoming a major purchaser of its neighbor’s products and growing investor in their economies. Fourth, China’s changed leadership is focused on an activist foreign policy with strict emphasis on domestic economic development. 

Deng Xiaoping left the CCP with the lasting maxim on Chinese foreign policy: avoid confrontation, bide time, and work to take advantage of developing international opportunities in order to build Chinese “comprehensive national power” and secure a more advantageous world leadership in the long term. This is the maxim that the current generation lead by Hu Jintao seeks to embrace. America on the other hand under the Bush Administration has acted with rash unilateralism. 

The United States is trying to preserve its status as the world’s sole superpower, and will not allow any country the chance to pose a challenge to it. The US will maintain its global strategy based in Europe and Asia, and the focus will be on containing Russia and China and controlling Europe and Japan. The core of American policy toward China is still to “engage and contain” Some conservative forces in the US are sticking stubbornly to their Cold War thinking, stressing that the rise of China must harm American interests (Nathan, p.236).

According to Sutter the Bush Administration has done a better job than any previous U.S. Administration in applying incentives and disincentives from a position of overall strength to persuade China to pursue “cooperative and moderate” foreign policy toward the U.S. its allies and associates. At the same time the Bush Administration has aggravated nearly every foreign policy issue of concern to China. It has continued support for Taiwan and expanded military aid, advanced the construction of missile defenses, enhanced security commitments to Japan, the expansion of NATO, continued sanctions on Chinese weapons proliferation, and the invasion and occupation of Iraq. China has severely curtailed its calls for multipolarity while strategically pursuing it as a reality. The U.S. moves to constrain a rising China are too numerous for the country’s leadership to ignore and the long term vision has not been abandoned.

There are three kinds of power illustrated by Lampton; coercive, normative, and remunerative. China is gaining power in all three although the emphasis is largely on its remunerative power exercised as an economic powerhouse. China is gaining power by rapidly purchasing what other countries throughout Asia have to sell and the PRC has become a key part in the global supply chain producing goods destined for North America, Japan, and Europe. 

China stands a good chance at becoming, quite literally, the global factory- the world’s main exporter of finished manufactured products. In that respect, China is already putting out of business some traditional industrial sectors in the highly developed economies-including America’s- and even in such economically developing rivals as India. Chinese firms are beginning to buy out some bankrupt Japanese firms in Southeast Asia. The Chinese sense that over the next two decades or so, the cumulative effect of this trend could make China the dominant trade power as well as political leader of Asia (Brzezinski, p.119) 

Bi-Lateral investments between the U.S. and China make war unlikely and tie Asia in metastable relationship via the PRC. Brzezinski’s theory of Asia’s metastability is linked via Japan-China-U.S. relations. Comparing Asia to pre-World War One Europe Brzezinski states that numerous regional flashpoints could catalyze a regional breakdown of the existing order. Because virtually every Asian economic power via ASEAN is linked to the continued well being of the PRC economy; confrontations between those three powers must be avoided.

While historical animosity between Japan and China coupled with the U.S. support for the security of Japan foreshadow potential strife given rising nationalist identities in PRC and Japan. Shared economic interaction and investment should prevent a downward spiral of relations.The Chinese strategy of building its comprehensive national power and emerging as a regional hegemon in a multipolar world will lead to increased care in avoiding military confrontation with the U.S. There are however two critical flashpoints where this may lead to metastablic degeneration. 

In Taiwan a provocative micro nationalism might induce a U.S./China clash were the island to declare independence and a militarily unleashed North Korea would cause nothing by regional disorder. U.S. intervention and tighter sanctions on the newly nuclear power will escalate confrontation.

In the short run, economically the U.S. and China have too much too lose to risk a confrontation. While China will increase its military capabilities exponentially it is universally accepted that it will be quite some time before coercive power projection is a conceivable threat to regional powers or the U.S. In the short term China will tone down calls for multipolariity to pursue it in the realm of remunerative power. Global discontent with U.S. unilateralism and the prosecution of the War on Terror will make the soft power of China’s multipolarity look attractive to many powers alienated by the U.S.  

The United States and China will soon be, if they are not already, the two most important countries in the world. Sober-minded management of their critical and evolving relationship in the coming decades will be the ultimate challenge for both, with serious implications not only for the two countries, but the stability and well-being of the global community as a whole (Bergsten, p.161).

