China: Watching from the Sidelines

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China’s economic rise has led it to seek out natural resources and trade ties around the developing world, from Central Asia to South America to Africa. Some are warning of a new “Great Game??? of resource competition, and others are afraid that China’s willingness to partner with authoritarian regimes might lead to the emergence of a “Beijing Consensus??? to challenge the “Washington Consensus??? that favors open, liberal democracy.

mc_masterchef, in a comment to Open Source, June 23, 2006

As the US fights wars on two fronts and now a diplomatic mess on a third, is China quite literally laughing all the way to the bank? China has sent trade missions to South America and established ties with Hugo Chavez’s oil-rich Venezuela; it gets fifteen percent of its oil from Iran. It’s reaching out to Sudan.

As we’re carrying out the messy, desperately imperfect and expensive work of stabilizing the Middle East (a task expected of us, whether we like it or not), is China quietly securing a Beijing Consensus? Does Beijing see opportunities in the conflict in Lebanon? In Iraq? In the nuclear standoff with Iran? Is China watching us from the sidelines or playing its own game — rather successfully — in a different stadium?

John Pomfret

Former Beijing Bureau Chief, currently West Coast Correspondent, Washington Post

Author, Chinese Lessons: Five Classmates and the Story of the New China

Robert Ross

Professor of Political Science, Boston College

Research Associate, Fairbank Center for East Asian Research

Thomas Barnett

Blogger, Thomas P.M. Barnett:: Weblog

Senior Managing Director, Enterra Solutions

Former strategist for the Office of the Secretary of Defense

Former professor, Naval War College

Author, The Pentagon’s New Map and Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating

Extra Credit Reading

Confidential Reporter, Mideast Sees China as Counterweight to US Power, China Confidential, August 4 2006.

Richard TPD, John Pomfret’s new book, Chinese Lessons, The Peking Duck, July 8 2006.

Jeff Kouba, China and Venezuela, Peace Like A River, March 18 2006.

Chietigj Bajpaee, China Becomes Increasingly Involved in the Middle East, The Power and Interest News Report, March 10 2006.

Yaakov Katz, Arms sales to China resume, The Jerusalem Post, March 2 2006.

Editorial, Providing Arms: China and the Middle East, The Middle East Forum, Spring 2005.

Robert Dreyfuss, Vice Squad, The American Prospect, May 2006.

Willy Lam, China’s Reaction to America’s Iraq Imbroglio, The Jamestown Foundation, April 15, 2004.

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