July 8, 2012

WE MATTER, THEY DON'T:

For China, It's All About America (Michael Auslin, July 6, 2012, The Diplomat)

Ultimately, as one European diplomat put it to me, when it comes to China's foreign policy, it's all about the United States.  This monofocus on America tells us a great deal about China's worldview, but it also reveals the degree to which Washington is hampered in forging a better working relationship with Beijing.

Unlike the United States, which has had a complex, yet robust set of alliances and more informal partnerships in Asia since the 1950s, China has not formed deep ties with any Asian state.  There is no analogue in Chinese foreign policy to America's relationship with Japan or its initiatives with Singapore.  While there is always skepticism abroad about Washington's true intentions towards it's Asian partners, and a resignation about the inherently unequal power relationship between America and any of its smaller allies, there is also recognition that the United States usually seeks some type of mutually-beneficial status.  Although a superpower (or perhaps because of it), American diplomats have a basic predisposition towards equality in their negotiations and agreements.  The U.S. military, for its part, has spent decades helping to train foreign armed forces, provide humanitarian aid, and of course serve as an ultimate guarantor of regional stability, at least theoretically.

China's foreign policy, at least today, is far different.  Once it may have seen itself as a co-leader of the global Communist bloc, or as the center of a Sinic grouping of nations up to the nineteenth century.  Now, its foreign gaze is centered squarely on its relationship with the United States. 

The reality is that they should be obsessed with us, while we can ignore them. All they are is cheap labor and there's always cheaper elsewhere.

Posted by at July 8, 2012 8:12 AM
  

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