There is an inherent difference in the approach of the two major global powers; China and the United States to international relations. The latter seeks a world in which the nations have a toothless national defence and remain obedient so that it could overpower them at will for its hegemonic objectives.
In order to placate the lust of its worldwide dominance, U.S. invaded and intervened in several sovereign countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and toppled some of the legitimate governments to rationalize the deployment of 200,000 troops at hundreds of military bases around the world in the name of preserving freedom and security.
China’s emergence as a major economic power in the last several decades, without posing a threat to overrun the sovereignty of any nations while promoting the notion of cooperation and engagement, injected a fresh impetus to the world and ripped up decades-old American model of controlling by force.
Over the decades, China has achieved this phenomenal success through its Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in other’s internal affairs, equality and mutually benefit, and peaceful coexistence. China’s commitment to stick by peace and stability laid the foundation of its development, as well as winched up hopes of poverty-stricken Asia and Africa continents.
Besides proposing a win-win solution to transform the lives of people and making peace an axiom of its foreign policy, the trillion-dollar Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) is opening new horizons for inter-state and cross-regional trade cooperation, giving harmony a chance to prevail over tensions and reducing the risk of confrontation.
The ambassadorship of peace, furtherance of multilateralism, idea to share the developmental berries and investment through mega infrastructure plan demonstrated China’s effectiveness, as a Pew Research Center’s survey in December 2019 found that Chinese economic growth was welcomed by the emerging markets.
Protection of national integrity is the fundamental right of all countries. While Beijing pushes for dialogue to defuse friction and believes that the negotiation is the way to move forward, the sole purpose to sharpen its military prowess is to secure the border, maintain peace and safeguard national interests.
It’s nothing like the U.S., whose invasions and interference in other regions have fueled volatility and economic mess. China is trying to bind the wounds of the subjugated nations through construction of roads, seaports, job creation and welfare projects and has pledged its support for any peace process that could lead toward stability and strengthening of governance system.
The unequivocal divergence in the approaches and their implementations, with Washington militarizing the world for its ambitions and Beijing presenting a trade-conducive solution for a peaceable global environment, is the real source of contention between the two largest economies.
Islamabad, a victim of the U.S. frequent drone violations and someone that carried the weight of American war in Afghanistan in the form of enormous human casualties and economic losses, now sees its economic future linked with Beijing. In an interview with Al Jazeera published on September 3, Prime Minister Imran Khan termed Pakistan’s relations with China “better than ever before” and showed interest in learning from Chinese development through which it lifted millions of its people from poverty.
By increasing its two-way trade with Beijing by 6 percent in July, ASEAN also endorsed Chinese vitality for boosting bilateral economic growth. The joint statement following the recent consultations between the two sides, stressing on the importance of multilateral trading system amid coronavirus pandemic, was a blunt rebuttal of the U.S.’ unilateralism and propaganda about China’s “economic coercion.”
Germany’s open support for multilateralism and Italy tagging China a key strategic partner and rejection of unilateral approaches show Europe is waking up to the aggressive, confrontational and protectionist policies of the Trump administration in the follow up to the White House cold war mentality.
The time for American hegemonic discourse to drive a wedge between Beijing and the rest of the world and reconsolidate its withering global dominance by propagating the China threat is over.