Commentary: It’s time for the US and Europe to ask what sort of world China wants to build

Date:  Apr 13 2019 
By: Fred Kempe


  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has strengthened his party’s hold domestically while advancing the country’s influence overseas.
  • Experts believe the country’s current goals suggest China wants to fill America’s shoes as the dominant global agenda setter and rulemaker.
  • If China hits its 2021 targets, it would become 40% larger than the U.S. economy. If it meets its 2049 targets, it will become three times larger.
Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on the sidelines of a global governance forum co-hosted by China and France in Paris, France, March 26, 2019.Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

European Union leaders sat down this week in Brussels for a summit with a China it recently branded a “systemic rival, ” and the United States is nearing the end game trade talks with a China that national security documents refer to as a “strategic adversary.”

So, it’s surprising that trans-Atlantic leaders are neither working at common cause nor asking the most crucial geopolitical questions of our age.

What sort of world does China want to create?

With what means would it achieve its aims?

And, what should the United States and Europe do to influence the outcome?

By now, there is little remaining doubt that China’s continued rise marks the most significant geopolitical event shaping the 21st century. Yet U.S. and European officials — mired in issues ranging from Trump administration immigration gyrations to Brexit — have failed to give this mother of all inflection points enough attention.

Some are in denial about the fundamental change China’s rise may bring to the global order of institutions and principles established by the United States and its allies after World War II. Others concede that the structural stress between a rising China and an incumbent United States is the defining danger of our times, yet they offer neither an engagement nor containment strategy worthy of this epochal challenge.    [FULL  STORY]