Globalist Review

A New Order for this Century and the Next

-America's role in the 21st century-
-Balancing social and economic growth-
-The next stage of our economy; sustainable capitalism-
-Engaging our enemies and allies-
-Recovering and maintaining moral leadership-
-The role of soft and hard power-
-Unilateralism or Multilateralism-
-Empire or Hegemony-

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Response to "Integrating the Rising Powers"


Dear Tiberius,

You are absolutely correct, rising powers, such as China and India, will adapt to fit into the Western-led international order. However, they will do so not out of deference, or out of true acknowledgment of Western superiority in the international sphere, but rather out of immediate necessity. The rising powers have economic growth rates that far exceed those of the West, even in this time of global economic downturn, and it promises, with patience, a new, rearranged global playing field. What we are witnessing, is a holding pattern.

In terms of China, where this author has some knowledge, there is a general feeling that China is waiting patiently for its time to rise and achieve hegemonic status. In this author's opinion it is a day not so far off, or so unfathomable --- however it is also likely not today, not tomorrow, and maybe even not 10,15 years from now. However, the state driven, low-labor cost reinforced, technologically savvy economy of China will rise, and it will pressure the US and Europe for global hegemony. This can already be seen in the pressure China and India have placed on the oil market and the subsequent price rises. Is it so unfathomable to think that one day OPEC might value barrels of sweet crude in terms of Yuan? I think its possible.

The growth of China economically has been paralleled by an exponential effort by China to grow militarily. While their defense budget is still dwarfed by the US and EU, their growth rates are enormous and new fleets of well built nuclear submarines and fighter jets are emerging. If China decided tomorrow to invade Taiwan to prevent an independence movement --- are you confident our nation could or would be willing to butt in? I believe whole-heartedly in the preeminence of US military power, but China isn't a lowly neighbor, its a military peer.

This does not sound like a country that is ceding its security concerns to any international institution or community. Nor does it sound like a country that is acknowledging the West's ideological or material superiority. (Even Francis Fukayama has backed away from the notion that we have reached the End of History, of the triumph of liberal, progressive democracies.) Rather China is a country holding and waiting, carefully and prudently managing its tremendous economic strength --- much of which has yet to be tapped --- to ensure 10% growth a year and the financial strength to continue building and eventually challenging the world it works within for now.

S.S.

***There may also be a point to be made about the concept of a Western-driven World. While the West may be joined together by NATO and loosely by the UN, do not confuse this with a world allied together in global harmony. The last 10 years have witnessed a souring of relationships between many of the EU countries and the US. Furthermore, these countries have shown complete willingness to check U.S. hegemony in the security council by vetoing sanctions on Iran, Iraq, etc. I think it would be unwise to believe that the ties that have held the 'West' together would be unbreakable, or that a wealthy, influential China couldn't step in and offer better aid packages, or security guarantees, so as to fundamentally alter the world order.

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