The China Model Debate and Political Proselytizing

As the economic success story that is China continues to roll on, so too has the China Model debate, a seemingly endless discussion about the relative merits of Western-style democracy and so-called authoritarian capitalism. As China’s presence in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America strengthens, some have criticized U.S. efforts to spread democracy around the globe through the use of both hard and soft power. But is the West really in a global fight that pits democracy versus the “China Model” in a soft power struggle of political proselytizing? While the U.S. seems to be actively engaged in this conflict, evidence of China’s participation is difficult to identify.

Writing in the New York Times, Anand Giridharadas introduces this conflict between rival political theories:

A stunning idea has entered respectable American discourse of late: that China is not just an economic rival but also a political competitor, with a political system that, despite its own flaws, reveals grave flaws in American democracy and might be inspiring to wavering nations.

In the battle over these theories, there are two available tactics: hard power and soft power. The former includes military force, while the latter has been referred to as “leading by attraction.”1

In the past ten years, there are various examples of American utilization of both hard and soft power. On the military side, the U.S. has invaded both Afghanistan and Iraq. At the same time, the U.S. has attempted to project its soft power via the Voice of America, Arabic media outlets in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, and scores of other diplomatic, charitable and educational programs around the world.

In an interview with Der Spiegel in 2009, Joe Nye explained both the sources of soft power and the goals of the U.S.:

It comes from three main sources: One is the culture of a country — in the case of America, that ranges from Harvard to Hollywood. Second, political values can be very attractive for other countries, from democracy to freedom of speech to opportunity. And the third one is the legitimacy of a country’s foreign policy — meaning that if your foreign policy is considered to be legitimate by other nations, you are more persuasive.

One of the stated objectives of both the Iraq War and the continued U.S. presence in Afghanistan was the spread of democracy, often supported by reference to the Democratic Peace Theory. In other words, not only has the U.S. been willing to utilize soft power to spread its political message to other nations, but it also has taken the extra step of using military force to do so.

Critics have pointed out that this muscular approach has backfired on the U.S. to the benefit of countries like China that offer an alternative political structure. Giridharadas explains:

The trend toward reappraisal of China comes after hard years for democracy enthusiasts: Iraq and Afghanistan; Hamas’s election; the disappointment of many of Europe’s colored revolutions; persistent repression in Iran and Myanmar; an economic crisis that free societies were unable to prevent and unravel; growing sclerosis in the U.S. political system; and China’s extraordinary success, despite what Westerners have often regarded as a political system incompatible with success.

It certainly looks like the U.S. is in for a tough fight. It has gone to war over democracy and is now struggling against critics that are holding up the Chinese system as an alternative. But what are the Chinese doing? Are they willing political proselytizers, trying to win the hearts and minds of global citizens over to their way of thinking?

On the contrary, China’s use of soft power suggest goals grounded more in realist concerns over the supply of commodities, international trade, and the non-interference with what Beijing sees as domestic matters.

Many of the soft power tools used by China include financial assistance, such as the $40 million given to trading partner Algeria to construct an opera house, or the various infrastructure projects throughout Africa that China is funding for profit and goodwill.

Other uses of soft power by the Chinese include cultural exchanges, such as the successful Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms, programs that fund teaching of Chinese language and culture in foreign schools, the 2008 Olympics and Expo 2010 in Shanghai, and the use of broadcast media, such as China Radio International and China Central Television International.

Although some critics have interpreted this cultural outreach as a way for China to indoctrinate the West with Marxist ideology, the reality is that debates over the relative merits of political institutions are not allowed on State-run media and would never be inserted into the curricula of educational programs.

As Carnegie’s Joshua Kurlantzick explained in a 2006 policy brief, China’s soft power has had little to do with ideology in recent years:

Since the late 1990s . . . Beijing has better tied assistance to discrete policy goals, including promoting Chinese companies, cultivating political actors, and mitigating concerns about China’s economic rise.

However, this successful use of soft power has resulted in the so-called “Beijing Consensus” being held up as an alternative model to the Washington Consensus, particularly among Southeast Asian countries. Will this necessarily lead to the adoption of authoritarian style political structures?

Although it is possible that leaders of nascent authoritarian regimes will use China’s economic success as a justification for stricter political controls, widespread adoption of the “Beijing Consensus” model, which as formulated by Joshua Cooper Ramo in 2004 is an economic development (not political) model, is not evidence of a systematic push by China to encourage others to copy its political structure.

