All roads lead to China
de Paulo Duarte
I do not conceive China as an emerging power, but, instead, as (re)emerging, nostalgic, pragmatic and assertive. These are the features - to which I add the need to build a credible narrative that serves as a lever to the national effort and to the continuity of the regime, and the urgent need to fight the economic downturn - that lead China to look for a reunion with History.
In other words, China seeks the essence of the glorious past, the gravity centre that turned it the Middle Kingdom. One of the ways to achieve this past status is to mold the geopolitics of regional and global integration. That is, to adapt the logistical land and maritime links to the (re)emergence of a power that needs to ensure trade with the great world peripheryand the uninterrupted access to mineral and energy resources. The keyword is connectivity.
If once all roads led to Rome, today Beijing strives to ensure that all roads lead, in the medium and long term, to China, making the country a kind of global mega-city. The high-speed railways which aim at connecting East and West, via Central Asia, play a crucial role here, but not only. Pax Americana, as I defend, reflects a purely transitional paradigm to a new order: Pax Sinica. It is not a matter of whether the United States will make way to China in the firmament of world power, but rather, how long this process will take. Years, decades?
The question is open for the reader to feel heckled and, above all, troubled andprovoked. It is all about realpolitik. Based on the assumption that revisionism will be China’s ‘new normal’, I conclude by inviting the reader to question: Will China adapt to internationallaworwillthislatteradapt in the future to thepragmatismandassertivenessof a superpowervoracious in energyandfoodresources? Woulditnotbe time for theinternationalcommunity to startconsideringhowwill China fit (orhowwilltheinternationalcommunityfit to China) within a planetwhereresources are beginning to bescarce?