Thursday, March 11, 2010

G2-Weakened by Strength

G2-Weakened by Strength
By Erick San Juan

In the latter part of January, I wrote about the emergence of G2 which US economist and the director of Peterson Institute for International Economics Fred Bergsten coined the term G-2 as the new global economic formula in his "The United States and the World Economy 2005". In the early 2009, the concept was upheld by US foreign policy gurus like former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former White House National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. Their idea was that China should shoulder the burden of global hegemony jointly with the US, which implied that the Obama's administration would be steering a course generally benign to the country. (Stalemate in China-US Relations, Collapse of the G-2 Myth by Roman Tomberg, 3/3/2010
This G2 will never be realized as tensions between China and US seem to be growing faster than the efforts made for a lasting cooperation to achieve their goal of easing the world’s burden brought about by the global financial crisis. Both countries tend to show off their power and might when it comes to geopolitical strategies, setting aside the important factor of respect to one’s sovereignty as an independent nation state. The pretext to this saber rattling is the deployment of their sophisticated naval ships, air and satellite capabilities, armed forces disguised as joint military exercises for counter terrorism and against sea pirates.
Moves by the Obama administration only worsened the rift with China and brought further damages to the already bruised relationship. Among these serious provocations made by the US government were the February 2010 controversial visit of the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso in the White House that really sent annoying message to Beijing, and at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit where President Obama did not agree to any formal agreement on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and totally blamed China and other developing countries which had agreed to informal substantive targets on CO2 reductions.
On the geopolitical-economic aspect, there are several domineering “requests” by Washington that ranges from China vote at the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against Iran on the issue of Tehran’s alleged uranium enrichment, the denuclearization of China’s ally – North Korea and to return to the six-party talks to solve this issue. Another one is the revaluing of the yuan (the Renminbi) that has been on the table for negotiations since 2005, which the US claims as artificially undervalued to give Chinese exports an unfair price advantage that made the US manufacturing exports suffered and a huge number of American jobs lost in the process. At the opening of 2010, Google Inc. said it may exit China on grounds that user e-mail accounts were being hacked. China has also taxed American chicken imports after the U.S. imposed tariffs on Chinese tires.
The most recent disagreement between the U.S. and China comes after the House and Senate foreign affairs committees allowed a proposed $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan to go forward. The U.S. Defense Department wants to sell Taiwan the most advanced Patriot anti-missile system, which is built by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co.
The system, valued at $2.8 billion, would add to Taiwan’s network of 22 missile sites around the country to defend against a Chinese attack. The proposal also includes UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters costing $3.1 billion made by United Technologies Corp. and Boeing Co. Harpoon missiles at a cost of $37 million. After the planned sale was announced Jan. 29, China has already suspended its military-to-military contacts with the U.S. and imposed sanctions on the companies that make the weapons. (Bloomberg)
Based on the abovementioned scenarios, one can easily see that the success of the G2 really depends on how these two countries will resolve their indifferences and will use their strength for the benefit of each other and the rest of the world.
Still, certainly in the near future, spats between the US and China are bound to increase. Differences that earlier, from a greater distance, were not visible have become important. As with all ties - and especially with new ties - the closer they bind, the more difficult they become. (China-US ties bind and bruise by Francesco Sisci)

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