In the end, it may be that the U.S., an unabashed political proselytizer, is seeing ideological competition where none exists, and that China, undeniably an economic competitor to America, is not actively engaged in an international struggle over political theory but rather using its soft power to support traditional economic and strategic interests.


  1. The quote is from Joe Nye, the Harvard Professor who coined the term “soft power.” []


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  1. Agree strongly. Any appeal the “China Model” has for developing nations or even “wavering” nations lies only in its acceptance of authoritarianism. Who in power doesn’t lust after more power and control?

    Much of the fear the “China Model” fosters amongst Westerners or Americans or democracy-enthusiasts generally comes from their own insecurity. China is hardly pushing much less proselytizing an ideological or political model for other countries to adopt. This doesn’t mean China doesn’t play politics. This also doesn’t mean China doesn’t use information to mold the international environment to be more favorable to itself. It does mean there’s no fundamental Cold-War-esque ideological and political battle being fought.

    A lot of democracy-enthusiasts are just unnerved at the moment, having boomed and then busted hard, so shaken because there’s grass on the other side of the fence for them to notice whereas there wasn’t before. Their mistake was fallaciously assuming their overall economic development was and is inseparably tied with their political ideology. It also doesn’t help that they have a short memory, forgetting that the political ideology they associate with was not immutable, was not something that pre-existed them and thus precipitated their economic development. Instead, the ideology they hold today is itself an evolved product that started as one thing and has changed with their economic development becoming what it is today in their minds. We tend to retroactively apply the now to the past, creating causality where it didn’t exist.

  2. One day America might understand that democracy is not ideally inflicted upon people by means of force… but then again America has yet to understand that democracy should be more than a senate and government owned by big business.
    Alas, humanity will forever be less than perfect…

  3. B-real

    I would have to agree, that America has to stop imposing its political system on other nations. America’s form of democracy is not great and can’t be simply adapted by any nation. But for already democratic nations across Asia, Communism will be a hard boat to sell. The people already have a taste of that system and only will accept small subtle changes. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with Communism, just the way how certain communist nations go about business. There is nothing wrong with a 1 ruling party system and taking matters in their own hands in the name of the well being of the people , being extremely progressive is a wonderful thing. But the iron fist, and lack of humanity, lack of the illusion of free amongst the whole population (I don’t believe anyone is free regardless if the people have a say in anything) and bad cases negligence and inequality is where the international gripe is believe to be derived from.

    The world hates to love America because it so great in many ways that most nations can’t come close to, but then people loves to hate America because of its damn Omni-presence in the world, its not fucking funny. America is threatened so much that America has become its own enemy making nations kowtow to its financial, security, and political needs that it now has the largest target to hit.

    No one likes a nagging wife, Embarrassing mother, and a over barring older brother pounding their policies obscuring the balance of power. That is what the US has been after Vietnam (it became obvious to the public in a sad way). US is no longer called for duty but instead it volunteers its services wanted or not.

    China’s soft power may be gaining ground but no one wants their skin rubbed by 80 grit sand paper. The spread of China is the beginning of international isolation (mind your own business policies), but the same thing can be said about today’s America (rubber necking policy) if they are not careful. The difference between the 2 systems is that people under them really admires it and the others just go with flow because there nothing else they can really do.

    Americas democracy does need some real updating because the constitution is becoming irrelevant in today’s time and “tradition is the enemy of progression and progression is the enemy tradition”.

    Rant over

    • Tony Neville

      1) “Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with Communism…”

      2) “Americas democracy does need some real updating because the constitution is becoming irrelevant in today’s time…”

      Just like night follows day.

    • maotai

      “There is nothing wrong with a 1 ruling party system and taking matters in their own hands in the name of the well being of the people , being extremely progressive is a wonderful thing.”

      Ah… the little red dot, Singapore. The prime example of a government acting with authoritarian benevolence.

      • B-real

        That was the exact nation I had in mind. But didn’t want to call them Communism. They gave the public a forum to speak their peace and the GOV listened. They gave the people what they wanted in a timely matter and to this day the people of Singapore are very content with the results. Not saying its perfect but it was a great system.

        • maotai

          As a Singaporean, I thank you for your kind comment. I had been telling everyone that Singapore practises the perfect “Communism with Chinese characteristics” before the term came to be. There is no perfect system, just systems that work for a period of time.

  4. Okay, the good news is that we all die. From now till then, the role of government should be to assist its population to live safer and better, irrespective of the form that it takes.

