To understand modern China, writes Steven W. Mosher, one must understand that country's ancient sense of self. For 48 of the last 50 centuries, China has had the largest population and the most advanced economy in the world--and the Chinese know it. They have always viewed themselves as "culturally superior to other peoples," writes Mosher, an expert on China and author of A Mother's Ordeal
. The Chinese also possess a self-identity dependent upon the concept of what Mosher calls "the Hegemon": "the non-Western notion that the premier goal of foreign policy should be to establish absolute dominance over one's region and, by slow extension, the world." All the feel-good talk coming out of Washington about "strategic partnerships" and "most-favored-nation status" are woefully naive, says Mosher. The Chinese, he writes, believe they are in "a worldwide contest with the U.S. to replace the current Pax Americana
with a Pax Sinica
." In other words, they want nothing less than to displace the United States as the world's sole superpower.
Mosher debunks what he considers to be the most pervasive and harmful myths about China: the notion that democracy is inevitably in its future, that market forces will advance freedom, that exposure to American culture will lead to change, and that technological developments such as the Internet will propel reform. In short, he firmly opposes all the rosy scenarios embraced by Congress and the Clinton administration. This is a provocative book--and one the Chinese government surely won't welcome, given its deep suspicion and frequent reference to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Neither will many American elites, who come in for a severe beating: "It is a scandal that most former secretaries of state (beginning with Henry Kissinger), most former national security advisors (also beginning with Kissinger) and most of their senior deputies have gone into the China trade subsequent to their government service, often without even allowing the passage of a decent interval before beginning to cash in." Mosher wants Americans to make a more cold-eyed assessment of a country he believes is not a friend, but a threat. --John J. Miller
About the Author
Steven W Mosher
--This text refers to the