Is the prevalent understanding of world order amongst Americans [that of] a world dominated by U.S. rules and power? Is it only centered on American values and interests and supported by U.S. alliances? Does that mean that, from the U.S. perspective, rising powers only have two choices: to submit or to challenge? What would you do if you were in our situation?
As China-watchers were quick to realize, President Obama did not even once mention the "New Type of Great Power Relations" on his recent trip to Beijing. Why is China so keen on a "New Type of Great Power Relations" and on creating perceptions of endorsement by Obama? And why is the U.S. reluctant to adopt it? What are the reasons behind such contrasting views -- Chinese enthusiasm and American cynicism -- towards this seemingly benign concept?
The WorldPost has obtained exclusive permission to publish a dialogue between Henry Kissinger and Fu Ying, which took place during a recent visit she made to the United States. Its candor and tone offer valuable insights into the thinking of these two important figures on the foreign policy of their countries. Fu Ying -- who was referred to as the "iron lady" during her time as China's ambassador to the U.K. -- is now the powerful chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress of China. Henry Kissinger is one of America's leading strategists and a former U.S. secretary of state.
It is not apparent that policymakers in either the U.S. or China yet seem persuaded that accommodation is necessary. Both seem to underestimate the resolve of the other and hope that they can secure all they want because the other will back down to avoid confrontation. This is how Asia today most resembles Europe in 1914.
Is it time to recognize a Chinese equivalent of the Monroe Doctrine in East Asia--accepting that China is now the pre-eminent regional power? There are essential caveats to such a dramatic policy shift. At a minimum, Beijing would need to embrace not only the original logic of the Monroe Doctrine, but also the so-called Roosevelt Corollary. The latter, adopted during Theodore Roosevelt's administration, promised Britain and the other European powers that the United States would maintain order in the Western Hemisphere and discipline irresponsible governments in the region - especially North Korea.
Both Washington and China are steadily upping the stakes in their rivalry as China's provocations of U.S. friends and allies become more flagrant and America's commitments to support them become more categorical. Both believe they can do this with impunity because both believe the other will back down to avoid a clash. There is a disconcertingly high chance that they are both wrong. Asia today therefore carries the seeds of a truly catastrophic episode of mutual misperception.