    At present, the US should spend less time telling others how to live than to work on making its opportunities for its citizens greater. The divisive way US conducts its politics is shameful at best and at worst anathema as an exemplar to struggling emerging economies. Consequently, for the US, leading by example would be far more effective than by advice or force.

    On the other side of the equation, China’s form of government has not been in operation long enough to stand as a model for any other country to follow. If one wants to average the death toll stemming from politics and pollution as a standard of governmental effectiveness since 1949, the China model needs some toning.

  5. Bryan

    Regarding soft power – it might be useful to consider two branches of such power…government-sponsored (ie. VOA, Confucius Centre, development grants, student scholarships etc.) and private-sector driven (pop culture, film, music, literature, tech adoption etc.)

    China may be pushing hard in the former, but they don’t even register in the latter.

    Take the series “Friends” as a crude example. It is known world-wide. I’ve been told that part of it’s allure among many different societies stems from its cultural accessibility (humour, life, relationships etc.) Yeah, sure it is a unrealistic television series…but it operates as an amazing ambassador.

    Can’t think of a Chinese equivalent.

    • King Tubby

      There are about 7 or 8 Confucious Institutes in Australia, but PVC’s …Pro Vice Chancellors and academic staff dont take them seriously, just the cash. Such is the degradation of the tertiary sector here. On par with the King Fadh centres for Islamic studies.
      Winning friends and influence…..don’t think so.
      The cash outlaid by the PRC would be better spent in the Solomon Islands or Fiji.

      • King Tubby

        Or better still, buy the whole legislature in New Guinea, which is not a big ask. (If you ever consider the fact that there is life outside the US-China axis.) However, the local tribespeople in NG will only wear Chinese shopkeepers and mining companies to a point, after that it is pangas and severed limbs central.

        Soft power, economic infiltration, whatever, da *raskols* dont give a rats, and I don’t mean hip hop here.
        Do a news search.

  6. Tony Neville

    Even though all facets of authoritarianism in China are legislated and enforced by ~Communists~, it is Capitalism that get defiled by prefixing to it the word “Authoritarian”. This is so wrong, and who conceived of the term “Authoritarian Capitalism”, anyway? What are the chances that it was some Leftist prick of a human being? Pretty good?

  7. hm

    China has never really used ‘hard power’. Their policy is to stay out of other countries’ business and I think they have done things that way. They are definitely a different model but not a model to be followed.

    I think the difference is that China understands that their “China Model” only fits China whereas the US believe that Democracy and the form of US democracy is the only way any country can live prosperously and happily, and that they have a role in implementing their values in other ‘non-democratic’ countries.

    I completely agree that China isn’t trying to spread their political system to others, they are just confirming the fact that democracy doesn’t always work and that perhaps, other forms of government should be explored to see which will benefit them the most.

    • hm

      Also, I think it follows the idea that the West is not the ‘best’ any longer. In countries that despise the West – or at least the US, China sets an example that a developing country does not have to follow the example of the West in order to gain stability in their country.

    • Tony Neville

      “China isn’t trying to spread their political system to others, they are just confirming the fact that democracy doesn’t always work”.

      Oh, come on. Be brave. You can use the term “Chinese Communist Party” if you want. I mean, saying ~China~ is just confirming the fact that Democracy doesn’t always work suggests there is some known consensus among the country’s 1.3 billion inhabitants that Democracy can’t work in China; but who’s dumb enough to believe it. The CCP has a coercive monopoly on deciding China’s direction, and considering that this “confirmed fact” of yours in reality invariably amounts to preventative strikes by the CCP against the inculcation and spread of ideas favouring Democracy by using propaganda, tanks, bullets, incarceration, and executions, exposes you to be one horribly callous and cynical individual.

      • hm

        I guess I am dumb enough to believe that democracy won’t work in China. It goes deeper than the idea of giving people the ability to vote. I can only hope that as China continues to progress, that they can eventually lighten up on those censor laws and what not.

        Besides, wasn’t the US’s policy of spreading democracy through violence as well? Something about a “Big Stick”? Iraq? Cuba? Vietnam? Korea? Hm…. Tanks? Bullets? Oh.. Did I mention that the US has torture schools and camps?

