Sunday, March 2, 2008

China is Potentially the USA's Greatest Ally

All of this blog entry is a quote from Thomas Barnett's blog post Recasting the Long War as a Joint Sino-American Venture. I agree with his view on this issue, totally.

Next year the Chinese Communist Party will most likely pick from among the fifth generation pool the leaders who will assume the reins officially in 2012 but whose lengthy succession begins rolling out almost immediately. This generation may be known to many of you already, because whether you realize or not, you went to college with many of them in the late 70s and early 80s. So yeah, this crowd does get America. In fact, these guys get globalization better than our current leaders do, because China is so much closer—historically speaking—to the infrastructure build-out process associated with globalization’s Borg-like integration wave.

What’s so amazing about this next generation is how they look at the world: a Kantian naiveté bordering on Thomas Friedman (“Got McDonald’s? You’re in!”). But beyond that wide-eyed optimism there is a growing and rather steely awareness that, as Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben famously intoned, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Having spent days in deep discussion with this crowd, I will tend you what impresses me most about them is their earnestness. They are perceptively shifting—echoing John F. Kennedy’s generational call—from thinking about what the world owes China to what China owes the world.

There’s not a moment to waste.

When I last sat down with PLA strategists, I told them their biggest challenge over the next decade or so is rebranding their military from “revolutionary warrior” to “globalization’s security guard” in support of China’s role as globalization’s general contractor in the great build-out to come. This repositioning of China’s global security profile must be approached carefully, setting up easy wins that mark the PLA as both competent in its execution and trustworthy in its presence—especially in partnership with U.S. military forces. A joint response to Asia’s 2004 Christmas tsunamis would have been a good opportunity. It worked for the Indian Navy, but China’s military was nowhere to be found.

Over time, the Pentagon and the PLA need to prove out this strategic alliance in a series of early-stage engagements—preferably in Africa—that demonstrate how market economies—both old and new—come together to shrink globalization’s gap. Yes, I realize that many in my country consider the cultural and political gaps between America and China to be insurmountable in any time frame worth mentioning, but in my opinion, that Cold War mindset plays into the strategic goals of the global jihadist movement, which wants nothing more than to pit a rising East against an aging West with radical Islam as the great balancer.

I say we deny Osama that dream—as soon as possible.

- Thomas Barnett Recasting the Long War as a Joint Sino-American Venture
Supplemental material:
Managing China's Ascent

Theory of a Peacefuly Rising China

1 comment:

The Serpent Lord said...

But Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia and suggesting that we could ally with them against our traditional ally Eurasia is thoughtcrime! Seriously though, the world had only one superpower just a few years ago. Now the there are at least two (USD and EUR) with an emerging third (CNY/RMB).

Each superpower is increasingly focused on maintaining trade agreements (NAFTA, FTAA, WTO) with an eye toward economic prosperity rather than maintaining defense treaties (NATO, Warsaw Pact) with an eye toward political allegiance. So the success of each superpower is in the best interest of each other superpower.

Disputations between these powers concern only the details of international trade law (should China's state oil monopoly be able to buy UNOCAL?) and how to deal with fringe/uncommited countries. The Blu-Ray Region Codes are one example of where the "battle lines" stand. (Actually these are markets, not battles.) As Chinese economic influence expands, the Middle East will increasingly identify with Asia/Region C (except for Turkey which will probably continue to seek EU membership aka Region B) and Japan and the Asian Tigers will shift their ties from the American to the Asian coast of the Pacific.

Osama can complain all he wants, but a caliphate based on cultural and economic isolationism cannot coexist or compete with a Euro-African economic superpower supported by Turkey and Lybia, and an Asian economic superpower supported by Iran and Pakistan. America on the other hand needs to understand that when we let Terror set the agenda (i.e. by occupying the capital of the proposed caliphate) we are only encouraging investment in lost causes.