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 success of the Internet in China over the past 20 years shows that successful foreign companies in China respect China's market environment and abide by China's law and regulations. U.S. companies operating in China show that those who respect the Chinese law can seize the opportunity of China' s Internet innovation and create immense value, while those who chose opposition stand will be isolated by themselves and finally abandoned by the Chinese market.
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.
In Beijing on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama called on China to be a "partner in underwriting the international order" instead of "undermining" it. One key American strategist, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, is strongly promoting the idea that Obama's notion should be pushed further and formalized into a "Pacific Charter."
Simmering tensions between China and Japan and in the South China Sea combined with the American "pivot" to Asia have been used by some to produce a narrative that China is a destabilizing force for the region and the world. Many have accused China of being a free rider and troublemaker. Nothing can be further from the truth. On the contrary, China has been a linchpin for stability and development in this important region.
The natural evolution of Western democratic societies could be summed up this way: The first step is to develop the economy and the educational system. The second step is the establishment of a general culture for the citizens and the rule of law. The last step is democratization. If the above order is out of place, a society has to pay a severely heavy price.
Something like the "bipolar hegemony" of Great Britain and Russia after 1815 (though other players like Austria, Prussia, and France mattered) could be reconstituted, with the US and China substituting for Great Britain and Russia. This seems to be Henry Kissinger's ultimate dream - a dream that one can glimpse in his latest book, Germanically entitled World Order: Reflections on the Character of Nations and the Course of History.
The U.S. government believes that, as the inheritor of tsarist Russia and Soviet Union, Russia has expansionist and hegemonic traditions that China doesn't have. It believes Russia always has policies that challenge and attempt to supplant the existing international order while China doesn't. In many circumstances, China sees itself as a beneficiary of the current international order.
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.
Over the centuries, a rich China invariably brought prosperity to all of East and Southeast Asia. Therefore, while Asian countries might value the U.S. as a friend, no one wants China as an enemy. There is a spot that is sweet for everyone. If the U.S. moves closer to China and to other countries of Asia, all will benefit. If the U.S., in response to China's rise, moves too close to some as a move against others, everyone is caught in a lose-lose situation.
Talk these days of the creative economy as soft power and a harbinger of world peace, ignores the huge struggles taking place between Google, Facebook no one hand and Baidu, We Chat, Tencent on the other, pitching the U.S. and China directly against each other in a cold digital war of online platforms, search engines and aggregation algorithms. It is very nice to assert the diversity of cultures in a globalized world. But this diversity is in reality dependent on some very hard issues of finance, intellectual property rights and communications infrastructures.
Unlike the Cold War period -- in which the Soviet Union was isolated from the global economy -- commercial interests and trade secrets underpin the intrinsically entangled Sino-American economic relations. The higgledy-piggledy distinction between national security and corporate interests is hardly convincing to the Chinese, especially when the US revolving doors conveniently inhabit the space between government service and corporations during both Democratic and Republican administrations. Just like the Sino-American relations in commercial intercourse, economics triumphs over ideology in the partisan world of American politics. On China's side, its intertwined national and economic interests are enshrined in the peculiar institution of the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
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.