On Yale Global, historian Wang Gungwu writes about the new role that China is carving out for itself in the world order. From the introduction:
In China’s long history, its leaders have managed other rises in power and preeminence, but the current rise confronts them with a different set of challenges on a global scale. This two-part series reflects on how China handles its rise and responds to other global powers. In the first article of the series, leading historian of China’s foreign relations, Wang Gungwu, details the considerations for Chinese leadership as the country moves beyond a global role largely limited to trade, exports and economics. Those aspiring to lead on global issues naturally see opportunity in the current economic recession: Confidence has diminished in Western institutions and strategies, including military solutions for the Middle East or development plans for Africa. Chinese leaders and intellectuals want to stave off demands from the West and carefully select their own methods for achieving prosperity, security and civilized culture. Wang predicts that modern Chinese leaders will rely on ancient principles to achieve timeless goals: the economic global can serve as a means in establishing a prosperous and powerful state that wields global influence; and modern ideas on best practices can be integrated with Chinese heritage to ensure sustained civilized society. The greatest challenge, he warns, is applying good governance in maintaining a unified state and harmonious society amidst so many conflicting demands.