The long term danger is not a bi-polar confrontation: it is that China is a certain catalyst for a global multipolarity. The U.S. can view this as a threat and escalate a precarious relationship or work in partnership with China towards a changing geopolitical environment.

Changes in China’s Leadership

In authoritarian China there is no clear delineation between Party, Government, and Military. All three political organisms are tied together via a single secretive political player that ties its claims to power both in its revolutionary heritage and nationalist fanfare. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) numbers over sixty five million members and influences every sector of society within the People’s Republic. Highly centralized and bureaucratic the CCP is a careful fusion of authoritarian decision making, single party rule, and inner party democratic-centralism. 

The Highest body of the Party is the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC); the nine most powerful CP members in the country; the highest ranking of which is the General Secretary. All important decisions about everything from foreign policy, to agriculture, to defense, to culture are made by this body. Members on the PBSC, nominally just another Party organ, concurrently hold the most important positions within Party, Government, and Military; such a state president, premier, internal security chiefs or head of the Central Military Commission (CMC). Two lesser bodies; the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) are devices to legitimate PBSC decisions by giving them a theoretical seal of popular sovereignty. These institutions lack any real concrete power or influence other than as rubber stamps for the CCP leadership.

There have been three previous “generations” of Chinese leadership usually defined by a single ideologue. The First Generation was that of Mao Zedong who ruled from the Revolution of 1949 until his death in 1976. It was Mao that made China Communist and nearly destroyed it in repeated ideological bloodlettings like the “Great Leap Forward” and the “Cultural Revolution”. The Second Generation of Deng Xiaoping began the period of economic reform and embrace of limited capitalism in China while the Third Generation of Jiang Zemin presided over China’s emergence as a world power. The Fourth Generation was run by a man named Hu Jintao. 

Unlike all previous successions the top three posts of the country are not occupied by the head of the PBSC. Zemin has continued on to run the army giving Jintao only the first two (State Presidency and Party General Secretary). With Zemin continuing to run the Central Military Commission analysts wondered if with this separation of military and political authority would weaken the power of the Jintao Generation. The current PBSC members are younger than previous generations, more nationalistic, more technocratic in education, and overall more pragmatic in their thinking. They feel that Jiang Zemin seeks to exert power past this term limit on the PBSC. Ultimately Jintao will have to gain control of the third vital seat of power. 

As usual the new Generation are a mix of reformers and conservatives. The new Generation reformers seek to completely realign the Chinese economy with market principles; eliminating over time to inefficient State Owned Enterprises and integrating China fully into the globalized world market. Conservatives believe the state must retain control. Debates over social and ideological restrictions continue to shape Chinese political discourse. It does not look likely that with a liberal economy will come political reform or democratization. If anything the new Generation is creating a more efficient authoritarianism. With no faction seeking to actively displace CCP rule there is little sparking catalyst for asserting political multipolarism. In regard to Japan the United States the new leadership has moved from a position of optimism to one of apprehension.

In gauging this new generation of leaders we must be wary of a mighty economic power; coupled with an authoritarian regime; that makes up a third of the world’s population; and is translating the wealth it generates and into a power that is repressive at home and potentially expansionist abroad.

China and the Russian Federation 

Few realize the lasting significance Russia has played on the Chinese people in the last several hundred years via diplomacy, hegemony, and conquest. It was the Russian Imperial expansion to the East that first upset the Sino-Centric East Asian of tributary system, it was Russian territorial conquests that have always been the most significant, and their historical interaction has always been a zero-sum game. While both powers are aware of the centuries of conflict and mistrust, both are well aware that to realize their mutual vision of their multi-polar world; cooperation is reality that they must, if not embrace; give a lukewarm handshake on.  

The backdrop of this current geo-political calculus is of course China’s rise as a monumental economic powerhouse and Russia’s steady decline. Absent of what Yu Bin calls the “Russian Factor” that is the bi-polar Cold War Age of militarized-globalized ideological conflict; China can recalculate to what degree it can work with the former global hegemon as a regional partner. 

The single greatest impact Russia had on China in the last century was Lenin’s 1917 renunciation of Russia’s special privileges in China. This more than any other factor aligned the Chinese intellectuals with Bolshevism over Liberalism as an intellectual path toward a Chinese revolution. For the rest of the century China was engulfed with various forms of unrest. There was the warlordism of the period between 1916 and 1927. Then there was the CCP-KMT rivalry and then civil war from 1927-1949 with the Japanese Imperial occupation lasting from 1937 to 1945. During the revolutionary period China was converted to the world’s most populous pariah state culminating in the chaos of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960’s. The Chinese saying that “weak nation’s have no diplomacy” encapsulates the Chinese perspective of their nation’s lack of power for ¾ of the century.