        By the way, I don’t call China CCP because they don’t necessarily carry the Communist ideology. Sorry to burst your bubble! Just like I don’t call US… The Democratic Party of the US or some shit like that. What difference does it make if I say CCP? What makes them so special that I should call China the CCP? because they’re COMMUNIST? *GASP*

        • hm

          B-Real,

          I’d like to say that a good majority of Americans feel that they are powerless. How many people actually vote during small elections let alone presidential elections? Sure more people came out to vote this past election, but statics don’t show a good percentage of Americans are voting.

          Additionally, people voting for the president doesn’t matter because the winner is chosen by the electoral vote. The people have a very small influence on which way the state goes. So essentially, people don’t have the power to change (also because government doesn’t trust the people to make good decisions, but who can blame them). Having a right to say something/ having a voice is different from having power to stop something from happening; from having a law come about. IE. Teaparty supporters have the right to tell people who can’t speak English to go home, but the government isn’t going to tell these people to “go back to where they came from” unless you’re Arizona.

          • hm

            whoops replied on the wrong post! hahahha

          • Tony Neville

            In response to your first paragraph: They have freedom of speech. They have the freedom to protest. They have the freedom to assemble with like minded souls giving stronger voice to their concerns, even to the extent that certain politicians are seeing the writing on the wall. I have in mind America’s Tea Party movement. In contrast, the Chinese have no freedom to form anything remotely resembling a Tea Party movement. The government would crush it like it crushed the Pro Democracy movement in 1989.

            To the second: Americans exercise their power through their representatives in Congress whom they vote in. If enough feel they are not represented by the congressmen they can just as easily send them packing come the next election, which I am thinking many will be sent packing this November. The Chinese people in contrast have no such liberty.

            Also, I’m not an American, but I know enough about the Tea Party movement to say with confidence that it is not for poor English speaking skills that many Conservatives in the movement desire to see anyone deported, but their being in the country illegally.

          • hm

            Tony,

            I’m not trying to get at whether or not China has the freedom to speak, I’m just saying that having the freedom to voice your opinions is different from having the influence to bring about change. I can tell you from experience that not a lot of people go out of their way to vote for their Congressmen. Why don’t they? Do they care? Sure they do, but they don’t feel they have enough power to bring about change. Also, majority of politicians don’t ‘see the writing on the wall’.

            On your point about about “pro-democracy movement in 1989″, homie please. As if there was one. China was barely opening up and majority of these students supported Communism. Why is it ALWAYS “Pro-democracy”? Seriously, these students just wanted more job opportunities.

            And you may have read up your stuff about the Tea Party, but it does go as shallow as telling these illegal immigrants (some who do become citizens) to get the hell out. They may be saying “illegal” immigrants, but its really all immigrants in general. Case and point: Arizona. Fact is, without immigrants, America wouldn’t function properly. Within a few centuries or decades, America will not just belong to the “White man”.

        • Tony Neville

          “I guess I am dumb enough to believe that democracy won’t work in China. It goes deeper than the idea of giving people the ability to vote.”

          Yes. I’d say it goes about 6ft deep in the case of the CCP, and probably literally so for some of its members.

          “Besides, wasn’t the US’s policy of spreading democracy through violence as well? Something about
          a “Big Stick”? Iraq? Cuba? Vietnam? Korea?”

          Let’s not forget Japan. As you well know, just as violent criminals often never cease to murder innocent people without the use of extreme violence to stop them, so governments acting like violent criminals often never cease to murder and oppress masses of innocent people except by using extreme violence to stop them. The CCP should have been dealt with through use of extreme violence early on, before it starved and murdered 60 million Chinese people, but it just wasn’t to be.

          “By the way, I don’t call China CCP because they don’t necessarily carry the Communist ideology. Sorry to burst your bubble! Just like I don’t call US… The Democratic Party of the US or some shit like that. What difference does it make if I say CCP? What makes them so special that I should call China the CCP? because they’re COMMUNIST? *GASP*

          BECAUSE THE CCP IS THE ONLY PLAYER IN TOWN BY MEANS OF BRUTE FORCE! IT ~IS~ THE BLOODY GOVERNMENT AND HAS BEEN THE GOVERNMENT FOR OVER FIFTY YEARS IRRESPECTIVE OF HOW MUCH OR HOW LITTLE YOU THINK IT ADHERES TO COMMUNIST DOCTRINE! THERE IS NO OTHER COMPETITION! You can’t know what the popular view is among China’s 1.3 billion inhabitants with respect to Democracy while ~they~ live under the yoke of an authoritarian regime adverse to freedom of speech! So where the ~hell~ do you get off saying “China” confirms this or that, knowing that the only expression of thought on the Mainland is that which is sanctioned by the CCP?

