Friday, November 18, 2011

China as the "bogeyman"

I came across an editorial in today's Minneapolis Star Tribune that I think is worth sharing.

Much has been written in recent months about China's inevitable rise that eventually will see it overtake the United States as the world's leading country. One Minneapolis-based writer suggests that is nonsense.
Let me splash a little cold water on the idea of China as a threat. Much of this fear is inspired by misunderstanding and paranoia, and it results in some actually rooting against improved lives for the world's impoverished.
I recently returned from living in China for 11 months.
One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in my home city of Zhuhai was that it seemed everything around me -- the structures and transportation systems; the electronics and other technology, and much of the music, art and fashion -- had either been created by foreigners or was an imitation of a foreign invention.
This is why China's rise isn't a threat -- because it doesn't speak to the country's ability to be a world leader. China's political and social system has helped fuel its amazing advance over the past 20 years, but it also perpetuates a lack of creative initiative, capping its potential.
Meanwhile, a recent Gallup poll indicates that in the Asian world, the U.S. is viewed more positively than China. Politico explores the results.
In eight of the nine countries polled, more respondents approved of American leadership than Chinese leadership. The greatest gap was in Australia, where at 56 percent the American approval rating was 33 percent higher than the rating for China.
The only country to prefer China’s leadership over American leadership was Vietnam, where 22 percent approved of China and 21 percent approved of the United States.
Of course, if you listened to most politicians, you would hear a different story; and that "fear" of China helps to explain why President Obama has used multiple opportunities in recent weeks to criticize China. The BBC suggests the Chinese are not happy with what they are hearing.

Why is it that the U.S. seems to consistently need a bogeyman? 

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