Jean Pierre Lehmann, emeritus professor of international political economy at IMD, Lausanne, wrote an article on the above in the ST on 9 Apr. His story centres on the rise of international powers starting with the Portugal, Spain , the Netherlands, Britain, France, US, Japan and The USSR. He traced the history of these powers and the use of violence and wars as an intrinsic part of their ascents. War and violence as parts of conquest and world domination were inevitable before a new power took the pole position.
comes China. Would China’s rise as a super power be peaceful, be an aberration
and not in the mold of the western powers, predated by wars and violence? The western narrative has constantly harped
on a belligerent and expansive China that would swing its big clubs at everyone
on its way up, like the western powers. China would be like one of them, no
exception. So beware, China is coming.
is the Number Two super power after the US. In a way, China has risen,
peacefully, without the need for wars and conquest. This alone would have been
enough proof that a super power can rise without resorting to violence. China
is what it is today, without the need for conquest but by trade and
commerce. Is this enough to assuage the
western thinkers and media to accept China as a risen power, peacefully?
notion, China is not there yet. It has to overtake the USA and this last step
would force the issue and a war with the Americans. And in Lehmann’s view China
has the right to engage in wars. It was the victim of aggression when major
powers came to being. China should follow the same pattern in the rise of a
super power, through war and conquest, to challenge and defeat the incumbent
super power, the USA.
according to Lehmann, ‘if China succeeds in achieving a peaceful rise to great
power status – that is, dispensing with war, pillage, slavery, conquest and
exploitation – it will be the first rising great power to have done so.’ This
could be a welcoming outcome if China is left alone to continue in what it is
doing for the last 30 plus years. Unfortunately this may not be the case. The
Americans are in the way of the peaceful rise of China with its confrontational
approach towards China, the pivot to Asia, building anti China trade and
military alliances, escalating and precipitating armed conflict, particularly
in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea. Today it is reported that the Americans would
be conducting sea and air patrol in the South China Sea, not freedom of
navigation, as if the South China Sea belongs to the American Empire. Here it
is not China challenging the Americans to a show of force. It is the Americans
that are standing up to China, confronting China and putting up obstacles to
contain China’s rise.
American patrol is only a token show of force, it is a bad precedent. China
could ignore this little insect, but in principle it is bad. What the Americans
are doing, violating other country’s sovereignty and economic zones, China
could do the same. China could announce conducting air and naval patrol in
American economic zones as well. Both sides can play the game of bully. The
American’s blatant flexing of military muscle to exert control of the South
China Sea and in the Korean region should not be ignored by the world
view, the world must work with China to achieve this historical aberration,
that a super power can rise to the pole position without having to go the
disastrous and destructive road of war.
China’s march towards the Number One super power status, to eclipse the
Americans through economic means, economic development could be a possibility
and only a matter of when. It is in the interest of the rest of the world that
they work with China for a peaceful rise instead of following a confronational
course set by the Americans.
risen and will continue to rise peacefully as an economic and military super
power. The main protagonist against such an eventuality is the intent of the
Americans and its bellicose policies towards China. China is no western nation,
has its own culture and values, and is not seeking conquest and colonization.
It is a super power more in the economic sense and would grow to be a bigger
economic power, without having to control and colonise any country like the
western powers did.
China is not seeking war, and war is unnecessary in the
Chinese model to be the greatest power on earth. The world can and must work
with China for this to happen, peacefully. The world must not allow the
Americans to force an issue with China leading to a conflict of epic proportion
and destruction. The Americans too knew that a war with China is
inconceiveable. China knows that too and is trying to avoid a collision course
with the Americans.
sense prevails, the peaceful rise of China will be a welcome aberration in the
history of humankind.