MONALISA VERMA/MILITARY ANALYST
The present round of US-China competition, best attributed as Cold War-2.0, for garnering geopolitical influences across the world and particularly in Asian geostrategic setting could bring immense benefits for regional powers whose bargaining capacity can increase many folds. To end the present stalemate and power status quo, which has been persisting since end of the Cold War-1.0, is increasingly becoming directionless and unnecessarily affecting the global order. China’s emergence into the global stage may have created a set of chaos but it is a necessary evil before one can witness rule of law and a new global order.
The recent G-7 statement attributing China as a major threat in near-to-medium term and a distant rival which can upset present global order shows that the Cold War-2.0 is already set into motion.
But the reaction of China was equally repulsive in nature which questioned the very validation of such a statement from a group which can no longer control the fate the global governance and power matrix.
Even the Chinese are calculating their next move to throw a new challenge to US-led present global order, which many senior Chinese leaders privately dwell upon, could happen before end of 2021.
Interestingly, both the years - 2021 and 2022 – are very important for China and the world which is just showing signs of recovery from Corona virus crisis. But Beijing is realizing that China has too little time or patience to wait endlessly for gaining its so-called rightful place among the comity of nations.
Once an advocate for multi-polarity, Chinese leaders in last decade had started talking about bipolar world by 2025 or best known as G-2 concept which was first mooted by Tang Jiaxuan and later proposed by Hu Jintao Government for dealing with regional and global issues, although the basic idea was first generated by Fred Bergsten of US for economic stability between China and US.
Now, China talks of unipolar world whereby replacing US as the global pre-eminence power or solo super power in the medium to long term, perhaps by 2049. The year also will complete 100 years of CPC rule, may be the longest successful dominance by any single party in modern Chinese history.
The very concept of history in China is flawed. Most Chinese scholars consider past means history. In fact, past is attributed to movement of time whereas history means record of events.
China does not have a fairly independent history as emperors always appoint pet historians to record their own glory not the actual events. Dynasties have failed from a visibly strong rule to ground zero, just overnight. But to give an idea to the rest of the world about its imperial glory China regularly goes back on time and talks of its core empire which was always shining like sun despite periodic clouds engulfing the bright light.
Often, China attributes to Yuan dynasty as its glorious past from where the Chinese Yellow Empire prospered. The Yuan dynasty actually belongs to the Mongols. Indeed, Mongol warlord Genghis Khan led numerous attacks against Chinese kingdoms for almost 20 years. The Mongols completely eradicated the Western Xia culture and started the Yuan Dynasty that ruled China for several generations.
By 1227, Genghis Khan’s empire controlled 1/3rd of Asia. During his lifetime, Khan is said to have killed 20 to 40 million people. He had a large harem of women. As a result, almost 0.5 percent of the world’s population can trace their ancestry to Genghis Khan.
The Mongols mostly saw China as a part of their empire and never gave much thought to native Chinese people or traditions. They divided China into four hierarchical groups.
The Mongols were the top group, followed by non-Han people. Northern Chinese people made the third group while the Southern Chinese people were relegated to the bottom of the society. Chinese scholars who were experts in Confucianism were seen with suspicion and banned from occupying top government positions.
Thus, the myth of Chinese rule in the history and concept of imaginary Middle Kingdom may bring devastating consequence if the CPC leaders pursue such an idea today. The present global order is redundant, no doubt. The world cannot be a trans-Atlantic club dominated by Euro Christians.
But to replace it with another authoritarian regime where the world will again become unipolar, is not a choice. The so-called Chinese pre-eminence will face strong resistance in the days of information revolution and global digital life which hardly bothers about nation-state concept.
The globe is becoming a seamless free movement space where citizenship hardly matters. People are looking for their own interests and demanding fast improvement in quality of life than adhering to age old concept of national boundaries. By end of 2030, a significant number of people will carry multi-national identities and perhaps become a regional or global citizen.
But the rivalry between US-China might create chaos in short to medium term, yet in the long term it will bring rich dividend. The rivalry is now even bringing discussion about countries like Djibouti, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Yemen and Kiribati which are hard to find in the global map due to their strategic importance.
More rivalry between the two will certainly change the global order at a faster pace and exhaust their critical mass where a pyrrhic victory will liberate them from intoxication to dominate the globe.