Monday, July 12, 2004

China Trades Its Way to Power. What are our plans?

Jason T. Shaplin and James Laney have a column exploring the implications of China's growing trade strength.
"Within six years, China's economy will be double that of Germany's, now the world's third largest. By 2020, it is expected to surpass Japan as the world's second-largest economy. Japan already imports more from China than it does from the United States. And China has become the largest trading partner of South Korea, the world's 12th-largest economy. Clearly, the juggernaut has already begun."
We all know this. Their point is that
"while Mao once claimed that power grows out of the barrel of a gun, today's leaders in China know it also grows from trade. Tokyo and Seoul know this, too. Aware that China is now vital to their economic well-being, they are no longer as willing as they once were to position themselves opposite Beijing, even if this means going against Washington. Put another way, while the Bush administration still thinks of the United States as the sole superpower in a unipolar world, Tokyo and Seoul do not share this view. To them, the United States and China are both powers to be reckoned with in a bipolar Asia. ... [Our] influence will only decline further as India's economy grows to the point where it passes that of Japan and China."
The world does not stand still. We have been the sole superpower since the fall of the USSR. Rumsfeld notwithstanding, that arrangement won't last more than another decade or so. Are we planning for what we will do then?

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