          Or, perhaps you were projecting — i.e., hm is “China”.

          • hm

            I am not “China”. My goal in posting comments is just to perhaps help myself see the bigger picture and maybe others to do so as well.

            “Yes. I’d say it goes about 6ft deep in the case of the CCP, and probably literally so for some of its members.”

            6ft deep? Seriously, do I have to explain this to you? When people start selling their vote (ie. Thailand) and people w/o a proper education are given the vote, I wonder what chaos will ensue? I may sound elitist, but that’s just how it works. Why do you think America uses the Electoral vote instead of individual votes? The people can’t be trusted because the average citizen without a proper education can be more easily mislead with propaganda and media. And with a population of more than 1 billion, I wonder how many parties will form and how big will each of these be? What can get done with 50 different parties always arguing about what’s the ‘best’ thing to do.

            “Let’s not forget Japan…. The CCP should have been dealt with through use of extreme violence early on, before it starved and murdered 60 million Chinese people, but it just wasn’t to be.”

            What makes one type of violence more benevolent than the other? I don’t understand what you’re trying to say. That America using brute force/violence is good because they’re spreading democracy? By the way, China starved 60 million people? Let me help you look up some history which may help you conclude a different reason as to why they starved: the 2 Opium Wars, Chiang Kai-Shek, 1st Sino Japanese War, Taiping Rebellion, Boxer’s Rebellion, just to name a few key terms you may want to study.

            “BECAUSE THE CCP IS THE ONLY PLAYER IN TOWN BY MEANS OF BRUTE FORCE! … So where the ~hell~ do you get off saying “China” confirms this or that, knowing that the only expression of thought on the Mainland is that which is sanctioned by the CCP?”

            Stop living in your own little world where you think that China’s the only country that uses brute force. Last time I checked, the Venezuelan president hates America because the CIA tried to assassinate him. Maybe I’m wrong! But there might just be another scandal where the CIA tried to assassinate some other dude. Well, I guess assassinating some big political figure isn’t brute at all…Because in the name of Democracy, anything should be done, even if it means fucking up the whole country.

        • “What makes them so spe­cial that I should call China the CCP?”

          I think the reference was to the ruling regime (whatever its name might be) not the fact that it has Communist in its title. A one party regime by any other name is still a one party regime, no? Doesn’t matter if we call it the Kleptocratic Republic of Fruitbatistan, they’re still devoted to promulgating the ideas that they are the sole possessors of ruling mandate and that there is no better way to order Chinese government that would see their monopoly broken. Tony was merely questioning the common mistake of saying “China” rather than “China’s ruling regime” giving us the impression that all Chinese are united behind their government on these particular opinions.

      • maotai

        You believe that China is still communist??? Do you live here? Been here? Work/ talk/ interact with real people here?

        Marx and Lenin would probably never recognize the “Communism” here in China. It would be like Jesus landing in the middle of the Vactican and trying to figure out Catholism LOL

        • B-real

          yeah but s long as china keep calling it that and still keep the basic mentality of Communism alive in every political step of the way. It will always be considered Communism. By Marx and Lenin stand point of view real Communism doesn’t exist in big countries but in small villages of unrecognized cultures, where money is not traded internationally. But that is subject that doesn’t need to be debated.

          China admits its not true communism but its China’s socialist capitalist communism in this new day and age. China had to evolve to be recognized as viable Gov internationally. I’ll have to say the bureaucracy here is in full affect like the Natzi Party. The people have nothing to do with the party. The party are herdsmen training other herdsmen to herd the “sheeple”. Without the “sheeple” the party becomes redundant. The “sheeple” might not want to be herded but what other choices they have? Its easier to go with the flow of things, and let nature take its course. As far as the “sheeple” are concerned the worst is behind them.

          • maotai

            “basic mentality of Communism” and what is that? – the basic mentality of the CCP is to retain and exercise power.

            “”Without the “sheeple” the party becomes redundant. The “sheeple” might not want to be herded but what other choices they have?”” – that is what lots of Americans are saying about their government. All governments are the same in this sense.

