Opinion: Containing China is no longer possible despite the fact that many want to

COMMON SPACE – 28 JUNE 2021 – Benyamin Poghosyan

China was on everyone’s lips at numerous summits and international gatherings in the last days and weeks, writes Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. “China will be among the key world players throughout the 21st century; it will be the number one economic power, and all have to accept and adapt to this reality. Many are not happy with this prospect and would like to prevent it from becoming a reality, but no one has the necessary capacity to contain China, despite the fact that many want to, for the moment for doing that has passed.” 

While many states make efforts to eventually overcome the outcomes of the COVID 19 pandemic through a large-scale vaccination process, and seek to return to the pre-2020 life, geopolitics, somehow pushed to the corner by the disease, returns to the spotlight. Recent weeks saw a chain of global summits – G7, NATO, and the USA-Russia meeting. The world leaders discussed many topics – climate change, the restoration of the transatlantic alliance, relations with Russia. However, the most repeated word in all these gatherings was China. “Rise of China”, “China’s challenge”, “assertive China”, “China-led world order”, “China hegemony in Asia” – this is perhaps not the complete list of China-related phrases. The key driver behind these discussions was the US, and there there are few if any differences between the Trump and the Biden administrations. President Trump launched a trade war against China and started decoupling, especially in the digital world. Sanctions against Chinese tech giants, Huawei and ZTE, were harbingers of the coming technological wars.

Back in 2011, the Obama administration launched its ‘Pivot to Asia’ policy seeking to balance growing Chinese influence on the continent. However, despite all efforts by the US to prevent or significantly slow the economic development of China, Beijing continued its astonishing growth. In 2014 China surpassed the US in GDP PPP, and most probably will overtake the US in nominal GDP in 2026-2027.

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