A study of China’s inexorable rise as a world power asks vital questions of America’s response.
The central theme of this excellent book by Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs commentator for the Financial Times, is what he terms “easternisation”: the remorseless shift in the global centre of gravity from the west to the east. His theme is not new; indeed, the book is something of a latecomer in this argument. But he pursues this fundamental truth with an impressive single-mindedness and explores its ramifications from south-east Asia and Russia to Europe and the Middle East in an insightful manner, often providing little nuggets of revealing and unexpected information. Since the financial crisis, the west’s decline and China’s rise have accelerated, though many could be forgiven for thinking the opposite was the case given the constant refrains about China’s economic “difficulties”. Rachman, rightly, will have none of it. And he demonstrates how, by the year, the world is being redrawn in the most profound ways by this shift in power.
The forthcoming G20 summit comes at an appropriate moment in the evolution of China’s own relationship with the global economy and its governance.
China’s formal entry into the global economy was marked by its admission to the WTO in 2001. For more than a decade after that, with economic growth averaging around 10%, trade expanding to the point where China became the world’s biggest trading nation, and overseas investment growing very rapidly albeit from a very low base, China chose to take a back seat while learning the ropes of its newly acquired status. During this period, China preferred to play a relatively passive role. As a result, it was frequently criticised by the United States for being a free rider: enjoying the benefits of globalisation without contributing to the global public goods that were needed.
China must be encouraged towards discussions by evolving a fresh global initiative so as to stall the imminent showdown in South China Sea.
With the US piling up its warships with fighter planes and stationed troops in South China Sea where China has hectically been active since long past, the likely scenario propels bad omen with all chances of a major regional war between the two which may include regional navies like Japan, Australia and South Korea. Indeed, the mounting tensions in South China Sea are due to China’s own creation which cropped up there few years back in 2011 because Beijing advanced its sovereign claim over entire South China Seaas its maritime territory citing some historical evidences. But that claim was rejected by a five member panel from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands on July 12, 2016, while deciding on Philippines’ complaint lodged in 2013 for arbitration on grounds of alleged Chinese infringement into Manila’s Exclusive Economic Zone, under clauses of violation of the United Nations Treaty governing “Laws of the Sea” to which China is also a signatory. Unfortunately, this legal defeat has made Beijing more aggressive and irresponsible in its behaviour as it has resumed threatening all the littoral states of Asia-Pacific including India, thereby endangering the already tense scenario in this region.
Historic G20 Summit in Hangzhou is seen as the diplomatic equivalent of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the Shanghai Expo in 2010
World leaders who are set to descend on the Hangzhou International Exhibition Center will be taking part in what is being seen as a historic event for China.
The world’s second-largest economy is hosting the G20 Summit for the first time on Sept 4 and 5 and has the opportunity to shape the agenda in what is a difficult time for the global economy amid renewed fears about sluggish growth.
At the turn of the millennium, many proclaimed that this would be the Chinese Century. Do current world events support that prediction? It’s a question that defies an easy answer.
Nineteen eighty-nine was, in Western eyes, a year of great hope. The Berlin Wall fell, the power of the Soviet Union was rapidly disintegrating, and free democratic elections were held in Brazil and Chile for the first time in years.
Amidst all this, the Tiananmen Square protest in Beijing—where thousands of young Chinese demonstrated against their communist government under the inanimate gaze of a hastily sculpted “Goddess of Democracy”—seemed to be part of the same movement. The protest was forcibly and brutally suppressed; but to many it seemed clear that this was the beginning of the spread of Western democratic values to China too.