Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Superpower Stirs

Interesting analysis of China's emerging role as a world power. Some nice historical touches add to the interest. And then there are three details that jump out:

1. Zbigniew Brzezinski, the U.S. national security adviser under Jimmy Carter, proposed a drastically slimmer G20—a G2, the U.S. and China—to deal with the nuclear threat posed by Iran and North Korea; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; India-Pakistan tensions; climate change.

Interesting, though one wonders how that would go over with the other 18, beginning with Russia.

2. A military parade last month to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China sent a powerful message to China's 1.3 billion people. The intercontinental ballistic missiles that rumbled down Beijing's Avenue of Eternal Peace, and the tanker planes that lumbered overhead, signaled that China not only was at last a strong country, but also could project power beyond its shores.

The CIA's website estimates China's 2008 GDP as $7.992 trillion. It's rated as number 3 in the world. Other numbers are: $7.332 trillion (2007 est.) $6.489 trillion (2006 est.)

Last night on World Focus news I heard a reporter state that China's annual military budget is $75 billion. The CIA website has: Military expenditures: 4.3% of GDP (2006) country comparison to the world: 25. 4.3% of GDP is $ 279,027,000,000.

Now, the US numbers: 4.06% (take a look at that table). GDP:$14.44 trillion (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 2. (The EU is #1) $14.38 trillion (2007 est.) $14.09 trillion (2006 est.)

3. Some two-and-a-half millennia ago, the Chinese philosopher Laozi wrote: "Governing a large country is like frying a small fish." The advice was aimed at the scholar-officials that ran China—a Mandarin class that became a model of governance for the ancient world. The light touch has never been a hallmark of Communist rule, or of its statecraft. That matters greatly in a world in which influence and legitimacy derive more than ever from the attractiveness of a country's governing ideals.


No comments:

Post a Comment