BEIJING -- I just returned from a trip to the United States during which I met with some U.S. lawmakers and esteemed professors, touched base with seven think tanks and talked to a number of media professionals. It struck me that their views toward China are diversified and their signals mixed. In my view, China watchers in the U.S. can be divided roughly into three schools of thought.
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?
The U.S. chose a policy that could be called "integrate and insure." China was welcomed into the World Trade Organization, but the U.S.-Japan security treaty was revived to insure against China becoming a bully. If a rising China throws its weight around, it drives neighbors to seek to balance its power. In that sense, only China can contain China.
The recent announcement in Washington and Beijing that Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to the United States in September underscores the continuing momentum in the improvement of bilateral relations since the landmark U.S.-China climate agreement reached in Beijing last November. In the months leading to President Xi's U.S. visit, however, both countries will need to work hard to create favorable conditions for a productive summit.
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.