Thursday, 28 November 2013

China's limited influence

Many people around the world believe that China’s rise to the role of dominant global player is inevitable. A Pew Research Center survey released earlier this year found that in 23 of 39 countries surveyed, a majority of respondents said China is already, or will soon become, the “world’s leading superpower.”
Even in America, just 47 percent told Pew they believe the United States will remain in that role, and the survey was conducted before Washington’s recent shutdown hardened opinions about America’s political dysfunction.
But although China’s economic influence is growing — it is now the lead trade partner for 124 countries, compared to just 76 for the United States — its power to influence other nations is slight. It has achieved little of what policymakers call “capture,” a condition in which economic or security dependence of one country on another allows the more powerful to drive the other’s policy making.
I agree with this assessment, by Ian Bremmer in today's New York Times.  Some time ago I came across the notion that China doesn't have a "Big Idea".  The Big Idea of the US is simple: Freedom. What's the Big Idea for China: Stability? One-party rule? Make money?  There isn't one.
President Xi Jinping talks of the "China Dream", but no-one seems to know what it is.

Bremmer concludes: "But for better and for worse, neither China nor anyone else appears ready and able to fill America's superpower shoes."   I think that's largely for the better, as much as that might infuriate the Left and Islamists.