While there are diverse views on whether Chinese leaders who have become more confident in recent years are using their newfound influence to build china’s interest or whether china has just laid down strategies to safeguard he economy, there is no doubt that the role that China plays in the international economy and politics has grown tremendously since the years of the cold war. Sutter asserts that while China might be using her influence to expand her economy, she is expending as much energy to protect her interests, by employing different tactics to counter impediments such as the protectionism adopted by some developing countries and to sidestep U.S based policies. With China’s growing power, there is a corresponding increase on her reliance on other nations for resources, mostly because her own resources are simply not sufficient to meet het need.
Sutter argues that due to China’s reliance on other nations for resources such as energy, she has not become completely empowered to tackle international responsibility unless it is in matters that directly affect her as a country. In the late seventies, the Chinese government reviewed its economic policies in order to revamp its economy because, as Sutter argues, proper economic policies and efficient energy use would eventually equate its survival in an increasingly competitive world. One of their aims was to get economic independence and they approached this by limiting foreign aid along with taking other measures. However, there were still glitches in these policies that slowed down the growth of economy which were slowly worked out.
China, being a regional economic stronghold has quite a lot at stake in terms of security. Bill Gates asserts that to this end, the country has taken advantage of their lackluster cooperation with Russia top acquire cutting edge defense equipment and technology, a move that has been met with a lot of suspicion especially by the smaller countries neighboring china, given its past imperial expansion tendencies, and the current standoff in Taiwan and Tibet. He further states that even as the supplier of the equipment, Russia only did so for economic reasons, that is, to provide business for their ailing defaced businesses that have been struggling since the end of WWII.
Gates argues that China seeks to reassure all her neighbors that the increase in its military might has no hostile intentions and is only meat to protect its people and not for aggression. To supplement this, Gates insists that the country has strived to develop strong ties with its neighbors all the while preaching morality and dependence of its economic development plan on a peaceful environment. He further says that the other reason that china has advanced for its increased defense capability is the focus that was directed at Asia after the September 11 attack on the US, citing that it has to be able to match any foreign threat given the size of its economy.
Gates makes an observation that China has adopted a big brother approach to the security issues in the Asian continent, as seen by its support of the North Korean political machinery while still maintaining warm diplomatic ties with Seoul. He further notes that china is also very much aware of the disfavor it has towards Japan and also fears about a growing Indian influence in the region, has to make arrangements to counter any eventuality.
In the first chapter of his book, Sutter outlines what are the ramifications to both china and the United States if china chooses to more closely align herself with other Asian countries. China has been more and more acting of her own initiative on projects that do not necessarily have the U.S’s seal of approval. This has created some level of delineation between the two countries. One of the greatest points of deviation between the two countries is Taiwan. Another thorny issue has been North Korea’s nuclear program which the U.S out rightly opposes nut which china has refused to act upon with a rigid stance. It is almost as if the U.S views china as an errant child that has to be forcefully brought into line. However, Sutter agrees that the U.S still needs China’s trade to stabilize its own economy.
Both sides treat each other with a certain amount of distrust, not always sure of what the true intentions of the other are. In their shared history, both china and the U.S have had the tendency to blow out of proportion the threat they pose to each other hence formulating an excuse for the extremes that they may go to in order to curb these threats. However, they still need t o work together in terms of economy and even if there is an underlying adversity, it is well hidden because the economic advantages are mutually beneficial a and much more important to both.
Robert Sutter makes an argument that even though the Sino-Japanese relations have always been turbulent; the rapid economic growth of China during the 1990’s did not go well with Japan, who during that period were experiencing an economic slump. China’s approach was initially denial that it was an emerging power but this has changed to acceptance of being a responsible power, emphasizing that its foreign policy is based on morality. As part of its self defense foreign policy, China has struggled to accommodate its neighbors, so as to prevent a regional gang up aimed at containing its growing might.
There is no question about which two nations are at the nucleus of the Asia economic and consequently, the stability; China and Japan. Even though their relationship has often been characterized by some extent of volatility, Yong Deng asserts that this uneasiness has grown over the recent past due to the remarkable economic growth that China has recorded. The consequence of this feat has seen Japan regard China with skepticism while China has increasingly pondered over the role of Japan in its current position internationally as a threat. This, in Yong’s opinion, is a slippery road with potentially explosive results.
