It is a tendency that China is expanding military power and could threaten the United States in military terms; this tendency is harmful because it diverts attention from the main threats – economic and cultural dominance of China in the world.
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It is possible to compare the current development of relations of China and the U.S. model of cooperation with the United States and Britain in the XX century. In the early XX century, Britain was the most powerful country. In economics, politics, and military affairs, British authority is not disputed by anyone. The British pound sterling was the same major world currencies, which is now the U.S. dollar. British culture was a model to be emulated in most parts of the world.
Prior to 1970, between the U.S. and Britain, there was a strong competition in politics, economy, and culture, which has always been carefully hidden in a spirit of partnership. Indeed as long as the two countries were allies, but as a result of the alliance, the U.S. came to the first place. Xu (2007).
The U.S. never intended to armed clashes with Britain, despite the fact that in the mid-20 century, there was a sufficient capacity to do so. And Britain itself has contributed to these developments, just as it is doing now in U.S. relations with China. Britain, involved in two devastating wars, depleted its economy and depended on the U.S. economy.
The same scenario could be repeated now for the U.S. and China. Washington declared war on global terrorism. However, the very definition of terrorism suggests that this war will not be completed at any time. In addition, the maintenance of such a war means restricting the freedom of First American society, as well as greatly damages the reputation of the United States on the world stage.
Before the First World War, Britain was the leader in the global capital market; it controlled more than 40% of global investment. After the war, London has received huge foreign debt, much of which went to the USA. In the first years after the war, debt service took up to 40% of total government expenditure. Xu (2007).
After World War II, Britain lost the U.S. in industrial and technological terms. The assistance program, Lend-Lease, meant moving the British economy on a path of war. Naturally, the export of British goods in 1944 amounted to only 31% of 1938. In fact, the Chinese industry is also supporting the American military campaign.
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Many economists do not see as a serious factor the debt of the United States to China now, underlining the unique position of the U.S. currency, but no one can guarantee that the U.S. dollar does not expect the same to bear as the British pound.
Significantly Chinese manufacturers advanced in the field of high technology products, just as the United States did in the early 20-the century. Of course, the technology gap is still huge, but over the past decade, it has declined.
One can say that the Chinese economy is heavily dependent on the U.S. market while maintaining the overall trend in which China is actively differentiated its markets, and the U.S. stepped up debt; this could change.
Even in ideological terms, it is possible to draw parallels between the history of the United States and in the early XX-th century and current China. Now Beijing is ready to deal with any regimes and political systems, without political conditions, while the U.S. basic condition of any relationship put democracy, open markets, and the fight against terrorism. Harding (1992).
U.S. unwillingness to compromise on these issues is only good for China. For many, it was the perfect partner, while continuing claims the USA annoyed some states.
Now the U.S. claims their right to struggle for the independence of all people around the world, just as Britain considered itself entitled to dictate conditions worldwide as an ideal colonial power, carrier-Western values to uneducated peoples. Therefore, as well as in the XX-th century when the world preferred the United States for business, without involving the policy, China becomes a more attractive partner because it does not impose its political values.
Of course, all this does not mean that military conflict between China and the U.S. is impossible, but China is likely to prefer the peace option of “capture” of world domination. However, if the U.S. would be prepared only to force development options, it would mean that not enough attention will be given to economic aspects of competition.
China truly threatens the U.S., but not in military terms, but in purely economic and cultural. And if not take decisive action now, then soon, the U.S. will not have any other ways to fight China, except for military operations, which in any case would be disadvantageous to both countries and the world.
Even if the struggle between China and the U.S. would not move to the stage of armed conflict, it is likely that between the two powers, there would begin a “cold war.” Harding (1992).
Relations between the United States and China worsened because of the dual position of America. On the one hand, the rate on the country can serve as perhaps the most vivid example of a sequence of American foreign policy, regardless of which party is in power. Already, seven U.S. presidents, starting with Richard Nickson, have confirmed the importance of cooperation with China and its own commitment to politics’ one China ‘- even though some’ zigzags’ for the first time since coming to power, Reagan administrations, Clinton and George Bush. Tyler (2000).
