Where Is China Headed?

Where Is China Headed?

Books in Review

Thomas J. Christensen, The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2015).

Henry Paulson, Dealing With China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower (New York: Twelve, 2015).

Michael Pillsbury, The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2015)

China will soon become the largest economy in the world, if it has not already. Yet Chinese growth is slowing as it hits the “middle-income trap.” The Chinese leadership is already transitioning toward a service-based, domestic consumption-oriented economy. The Chinese economy is over-leveraged, and Chinese growth is unsustainable. China is acutely aware of its environmental problems, and its centralized government structure allows it to manage them better than democracies can. China’s size means that its environmental degradation is not only too big for its own government to manage, but it also renders all other countries’ attempts at environmental amelioration moot. China’s system of one-party rule promotes a meritocratic elite without the distortions of fund-raising and the 24-hour news cycle that produce such short-sighted leadership in the West. The lack of elections in China enables corruption and nepotism to run rampant throughout the party-state system. The United States is enabling China’s rise by diverting its attention and resources to places like Ukraine and Syria. The lack of Beijing playing a central role in those places shows that it is still not an active, engaged power on the global stage. China will replace the United States as the global hegemon. China’s neighbors will not even allow it to dominate its region. While China is preparing for war, its future depends on peace.

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