The U.S. foreign policy establishment is increasingly adopting a ‘Strong China’ paradigm. It will do well to remember that China is simultaneously weak – internal fissures like inequality, lack of social institutions for redress, social unrest, corruption and environmental destruction could create havoc in the country and the world.
On December 12, 2006, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace sponsored an event with Visiting Scholar Joshua Kurlantzick and former ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia Dr. David Shinn. This event was organized in coordination with the release of Kurlantzick’s Policy Outlook, “Beijing Safari” and was moderated by Carnegie Senior Associate Minxin Pei.
Fifteen years ago, it would have been impossible to identify a uniquely East Asian identity. But new generations and more interdependence seems to be developing a common culture and greater cooperation. This may finally halt long-held animosities.
Many analysts predict that China’s economy, even if its growth trajectory gradually slows, will be larger than the U.S. economy before the middle of the 21st century. But without domestic reform, will China's economy unravel before overtaking the U.S.?
Though some African liberals and Western countries criticize China’s approach to Africa, the continent also could present an opportunity for Washington and Beijing to cooperate. The United States and China have many overlapping interests in Africa, including preventing failed states, assuring a steady supply of oil and gas, and fighting disease.