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(Pro): China’s Global Leadership Good

Western liberal order has not minimized conflict, it has increased it; China’s model will reduce global conflict

Bruno Macaes, 2019, Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order, Kindle Edit, page number at the end of the card. Bruno Maçães is a Portuguese politician, political scientist, business strategist, and author. He studied at the University of Lisbon and Harvard University, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation under Harvey Mansfield. He is currently a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute in Washington

Seen from Beijing, the new world order would be replacing a model whose failures have become all too obvious. State Councilor Yang Jiechi observed in November 2017 that it had become “increasingly difficult for Western governance concepts, systems, and models to keep up with the new international situation. Western-led global governance, he argued, had “malfunctioned,” and the accumulation of “various ills” showed the system had reached a point “beyond redemption.”21 Humanity is facing huge natural, technological, economic, social, and security challenges. Solutions to these problems will require us to pool resources, plans, and development mechanisms across the world, but existing models seem increasingly unable to deliver them. Collective decisions to fight climate change are weak and insufficient. Many countries have entered long periods of state failure or civil wars and the international community seems closer to giving up on peace efforts altogether than to brokering a negotiated solution. As a result, terrorism has become an existential threat to many societies and the number of refugees worldwide keeps growing. Western efforts arguably made things worse, as in the case of recent military interventions in the Middle East. Global tensions are as high as in the worst moments of the Cold War, with the difference that we now lack an adequate framework to address and minimize them. Chinese authorities thus have some ground to argue that the world as a whole is facing a dire governance crisis, that the West has run out of ideas and therefore that it is perhaps time for others to take up the task. “Western countries have frequently been limited by their own theories of international cooperation, either believing it requires the presence of a hegemon to be viable, or that it can only take place under the auspices of Western democratic models. The model of international cooperation that China advances, meanwhile, is naturally non-hegemonic and open to a diversity of political systems.”22 Following the 19th Party Congress, Foreign Minister Wang Yi elaborated on the CPC’s approach to global leadership, stating that “China will actively explore a way of resolving hotspot issues with Chinese characteristics and play a bigger and more constructive role in upholding world stability.” This implies that the country will become proactive in regions in crisis, perhaps intensifying its efforts there due to the growing number of Chinese workers and investments abroad. In Afghanistan, Beijing seems to have adopted a transactional, flexible approach—implying an alternative to the Western development model. Beijing may provide less aid to Afghanistan than Western countries, but its aid is delivered quickly and without preconditions. “Resolving hotspot issues with Chinese characteristics” also indicates that “China wants to engage with different stakeholders in hotspot regions as compared to countries in the West that differentiate between democracies and dictators.”23 During the drafting of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which set development priorities for the UN’s 193 member states, China was among those opposing a goal that called for “freedom of media, association, and speech.” Chinese resistance helped to ensure that the goals adopted in September 2015 featured much vaguer language and entirely missed media independence or the freedoms of speech and association. Maçães, Bruno. Belt and Road (p. 172). Hurst. Kindle Edition.

Markets do not lead to democracy

Bruno Macaes, 2019, Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order, Kindle Edit, page number at the end of the card. Bruno Maçães is a Portuguese politician, political scientist, business strategist, and author. He studied at the University of Lisbon and Harvard University, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation under Harvey Mansfield. He is currently a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute in Washington. Convergence was a powerful idea, perhaps the most powerful foreign policy idea of the last three decades. As Thomas Wright puts it, everyone or almost everyone believed that as countries embraced globalization their political systems would become more liberal and democratic. “Citizens of other nations believed it, too, including many Russians, Chinese, Indians, and Brazilians. It mattered not whether you were on the left or the right; almost everyone bought into the basic notion of convergence, even if they were unfamiliar with the term.”27 Very few believe it today, at least when it comes to China. In the West, the recent decision to abolish presidential term limits, opening the way for Xi Jinping to rule for life, made it clear that China is treading its own path. Whatever liberal currents there have been in the past, they have been marginalized in the power struggle within China. Maçães, Bruno. Belt and Road (p. 174). Hurst. Kindle Edition.