Shirk’s observation is that the Chinese opt to vent their frustrations and anger on the Japanese, who seem a less formidable enemy as compared to the Americans. Despite the fact that china has bones to chew with both Japan and the U.S, they would rather aggravate the Japanese because they deem that their ties with them are less consequential. However Sino-American connections are deemed to be of such high importance that they cannot be jeopardized. Shirk notes that while once upon a time, there was the slimmest possibility of a Sino-Japanese war; today the chances are alarmingly high. Tension and animosity has continued to rise between the two Asian powers and each blames the other for being the aggressor.
Sutter states that China has experienced great economic growth and at the same time had increasing clout as an influential country in the world. Other Asian countries, more so the Southeast Asian countries treat her with a respectable amount of wariness. He argues that this is because China has a history of using military force to get her way in the resolution of territorial disputes. This, he believes has made other countries wary of her, even when she approaches them on a friendly note; It is as though they expect China to pull a trick from up her sleeve.
However, China has been trying to polish up her image by applying a less aggressive approach; by extending diplomatic invitations to Southeast Asian states, who are already attracted by China’s booming economy and the numerous opportunities it presents. While careful not to supplant the authority of the United States in the area, Sutter states that China retains strong political ties with the North, and regards the South as an important trading partner. He further says that there was a lot of effort directed to refute any ideas that the support that China was according the north was in any way meant to counter the close relationship that exists between the united states and South Korea, with china seeking to portray a neutral position in the whole process, actually appearing to sponsor reunification efforts.
In this article, Yong Deng attempts to look into the complex relationship between China and three of her critical strategic partners; Russia, the European Union, and India. On further investigation, Yong establishes China’s political commitment is central to the overall stability of these partnerships. The determination of the involved parties to the sustenance of productive and mutually beneficial patterns is evident. In Yong’s opinion, China has played a critical role in the maintenance of a fairly stable international environment by effectively applying relevant diplomacy requirements that has gone along way into meeting the diverse and demanding needs of its strategic partners.
China’s differences with Russia seem to have been put aside after the end of the cold war, when the former allied with Japan in defeating the then Soviet union. However, as Sutter explains, china adopted a different strategy and has become more friendly to Russia, despite that Russia has a weaker political and economic base compared to the United States or the western powers. China realized that Russia could either be a troublesome foe or a useful ally, and thus opted to renew relations between the two along friendly lines. Sutter concludes that China and Japan could continue with their mutually beneficial relationship in the trade of arms or weaponry, or their union could be broken by their simultaneous attempts to court the U.S and differing responses to various U.S policies.
In these chapters, Sutter demonstrates concerns with the relationship between India and china. Generally, India and china with the exception of Russia represent the largest economic powers in the continent and this essentially pits them in competition with each other. The areas of contact between the two countries are varied, ranging from the border which they share to the involvement of the Chinese in the India – Pakistani conflict. Sutter argues that on one hand, the Chinese are wary of the Indians, since they consider them to be a force that is being fuelled by the US so as to act as a foothold of the western power in Asia while on the other hand, Indians are also cautious in the dealing with the Chinese, particularly due to the hard stance that Beijing had taken on the conflict between India and Pakistan.
For a while the direction appeared to head in the direction of a US – India vs. a Chinese backed Pakistan military conflict. Sutter remarks that there has been progress in the negotiation between these countries, both seeing the economic benefits that would flow from their co-operation, with benchmark events such as a change in stance of the Chinese in how the Pakistani conflict should be resolved. He also believes that India also seems to have problems in the perceived over handedness of the US in matters of global security, as seen from their opposition of US missile defense proposals, a stand that they shared with the Chinese. In his analysis, Sutter believes that an Indian – Chinese co-operation exists, though limited.
Taylor asserts that China can be greatly held responsible for the near death of African countries’ textile industries, along with other industries as well. The figures given are staggering, as imports from China to African countries have increased by over seven hundred per cent in less than a decade. China comes to her own defense by saying that she has just capitalized on an available markets. However, China’s efforts have been detrimental to the domestic industries in African countries which cannot compete with the prices of cheap Chinese imports.
The governments of these African countries have tried to counteract this effect by putting into place import restriction but this has not been very successful. This is because a country like China sets up policies and conditions that stipulate that African countries open up their import market in exchange of assistance and foreign aid. Having to choose between a rock and a hard place, African countries have chosen to go the Chinese way. The impacts of flooding African markets with Chinese imports are diverse and far reaching, expounds Taylor. Other than the loss of jobs and incomes by those who work in African industries, Taylor insists that they stunt growth and development as African countries make a minimal effort to build their own industries. It also has negative ramifications for the long run because African countries will remain lagging behind in their efforts towards development.
