TWQ: Will China Change the Rules of Global Order? - Fall 2010
October 1, 2010
The multilateral order cannot hold if the power and influence embedded in international institutions is significantly misaligned with the real distribution of power. As power and influence seep out of the U.S.-led transatlantic order and migrate toward Asia and elsewhere, who will manage the transition from the Cold War system to its replacement, and how? Will it evolve or be overturned? Conversely, how successfully and quickly will rising powers respond to the challenge of changing from being free riders to stewards of the global order?
Since Beijing replaced Taipei to occupy China’s UN seat in 1971 and launched its economic reforms in 1978, the socialization of China into the behavioral norms of modern international society has been one of the defining stories of the last four decades. Beijing has demonstrated an impressive capacity to learn and adapt, albeit not without some difficulties. Analysts have focused mostly on the limits of the attractiveness of China’s national models to the global community. Yet, its international preferences and practices are not simply statist or mercantilist. It is now set to embark on a qualitatively different phase of international engagement.