In the 1970’s China began its honeymoon with the U.S. out of fear of Soviet hegemony but this only lasted until 1979 when Carter signed the Taiwan Relations Act pledging to defend the Island.  Various border conflicts isolated the Chinese from its regional allies in this period until the beginning of Soviet demise in 1989 when Russia and China normalized relations. However, there was a growing ideological gap between Gorbachev’s radical political reforms and China’s incremental economic experiments. Chinese leadership believed the Russian example of rapid democratization would set off unrest in their own country.

The events of 1989 altered the strategic environment. The collapse of the Soviet Union created multiple independent central Asian states which were quick to open relations with China. The Tiananmen Square crackdown had led to sanctions being placed in China by the West. And China was now the sole communist country left standing. The policy consensus that came out of these events was that in a broad and multilateral sweep China had to place itself on more solid regional footing. Between 1989 and 1992 China normalized relations with Mongolia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, and South Korea. What proceeded was what Yo Bin calls a “Cold Peace” between the newly “democratic” Russia and the rising power China that came in two phases.

The first phase lasted from 1991 to 1995. While bureaucratic and presidential contacts were numerous, relations remained cold. There were pledges not to enter treaties biased against the other power and both renounced the right to nuclear first strikes. The second phase from 1995 to 2000 led to much more meaningful interaction. Security dilemmas in the Gulf, Chechnya, Tibet, Kosovo, and the expansion of NATO with the proclamation of a U.S. missile defense system led Russia and China to work more closely with each other. Exchanges accelerated, a hot line was connected, and the Shanghai Five (Russia, China, x3 Central Asian States) was created. Several billions of dollars were sold to China in this period and despite realignment with the West undertaken by Putin, in 2003 the “Treaty of Good Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation” was signed.  

Under the Bush Administration’s reinvention of U.S. foreign policy China and Russia moved closer. In 2001 50 Russian diplomats were expelled from the U.S., a U.S. spy plane crashed over China, and the U.S. approved a $18 million arms package for the defense of Taiwan. Post 9/11 however, China and Russia have done their part to aid the U.S. war on terror with information sharing and security coordination. In 2003 the Shanghai Five revived as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was greatly reorganized.

There are many factors in the new Chinese and Russian relationship. They preside over the world’s longest militarized border and seek to regulate illegal human traffic across it. They have a mutual interest for different reasons in the stable Korean Peninsula. Russian technicians are building nuclear power facilities. And there is a talk of an oil pipeline from Russia to China. The greatest hurdle in the bi-lateral negotiations is the economic weakness of Russia versus the growing strength of China. Russia seeks to emerge as a pan-regional energy infrastructure while China continues to count on Russia for weapons and energy. Ultimately these two powers have much to gain for cooperation especially if they seek to assert themselves as hegemonic powers in a geopolitical framework.              

Creating the Terms of Global Partnership

The concept of the U.S. as a hyperpower, that is to say the sole military and economic powerhouse of the planet, cannot continue indefinitely into the 21st century. As the pure hegemony of the U.S. shifts to the growing reality of an emergent China, rather than adopt a classic stance of defensive nationalism, the U.S. must cultivate closer relations with the PRC and pave the road for an eventual multilateral global leadership. To engage a potential great power the U.S. must form its policies on the basis of partnership while stressing key provisions that maintain our interests in the region. 

Brzezinski’s metastable Asia can be greatly disrupted by three combinations of geo-political conflict with China; notably between the Korea’s, Japan, and Taiwan. At the forefront of our redefined PRC policy must be an understanding that China within the decade will assume a first among equals position within the context of the Asian sphere asserting greater influence throughout this part of the world. 

