Soft power

A sticker of the Statue of Liberty wearing a mask is seen on 10 May 2020 in the Manhattan borough of New York City. (Jeenah Moon/Getty Images/AFP)

The US empire will not fall anytime soon, going by ancient China’s experience

In his writings, Norwegian academic Johan Galtung predicted the fall of the US empire in 2020. At this mid point of the year, Deng Xize takes stock and holds fast to his earlier opposition to Galtung’s hypothesis, saying that the US empire is not going anywhere just yet — there is simply no other country that can take on a dominant role in its place.
People walk past a mural on 26 May 2020 in New York City. (Angela Weiss/AFP)

How to become a country with deity-like qualities? Learn from the US

Before walking under a cloud of strained relations, China had been an admirer of US innovation, creativity and enterprise. Recent troubles have shown that the US is no deity, but US-based researcher Wei Da reminds us that some of its deity-like qualities are worth emulating. What must China do to elevate itself and put on some deity-like armour of its own?
People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers in sports uniform march next to the entrance to the Forbidden City (back) after the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, 22 May 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Will China and the US fight another wrong war, with the wrong enemy, at the wrong place and time?

China academic Zhang Jie notes that the fates and fortunes of China and the US are intertwined. Being in the same boat, the two should pull in the same direction and row well together. Anything else may catapult China and the US on the road to decoupling and further conflict, creating risks not only for themselves, but the world. In that regard, China managing relations with a constellation of key players such as Japan, South Korea and the EU will prove pivotal in guarding against accidental slippages into hot war.
China’s rise will not be thwarted by the US. (iStock)

The US will accelerate its own decline by suppressing China

US academic Han Dongping shows that by all intents and purposes, China does not wish to take up the dominant position in the international system. But this does not mean that the US will stop feeling threatened by it and continue trying to thump China down. Like a game of whac-a-mole, China’s rise will not be thwarted and it will keep coming back, he says.
Cambodian soldiers carry aid including medical equipment from China, to be used to combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, 25 April 2020. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

China's aid to Southeast Asia amid adversity — a sign of deeper cooperation ahead? 

Even as China continues to handle the coronavirus, it is extending aid to other countries, not least in Southeast Asia. ISEAS academic Lye Liang Fook traces China's efforts to engage ASEAN in building a "community with a shared future". Does that point to better relations between ASEAN member states and China?
Protesters hold up an upside-down US flag at a demonstration in Edinburgh on June 7, 2020, organised to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. (Andy Buchanan/AFP)

In a world split apart, where do you belong?

With a US that is withdrawing from the world stage, yet not ready to relinquish its dominance so easily, and a China that does not look like it wants to take on the mantle of being a hegemonic power, the international world order seems to be facing a crisis that will not be resolved any time soon. Instead, expect a state of flux where international organisations hobble on and the prospect of “one world, two systems, and two markets” becomes very real. Political analyst Zheng Yongnian explains why.
A man holds up a sign reading "democracy instead of virology" as he attends a protest against the government's restrictions following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Cannstatter Wasen area in Stuttgart, Germany, May 16, 2020. (Kai Pfaffenbach/REUTERS)

Western democracy's worst enemy is itself, not China

Zheng Yongnian reminds political watchers of today that fascist regimes of the past grew out of once-democratic systems. What is to say that cannot happen in today’s world, even in mature democracies such as the US? Is the coronavirus crisis putting democratic systems to their greatest test yet? And despite what some think, China, where the pandemic first spread to the world, may not be Western democracy's biggest enemy after all. 
Staff members move medical supplies to be sent to Italy, at a logistics center of the international airport in Hangzhou, March 10, 2020. (China Daily via REUTERS)

Is China’s pandemic diplomacy working?

As the Covid-19 coronavirus starts to ease domestically, China is now extending help to other countries that gave it assistance in the initial stages of the outbreak and publicising its efforts domestically and globally. While these efforts are sparking praise from Chinese netizens, it is getting mixed reactions in the global arena. Academics say a quieter and calmer approach may be preferred. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing looks at how China’s pandemic diplomacy is being received.
A man wearing a protective facemask stands in front of a movie poster in Shanghai. - China on February 19, 2020 ordered three reporters from American newspaper the Wall Street Journal to leave the country over what Beijing deemed a racist headline, in one of the harshest moves against foreign media in years. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Where multiple 'gods' co-exist: Countering the racism complex in Western diplomacy

Political analyst Zheng Yongnian says that in the current panic of the Covid-19 outbreak and against the backdrop of already fractured US-China relations, the US and the West’s racism complex is bubbling to the surface and could taint their foreign policy approaches to China even more. He looks forward to a future where multiple “gods” co-exist.