Look one way and you’ll see the world one way. Look another way and you’ll see it another way.
This is a time in history we can do this with different nations.
So I’ve picked China.
China has the largest population in the world.
During WWII America went to war with China’s greatest enemy, Japan.
America should have been good friends with them after the war, but mainland China followed Mao Tse Tung into Communism.
Economically, communism was a failure, and in 1972 President Richard Nixon traveled to China and created a thaw in cold war relations.
From that point China introduced economic reform under the leadership of Dung Chow Ping.
From that time to this, Chinese state capitalism has been responsible for growing the fastest capitalist state in the history of the world.
As it continues to grow it has a series of issues which will have to be worked out so possible conflicts are avoided.
It’s to America’s benefit to work out its mutual problems with China, because there is little doubt that our two economies will be the largest in the world with America possessing the strongest military the world has ever witnessed.
Here are five issues I think need to be addressed.
1. Old world suspicions.
A good friend of mine took a trip to China recently. She was part of a delegation of business executives who went there to meet political and business leaders.
She returned home and briefed me on the trip. The first words out of her mouth were, “they’re a bunch of communists.”
That’s cold war rhetoric that many Americans still hold toward China.
Surely they’re not full blown democratic capitalists yet, but they’re certainly not the communists of the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s.
China has crossed the rubicon on this issue. They will continue to advance as a capitalist economy with a gradual adoption of democratic practices.
We need to accept that fact and not let old narratives cloud our views of the kind of country China is gradually becoming.
2. China is seen by some as controlling us as it lends us money to cover our deficits.
China does not want to control us as much as it wants to find places where it can park its cash reserves and be assured it will receive a fair return.
Historically, we have entered into similar arrangements with other nations. During the American Revolution Dutch bankers loaned America money.
The Chinese are good bankers. They understand where to make the greatest investments for the best returns. For this, America is better off having been lent to by China.
More and more the People’s Bank Of China gains independence from government control and transacts financing based on good economics.
The world is always in need of great financing sources. There is no capitalism without capital. Right now China is supplying the capital.
3. China is becoming America’s chief competitor for domination of world markets.
China is preparing itself to become the world’s largest consumer market, which will make it the largest economy in the world.
As this occurs it will expect to be treated as America’s equal in world affairs, not merely as a member of a group of nations that have been brought together to regulate world trade.
It doesn’t want to be America’s ideological rival; it wants to be America’s economic equal.
Competition will strengthen American enterprise, especially as the two countries continue to come together and agree on common rules and regulations.
4. Territorial waters are where the serious tensions reside.
Get used to hearing the words South China Sea. Look it up on your map. It’s the sea south of China, that’s why it’s called the South China Sea. It holds natural gas and oil reserves, and fish. China needs to control this area to feed and employ its people, and to keep its economy growing.
The problem arises because other countries are also reliant on this sea. Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, and the Philippines. America has close ties with these countries and will need to come to their defense if China continues to press for greater control over the water ways.
Our biggest problem will be settling on how far out territorial waters will be honored. THAT’S the big issue. Everything else is incidental when compared to this.
5. China and America vs the Internet Age.
Political elites both in America and China will no longer be the sole actors on the statecraft stage. Billions of internets users will reach their own decisions about the two countries.
In most instances, Internet players will have as much intelligence on the two countries as do the elites.
The future of the relationship will be a shared one: the government professionals versus the global internet population.