Thursday, October 30, 2014

Amitai Etzioni — The U.S. Should Not Fear Competing With China

U.S. opposition to the new bank illuminates a much greater issue: Will the U.S. seek to contain every international initiative by China, or will it only counter aggression but welcome China’s non-coercive engagement in regional and world affairs? Some students of international relations expect that China will buy into the existing international order – the one formed and promoted by the United States – at least until China develops much more. Under this reasoning, the United States should therefore welcome China’s increased contributions to various international bodies, something the U.S. has long been seeking. Others, however, point out that the United States is instead increasingly of the view that China is seeking to form its own world order, which is leading the United States to labor to block such initiatives. One can see these blocking moves when China moves to expand its EEZ, boost its investments in Africa and in Latin America, or set up a new Asian development bank. 
These analyses assume that rising powers must either accept the prevailing order as it is, or must set out to form a new order of their own. However, the prevailing world order is not etched in stone; it is continuously modified. There is no a priori reason to assume that rising powers must either buy into the order “as is” or reject it in toto. The world order can be, and most likely will have to be, renegotiated and recast, one hopes in ways that will work for both the new and old powers. An attitude of “my way or the highway” invites conflict; mutually beneficial third ways should be considered.
Someone ask Professor Etzioni what the state policy of uncontested US military superiority is for anyway. His view is both idealistic and practical, and at the same time ridiculous in light of realities. It would involve the US giving of its policy of global hegemony to "make the world safe for democracy."

For instance, Professor Etzioni writes:
What I call, lacking a better term, the “redder red and greener green” option represents such a third way forward. It holds that the United States (and China) should strongly oppose any and all attempts to change the status quo by use of force. This is the red light part: strongly opposing changing borders and resolving territorial disputes by force, whether force is used in the Asia-Pacific region or in the Middle East or elsewhere. In effect, U.S. President Barack Obama followed this approach with regard to the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands when he stated that the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan extends to the islands. Since then, China has done precious little to gain control of them.
Stating "that the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan extends to the islands" is a threat to use force. Doh.

He continues:
In short, the rise of a new power calls for characterizing some acts as particularly objectionable, the coercive ones, and seeking to block them, while viewing other new initiatives as fully legitimate and constructive. This dual approach of combining some containment with some new openness in effect means that the world order itself will need to be recast. It will have to be more ready to negotiate changes in the rules as long as rising powers respect the Westphalian norm, that is the sovereignty of nations, and the commitment to work out differences about borders and territorial rights in peaceful ways.
Not respecting the Westphalian norm is exactly what Vladimir Putin accused the US of doing and he warned that this course threatened global chaos.

The Diplomat
The U.S. Should Not Fear Competing With China
Amitai Etzioni | University Professor at The George Washington University

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