Home » Archives » June 2004 » Now Here's a Spooky Article from the Council on Foreign Relations-'Clash of Civilizations' anyone?
"Now Here's a Spooky Article from the Council on Foreign Relations-'Clash of Civilizations' anyone?"A Global Power Shift in the Making
By JAMES F. HOGE, JR. full article
Published: June 24, 2004
From the July/August 2004 issue of Foreign Affairs.
James F. Hoge, Jr. is Editor of Foreign Affairs. This article is adapted from a lecture given in April at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.
The transfer of power from West to East is gathering pace and soon will dramatically change the context for dealing with international challenges -- as well as the challenges themselves. Many in the West are already aware of Asia's growing strength. This awareness, however, has not yet been translated into preparedness. And therein lies a danger: that Western countries will repeat their past mistakes.
Major shifts of power between states, not to mention regions, occur infrequently and are rarely peaceful. In the early twentieth century, the imperial order and the aspiring states of Germany and Japan failed to adjust to each other. The conflict that resulted devastated large parts of the globe. Today, the transformation of the international system will be even bigger and will require the assimilation of markedly different political and cultural traditions. This time, the populous states of Asia are the aspirants seeking to play a greater role. Like Japan and Germany back then, these rising powers are nationalistic, seek redress of past grievances, and want to claim their place in the sun. Asia's growing economic power is translating into greater political and military power, thus increasing the potential damage of conflicts. Within the region, the flash points for hostilities -- Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, and divided Kashmir -- have defied peaceful resolution. Any of them could explode into large-scale warfare that would make the current Middle East confrontations seem like police operations. In short, the stakes in Asia are huge and will challenge
...Militarily, the United States is hedging its bets with the most extensive realignment of U.S. power in half a century. Part of this realignment is the opening of a second front in Asia. No longer is the United States poised with several large, toehold bases on the Pacific rim of the Asian continent; today, it has made significant moves into the heart of Asia itself, building a network of smaller, jumping-off bases in Central Asia. The ostensible rationale for these bases is the war on terrorism. But Chinese analysts suspect that the unannounced intention behind these new U.S. positions, particularly when coupled with Washington's newly intensified military cooperation with India, is the soft containment of China.
For its part, China is modernizing its military forces, both to improve its ability to win a conflict over Taiwan and to deter U.S. aggression. Chinese military doctrine now focuses on countering U.S. high-tech capabilities -- information networks, stealth aircraft, cruise missiles, and precision-guided bombs.
...engagement must be the order of the day, even though some Bush officials remain convinced that the United States and China will ultimately end up rivals. For them, the strategic reality is one of incompatible vital interests.