YALTA – Given its rapid and successful development, there can be no doubt that the People’s Republic of China will become one of the dominant global powers of the twenty-first century. Indeed, despite the massive problems that the country is confronting, it could even emerge as the global power.
But it would be a mistake to assume that the reemergence of so-called “XXL powers” like China and India will simply bring a continuation of Western traditions. We will have to deal with a different type of superpower.
Ever since the European powers set sail at the end of the fifteenth century to conquer the world, historiography and international politics have become accustomed to a certain pattern: military, economic, and technological power is translated into the exercise of influence over other countries, conquest, and even global dominance and empire.
This was particularly true in the twentieth century, when, in the wake of two world wars, the United States and the Soviet Union replaced the European world powers on the global stage. The Cold War and the period of US global dominance after 1989/1990 followed this pattern as well.