22 September 2009

China’s Arrival: A Strategic Framework for a Global Relationship

Abraham Denmark and Nirav Patel, eds., China’s Arrival: A Strategic Framework for a Global Relationship (Washington, DC: Center for a New American Security, 22 September 2009).

China’s rise is one of the most significant geopoliti­cal events in modern history, rivaling America’s ascent more than a century before. Leading news­papers and blogs from around the world provide a daily reminder of a growing international demand to engage Beijing on a variety of major global issues, including proliferation, energy security, climate change, and the global financial crisis. However, the world is also reminded of the under­side of China’s ascent, manifested in its support for despotic regimes, its military modernization efforts, and its repressive treatment of its citizens. Still, the international financial crisis that origi­nated in the West has only accelerated China’s arrival as a global player. As most of the indus­trialized world struggles to post neutral growth figures, China maintains that it will achieve eight percent growth in 2009 and continues to find opportunities to convert its economic strength into influence.

… To accomplish its goals, the United States will have to be strategic and proactive in how it engages China. A few points are in order about how this must be done: First, China should not be treated as a threat. … Second, the Obama administration should con­tinue to remain cautious about strategies that seek to outsource China policy to unwieldy multilateral organizations — including burgeoning regional fora — that do not necessarily harbor American interests as core strategic values. … Third, the U.S.-Chinese relationship should not be treated as the only element of America’s strate­gic engagement in the Asia-Pacific. …