          • B-real

            Maotai:Allot but not the majority of Americans. You have your forums to dictate whether you accept the way things affect you where I come from. I guess the odd ball number political parties of America are all facades for a superior 1 ruler. I guess the majority of people don’t chose their official into power. I guess all our taxes that go into the voting process are just fake, and that our leaders were already chosen? Is that what you think. Sure all Govs are the same, hungry for power but there are key fundamental aspects that are beneficial to the people. For some Americans to think they losing grip on power over their Gov is a real gripe, but they still have a right to say so, they still can chose which road they want to go down. Even if the guy you didn’t elect into office you can still have a voice. Just look at the mess that is going on now in America or you don’t read, or watch the International News.

          • maotai

            B-real: It is my honest belief that the Chinese system is currently the best for the country given its size and history. Too many people need to be educated and civilized before democracy can be introduced.

            Looking at India, democracy at best has been performing only at par in some aspects and failing at many compared to the Chinese system in delivering benefits to the masses.

            The US/ Western systems would be great if they can bring a similar standard of living to the average Chinese. Every sensible person knows that is not possible, the earth does not have adequate resources for that. I draw the conclusion that many want China to fail due to this reason.

          • B-real

            Maotai:Well now I stand to agree with your reasoning when you put it that way.You have been dinged up. It works better for China. No other country should try and replicate just like the US and their system. China will continue to progress in the right direction, like it should be and the “sheeple” hopefully will benefit from it. Like I said there is nothing wrong with the system just how it operates is my only gripe. But no GOV can truly claim perfection.

  8. Bin Wang

    Good post. I am not sure if it is so much a matter of proselytizing as it is simply leadership. If you are an effective leader, people will want to emulate you and the best leaders lead by example and not by force for coercion.

    The United States has show tremendous leadership in the world in years past. The love part of the love-hate relationship with Europe has roots deep in WWI, WWII, and the Marshall Plan. Ask old Italians or Frenchmen or even Germans today and they’ll tell you stories of GIs tossing them candy and K rations in the aftermath of a Europe destroyed by war. Those memories last a lifetime.

    Post 9/11, I believe we had wide multi-lateral support going into Afghanistan, which eroded quickly when we decided to hit Iraq too in unilateral action. As the United States began to take a more unilateral approach to foreign policy and interventionalism, resentment grew. I don’t know if it is actually a stated goal of the United States to project democracy, but assuming that it is, we used to do it in the right way, and now we do it increasingly in the wrong way.

    China, on the other hand, has grown saavy enough to know that it should try to start to avoid unilateral stances on issues (Iran, N. Korea, etc.), not be seen as obstructionist in wielding UN security council veto power, and continue to pursue traditional stances such as respecting the sovereignty of other nations. Couple that with the ability to toss the perverbial K ration these days almost as well as Americans via this economic growth, including investment in infrastructure in Africa, and you can see the appeal.

    My only point is, it’s not so much proselytizing I think, as it is how you act vis-a-vis the nations around you and the degree to which you are respected, your international politics seen as legitimate and fair/even handed. To the nations on the fence, America policy has begun to seem more heavy-handed, and Chinese policy more deferential. No doubt, the US still has a massive edge in inherent stored up goodwill, but I think if the US actually did a little less proselytizing these days and tried to lead by example again, we would have better success. Chinese short-comings are self-evident, but, simply, American unilateralism in the international sphere turns a lot of people off and allows nations to begin given China more benefit of the doubt.

    • “…avoid unilateral stances on issues…”

      Translation: never takes a moral stance.

      ” … not be seen as obstructionist in wielding UN security council veto power…”

      Translation: works behind the scenes to water down proposals (under threat of veto) not in China’s interest, then abstains.

      Just to be clear.

      • maotai

        “never takes a moral stance”
        – take a moral stance only when it suits you and use it to try beat the crap out of our opponent.

        “works behind the scenes to water down proposals (under threat of veto) not in China’s interest, then abstains.”
        – never compromise, use all possible force to beat the crap out of your opponent.

        All of the above help especially to support unsustainable sheeple lifestyles and to prop up corrupt governments in cahoots with banksters and such.

        Just to be clear… LOL

        These naive Chinese should learn from the masters of deception.

        • “take a moral stance only when it suits you and use it to try beat the crap out of our opponent…never compromise, use all possible force to beat the crap out of your opponent.”

          I am in total agreement; this is China’s zero sum foreign policy mentality in a nutshell.

          Well done, old sport.

          • friendo

            If by “China’s zero sum foreign policy mentality” you mean white behavior since the dawn of time at all levels, you’re right.

