China's leadership role on global stage will continue to grow

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 July, 2015, 3:57pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 July, 2015, 3:57pm

A new reality is emerging on the global stage: China can now make the rules.

That has not always been the case. Since 1945, the United States set the stage on which major powers interacted. Especially after the fall of the Soviet Union, the US alone could maintain order and prevent the collapse of the world system.

Recently, however, China's voice on the world stage has become more influential.

This more powerful presence results from various strategies, ranging from monetary and economic policies to military and technological development. China plays this stronger role for two reasons: first, its takeover of the world economy confirms the transfer of wealth from the West to the East. Second, China's new economic ranking allows for inevitable expansion of its military power. There's no mistaking what contributed to this change. Decades ago, it undertook a long-term vision to pursue economic and financial policies, now realised in the 21st century.

China's economic and military rise should make the US wonder about its new role. However, China's political elite must do more to challenge the US. Beijing needs to reconsider its foreign policy posture if it wants to be on an equal footing with the US. A more forthcoming foreign policy may convince other countries that China could replace the US as the lead actor. China also needs to open the doors to Western minds interested in moving there. The success of America stems not only from its technological and scientific advances, but also from its diversity.

Take away some of the best from the US, and China would be in a position to proclaim itself a great power and command the status and respect associated with it.

The US understands that China does not now pose a global threat to its strategic interests. Yet, conventional wisdom suggests that Beijing's latest strategies (global economic pre-eminence, the coming replacement of the US dollar with the yuan as a global currency, the South China Sea build-up) reflect new realities. I strongly believe it will use these dynamics to further its global strategy.

I'm convinced the country's leadership role on the global stage will continue to grow. The next step is to assert its hegemonic role in the Pacific realm. After all, the sleeping dragon has awakened and the world will soon be saying good morning.

David Oualaalou, professor of government,McLennan Community College, Waco, Texas, US