Sutter starts by saying that Sino-American relations have not been very good since the end of the cold war; it is only since 2001 that the two countries have worked amicably, opting to put aside their differences in order to take part in amore mutually beneficial economic arrangement. China resents the fact that they have to fashion their policies along U.S approved lines. The cracks, says Sutter, were widened with the Tiananmen massacre of 1989, so much so that Sino-American relations almost petered out completely.
Since both sides are so deeply distrustful of each other, coupled with China’s resentments, the relationship is fragile and tenacious at best. There is a school of thought, to which the author belongs that is of the opinion that there are very slim chances of the formation of a lasting Sino-American alliance. The author notes that why Chinese strategy to use America in positioning itself as a rising world power did not work is because the policies formulated by the latter focused on the differences between the two countries, differences such as human rights, Taiwan, trade issues and weapons proliferation. China and the U.S remain at odds on various issues, with suspicion on both sides regarding the intentions of the other party. This, concludes the author, makes it hard to figure out what future trend the Sino-American relations may take as China tries to find a balance between gaining more influence amongst Asian countries, as well as gauging the strength of the U.S before showing her cards.
By giving the May 7, 1999 accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia as an example, the author sheds light on just how tenacious is the relationship between China and America. He indicates that the Chinese government overreacted to an issue that could have been handled as a purely diplomatic issue. The Chinese, who are well known for holding grudges, refused to accept apologies from the American side, opting to instead use the incident as a soap box from which to denounce everything American.
The author explains that there is a deep, inherent distrust between the two nations that never seems to die out. Surveys done have indicated that the Chinese have a very negative attitudes towards the Americans, believing that what America really desires is to see China crushed and conquered. This however puts China into a dilemma because she needs America to stimulate her economic growth. If America were to snub China, she would suffer greatly economically. Shirk categorically says that it appears that China takes every opportunity to show how America is out to get it, and she concludes that there might come to an incident which the Chinese will translate as a national insult and to which they might choose to respond to with military action.
After the review and analysis of data and facts concerning China’s relation with the rest of the world in the past, Sutter tries to predict what the most likely path of action this country will take up in the future. He outlines four major interrelated objectives that China will most likely see as priorities. One, the leaders in China shall work at stimulating economic growth targeting the long term while simultaneously creating conducive economic growth.
Two, these leaders will work at formulating foreign policies which will foster confidence in the Chinese government internationally hence, encourage the growth of the Chinese economy. The third agenda would be to reform China’s military image, more so where neighboring countries are concerned, to reassure them that China has only good intentions. Sutter points out that the main challenge for Chinese leaders remains merging her economic and military ambitions with the new, image she wants to create.
Shirk notes that China’s fragile political state is a threat to the United States of America. He is of the opinion that communist Chinese leaders might react negatively under international pressure, especially from the Americans. Under pressure, these leaders may lay the blame for internal problems at another county’s door, with the most likely candidates being America and Japan. Shirk outlines recommendations that the Chinese governments could take to avert such an eventuality. He concludes that America should work at avoiding war with China because the losses would be massive and unfruitful.
The writers conclude that it will be a while yet before China gains a lot of influential power in Asia. This is because there are several nations working against her such as America, New Zealand, Australia and Japan who are subverting her attempts. Furthermore, that though China is like a ticking time bomb, there should be no attempt made at rushing the hand of the clock.
As far as the delicate balance between foreign relations and politics goes, Yong Deng displays awareness over the double-edge nature of this feat. The reason for this, Yong argues is that economic growth translates to power and hence, a threat to many. China has been placed between a rock and a hard place of having to choose between the economic growth and overall well-being of its nation and the importance of maintaining favorable foreign relations with other nations, especially the ones with power. No only did China have regional challenges resulting from its robust economic growth but it also faced skepticism from the US who saw the Chinese as a potential threat to its strategic and economic interests in Asia and beyond.
Yong further explains that the basic underlying goal behind the Chinese foreign policy is to manage and engineer its global recognition as a responsible power, especially in the eyes of other powers. China, Yong explains, seeks to maintain a conducive global environment which is critical to national economic strategy. On the other hand, the West and Japan lead the pack in condemning and attacking China, especially in matters of human right and arm and weapon use. This has often succeeded n placing China right at the center of global scrutiny and criticism. This, Yong explains, is the game of power politics.