America in post-American world

Ghazanfar A Garewal

THOUGH China is turning into a global economic giant, it does not have a monetary system and doctrine which could be run at international level. Its economic dominance is greater, more varied than imagined, but it is still looking to the West for a model to opening up to the world. Its economic footprints on the world are increasing and it is outreaching to the world but with the western characteristics and models. Today, Beijing, projects itself as a perfect blend of the Eastern and Western spirit. China’s banking system, regulation of markets and allocation are based on western capitalism but largely regulated by the state, which right earned its name “Chinese-Capitalism.”
Markets in the US have become untamed now; they are no more regulated by the democratic state. In an ironic sense, the US is being regulated by them. With the rise of populism, idea that markets are self-adjusting and should be free has utterly failed. Moreover, the current economic power shift from the developed to emerging markets is highly fluid with no balance in sight. West has only short-term solutions to it as its growth is and will be stagnant for a considerably long time. If US fails to tame markets and elites, who are governing markets, China may come up to give world Capitalism after blending its own idea, market regulation by state. Would it be something unique, something unusual, that China would give to world?
Second, China has no alternative to system that US built in post-WWII world. Neo-liberalist institutions it created are still relevant to China. It is not a revisionist state either, at least not for now. Therefore, it doesn’t wish to create new international institutions and organisations. It wants to be something therein, something influential. It reflects in its bid to expand membership for UNSC. Xi Jinping’s address to central conference on foreign affairs indicates that he sees interdependence both as an opportunity and strength for Beijing’s growth. He views China as a country which is in no position to bring major adjustments in int’l system. A country short on capability and will to bring transformation in international system cannot bring one.
Third is Constructivist. Identity issues are at the heart of the US strategy to win “heart and minds” of the people across the world. Social and cultural values like fundamental freedoms, women empowerment, and freedom of expression are the hallmark of the American global influence. These ideas got legitimacy and recognition in every corner of the globe. The West identifies itself with US, which is natural and not unusual. Even the East, a large segment of it, identifies does so. To follow the American led-system has become a symbol of pride and prestige in today’s globalised world. Even China is unable to resist the influence of US liberal culture and values. So, China has to go a long way to create a link with the rest of the world strong enough to reduce American influence. Fourth, in a Post-American world, which Pro Joseph S Nye calls ‘multidimensional power’, locus of power will be numerous and located far and wide within matrix of global system. In this matrix, identity issues matter more to any superpower. On this front, US is at an advantageous position.
In a post-American world, the rising China is not willing to confront the liberal West because it sees interdependence its strength. Therefore, it is less likely that China contends with the US. As it does not have alternatives, which are fully functional, China is likely to emerge as a responsible stakeholder of the international system, designed by the West, and a mediator between the East and the West.
— The writer teaches at National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.
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