While conflicting reports place China’s PLA military expenditures far beyond its admitted claims, China should not be viewed as an expansionist power and seeks merely to restore its historical borders laying claims to areas dominated by Han Chinese in the Taiwan, Spratly, Senkaku, and Paracel Islands. Even liberal estimates of the PLA’s military projection power conclude that China lacks the hardware and resources for any sustained aggressive campaign off the mainland and this will be the continued status of their military for the decade to come. In a list outlining the sevenfold mission of the PLA: 

Notably absent from this list are many of the aspirations and objectives that made the rise of other great powers, such as the United States, Japan, Germany, or the Soviet Union, so disruptive of international peace and security. China asserts no doctrine of “manifest destiny” or hemispheric exclusion. It has the ideology of Lebensraum to motivate territorial expansion. Its revanchism does not extend to areas inhabited and claimed by non-Chinese. China appears to believe that access to distant resources is best guaranteed by an open international trading system, rather than by power projection. It has no colonies or satellites and no apparent impulse to establish them (Harrison, p.100-101). 

That then said there are issues of regional stability that the PRC can directly affect. China’s influence in the resolution of the current nuclear crisis with North Korea must remain an invaluable objective of U.S. policy with the PRC. In continuing the Six Party talks China must assert itself as one of the closest powers to the North Korean regime to guarantee the halt of the nuclear weapons program. In exchange for increased aid to the beleaguered North Korean population and help with the country’s energy crisis, China must use its unique bargaining position with the North Korean government to de escalate this potentially explosive regional conflict. The belligerent U.S. declaration of regime change is not militarily feasible or politically sound. China can emerge as the source of moderation balancing a hostile regime and a shared global interest.   

The U.S. must also discourage an arms race between Japan and China exerting its influence to mediate the historic animosity between the two nations. Both are regional competitors for influence and trade and besides from this there is the energy issue in which the two nations, territorially bereft of such resources, have laid claims to the Chunxiao gas fields in the East China Sea.

A contest for regional leadership between China and Japan today is creating new security dilemmas, prompting concerns over Chinese ambitions in Japan and fears of renewed Japanese militarism in China. Both states are adopting confrontational stances, partly because of rising popular involvement in politics and resurgent nationalism exacerbated by revived memories of World War II; mutually beneficial economic dealings alone are not effectively soothing these tensions (Calder, p.130).    

China is obviously weary of the close military ties between the U.S. and Japan. In order to avert an escalation of rhetoric and a destructive regional flashpoint the U.S. must encourage cooperation between these two vital powers in the region through mutual inclusion. Rather than follow the alarmist ideas of Bernstein and Munro in which a militarily strong Japan allies with the U.S. to deflect China’s growing might, the U.S. must work for a trilateral security arrangement in Asia with both nations as equal partners. 

In the case of Taiwan the U.S. is confronted with the most explosive regional flashpoint when dealing with U.S./China relations. To continue support for the island’s defense puts the U.S. squarely at odds with a long term security objective of China, but to abandon it would discredit us completely in the eyes of our Asian allies. However, recent political developments on the island show that the political leadership of Taiwan is moving away from the idea of separatism. Fostering reunification along the lines of Hong Kong will allow the island the political autonomy it enjoys while removing a serious stumbling block of U.S./China relations.    

The massive Chinese economy well integrated into the world market yields the dual result of political liberalization and regional peace. 

China stands a good chance at becoming, quite literally, the global factory- the world’s main exporter of finished manufactured products. In that respect, China is already putting out of business some traditional industrial sectors in the highly developed economies-including America’s- and even in such economically developing rivals as India. Chinese firms are beginning to buy out some bankrupt Japanese firms in Southeast Asia. The Chinese sense that over the next two decades or so, the cumulative effect of this trend could make China the dominant trade power as well as political leader of Asia (Brzezinski, p.119) 

The Chinese government is well aware that expansionist political maneuvering will reduce foreign investors that are generating increased capital for the country. They are also aware that a growing middle class will demand greater political participation. This uneasy crossroads is a point of great contention within Chinese society. However, two serious economic factors shape our trade relations with China. The Chinese engage in a mercantilist policy of imbalanced trade with the U.S. absorbing numerous manufacturing industries and exporting to America far more than they are willing to import. On top of this the Chinese economy is hardly transparent and fails to honor international patents. Its recent inclusion in the WTO has improved, but not altogether corrected these problems.   

China as we mentioned earlier faces an energy crisis and like the United States has few qualms about where it obtains such resources. It is in the interests of the U.S. to arrange an energy solution for the PRC that does not lead to oil purchases from Iran and Sudan which fuel the pariah regimes in both countries. As China emerges as a global peer it must assume a responsible international character that stands against weapons proliferation and genocide. Hand in hand with regional peace and trade must come full participation in pursuit of global stability. A China at odds with the U.S. will in no way yield that result.   

