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Avatar of GI KoreaBy on March 30th, 2013 at 3:49 am

Why China Will Not Over Take the US As the Global Leader

» by in: China

Despite the fact the Chinese economy and military spending is expected to surpass the US within the next 15 years Geoff Dyer over at Foregin Policy believes it does not mean that China will surpass the US in global leadership though:

“It’s over for America,” a Chinese academic told me in late 2008, two days after Goldman Sachs turned itself into a commercial bank in order to fend off possible collapse. “From here on, it’s all downhill.” Sitting in Beijing as American capitalism seemed to be hanging by a thread, it was easy to believe that one era was ending and another beginning.

The past half-decade should have been the glory years for the spread of Chinese influence around the world. After China’s ravishing 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, and its startling recovery from the financial crisis, it had a platform to push for a bigger voice in international affairs. At a time when the United States has been navel-gazing on its own deficiencies and beset by dysfunction and infighting in Congress, China has quickly become the main trading partner for a long list of countries, not just in Asia, which should give it all sorts of sway. And at the very least, many Chinese assume, the country should start to resume its role as the natural leader in Asia.

Yet the years since the crisis have demonstrated something very different. Rather than usher in a new era of Chinese influence, Beijing’s missteps have shown why it is unlikely to become the world’s leading power. Even if it overtakes the United States to have the biggest economy in the world, which many economists believe could happen over the next decade, China will not dislodge Washington from its central position in global affairs for decades to come.

China is certainly not lacking in ambition, even if many of its final goals are not clearly articulated. It is implementing plans which challenge U.S. military, economic, and even political supremacy. But on each front, the last few years have demonstrated China’s limitations, not the inevitability of its rise. [Foreign Policy]

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  • Onezime
    7:17 am on March 30th, 2013 1

    It’s “overtake”, not “over take”. ;-)

  • Kevin
    7:33 am on March 30th, 2013 2

    I don’t understand why the article is titled ‘Why China Will Not Overtake the USA…’ when there is absolutely no explaination of why at all. The best it offers is one sentence stating many that many economists believe it won’t happen.

  • Bobby Ray
    8:35 am on March 30th, 2013 3

    Maybe the misprint is that O is sposed to be a E.

    Why China Will Not EVER Take the US As the Global Leader

    That makes sense too.

  • Smokes
    8:40 am on March 30th, 2013 4

    ##: Lose something? Like your accent… :o

  • Liz
    10:17 am on March 30th, 2013 5

    I’m be more convinced that China will take us over, if they could produce something that doesn’t rust, or fall apart overnight, or disintegrate, or isn’t poisoned. Until then, I’ll sleep safe.

  • Jake
    10:54 am on March 30th, 2013 6

    With a looming population demographics, they will never.

    Besides, PER CAPITA GDP, they’re way way below Europe, Japan, and Korea. They just have a big population but big GDP does not mean anything with very big population and the Chinese government building ghost cities to “prop up” the GDP.

  • Glans
    10:55 am on March 30th, 2013 7

    When the leaders of China want to show the world that they are ready for the responsibilities of leadership, they will accept the Glans Plan for Korea.

  • Jake
    10:57 am on March 30th, 2013 8

    Also, the Chinese have forgotten how the US got out of the Great Depression..which is much worse than today’s recession.

    The Chinese should just focus on their people. It’s baffling that such an “emerging economy” with dreams of becoming a world power send poor illegal immigrants to third world countries like the Philippines to work illegally in mining companies over there.

  • Jake
    11:03 am on March 30th, 2013 9

    The only thing China can do is bully smaller and poorer nations who can’t do much with Chinese aggression but when strong nations like Japan and the US take action against Chinese arrogance, all the Chinese can do is complain and play the victim card.

    They’re better off showing their toys to Southeast Asians than the US or Japan, if they want to feel “almighty” :roll:

    Allow Japan to rearm and the Chinese will run like chickens.

  • Denny
    11:31 am on March 30th, 2013 10

    China’s population is aging, which will be far worse than the current aging situations in Japan and Korea since China is overpopulated.

  • Baek In Jae
    2:04 pm on March 30th, 2013 11

    Don’t worry, the Chinky people will soon enough die by the millions through SARS and Bird Flu.

