|Sky scrapers dot the cities across China and Hong Kong|
Take Africa twelve years ago: trade between Africa and the US was twice the size of trade between Africa and China. But today, the situation is reversed. As a result, China has gained large geopolitical influence due to its growing economic relations. This helped shift alliances from the US to the East, which has led to tensions. China has many provinces that are larger than a European country and as an economic block, China is huge! It dwarfs everything else in Asia. But now China is surrounded by military bases in Asia, by American aircraft carriers and by the signed defense treaties between the US and Japan.
Moreover, the Chinese never forgot that Japan had attacked them numerous times over the past 200 years. Additional disputes between China and its surrounding countries, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, and especially Japan about maritime rights will cause further tension in the region. Despite these tensions, the power shift is still underway.
You have a superpower like the one Britain was until the First World War and you have a rising power like Germany whose economy in 1910 overtook that of the British. Here you have the superpower that believes in the old order and the new power that believes it should have more influence on global affairs. The
resulting tensions create an environment that is favorable for confrontation. But it doesn’t have to come to war. In my view, China’s long-term objective is to kick out the US from their military bases, particularly after Hillary Clinton and Mr. Obama announced the American Pivot to Asia two years ago; it was a kind of direct attack or confrontational behavior towards China.