China Still Lags Behind U.S. In Influence, Survey Shows (DAVID BARBOZA, 6/16/08, NY Times)
Despite China’s remarkable economic rise, and its efforts to spread its influence in Asia through what is known as “soft power,” the country still lags far behind the United States in that sphere, according to a survey to be released Tuesday.I just finished reading Peter Navarro's in many ways useful, The Coming China Wars, but there's a real oddity at its core. He offers a fine rehearsal of various problems China faces and/or is causing: it copies Western products rather than innovating; it then mass produces goods by paying exploitative wages; the quality of the goods is horrendous and often deadly; it lacks the natural resources to sustain the sort of growth it would require to become a developed nation; it pollutes at nearly suicidal levels, like Eastern Europe used to; it's running out of water as well as oil and metals and has built shoddy dams that imperil its own people; it has internal ethnic tensions, worker unrest, population imbalances that make a welfare system untenable; it exploits African and other workers abroad as it seeks to extract the raw materials it needs back home, making it the ugliest sort of imperialist power; the Communist Party has to ruthlessly repress free speech, the press, the Internet, religion, etc.; and so on and so forth. And yet, after going through these myriad problems -- and not making nearly enough of the multiple demographic crises that it faces -- Mr. Navarro then proceeds to warn us about China's emerging military might and the threat it represents. It's as if the Iron Curtain had never fallen and people never been forced to realize that a system so inept at self-governance, foreign relations, technological innovation, high-tech manufacture and motivating its own people is simply incapable of producing a military that's capable of challenging ours. As is nearly always the case throughout its history, when the shooting starts it will be the Chinese who are doing the dying, most likely at each others hands.
Sure, we ought to destroy China's nuclear capacity and space program, but just on general principle--that our enemies are allowed neither--not because they present a substantial threat to us in geo-strategic terms.
-BOOK SITE: The Coming China Wars
-REVIEW: of The Coming China Wars by Peter Navarro (Benjamin A Shobert , Asia Times)
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