  • Flunky Brewster
    3:29 pm on March 30th, 2013 12

    The greatest mistake the Chinese made was the 1 child policy, for many reasons, but most of all it makes the “best/brightest” want to flee for a better life.

  • Onezime
    5:20 pm on March 30th, 2013 13

    Don’t worry. Within the next 20 years there will be democracy in China, an inevitable consequence of which will be separatism.

  • Obama's Speech Coach
    8:14 pm on March 30th, 2013 14

    When the US stops buying Chinese goods, they won’t have have enough money to be on top… And we won’t have enough to pay ‘em back all the money we’ve borrowed…

  • Onezime
    8:16 pm on March 30th, 2013 15


    Once again, don’t worry. The US owes far more money to itself than to China. Look it up.

  • Steven
    8:57 pm on March 30th, 2013 16

    You need to keep in mind that for a generation China has been sending its youth to the USA for college eduations. That’s been rubbing off on them. While they are in the USA they spout the “Chinese Communist Party is #1″ line of B.S., but what will they do as their own personal level of freedoms as expectations are increased? As we have learned from history, a period of rising expectations can be a dangerous time.

  • Onezime
    9:13 pm on March 30th, 2013 17


    Countries like Sweden and Canada have established economic links with China since the late ’60s and early ’70s with the specefic intention of fostering democracy through economic growth.

  • Obama's Speech Coach
    2:49 pm on March 31st, 2013 18

    Onezime seems to ignore reality…

    Sure, the time of the USA may be drawing to a close (I’m not prophet from God); but we’re the reason the EU isn’t the 3rd Reich, the reason Japanese isn’t the language of government in Peking and Formosa (as opposed to Beijing and Taiwan), and so on…

    Fanbois are funny.

  • Lee
    8:30 pm on April 1st, 2013 19

    I like Stratfor’s analysis of the situation. The US has a huge geopolitical advantage over China in terms of navigable waterways and influential neighbours who aren’t hostile. There are robust and long-standing alliances with the US all over the world, while we could count the number of China’s allies using our fingers (Burma, not anymore. North Korea, perhaps?). It seems that for China to gain the respect of the international community, it will need significant social and political changes that are geared toward making it a more responsible and less aggressive superpower.

    The rise of China is fuelled by the exploitation of limited natural resources, low quality mass-production and the migration of cheap countryside labour to the coastal cities. This is inherently unsustainable as quality-of-life will improve and destruction of the environment will become a limiting factor. China may overtake the US in some economic parameters for a period of time, but in terms of assets like quality of educational institutes, innovative companies and the sheer dominance of the US armed forces, the US dwarfs even the most generous comparisons to China.

  • kangaji
    8:42 pm on April 1st, 2013 20

    Lee – thank you for bringing up the quality of the comments section.

  • Liz
    8:32 am on April 2nd, 2013 21

    My main contention with Stratfor’s analysis is that our close ties with allies and our military power depend on a large amount of funding. Lose the funding, and that will have a cascading effect as we lose influence. The Soviets once had a lot of influence, and the British before that. And so on.

    Especially true in the current global environment which is rapidly devolving as opposed to centralizing. It is a system susceptible to black swan events, increasingly difficult to calculate real security risk. It is also becoming increasingly difficult to come up with the funds to field the myriad of potential risks.

  • Glans
    12:08 pm on April 2nd, 2013 22

    Ian Johnson reviews three books:

    Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China’s Economic Dominance
    by Arvind Subramanian

    The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategy
    by Edward N Luttwak

    Restless Empire: China and the World Since 1750
    by Odd Arne Westad

    Subramanian argues that China’s economic growth will lead inevitably to political dominance.

    Luttwak says China won’t achieve dominance, because its policy makes other countries suspicious and hostile.

    Westad agrees that China’s foreign policy is stupid, but he expects it to rise anyway.

    Johnson’s review is at NY Books.

  • Dr.Yu
    4:50 pm on April 2nd, 2013 23

    I´m sorry that I’m going to be the one that will burst the bubble here but China will never catch up with the USA, AS LONG AS things remains the same with the USA.
    I hear so many catastrophic prediction about USA financial doom that seems that China does not need to do anything but just watch the possible USA collapse with the fall of its financial system.
    Of course China will suffer too but they are doing their home work to suffer the least with this could be scenario ….
    China’s fate is in the USA’s hands, but the fate of the USA is in its own hand …. Can the USA handle it?


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