President Bush and U.S. Secretary of the State Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell described the current relations with China as the best since the beginning of rapprochement with Beijing in 1971. Two of the president – American and Chinese – planed to exchange visits and also hold several meetings in international forums. Xu (2007).
But suddenly, a dual approach became obvious. Government officials, members of Congress, and the media were attacking the policies of China in diverse fields – from the exchange rate up to Beijing to build its military might, in many cases, this is done in such a tone, as though China has been conditionally released, offender. Many feel China is the most serious threat to U.S. security. Harding (1992).
Over the next few decades, the increasing role of China and Asia will lead to a significant restructuring of international relations, with the center of gravity in international affairs is gradually shifting from the Atlantic region, where it was located for the last three centuries towards the Pacific region. In Asia today, there are the most dynamically developing countries in whose possession there are more opportunities to implement their own perceptions of national interest.
Quite often, strengthening the political role of China in the international arena is compared to a similar rise in influence of the German Empire in the early XX-th century, implying that the China-US strategic confrontation is inevitable and, in this case, the best that could make the United States – as it should prepare such a confrontation. This conclusion is just as dangerous as it is not true. The system of international relations prevailing in Europe in the XIX-th century provided that ultimately the major powers to defend their interests by force. In each of these countries, people believed that war would be short and end the advancement of its own strategic position.
Only irresponsible people can engage in such calculations in the context of globalization and the nuclear age. The war between the major powers today would be a catastrophe for all participants, winners and can not be, as compared to the scale of post-war reconstruction of the reasons that led to this conflict seems to avoid.
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Another special factor that contributed to the confrontation in the international arena in the early XX-th century was the provocative style of German diplomacy. In 1900, a coalition between Russia, France, and Britain seemed absolutely impossible – so many contradictions existed between them. Nevertheless, after 14 years, this coalition has become a reality – thanks to aggressive diplomacy of Germany: increasing naval power, it has challenged England, but Russia and France to be tried to humiliate – the first in the Bosnian crisis in 1908 and the second – in the Moroccan crises of 1905 and 1911.
However, the implementation of imperial ambitions by military means is not in the style of China. China achieves its goals through patience, careful consideration, and taking into account the slightest subtleties of the issue – it rarely is a radical escalation of the conflict.
And it would be wrong to consider China as the analog of the Soviet Union and to apply a policy of military containment, adopted during the ‘Cold War.’ The Soviet Union was heir to the imperial tradition – it is the policy for the period between the reign of Peter the Great and the end of the Second World War, turned a small Moscow State Power into Russia, extending to the center of Europe. The Chinese state is, in fact, already 2000 years there in its current borders. The Russian empire was governed by force; China – at the expense of the cultural traditions, backed by large state power does not go to the fore. At the end of World War II States, is bordered by Russia have been extremely weakened, and it is unwise to resort to a policy of occupation and intimidation in the long term, greater than the opportunities.
In Asia, however, it is a very different strategic situation. In formulating policy in the region, the United States should not focus all its attention on China’s military program. China is certainly building up its armed forces, which were neglected during the first phase of economic reforms. But even the maximum estimated military budget of China is only 20% of American, and he barely higher than Japan’s military budget (if not exceeds), and it certainly is much inferior to the combined military expenditure of neighboring countries – Japan, India, and Russia. Harding (1992)
We should not forget about the modernization of Taiwan’s armed forces with American help; on the basis of decisions taken in 2001, Russia and India have nuclear weapons. In the event of a crisis threatening the livelihood of Japan, the country is also in a short time is able to acquire such weapons – and if the problem of North Korea’s nuclear program is resolved, it may do so officially. When China speaks of its commitment to international cooperation and denies any plans for a military confrontation, it is not so much about its preferences but the recognition of the strategic realities. If the medium term, China will represent any danger, it is more likely to be political and economic rather than military.
