CHAPTER 8

China and the Emerging World

In the emerging world, America’s post-crisis financial embarrassment and new state of dependency has fundamentally changed the calculus underpinning the global web of superpower influence.

Until 1990, a poor, strategically located country dependent on a steady stream of aid, such as Ethiopia or Cuba, could choose between two superpowers, either of which would provide financial and other kinds of assistance, in return for the country signing up, at least nominally, to their values and culture, and giving them permission to station military hardware and troops on their soil. With the weapons of money, technical assistance, and military hardware, the Cold War was fought as fiercely in the emerging world as in the developed one. But 1990 and the fall of the Soviet empire removed the choice. For a decade, America and its allies exercised unlimited global influence. Since 2000, China’s increasing wealth, need for global involvement, demand for natural resources, and subtle diplomacy has again provided emerging countries with a powerful and attractive potential partner, one which offers the opportunity to develop their economies through trade as well as other kinds of assistance, but with no preconditions to be met or value systems to be subscribed to. The fate of the emerging world depends on the most powerful and richest countries. The actions and attitudes of poorer countries represent a barometer which is highly sensitive to changes in the global ...

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