Posted on: Tuesday, 21 June 2022 – 20:30 | Last updated: Tuesday 21 June 2022 – 20:30
On June 9, the magazine Foreign Affairs published an article by author Nadig Ronald in which he discussed the efforts and efforts of China to expand its influence over the countries of the South to limit American global hegemony, and what about the United States is required. to confront Chinese efforts … We show from the article the following:
Chinese President Xi Jinping seeks to help his country achieve what he considers to be the heart of the world scene. To do so, Xi seeks to improve the country’s economic, political, diplomatic and military power. It also works with the rest of the Chinese leadership to confront US pressure in the Indo-Pacific region. Xi’s desire to turn China into the world’s most powerful country is accompanied by a natural goal: the need to stop what he sees as attempts by the West to contain it.
But China’s grand strategy has an additional component: to reaffirm its dominant position over another set of countries; Chinese policymakers are trying to create an sphere of influence that includes not only the immediate environment of their country, but also the emerging world as a whole, non-Western and largely undemocratic, or what is known as the “global south”. This region includes South and Central America, Africa and Asia. Ensuring hegemony over this large group of states will provide a strong base for China that will limit US action and influence. Ultimately, it could help bring an end to American global hegemony.
This strategy was embraced by Mao Zedong. Mao envisioned a united front that would bring together countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America, forming the Third World, in a common struggle against the First World (the United States and the West). Meanwhile, China was neutralizing the Second World, which consisted of middlemen such as Australia, Canada, Japan and others. Mao believed that a united front of developing countries led by China could surround and isolate the dominant powers. To this end, from the mid-1950s onwards, Beijing provided technical and financial assistance to the revolutionary and anti-colonial liberation movements in the Third World.
However, China’s internal unrest and limited economic resources eventually limited its ability to promote an effective anti-hegemonic alliance. When Deng Xiaoping came to power after Mao’s death, he abandoned his predecessor’s revolutionary zeal and prioritized the building up of China’s national power. But developing countries remained important to Beijing for various ideological and geostrategic reasons, and the Global South helped serve China’s national development goals, including the possibility of its continued access to energy and natural resources to stimulate its growing economy. Deng’s successors were also interested in the economic potential of the developing world, which encouraged Chinese companies to “go out” and conquer new markets abroad. Evidence of this is that the Sixteenth Congress of the Communist Party of China, in 2002, officially included developing countries as the “foundation” of China’s diplomacy.
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China feeds developing countries to achieve major geopolitical goals. In clearer words, through the open use of economic aid and conditional investment, China has caused countries in the global south to sever ties with Taiwan, which has helped to stifle the island diplomatically. Through a mix of incitement and anti-Western appeals, Beijing has used the voices of developing countries at the United Nations to avoid international condemnation of its ongoing human rights abuses.
Overall, China has seen the global south play a critical role in helping it outpace its dominant rival, especially as the lack of Western interest in these areas would make its task easier. Thanks to Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative, China’s presence is felt around the world, from island nations in the Pacific to the coasts of Atlantic Africa.
Not only that, but China’s economic investment in the global south will help boost the country’s long-term economic growth and prosperity. Africa’s middle class is expected to grow by up to 800 million people over the next 15 years – a number that could be a massive new source of demand for Chinese companies. Chinese companies building IT networks around the developing world may also be able to collect large sets of digital data that can be used to help train AI algorithms, an indispensable step towards realizing China’s ambition to to become a technology leader. Finally, as set out in a May 2022 report published by the National Bureau of Asian Research, China’s investment in African infrastructure could be designed to help transform the continent into a low-cost, integrated manufacturing platform. In short, it is clear that Beijing hopes it will help the countries of the global south reduce China’s dependence on US and European markets, while creating a viable sub-economic system that is largely separate from the West.
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In some of its efforts in the developing world, China is committed to ensuring the deeper participation of countries in the global south to delegitimize what the CPC regards as the “claimed universal values of the West.” Several developing countries have voted in international institutions on ways to strengthen China’s preferences, especially with regard to human rights. Many emerging economies are also participating in Chinese-led platforms such as the South-South human rights dialogue; And support for Chinese concepts such as the “community of a shared future”, and others. By doing so, Beijing gains more power over international discourse. There is no doubt that the failures of the West have helped the success of China’s efforts. Some developing countries are disappointed with the liberal democratic model supported by the United States, believing that it has not kept its promises.
Beijing’s growing influence in the developing world may also enhance its ability to project its military might. In 2017, it established a naval base in Djibouti, the East African country, and had plans to establish at least one more foreign military outpost in Cambodia. China is likely to take further steps to strengthen its permanent presence near other maritime choking points and along vital sea lanes.
But none of this means that Beijing will succeed in becoming the dominant economic, political and military power in the developing world. In clearer words, China may be wary of low investment returns from the Global South and see the region as an exhaustion on its resources and thus retreating on major overseas initiatives. In fact, its wave of belt and road projects has subsided in recent years and may remain low as the country’s economic growth continues to slow. Beijing will also want to avoid security swamps that jeopardize its interests. But no matter what problems lie ahead, there is no doubt that China sees the developing world as a theater of increasing strategic importance.
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It seems the United States has not been able to respond quickly enough to thwart China’s efforts towards the global south. Over the past decade, the United States has sought to mobilize infrastructure-building alliances and send high-ranking U.S. officials to the South Pacific islands only when these countries negotiate security agreements with China. None of this seems to be a well thought out strategy. Indeed, Beijing enjoys watching Washington’s reaction when rumors of a new Chinese naval base emerge.
Confronting Beijing requires the United States to set its own priorities rather than to formulate a strategy for the entire global south related to competition with China. The resources of the United States are not infinite, and Washington does not have to participate equally everywhere. Therefore, the United States must pay special attention to the places where democracy has begun to take hold. Undoubtedly, accountability, transparency, freedom and pluralism are a core value that matters to the people, and it also increases the efforts of the United States. to compete against China; Countries with independent media, NGOs and strong civil societies are more likely to detect the harmful effects of China’s investments and resist its attempts at corruption, polarization and coercion.
Nevertheless, the United States must remain willing to invest substantial resources in the developing world. It may seek to share the financial burden of these investments with its key Asian and European allies. But it may not have to spend large sums. Apart from monetary promises, Beijing’s other efforts in the global south do not have a tangible impact. For this reason, there is no reason why the United States cannot offer both (monetary promises, concerns about democracy) to countries that have often felt left behind.
Translated and edited by: Yasmine Abdel Latif Zard