Engagement will not come easy. For it to succeed, China must be willing to accommodate important U.S. interests in controlling proliferation of all kinds of weapons, whether or nor prescribed by international regimes, in regions where the U.S. has vital interests, including the Middle East. China will have to make a formal commitment to reform its economic system and sustained efforts to enforce its international economic commitments. It will also have to make allowances for American domestic conditions and political values, especially as they affect U.S. economic policy and human rights diplomacy (Ross, p.26).

Numerous schools of thought dictate how best to deal with China. Alarmists like Bernstein and Munro stress the expansionist nature and rapid militarization of the PRC. On the other side of the spectrum we are told by Segal that China is overrated and should be treated like any second rate power. The reality of course is more nuanced. A full embrace of the current regime with its totalitarian politics, corrupt institutions, and crumbling infrastructure reiterates the accusation that America is often too flexible with its allies. However, as is demonstrated in the article by Pei the CCP is on its last legs. Continued relations with the U.S. will in turn breed a political regime that is eventually democratic and more pluralistic. To insult Chinese potential or demonize its rise to power does not account for the reality on the ground. The U.S. must now accept that it cannot dictate the terms of engagement for all other nations. But, while “hegemonism” in an absolute sense may be ending, the U.S. still has the ability to shape the political development of a rising power. A repeat of the Cold War geopolitical scenario would be unfortunate. The U.S. and China must work together to share the burden of the world’s geopolitical crisis and economic inequalities. Nationalistic fear mongering will accomplish nothing; the U.S. must be firm in its values yet humble in the inevitability of this new global partnership. While the rise of China is certain, the climate to which it enters will ultimately be dictated by the U.S.      

During the 1980’s the Chinese talked a great deal about the global international order but their interests and their politics were domestically focused. During the reform period back to State Capitalism, that is to say post 1978, China remained a “regional power without a regional policy”. With the Chinese economy growing exponentially and with an increased desire to play a role on the global stage, Robert Sutter examines the implications for the U.S. of a rising China at America’s expense. In 1997 China unveiled a “New Security Concept” which looked at the U.S. Cold War mentality with a growing distrust and took practical measures to further the vision of global multipolarity; that is to say a world not simply the U.S. or the U.S. and another a super power. It sought for China to engage its periphery and play a more active role in ASEAN and other regional trade and security frameworks. 

China began a very active meeting schedule over the next several years with the political and military leaders of numerous Asian states. Also to project influence into Africa and Latin America. To engage in rapid neocolonization and assure its vast and increasing resource needs Chinese colonies have sprung up all over the world. China has literally built islands to claim swaths of sea territory.

The Trump Presidency sanctions marked a new stage in the confrontation between hegemons. However, no matter how deeply China would like to reassert its role as a Middle Kingdom, far too much of its economic ambition is tied up in American markets to make open confrontations very heated.

However, the PRC will continue to aggressively reassert control on its own sphere and we will see further escalations particularly in Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Asia.

Works Cited:

Bernstein, R. & Munro, R.(1997). The Coming Conflict with America. In Hoge, J. & Rose, G.(Eds.) American Foreign Policy Cases and Choices. (pp.1-14). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Brzizinski, Z. (2004). The Choice. New York: Basic Books.

Calder, K. (2006). China and Japan’s Simmering Rivalry. In Foreign Affairs March/April 2006. 

Harrison, S. (2000). China and United States in Asia. In Carpenter, T. & Dorn, J.(Eds.) China’s Future: Constructive Partner or Emerging Threat? (pp.95-110). D.C.: Cato Institute.

Lilley, J. (2000). Taiwan in China’s Future: Flash Point, Model, or Partner? In Carpenter, T. & Dorn, J.(Eds.) China’s Future: Constructive Partner or Emerging Threat? (pp.279-290). D.C.: Cato Institute.

Pei, M.(2002). China’s Governance Crisis. In Hoge, J. & Rose, G.(Eds.) American Foreign Policy Cases and Choices. (pp.40-56). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Ross, R.(1997). Beijing as a Conservative Power. In Hoge, J. & Rose, G.(Eds.) American Foreign Policy Cases and Choices. (pp.15-26). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Ross, R. (2006). Taiwan’s Fading Independence Movement. In Foreign Affairs March/April 2006.

Segal, G.(1999). Does China Matter? In Hoge, J. & Rose, G.(Eds.) American Foreign Policy Cases and Choices. (pp.27-39). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

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