            China’s foreign policy is by no means zero sum, unless you mean arrogant, obnoxious whites get zero while crying on the sidelines about how mean big bad China is to Satanic imperialist nations such as Britain

          • maotai

            haha you are sooo funny… lol

      • Bin Wang

        1. If “taking a moral stance” means foisting one’s own moralism onto someone else, you’re right, China won’t do that. There is room between the errors of isolationism and the errors of over-aggressive interventionalism. That the U.S. may have strayed of late too much into the latter, as I said, merely facilitates nations on the fence to give China additional consideration and benefit of the doubt.

        2. Frankly, if you look at the records, post fall of the USSR, the U.S. is the most frequent user (abuser?) of the veto, often with regard to the Middle East on behalf of Israel. Call it watering down if you will, but that’s how the process works–in order to achieve consensus, language has to be suitable to everyone. If Obama wants a few moderate Republican votes in the Senate to push through legislation, he has to concede certain clauses regarding abortion, illegal immigration, etc.–Republican hot-button topics. That’s how it works. That China would rather do your so-called “watering down” and then abstain instead of a straight up “my way or the highway” veto, IMHO, is actually a pro, not a con, of the Chinese approach to international diplomacy.

        • “There is room between the errors of isolationism and the errors of over-aggressive interventionalism.”

          Getting into bed with them at the cost of human suffering shouldn’t be an option either.

          “Frankly, if you look at the records, post fall of the USSR, the U.S. is the most frequent user (abuser?) of the veto…”

          That’s what the surface numbers tell you, but fails to understand how China works its veto power behind the scenes to stymie any proposal that is not to its own advantage. And the odd genocide/human rights abuse here and there has never occurred to China’s leaders as reasonable justification for putting their global strategising on the back burner.

          Sadly, none of the UNSC permanent members seem entirely capable of setting aside national agendas, China least of all.

          • Bin Wang

            I don’t think any nation sets aside its national agenda for such higher grounds. The “higher ground” card, however, is often played by certain nations as a means to achieve its national agenda. But don’t let that means to an end approach deceive you and permit you to think that there’s any sacrificing of national geo-political goals by anybody for the pure motives of morality. I doubt we, as a species, are that evolved yet and so long as the other guy plays the game, so must you.

          • “I doubt we, as a species, are that evolved yet and so long as the other guy plays the game, so must you.”

            So much for global leadership and a new world order.

  9. Those who argue that China is pushing its model are assuming a premise that rests on shaky ground: China sees itself as the “optimal” model for others and thinks that its own political system will remain the same indefinitely. But you aren’t going to catch any CCP officials that agree with this.

    Moreover, that the US is the beacon of democratic foreign policy also lies on unstable foundations. (See: Chile and Pinochet, Iran and the Shah, or the Taliban and Afghanistan.) US and Chinese foreign policy do not exist on polar opposites, but that doesn’t sell papers. Welcome to the China divide …

    • friendo

      See: Chile and Pinochet, Iran and the Shah, or the Taliban and Afghanistan.

      Looks like we have on straying from the News Corporation/American line.

      To Guantanamo with you. Oops never mind, we relocated torture elsewhere. To Saudi Arabia with you!

  10. lolz

    One can only hope that by now people would have figured out there is no magical formula, silver bullet when it comes to governments. Each country has its own preferred government, and people of each nation deserve exactly the government who is running them.

    The whole proselytizing ideology concept came from the cold war where democratic nations need something extra to brainwash its own people in order to justify some of the foreign policy decisions. For example, only in the name of anti-communism/free trade were the US able to overthrown one unfavorable democracy in order to install a favorable dictatorship in numerous countries in the mideast and latin america.

    Also, by preaching ideology politicians are able to avoid answering hard questions regarding their own performance in governing. Americans blame China, illegal Immigrants, socialism, etc. for various issues ranging from the high unemployment rate to gas prices to healthcare. American politicians will never blame its citizens for whatever they do (like voting for Iraq war) because politicians who ask hard questions will never get elected.

    The Chinese government on the other hand cannot blame many foreign entities. Yes it tries to blame the Western media and Dalai Lama for the riots which affects less than 1% of its population but that’s about it. It also practices heavy censorship but make no mistake Chinese people blame the government and not capitalism/foreign entities for its own issues from high real estate prices to inflation to diseases. You hear Americans/Europeans blaming China for all of the world’s ills, but when was the last time you hear Chinese blaming Western countries for the crap which goes around the world?

Continuing the Discussion