Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Holding Back the Chinese Tide

3/25/2015—Is there anything as pathetic as an aging power attempting to retard the rise of a new one? Or, as pointless? Thus, the failure of the Obama Administration to convince our allies, especially Germany, to join China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was both comical and embarrassing. Great Britain, Germany and France joined last week. Italy to follow.

Joining the Bank should have been seen as positive--as a way of bringing the Chinese into the international community in a way that might have enabled our European allies to influence their new partner in territorial disputes China is having with its neighbors. (Of course, our allies can still play that role).

But really what was the point? China is a rising power and very wealthy. And, unlike the US, able to act coherently. The surest way to conflict with China—unnecessary conflict—is to refuse to recognize that fact. In setting up this bank, China was not invading Ukraine. Was not insisting on its own sphere of influence to the exclusion of anyone else. China was expecting to use its new power to expand its influence. That is what nations do.

If this was a subtle game—I doubt it—reassure Japan and South Korea by appearing to oppose the Chinese Bank, it was too subtle for me. I was just embarrassed by my country.

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