US/China relations as the Washington meetings close

Last week saw the USA and China hold three simultaneous Dialogues led by two Vice Premiers and a State Councillor on then Chinese side. The mood music was quite constructive but there is an election coming and tough words will be spoken, but time will tell if they are serious or for an election.

I have always believed that 2015-2020 would be the time when the USA and China would have to transition to a new relationship.

It is clear that the future peace, stability and development of the world depends on USA – China relations.

Any moment in their testing out of each other is always a risky time to take the temperature. We have a new and assertive Defence Secretary Carter. And we have the Chinese building a slightly bigger island than other nations nearby.

Japan seems to have won its military agenda from the USA in exchange for agreeing to the TPPA conditions – pity they did not agree in 2005 in Hong Kong to save the Doha Round of WTO.

China really launches the Silk Roads with the President visiting Pakistan and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, but they show their global colours by welcoming some 60 nations into AIIB.

USA companies, like Apple, are forging ahead in China, taking advantage of opportunities that European companies like BP rejected. The ascendancy in China, by Chinese decision, is with the USA, and Europe is looking like it may have come under the control of G7 and NATO.

The Americans can see the future in China is the Free Trade Zones and are busy investing. The Koreans and Asians, the South Americans, the Africans are all moving ahead as are the Russians and Eastern Europeans and the central Asians. The centre of China is moving West and the future is regions of which the first one around Beijing is taking real shape.

We have two systems and two forces whose dynamics can easily take them into conflict, but whose interests lie in managing change.

Some postulate this is about the change of hegemons, the emergence of a new empire, because that is how the world, or Europe, has managed its development over the last 3000 years.

That is a pretty powerful historical fact and change is not lightly achieved.

But the world has changed. The European Union has ended European wars to some extent. The E.U. is not winning yet but the world should wish for its success as it prevents a lurch back into hideous European wars. Europe and Russia need to find a new way forward and the USA needs to find a better way to influence Europe than through NATO.

But Europe is a power centre that never existed as a consensus between nations.

We need to be thinking of a European counterpart on the East side of the Silk Roads. Maybe it is SCO.We need to be thinking of Russia joining Europe.

The Americans have been thinking and planning for at least 18 years – see Brzezinski’s book of 1998 – the Grand Chessboard. In fact the Americans and Chinese have both thinking in these big ways for over 25 years.

India, Japan, China, Asia as a whole , an emerging Africa and a developing South America, means we have a world that is interconnected and inter-dependant in a way that has never been seen before.

It is not that the USA is fading and China is emerging. It is that the world has globalised and is changing.

A war between the USA and China would bring that to a halt for generations as the nuclear and cyber wars would destroy so much of the fabric of globalisation.

It is a route that brings no winners. Those in the USA who believe in their undoubted power must, by now, recognise that China found their Achilles heel and will attack it if attacked.

China’s ideologues must realise that a war would lay waste huge tracks of their agriculture and industry.

It is not a realistic proposition. Both sides know that but both know their wings of military fantasy can get out of control. So as they both use those wings for tactical purposes so they both know that Ukraine’s are a sign of the wrong way.

The benefits for both nations of investing in each other’s nations , and globally , and, most of all, in the new continent of Eurasia are so huge and so beneficial that they will find a new way of working together.

It will not be easy , and , often, not pretty but let’s hope they will find the way.

If they do not they will lose such an excellent prize and condemn humanity.

Cold wars in a globalised world is not a strategic option. You cannot seal a Western world as you might have done in 1945. You cannot create an insulated Asia led by China. It is not going to happen.

The world is now truly round and must be treated as a global world that needs organisation and recognition of its differences and its global unifying features.

We need statesmen and women who can see and achieve that.

Our Government can play a leading role in helping the forward dynamic.

China’s managed capitalism is an excellent contribution to the global system and the USA’s dynamic innovation is crucial. Together their sums of the total are greater than the parts.

We need to focus on new structures and systems to manage Eurasia.

This is just my opinion.

Stephen



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