Research Paper: Power of China

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Power of China

From the end of World War II to the early 1970s, China was relatively isolated from the global landscape. It was a part of the Soviet Communist Bloc, but remained inwardly focused on improving its own infrastructure and economy, all the while poised for rapid modernization. Openness towards the West began around 1978 with increased trade, a small amount of additional transparency internally, and at least the semblance of allowing more capitalistic templates like ownership of businesses, development of more modernized factories, etc., and less journalistic control. After 1978, Mao's successor Deng Xiaoping realized that the government had to increase the standard of living for its population, or face revolt. Deng's, and subsequent regimes, focused on market-oriented economic development. By the turn of the century, for instance, Chinese output had quadrupled, living standards improved as well as personal choices -- to a degree. There has been increased global trade, outreach, dialog, and participation in international organizations of all types (Central Intelligence Agency 2010). We also see China, not in a vacuum, but with a patient cloak around as well as a firm policy in FDI into the U.S. And other developed economies.

In the same light, China's massive growth now shows an economy about 1/4 ths size of the U.S. economy. China's output will exceed America's in the 2020s, and their standard of living overall will continue to grow. However, many experts do not see this as a particularly viable threat. China's threat is that it will destabilize the world economy, distort trade, cause financial imbalances and increase competition for certain raw materials. China has proven to be a sly and patient exploiter, and by running a predatory trade policy while at the same time hoarding essential raw materials (oil, natural gas, copper, etc.) they ensure that their interests are stable, and if the rest of the world suffers, perhaps China will emerge dominant (Samuelson 2008).

China has looked at the long-term economic paradigm rather than the short-term model favored by many American investors. Through 2012, for instance, they received $59 billion in direct investment, ahead of the U.S. By $2 billion. "China's biggest attraction to global investment is now its huge market, contrasting the long-time low cost, which is now ranked third or fourth…. The economy is growing in China, outperforming the U.S. And the EU, which are suffering medium- or long-term troubles" (Trifunov, 2012).

We certainly know from history that many wars are fought on ideology but the core reasons surrounded economics. If not territory, then resources. How would the Western democracies respond to oil and gasoline shortages, or putting their populations on rationing? (Von Mises, 2008) Why might we think this will be different with China? Second, is this a policy that is designed to intimidate the world, or simply a consequence of a country with a huge population that must, by its very nature, look out for both hegemony and its population's satisfaction in order to survive?

As far as the United States and European Union are concerned, however, there is often a lack of cohesion on strategy toward China. China, however, does have a central strategy towards the developed world, one that was simmering since the 1970s and has become quite aggressive as the realization of globalism took hold in the 21st century. It was almost as if China anticipated global trends, and knew that if they could structure their economy to supply many of the goods and services necessary for the developed world's changing paradigm, they would also increase the value of internal needs and imports, thus winning on both the import and export sides (Wan, 2008):

International Security Defined -- in the modern global economy, international security focuses on the measures nation states and international organizations take to ensure a safe, prosperous, and economically viable world. We cannot look at China in a myopic view, though -- using foreign policy, economic policy, investments, etc. As individual strategies and tactics. Instead, we must look at the investment and economic paradigm as part of the overall security issue, since it is likely that any conflict with China will take place on that level, as opposed to the traditional battlefield. These measures may include military action, diplomatic treaties, economic sanctions, or a combination of the three. In a sense, then, international security and national security are linked and have some overlap and common ground (Baylis 1997).

International security and international relations have changed dramatically since the dawn of the 20th century. The post-World War II world and resulting decades of Cold War were nothing like past experiences with finite lines, preconceptions, and consistent ideological goals. Instead, a more advanced form of Otto von Biskmark's realpolitik became the dominant paradigm in which the basic construct of global security required the predominant template to the economic health of the nation state. Thus, the premise becomes that if state security is maintained, or even enhanced, security of both the economic system and the citizenry will logically follow. Militarily, this relied on a balance of power. For example, after World War II both the Soviet Union and the United States continued to expand their military to ensure that an imbalance did not exist that would make conflict inevitable. In realpolitik, states are thought to be rational, act upon national interests, evolve to protect its territory for invasion, and keep the population relatively happy and under control (Hough 2008 2-42).

From its founding in 1949 until 1978, the PRC operated on a Soviet-style centralized and planned economic and political system. Based on ideology they were aligned with the Soviet Union, but the major focus was internal control and as rapid of modernization as possible. This fit in well with the organization of the global hierarchy of the time -- everyone knew where everyone stood and with whom. However, following Chairman Mao's death and the end of the Cultural Revolution, the new Chinese leadership began the arduous process of reforming the economy and moving towards a mixed economic system, retaining one-party rule. In 1978, for example, China and Japan normalized their diplomatic relationship so that China could borrow money from Japan to modernize. The leadership, under Deng Xiaoping, realized that production would only increase by dismantling collectivization and privatizing agriculture. This created a movement towards a different type of nation, one in which Cold War paradigms no longer worked well (Meisner 1999 413-40).

Once the Soviet Union collapsed and Eastern Europe opened up, China was well on the way to reform. Without Cold War tensions and the hierarchy that engendered, a new model arose -- security was threatened by hardships arising from internal state activities as well as non-state aggressors (terrorists). But it was increasing poverty, disease, hunger, violence, and human rights that had the potential to be more destabilizing than external political events. Indeed, by putting resources in the militaristic paradigm, many states found that they had decreased internal security by neglecting their own populations (Baylis).

China, like the rest of the world, realizes that there are certain basic aspects of global cooperation and safety that must occur for international security to take place. Instead of a state centered view, the new template is more holistic and acknowledges cooperation and collective measure designed to protect the most possible. Terroristic threats that jeopardize global shipping (piracy) or transportation (hijacking) are thus threats against all of humanity, not just one nation. In a similar manner, as global economies become even more aligned, even natural disasters and catastrophes pose global threats because the interrupt the flow of resources (Global Security Engagement: A New Model for Cooperative Threat Reduction 2009).

This new model is a clear and drastic switch from the historical way China and the world interacted. Instead of a complete climate of mistrust, there is a level of human security emerging that moves the idea of what is best for the greatest number (utilitarianism) as the guiding foreign policy. The world is simply too interconnected to allow peaks and valleys, elections and policy changes, or even the changing nature of allies and enemies to guide the world. If a state can now best maintain its security and the security of its citizens by participating in the security of all other nations then, too some degree, the idea of globalism becomes more than an economic system (Matthew and McDonald 2009 209-11).

China Awakens -- for years China has been known euphemistically as the "Sleeping Giant of Asia," and in the 21st century as a precursor to the economic health and stability of Asia. If we think about this logically, we find that China has over 1/5th of the world's population, intercontinental nuclear weapons, veto power on the UN Security Council and one of the most dynamic and energetic economic revitalizations ever seen. From a lumbering Marxist economy, China now emerges in the 21st century as a market oriented economy that is now part of the global interdependence model. Additionally, many see China as growing fast enough, with enough strategic political and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Power of China.  (2012, October 16).  Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/power-china/9168323

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"Power of China."  Essaytown.com.  October 16, 2012.  Accessed July 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/power-china/9168323.