The Fantasy of Taming China’s Rise

John Lee
05 May 2010 | FPA3
The Fantasy of Taming China’s Rise

‘The idea that the US can manage China is failing and America, including its allies like Australia, must confront the realities of dealing with Beijing,’ says John Lee.

Beijing’s behaviour has been partially tempered by its participation in a US led system, but it often behaves as a subversive participant within this order and these actions should not be ignored.

‘The current approach assumes that Chinese longer-term interests and ambitions can be moulded according to the circumstances of China’s rise.’

Whilst encouraging China to become a ‘responsible stakeholder’ has been useful in managing some aspects of China’s rise, it has failed to fundamentally alter China’s long term objectives.

China’s future ambition still remains in building its ‘comprehensive national power’ at the expense of America and its allies and partners. Chinese leaders and strategists believe that becoming the ‘preponderant power in Asia’ will require the substantial diminution, if not outright elimination, of the American presence.

‘The US must recognise that differing regional objectives, material interests, and political values prevent the existence of genuine US-China strategic cooperation—at least in the foreseeable future.’

Washington, and its allies such as Canberra, need to help strengthen the incentives for peace and simultaneously develop a strategic framework for competing effectively with China. Paradoxically, recognising the reality of competition increases the chances that the ongoing contest for influence can remain bounded, manageable and ultimately peaceful.

‘Canberra must work with Washington to maintain peaceful co-operation yet at the same time accept that there will continue to be areas of competition with China.’

 

Buy Hardcopy
Latest Publications

Preserving Peace as China Rises II: Preparing for a Post-American Asian Order
Benjamin Herscovitch
01 September 2014 | FPA10

With US leadership unable to guarantee peace and security in the Indo-Pacific this century, the region will need to transition to a balance of power system divided between China, the United States, India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). To mitigate dangerously destabilising tensions between these great powers, this report also recommends establishing new Asian security dialogues and…

READ MORE
Preserving Peace as China Rises I
Benjamin Herscovitch
13 March 2014 | FPA9

Inventive foreign policy that can simultaneously reassure the Indo-Pacific’s established powers and accommodate Chinese ambitions is urgently needed. This report proposes three complementary strategies to safeguard stability in the Indo-Pacific: Prolong US leadership; protect the territorial status quo; and pursue a policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ vis-à-vis territorial disputes. Dr Benjamin Herscovitch is a Beijing-based Research Fellow at The Centre for…

READ MORE
Accountable Authoritarianism: Why China’s Democratic Deficit Will Last
Benjamin Herscovitch
31 October 2013 | FPA8

The Chinese Communist Party’s evolving model of ‘accountable authoritarianism’ is set to prove that prosperity need not produce democracy. By pursuing a moderate reformist agenda within the framework of one-party rule, the CCP will secure its grip on government and ensure that political decisions remain at least minimally responsive to the will of the people. Benjamin Herscovitch is a Beijing-based…

READ MORE
Southeast Asia’s American Embrace
29 March 2012 | FPA7

All Southeast Asian states want to take advantage of the benefits of a rising China, yet none wants it to be in a position to dominate the region strategically. All welcome America’s strategic ‘pivot’ towards Asia because they hope it will provide a counterbalance to China’s growing weight. But like Australia, Southeast Asian states worry about a future where their…

READ MORE
Malaysian Dilemma: The Enduring Cancer of Affirmative Action
John Lee
23 February 2011

In March 2010, Prime Minister Najib Razak announced a New Economic Model (NEM) for Malaysia. Included in the NEM were pledges to revise and wind back many of the country’s race-based affirmative action policies under the New Economic Policy (NEP). The economic, social and cultural policies of the NEP, which have been in place since 1971, favour the 65% of…

READ MORE