Western Centric View to a Sino Centric View…

14 Feb

Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, compares China’s recent economic growth to that of the Industrial Revolution in Britian in the 18th century. China is the embodiment of the ongoing East Asian transformation – the global trnasformation from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Europe to Asia, from America to China. A transformation in which the collective West is wholly unprepared for. Political scholars such as Jacques, Rudd all argue China will one day be the sole global hegemonic power especially in light of China’s economic growth, growing at an average of 8% a year over the past 30 years. Inevitably, soon enough the world will be seen from a Sino-centirc view rather than our current Western-centric position. For the majority of the 20th century America has been the dominant global force in international relations eliciting a Western state focus within ininternational relations.

Consequently, one has to question whether the world is ready for this meteoric structural change in the global order? What does a Sino-centric world look like? With China as the leading global power how will it exercise its power in the future international order? Will it accept the culture, norms and structure of the postwar order? Or will China seek to change it? Chinese scholars are currently searching their history for leigitmate forms to explain their future.

So, what then is to be done? Is it possible for the west to embrace a central organising principle as we engage China over the future of the international order? Rudd argues for the West to embrace a central organising principles to engage China over the future of the international order. It will require collective intellectual effort, diplomatic co-ordination, sustained political will and, most critically, continued, open and candid engagement with the Chinese political elite.

Firstly, the international community must allow for a louder Chinese voice at the global negotiating table. The international system should not be seen to be exclusively the expression of western interests. The history of European colonisation has done much to diminish the moral authority of the colonisers in the eyes of those in the previously colonised world. For thousands of years China has been suppressed by imperial powers highlighted by ‘the century of humiliation’ where the Chinese were defeated in both the Opium War and the Sino-Japanese War, while the Treaty Ports System imposed by the British saw a Western values and practices replacing traditional Chinese values. It is critical that the future international system be based on universal values, as expressed in the various normative codes of the United Nations system, rather than the narrow interests of a particular group of states.

Secondly the current liberal internationalist order, which has preserved the global peace and enhanced prosperity for two-thirds of a century, must be sustained with China included within this order. This will entail enhanced co-operation with China on the world’s security, macroecono¬mic, macrofinancial, trade, investment, social, environmental and humanitarian challenges, based on the agreed norms of the present global rules-based order.

Thirdly, if, for whatever reason in the future, China steps beyond these agreed norms, the rest of the international community should be prepared not only to say no resolutely, but also to act accordingly. Understandably, the international community will hedge to some extent against this possibility.

I for one have vehement optimism that the international order will accept, embrace and work with China as it soon evolves into the global hegemonic power that scholars have predcited for decades. Through international cooperation, the incorporation of elements of Chinese society mixed in with the current Western liberalising order we can see a century of peacefulness, economic prosperity et al.It is axiomatic that
the foundations for a Pacific century have been built , now it is up the international community to slowly reposition their Western centric lens to accomodate a hegemonic Chinese power as the centre of the world.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/international-politics/2012/07/kevin-rudd-west-isnt-ready-rise-china Kevin Rudd -‘The West isn’t Ready for the Rise of China’.


One Response to “Western Centric View to a Sino Centric View…”

  1. gcb1g12 February 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    A Chinese global hegemonic power will require a US downfall.

    China’s future world position is generally accepted to be that of a superpower, but the question is will it be the greatest superpower? For only then will the sino-centric view become an internationalised norm.

    The US has been the world’s greatest superpower since world war 2, arguable second at some stages during the cold war, nevertheless it still remains political as the greatest power. But with a sino-centric view of the world and international policy, will China displace the US in this role?

    The US commands the greatest vote share in the IMF (16.8% to China’s 3.82%) and is arguably the biggest influence within the UN and world bank. Therefore in order to have a sino-centric world, the US must lose this power and influence. However with China’s growing economic importance in the world and US economic reliance on the Chinese economy, this may lead to a political shift in the developed world.

    China unarguably has had a growing influence throughout the third world during the cold war, and a growing influence in Africa, surpassing the US in trade. Though, in order to become the prophesied global hegemon it will have to increase its influence in the developed world.

    I think the future of China undoubtedly involves a growth in international political power, as well as economic strength, however I see it as localised to Asia and the developing world. Chinese dispute over neighbouring territory and increase in navy build-up explicitly show a growth in power, but in order to rise to the hegemon the US needs to be displaced and I for one cannot see that happening any time soon.


    US economic dependence on China – http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2009-11-16/world/36875463_1_chinese-economies-nicholas-r-lardy-china-specialist

    Chinese African trade – http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2009-11-16/world/36875463_1_chinese-economies-nicholas-r-lardy-china-specialist

    Chinese naval build up – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-16063607

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