New Superpower or New Superparty?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 11, 2013
Summary: Obama gave Xi Jinping a present, a California Redwood setee. The two men sat side by side on it for a photo op. The image showed the two on an equal footing. The relationship may be a "new superpower relationship." It may be a "new partnership." Either way, it suggests wide acceptance of the notion of a "G2."
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Obama gave Xi Jinping a present, a California Redwood setee. The two men sat side by side on it for a photo op. The image showed the two on an equal footing. The relationship may be a "new superpower relationship." It may be a "new partnership." Either way, it suggests wide acceptance of the notion of a "G2."
Xi Jinping and Obama discussed a "new superpower relationship." Let us begin by addressing the notion of Mainland China as a "new style superpower."
Mainland China may well become a "new superpower." Compare Mainland China with the 19th century British Empire. The British Empire held high the banner of capitalism. Through aggression, colonization, and exploitation of other countries, it became a great nation. But Mainland China used a century of globalization to become a superpower. It used high volume, low-wage labor to become the "world's factory." This made it a "new style superpower."
Compare Mainland China with 20th century Soviet Communism. The Soviet Union led the Cold War. It led North-South confrontation. Shock therapy failed to save this single party dictatorship. Eventually it imploded. By contrast, Mainland China, under Deng Xiaoping's "reform and liberalization," became a model for the transformation of communist regimes. This too made it a "new style superpower."
Now compare Mainland China with the United States. The U.S. was established by emigrants who objected to home rule by Great Britain. From the very beginning it had a free and democratic political system. Mainland China by contrast, experienced the three red flags, the Cultural Revolution, the June 4 Incident, and other such governance nightmares. It owes its people a political debt not easily paid off. This too makes it a "new style superpower."
These comparisons show that Mainland China will not become an aggressor like the British Empire. It will not implement an "Iron Curtain" like the Soviet Union. It has already successfully negotiated its internal crisis. It will not implode the way the Soviet Union did. Therefore Mainland China is a new style superpower that has the wherewithal to maintain peaceful foreign relations.
Mainland China's problems are internal. The United States was founded on freedom and democracy. It upholds these universal values. It may be guilty of hypocrisy and double standards. But it has not deviated from liberal democracy. This important pillar provides support for this superpower. What sort of value system will Mainland China use to maintain harmony internally, and define itself externally? This will be the ultimate test of this new style superpower.
Xi Jinping said, [Mainland] China will not export revolution, will not export hunger and poverty, and will not attempt to sow chaos among others. What else is there to say? These are things that the new style superpower will not do internationally. But a more fundamental question is, what moral high ground will this new style superpower seek internally? Will it merely flaunt its status as a "new superparty?"
The Chinese Communist Party has become a "new superparty." It is the world's largest political party. For 60 years it has no opposition political parties to speak against it. It has practiced Communist one-party dictatorship. But it has not imploded the way the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries did. It still uses the "dictatorship of the proletariat" to assert one party control over the land and resources. It still uses a wide range of political tools to impose "capitalism with Chinese characteristics." These have enabled the Chinese Communist Party to become a "new superparty." For now and for the foreseeable short term future, it remains a successful model. But is it a sustainable model? That is a major question.
The CCP cannot use "Chinese characteristics" to maintain its "new superparty" rule, in perpetuity. It cannot avoid universal values such as freedom and democracy in perpetuity. These have already been made part of the "seven unmentionables." The Mainland government wants China to be a superpower. But the constitutional rights of the people remain unfulfilled. The human quest for freedom and democracy remains frustrated. The only law is "one-party communist dictatorship, forever." What civilized human values can the Mainland government invoke? How can it be a true superpower?
Actually, the CCP could use the Sudong Po dominoes turmoil to transform itself into a new superparty, and to create a political miracle. Its next step should be to invoke its "new superparty" status. It should take a different path than "old country" superpowers such as Great Britain, America, and the Soviet Union. Mainland China can become a model for the universal values of freedom and democracy. It can indeed achieve "new style superpower" status. The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation cannot ensure that the Communist Party will forever remain a "great" one-party dictatorship. It is impossible. A genuine renaissance must be founded on freedom and democracy for every member of the Chinese nation.
For Mainland China to be a "superpower," it must be "internally a saint, externally a king." In today's language, "internally a saint" means democracy, whereas "externally a king" means peace with other nations. The Chinese Communist Party cannot alter these requirements by imposing its will as a one-party dictatorship. Mainland China must become a new style superpower. Only then can it establish a "new relationship among superpowers." Only then can it establish a new model for human civilization. Only then, can it speak of a great renaissance of the Chinese nation.
How cross-strait relations should bear on external relations presents a major challenge to this new style superpower. Can cross-strait relations be reconciled with "peace externally" and "democracy internally?" Can reasonable arrangements be made? The new style superpower framework may not support these. That means that externally "new superpower relationships" may be difficult to maintain as well.
2013.06.11 02:14 am