China As Rumpelstiltskin
China’s assertiveness has alarmed many of its neighbours. Does a foot stamping foreign policy risk creating a counter-coalition? Read the article in The Diplomat here:
China ushered in the year of the rabbit in buoyant mood. Prices of high-end commodities rose sharply – not, it seems, because of a spike in food prices, but because there are so many people with spare cash to spend. Internationally, meanwhile, China’s rapid recovery from the global financial crisis, its successful test of the J-20 stealth plane, and the achievements of its athletes and artists have all served to create an image of China as the power to emulate in much of the world.
This optimistic mood has been reflected in China’s increasingly assertive behaviour on the international stage. China has moved from being a rule-breaker in the 1950s – one trying to overturn the world order – to a rule-maker in the 21st century, seeking to modify the world order in ways meant to ensure its continued prosperity. And, while there are certainly similarities between the two periods, there is also a crucial difference – China now has the economic and military power to back up its aspirations.