December 17, 2004

China and Internationalism

Thomas Barnett has a damn fine analysis of the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Hegemon in the East. By denying China access to cheap Middle Eastern oil, they're forced to prowl for resources in the nether regions of the world: namely, Sudan and Iran. As Barnett says, that's a problem on all fronts, though I don't really see an obvious solution—oil's scarce and getting scarcer, and unless we develop a sensible energy policy, we have no real choice but to trade elbow jabs with China on this front.

Still, not everything is a zero-sum game—that's the beauty of capitalism—and the subtly emerging clashes between China and the U.S. can be headed off in other ways. Namely, we could invite Beijing to play a larger role in the IMF and the World Bank, and end our obsession with regional trade agreements. It's a vastly underreported story, but the CAFTA-like mentality of Robert Zoellick and the rest of the Bush USTA is exacerbating competition with Asia, rather than drawing everyone closer together. Above all, Beijing shouldn't distrust the international economic system, or believe it's all to China's disadvantage.
-- Brad Plumer 2:08 PM || ||