Friday, December 20, 2013

China's risky rise

China is well on its way to become the new superpower. That brings risks. It was Germany's bumpy rise that contributed a lot to the two world wars.

Yet it doesn't have to be. The rise of the US to superpower went without bumps. Sure, it helped that the competition was broke after World War II and that it had friendly relations with the UK - its main rival for the position. But there are lessons to be learned.

The US largely kept to itself until World War II. That war was its entry on the world stage. It was an entry on demand. And when it had made its contribution in and after the war nobody questioned its right on superpower status.

In contrast Germany aimed for the attributes of its new big power status and it the process generated a lot of conflicts that created a climate of distrust and conflict and set the stage for World War I.

Under Deng China mostly followed the American model and focused on its internal affairs. Unfortunately lately it has increasingly followed Germany's model.

The German model looks at first sight attractive. But it is a matter of being penny wise and pound foolish. In the end you pay the price for being a pain in the ass. If you follow the American model on the other hand - jumping in where it is needed, for example in peace missions - you will earn your status as superpower and be rewarded.

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