Published on Global Research.ca, by José Miguel Alonso Trabanco, January 6, 2009.
Nowadays, most International Relations analysts acknowledge China’s potential to achieve superpower status over the course of the next decades due to its impressive economic growth, which was triggered by Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms program (inspired by theorists like Friedrich List).
Chinese power has also increased considerably in military, geopolitical, trade and financial affairs. Some experts have even contemplated the possibility of China becoming the world’s greatest power, overtaking the US. For instance, Goldman Sachs has predicted that China’s GDP will surpass America’s sometime circa 2050.
However, one must always bear in mind that if Beijing indeed succeeds in becoming the ‘first among equals’, it would not be the first time such event takes place. The ‘Middle Kingdom’ was already a mighty empire thousands of years before the US was even founded. Thus, China (both as a State and as a civilization) has flourished for centuries and has outlived the Roman, Persian, Arabian, Turkish, Mongol, and British empires, which is by no means an easy accomplishment …
… On the other hand, Tibet is an issue Washington and Brussels have exploited in order to fracture Chinese internal unity. It is vital to take into consideration that even open source intelligence material confirm that the Dalai Lama himself was working undercover along the CIA in order to undermine Chinese control over Tibet during the early decades of the Cold War. One can only wonder if such collaboration continues today. Natural resources play an important part as well: Tibet might have some the world’s largest reserves of uranium. Moreover, this autonomous region is rich in gold, copper, drinking water and could even possess valuable deposits of both oil and gas.
In March 2008 a series of riots broke out all over Tibet and especially in its capital Lhasa. Beijing accused the ‘Dalai Lama gang’ of inciting unrest which was eventually restrained by Chinese law enforcement. The Dalai Lama’s Western supporters took political advantage of this situation and launched a PR attack against China’s government. Some Western leaders even threatened to boycott the Beijing Olympics. The somewhat naïve ‘Free Tibet’ crowds even held protests in some Western capitals. During these events, it is critical to take into account that Moscow expressed a strong diplomatic and political support for Beijing.
The Han Chinese themselves are not immune to foreign geoestrategists prone to balkanize their rivals. For example, the Falun Gong movement (described by some as a ‘cult’) has been outlawed by the Chinese government. In strategic circles, it has been argued that Beijing regards Falun Gong as a CIA front whose task is to provoke instability and induce turmoil in the Chinese mainland.
Moreover, China’s rural population who live in the country’s heartland can also become an attractive target to someone willing to spread political discontent because they have not yet caught up with the wealth and prosperity experienced by the coastal industrial cities.
It seems that China is continuously advancing toward a greater role in the international system’s distribution of power. The ‘Middle Kingdom’ is increasingly assertive in defending its interests. The West (North America plus Europe) along with its followers (Japan, Australia, et al.) are willing to counter China’s rise. Nevertheless, Beijing is more determined than ever to recover its great power position and has forged strategic alliances (with Moscow and the Central Asian Republics) as well as partnerships in East Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere. Additionally, China and its allies have been perfecting a strategy to challenge Western plans to contain Eurasia’s rising powers. We can therefore anticipate that such rivalry will intensify as the stakes become higher and higher. (full long text).
(Global Research Articles by José Miguel Alonso Trabanco).