By Elliott DeJarnett
As the twenty-first century is at hand, the world is gradually beginning to shift into a different world order than the one that governed the 1900’s. The seemingly ever-present hegemonic presence of the United States is growing dim compared to the rising glow of China. Both militarily and economically, China is shining at a strength which very soon will be unequaled by any other nation in the world. It continues to raise the height of its sticky power, loaning endless amounts of money and even purchasing the United States?debt. Eventually it will have the influence to form a trading block with the countries around it and have leverage with which it can begin to be the center of the economic world. Barring the collapse of its fragile economy, China has the makings of developing into a hegemonic economic power. Were Henry Luce alive today, he would not be wrong to declare this the Chinese Century.
The concern associated with the idea of China as a global power is the face that they are not a democracy. A nation with a quarter of the world’s population is immerged in the international financial system but has neither guaranteed internal order nor non-aggressive behavior towards other nations. Though it does not display the signs of a totalitarian democracy, it nevertheless remains an authoritarian socialist republic. The economic freedom is an index that accounts for monetary freedom and freedom from government and corruption, and property rights. China’s score is a 54%, which ranks them 119th in the world. This is just a hint of the communist framework that is still present in the Chinese government. Another concern is that China will not be able to sustain a position in a central role to the development of other Asian and African nations as the problem of overcapacity looms over its economy and threatens implosion. The potential role of China as a central world power should create numerous concerns in the minds of American and European realists who evaluate the best interest of their respective nations. China will eventually be too powerful to be susceptible to any threat. There is currently no possibility to contain China in such an interconnected market; therefore, I believe that this idea of a Grand Alliance should be extensively explored, first by politicians from a national interest standpoint, and from a moral standpoint in order to convince the populations. A key element in both of this persuasion attempts is to depict China as a common enemy to the United States, Europe and democratic Asia. This universal alienation will yield the leadership and the constituents of the three powers to agree to make a transition into this alliance.
The most important discussion, as it is directed to the leaders and think tanks of the democratic world, is that of national interests. It must be conceivable that the rise of China is not only eminent, but also a threat to the interests of the democratic powers. China is armed with sticky economic power and a military to dissuade any threats. For the United States, it does not appear likely that any forceful resolution with China will emerge because of the weight of their economic co-dependence. However, China is growing and the US is shrinking in terms or relative gains. This trend offers strong evidence that China will eventually grow to the size where it no longer needs a crutch as much as the US will. Eventually the United States will be depending on a player in the market who will no longer be depending on them and it could cause serious risk to our economy. China will have no interest in investing in the States and this could possibly send the US into a modern day depression.
From Europe’s perspective, though the EU remains economically divided between east and west Europe, the center of the market and interests lies in the western states, primarily Germany, France and the UK. Like many American companies, the EU relies heavily on Chinese business and labor for the growth of their economy. A Euro-American convergence would allow their economies to compete with that of China, as well as reducing its Chinese investments, which protects them from any potential implosion of the Chinese economy. Also, were the EU to take the initiative in this alliance, it would contribute to the boosting of their somewhat passive reputation in international affairs. The countries often get divided when it comes to making big decisions, as they were about the Iraq invasion. This initiative would not only increase their economy and security, but also contribute to their credibility on a global scale.
The major states in Asia besides China are also considered players in this potential Grand Alliance. India and Russia are primarily interested in containing China. They both have economic relationships with China but do not wish to see it envelop their respective markets. For Russia, they will want to guard against China acquiring control over their Siberian energy supply. Though Beijing is a prominent customer of Moscow also in the area or arms, it is not in Russia’s best interest to continue to aide the empowerment of China. For India, it taking advantage from the economic presence of China for its development, but as a democracy, would be more likely to gravitate towards a Euro-American block. India also looks to keep China contained and would benefit from the alliance as it would strengthen its capacity to secure its Pakistani border. Japan, which has the strongest ties to China economically, seems to be the hardest case. However, their elite - in fact their whole population ?who put great importance in pride, would not want Tokyo to be absorbed by China. They still favor the containment of the Chinese economy and military because of their vulnerability. And it is conceivable that as their needs for energy increase, they would be more attracted to an alliance that includes closely located Siberia.
The interests of all the major players in the Grand Alliance seem to converge on several points: the containment of China, and the integration of the markets and military strength of all democracies. From a political viewpoint, the idea of China as a common potential enemy to all actors who threatens national interests should be enough to at least provide reason to contemplate such a convergence.
The secondary discussion is how to convince the public that the decision to join such alliance is warranted. A large factor in this persuasion would be the depiction of China as a common enemy. This does not necessarily call for propaganda, but rather the focus on the non-democratic nature of the Chinese state and culture. This could involve anything from their exploitation of their rural population to their “one child? policy, which results in the deaths of many baby girls. These illustrations would display to democratic nations reasons why we should be in an alliance against them. Also, from an American standpoint, many Americans feel that their government has isolated itself from the rest of the world with the decision to go into Iraq. This convergence could be a welcome sign that the US is back on track towards developing better relationships with Europe especially.
All in all, the converging interests from a political standpoint, and the justifiable causes from a cultural standpoint both seem to be sufficient to give considerable thought to the Grand Alliance. The Alienation of China is, I believe, key to this process, as a common enemy is a strong factor in bringing its opposition together.