A US and China-led meeting, like the 2009 G20 summit in London at the height of the global financial crisis, could bolster the world economy, especially if coupled with concrete support to developing countries, such as an emergency lending mechanism.
The challenge of the renminbi and euro to dethrone the dollar will not go far unless China and the euro zone get to grips with their own structural problems. US economic vulnerabilities won’t become a major factor, either, if the economy remains innovative.
Trump’s blunders in the region, including his continued absence from the East Asia Summit, damage US strategic credibility and make it harder for smaller states to resist China’s influence. All China has to do, basically, is show up.
Brexit Britain needs friends both old (Washington) and new (Beijing), but openly courting Chinese investment, especially in tech, will sever transatlantic relations, while hewing to US sanctions will lose Britain the massive Chinese market.
Civilisational fault lines are fluid and have been used throughout history to mobilise domestic support against a rising geopolitical rival. The US State Department’s appeal to an inevitable civilisational confrontation should be challenged.
Entrepreneurship is now part of China’s soft power push in Africa, Southeast Asia and beyond. The US president’s disparaging attitude to developing countries means America may miss the opportunity to spread an idea that had its roots in its soil.
The blow of the UK leaving the union will be considerable, but it is only an exacerbating factor. In a European parliamentary election year, economic stagnation and a turn towards populist politics are far more worrisome.
China today is grappling with many complex problems it has yet to solve, and that will undercut any hegemonic aspirations, if it has any.
The US has the determination and the military credibility to make the Quad into an Asian Nato. But the alliance won’t work unless all partners are on board, and China can sink it with some strategic outreach.
Xi Jinping and his strategists have not miscalculated the window of opportunity that American isolationism presents. However, China’s rise will require finesse with its neighbours and a more cosmopolitan attitude both at home and abroad.
Back-to-back summits with the current and rising hegemon give the EU a chance to take the initiative in providing for its own security and securing a trade deal with Beijing, which may bolster a WTO-led order threatened by Trump
For all the talk of the impact on China’s economy, the biggest casualty of a prolonged economic conflict with America would be its attitude to the outside world, and thus the global order.
US protectionism in the form of visa restrictions on Chinese seeking to study in American universities would only harm the country, which has long benefited from being able to attract top talent.