The country had seemed keen to be a good world citizen, but no longer. A repressive regime is tightening its gripby Paddy Ashdown / December 1, 2017 / Leave a comment
Peace in the Pacific, and the world, depends on two questions. How will the United States cope with decline? And how will China fulfil its potential as a super-power?
We live in a period of shifting power structures. These are turbulent and conflict-ridden times. The US remains the most powerful nation on earth, but the context in which it operates has changed fundamentally. We live now in a multi-power world, with China’s position as a mercantile super-power already established. The question is how will China behave?
Until recently, the signs had been hopeful. China had seemed keen to be a good world citizen. It has engaged constructively in multilateral institutions—look at the World Trade Organisation; look at the support for United Nations sanctions on North Korea; look at the engagement with international forces to tackle Somali pirates around the Horn of Africa; look at the involvement with UN peace keeping to which it has committed more troops than the United States and Europe combined.
Domestically too, until a few years ago, China seemed to be moving steadily away from the old dictatorial structures of Communism. The economic liberalisation of China’s markets has been awe-inspiring. Many of us had taken comfort in what we saw as the inevitable fact that economic reform must, over time, lead to political liberalisation too.