The NYTimes has an article today on getting China to act more responsibly in World diplomacy. The US has been the World’s traffic cop for the past 100 years starting with its reluctant role in World War I and continuing to this day with its primary role in the very asymmetrical War on Terror. The latter is most onerous because a few etrror attackers are able through suicide, treason, and vulnerability advantage to transfer much more effort and expenditure to the defenders to deter their attacks. For example, the threat of a few suicide bombers forces huge, expensive air and sea scanning efforts throughout the world. China, with its Western Uighur and other Islamic minority’s unrest has just caught a dose of the Islamic terrorist flu. And so reluctantly China has become more sympathetic to control measures against terrorism.
However, the NYTimes cites a litany of other major economic and political issues where China defiantly takes its own line and refuses to follow either American or World policy in dealing with the tough issues:
“From economics to climate change to currency to Iran and finally culminating with North Korea last week, America has sought to push, prod and cajole China, to little or no avail.”
The Chinese basic argument is that it will not be dictated to as in the first half of the 20th century- and will act in its own interests. But as China has already risen to the 2nd largest economic power in the world, many of its reasons for delay appear increasingly self-serving.
1)China’s curreny policy has won no admirers worldwide as it deliberately undervalues its currency in defiance of WTO-World Trade Organization argeements. China insists as a developing country it must price its goods on world markets at low rates to sustain its double digit economic growth. But this low-ball currency game has raised the ire not just of US and European manufactureres but also start-up enterprises in other comparatively low-wage countries spanning the Globe from Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Romania, Hungary, Turkey, etc. Many are losing industrial jobs to China despite great efforts and local sacrifice.
2)China’s economic strategy of restricting from many country`s businesses any right of entry into Chinese markets or limited ownership of Chinese companies. Further antagonizing the situation is continued open piracy of foreign software, hardware, even industrial secrets and manufacturing processes as China gears up to compete in every industry and market with native companies and products. Again long repeated promises to deal with piracy and open up Chinese markets are token efforts at best.
3)China`s refusal to support tough UN sanctions against Iran`s nuclear efforts has frustrated long patient effort by North American and European negotiators while infuriating Sunni Saudia Arabia.
4)China lead the revolt against even modest Copenhagen climate controls – Brazil, India and Russia aided the move. The net result is that climate change action is stalled in North America as well key areas of Asia and Europe.
5)China refuses to curb increasingly erratic North Korea. Ostensibly because of fear of a) f North Korean refugees spilling over into with a collapse of the country and b)dislike of a united Korea with US troop protection unleashing an economic dynamo that would impact China`s economic dominance in Asia.
In sum, China as an emerging power is demonstrating some of the old imperial arrogance last seen in the Qing dynasty which lead to the collapse of China as a World power starting in the 18th century. This is opposite of the responsible leadership that China has been promising the World in recent years. China will have to do more than citing the broken record of historical abuse by the West in the 19th century and early 20th century as validating its current `less than responsible `policies