The exception is the Taiwan issue: it is often called a ‘catalyst’ of potential conflict. That really can happen if both sides forget about restraint, characterizing the relationship of the U.S. and China on this issue is no longer a dozen years. However, this development is far from inevitable. Almost all countries – and all the major powers – have recognized China’s position, namely that Taiwan is an integral part of the country.
In terms of the overall balance of forces, the large and highly educated population of China, its vast markets, and its growing role in the world economy and global financial system promises the world on the part of increasingly international influence of China both opportunities and risks. But anyone who does not seek initially to destroy China as a functioning organism shows that such opportunities inherent in the very global economic and financial processes that America has so far managed to so successfully developed. Walder (2006).
The true intention of China will become clear when it faces a choice between cooperation in the common interest and trying to use its increased influence for squeezing America from Asia. The best strategy against foreign hegemony now is to maintain close ties with all major countries in Asia, including China. In this sense, the Asian recovery will be a test for American competitiveness in the emerging new world today – especially in Asia. The traditional goal of the United States is avoiding anyone’s hegemony in the Asian region (in the Shanghai communiqué in 1972, it was proclaimed as the joint objective of America and China) and remains relevant. But to implement it will become primarily political and economic means – albeit supported by the U.S. military might.
In the case of confrontation between the U.S. and China, the vast majority of Asian countries will try to remain neutral. But at the same time, they are in principle more reason to strive for building a multilateral system of international hardware in the region, together with America, not only to develop Asian nationalism. In these countries, nobody wants to see a product made by the American model. India, for example, believes that America is united by its strong common interests in confronting radical Islam, some aspects of combating the spread of nuclear weapons and ensures the sustainability of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It was no need to give these common challenges of ideological or anti-thrust. It saw no inconsistency at the same time improving relations with the United States and declaring the conclusion of a strategic partnership with China. As for America, its statements in the spirit of ideological ‘crusade’ and a commitment to the policy of containment on the model of the Cold War can only contribute to such gestures from New Delhi and Beijing. In addition, they can produce an explosion of outrage among the Muslim population in India.
China seeks to deepen cooperation with the United States, pursuing their own interests, which have many causes. Among them, there is the narrowing of the gap between developed and developing regions of China, is an urgent need to adapt the political system to the increasingly rapid progress of the economic and scientific-technological revolution, and potentially disastrous blow to ‘cold war with America that may cause the continuing until higher standards of living, on which the legitimacy of power.
Such policies can not find support in Asia. Asian countries will not stop trading with China. Whatever happens, China will not disappear. America’s interest in maintaining cooperation with China is the fact that this will contribute to stability in the international arena.
As a result of consistent implementation of its tasks in China by 2050, must be achieved such strategic objectives as a full socialist modernization, to achieve the maturity of the socio-economic development, a significant improvement status in the international arena, and exit at the top of the world’s total public power; a way into the ranks of middle-GNP per capita, creating a wealthy, happy life for the people, turning the country into a powerful state with a high level of physical, legal and spiritual civilization. Walder (2006).
The policy of preventive action makes no sense when dealing with a country of the size of China. Nobody is interested in ensuring that future generations of Chinese will view the U.S. as a permanent enemy. Similarly, China has no need for America to believe that it is focused exclusively on their narrow domestic or regional interests.
It is important to take into account the psychology of both sides. China should be cautious about the political steps that could be aimed at squeezing America from Asia, as well as such important for the United States issues as human rights. On the other hand, it should influence the flexibility and breadth of the position of America against China. America must understand that any threatening tone in relations with China will be associated in Beijing with disdain by the imperialist powers past. It is unlikely that such a tone to speak to the country to maintain their distinct management over four thousand years.
Harding harry (1992) A Fragile Relationship: The United States and China since 1972, Brookings Institution Press.
Tyler Patrick (2000) A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China, Public Affairs.
Walder Andrew G. (ed.) (1996) China’s Transitional Economy (Studies on Contemporary China), Oxford University Press, USA.
Xiao Hong (2001) Childrearing Values in the United States and China: A Comparison of Belief Systems and Social Structure, Praeger Publishers.
Xu Guangqiu (2007) Congress and the U.S.-China Relationship 1949-1979, University of Akron Press.