DENNIS SEID: Could China be world’s ‘frenemy?’

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

Countless articles in newspapers, magazines and journals have been written about China’s emergence as a superpower and its relationship with the U.S. and the rest of world.
A book called “The Coming China Wars” by Peter Navarro published in 2007 paints China as a country ready to pounce.
“The best of economic times for China are fast becoming the worst of times for the rest of us,” Navarro wrote. “China’s ‘cowboy capitalisim’ and amoral foreign policies are triggering a whole range of economic, financial, environmental, political and military tsunamis that threaten to engulf us – as well as the Chinese people.”
The underlying theme to Navarro’s book and many other stories is that China is poised to become the world’s largest power, stretching its muscle both economically and militarily.
So should we be worried that the world’s most populous country – a Communist one at that – is ready to knock us off our perch?
Perhaps.
In the past 30 years, China has borrowed ideas from the very “imperialists” who, in their eyes, nearly destroyed their country a century ago during a period of Western colonialism.
The disastrous Opium War, Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution followed, nearly turning the nation into a third-world backwater.
But since major economic reforms were instituted in 1979, China’s economy has blossomed, growing by about 10 percent every year. Last week, it reported first-quarter GDP of 11.9 percent, the fastest annual growth rate since 2008.
China has powered its way to to the economic stage by becoming the world’s factory. Where would Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, be without China?
China has accomplished in 30 years what it took the U.S. and other nations nearly 100 years during the Industrial Revolution.
And China has become the largest holder of U.S. debt. Its demand for oil, steel and other raw materials has driven up prices worldwide.
China has flexed its political muscle, too, forging economic and strategic ties across the globe, particularly in Africa and Latin America, where many countries feel the U.S. has ignored or taken for granted. China also has no problems working with countries like Iran and Venezuela, no friends of the U.S.
China has become the largest military spender, behind only the U.S. It is building a blue-water navy that many analysts say will be larger than the U.S. Navy within a decade.
No doubt China has its share of problems with pollution, corruption, poverty and lack of jobs. It’s health and safety record is abysmal. But Beijing marches forward.
Navarro warned that China is on a “collision course “with the world.
But is China our friend or our enemy? Perhaps both.