Response to AIIB Diminishes American Influence
How badly has
the American response to the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment
Bank, an emerging rival to the World Bank and the global financial architecture
that has existed since the end of WWII, damaged the standing of the United
States? This editorial from China's state-run Huanqiu advises Chinese leaders
not to get carried away with their own success and Washington's embarrassment,
lest hubris cost Beijing more points than the U.S. has lost.
With the initial stages of the Asian Infrastructure Investment
Bank (AIIB) proving a major success, there are many
interpretations within world public opinion about the geopolitics of its
creation, and which include lots of booing – even in Chinese media.
It must be pointed that the "geopolitical interpretations"
of the AIIB's legality originate from with
Washington's political elite and other U.S. decision makers. This has not only
practically sidelined the United States to a considerable degree, but has
profoundly distorted many people's perceptions about this new development.
While the number of economies that have sought to become
founding members of the AIIB has far exceeded
expectations, the United States has publicly discouraged its allies from
joining at all. This is perhaps why this unexpected success has so sparked the
political imagination of the international community. When something creates a
global sensation like this, there are bound to be political implications – and
the AIIB is no exception.
The AIIB has disrupted the
existing global financial system, which is part of the basic framework of the
global order. When the U.S. attempted to protect the existing financial status
quo by boycotting the AIIB, it highlighted the bank's
political implications. The result is that Washington overestimated its own
appeal and lost influence on the issue.
After the World Bank expressed a willingness to cooperate
with the bank and work on joint projects, the United States changed its
attitude, bringing the political end game over the newly-initiated financial
institution into view. Yet this episode will not vanish like a meteor
traversing the sky, but will long reverberate through international politics.
Yet one should not exaggerate the aftermath. The
founding of the Asian International Investment Back should not be seen as
harbinger of geopolitical events or a measure of the balance of power between
China and the United States. While it shows the limits of American hegemony, it
does not mean that the decline of American dominance will be gradually replaced
by an alternative hegemony. It is nevertheless true that America's attempt to throw a wrench into the works
has proven very unpopular and so has diminished U.S. influence.
As the future unfolds, the China-led investment bank will
adhere to accepted global practices in finance and trade, and we will
devote ourselves to fulfilling our original committment to make the AIIB an international institution that acts beyond the
interests of any single nation. If China were to begin playing geopolitics
because the United States lost the game, it is unlikely that China would gain.
In fact it might well be the opposite: China might lose more than the
In a certain sense, competition is in the very nature of
investment banking, and in this case was advantageous to China. Meanwhile, the
United States ultimately embarrassed itself, rendering our public opinion quite
pleased. Some used the opportunity to take cheap shots at the United States,
but on the whole this is not a common circumstance. China's academic circles
should be on high alert not to reflect public opinion when it smacks of
Posted By Worldmeets.US,
China's renaissance will be a long process. China's economy
will continue to be buffeted by external events and be examined geopolitically
by outside analysts; hence in many cases the geopolitical significance is
greater than zero. Yet China must not be led by the nose by external events and
let its economy be impacted by geopolitical brinksmanship. It is necessary to
diminish the impact of geopolitical elements and concentrate on the economy
China's economy gives us an advantage and is a source of
significant global leverage, whereas geopolitics, while it often looks like a
point of advantage, is most often like a swamp or trap. Win-win cooperation is
almost never a part of the Western geopolitical dictionary. Rather, its habit
of zero-sum thinking suggests a far different future. Instead, China's future
success is likely to depend on our capacity to advance down the path of win-win
cooperation and expand the number of those who benefit from the equation.