By J Nastranis

NEW YORK (IDN) - Ahead of the third straw poll – an upcoming game of musical chairs – on August 29, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made public his preference for a woman to replace him as the head of the United Nations.

"It's high time now" for a female Secretary-General after eight men at the helm of the world organization in over 70 years, said Ban whose second term comes to an end on December 31, 2016.

"We have many distinguished and eminent women leaders in national governments or other organizations or even business communities, political communities, and cultural and every aspect of our life," he said in an Associated Press interview on August 11. "There's no reason why not in the United Nations."

- Photo: 2021

Is China Seeking to Remake the World in Its Own Image?

Viewpoint by Richard Hanania*

This is the second of a four-part series. Click here for Part 1

NEW YORK (IDN) – No other state was considered a fundamental threat to the U.S. over the issue, with a mix of external pressure and internal incentives leading them to ultimately develop more rigorous patent laws and enforcement. Many corporations, the parties most directly affected, treat the problem as the price of doing business.

Perhaps, then, the threat is that China seeks to remake the world in its own image? This is a popular trope among the national security establishment.

H.R. McMaster, perhaps the quintessential representative of this class,  says China is “leading the development of new rules and a new international order that would make the world less free and less safe.”

When one scratches the surface of these arguments, it is clear that most of the indictment against China involves things that every country does, but only looks frightening if you completely ignore American behavior. Chinese loans to poor countries are said to trap them in debt, but the evidence doesn’t bear this out.

The same criticisms don’t often extend to the sorts of loan programs offered by the International Monetary Fund, even though these have often been as controversial as, and much more comprehensive than, any Chinese financial aid.

But despite the growth of this position among the American establishment, still others accuse it of strategically respecting the sovereignty of other states.

In March, Daniel Tobin of the Center for Strategic and International Studies testified to Congress that China continues to promote the normative principles of “mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual nonaggression, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.”

Ted Piccione of the Brookings Institution writes of China under Xi putting forth “orthodox interpretations of national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs…”

While China is not blameless, one could reasonably make the argument that, from an international perspective, it has had easily the most peaceful rise to great power status of any nation of the last several hundred years.

While China has carried out the re-annexation of Tibet, blockaded Taiwan diplomatically, and launched internal colonization of territories like Xinjiang, such actions always occur under the ideologically important claim that they are internal to China.

The U.S., conversely, undertook external colonial ventures during its rise and still regularly sanctions unquestionably sovereign nations. China’s territorial claims are naturally controversial internationally but are modest compared to those sought by other powers—not least the U.S. itself, which early in its history declared the entire Western Hemisphere as off limits to the nations of Europe.

Its interventionist policies since then have led to the overthrow of governments, the killing of leaders, and the economic sanctioning of entire nations.

Perhaps, as the McMasters of the world claim, this is all because Beijing is biding its time in hopes of world domination. Alternatively, China may be an inwardly focused civilization that, while it may have disputes with its neighbors, is not on a mission to fundamentally remake the world.

While it would naturally prefer rules that favor it and resists any principles that would legitimize regime change supported from abroad, Beijing does not seek to fundamentally replace the UN or rewrite international law.

Its strategy has mostly sought stability and growth within the rules of the system developed by Western democracies in the aftermath of the Second World War. While its current position of strength is recent, it has not yet broken from this precedent.

This interpretation is most consistent with past behavior and, given the costs of American militarism abroad, with common sense about how a rational actor should be expected to act.

It is also consistent with the arguments of the most honest kind of “China hawk,” who argues that the real problem with Beijing is not that it wants to dominate the world, but that it might stop the U.S. from doing so in a unipolar manner.

* The author is the President of the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology and a research fellow at Defense Priorities. He holds a PhD in political science from UCLA and JD from the University of Chicago. The following are excerpts from the article, which was originally published at Palladiummag on December 29, 2020. [IDN-InDepthNews – 08 January 2021]

Photo: American cartoon, published in 1898: “Remember the Maine! And Don’t Forget the Starving Cubans!” Source: Wikimedia Commons

IDN is flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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