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« Tom around the web | Main | Editor's Note: the Iran posts »
4:17AM

Matching Up Priorities in a Globalized Age

China's global priorities might not match up that well with those of your average American policymaker. But they do match up quite well with President Obama's agenda. That's the sense I got after spending last week in Shanghai with a bevy of China's top foreign affairs academics. Although the workshop I attended was focused on U.S.-Chinese relations, there was no shortage of side conversation on the post-election meltdown unfolding in Iran. And nothing I heard in terms of the Chinese sense of priorities bore any resemblance to what you see these days in American newspaper headlines.

Continue reading Tom's New Rules column at WPR.

Reader Comments (4)

Despite missionaries, opium trade, Shanghai Marines, and gunboat diplomacy the US stuck with the vision of a greater China through the period of China weakness, including the OPEN Door policy. Even in the Civil War between Communists and Nationalists the US took quite a long view towards the Chinese and of course FDR insisted China be on the UN Security Council, Nixon's opening led to Carter's greatest foreign policy decision, formal recognition of Mainland China as the China, and Taiwan an independent island off of the mainland, and then of course the Taiwan Act (sic). In many ways we are asking Bejing work out relationships with Taiwan peacefully and giving the realities of mainland demand and trade likely to enventually their again being the ONE CHINA recognized by US diplomacy since Carter.

My beleif is that the Chinese know this history better than the US. They are the largest Asian contingent in US demographics. Many adoptions of Chinese girls in the last two decades. Unbelieveable trade relationships as far as totals. And lending, FDI and bond buying on both sides. So given that OBAMA might very well be the first President in decades to have a foreign policy that does not rely on the use of Armed Force at the go-in the Chinese seem to have bet strategically on their most important relationship being the US for the rest of this Century at least. And it does appear that events are going China's way because the US keeps shooting itself in the foot or worse in its economic relationships, and foreign policy. The Chinese know the US is a sleeping giant just as the US always knew the Chinese were the same. Perhaps I am wrong but suspect the OBAMA Chinese link will be really interesting to watch, not without its difficulties though.
June 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam R. Cumming
Your statement is "I believe the Chinese know there history better than the US" is ambiguous. Which sector of Chinese society are you actually referring to? The oligarchical elite, the academic elite or are you actually referring to the rank and file Chinese masses?

From my personal experience with the rank and file Chinese is that they cling to a dogmatic set of belief centred around what seems to a set of religious nationalistic canon. Showing no signs of independent critical thought. For example speak to the average Chinese person about the positive aspects of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan or about the fact that the original inhabitants of Taiwan were not even of East Asian genetic stock let alone ethnic Chinese but rather of Malayo Polynesian stock closely related to the New Zealand Maori and see what kind of an answer you get.

Unfortunately the overall result of the P.R.C's one party strangle hold of the media and the way that C.C.P faithful are embedded in the education system means that the vast majority of the Chinese masses have a dogmatic view of history drilled into them.
June 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterandrew
Okay Andrew will buy all that? So what are the masses taught about history and what do the political and academic elite actully know, talk about between themselves, and use in their dialectic?Is there a book or books discussing the Chinese view of history? How about those on Taiwan?Is history even a subject in China that has some significance? My understanding is that in the US 40% of undergraduate BAs major ihn English and 15% in history? Is there even a history curriculum in Chinese higher ed or is it just political GIBO (Garbage In Garbarge Out)?
June 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam R. Cumming
China's history extends further back than the last fifty years.Don't think so small.
June 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTom Barnett

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